The first time we were going on holiday to Bulgaria, it was very difficult to find at least any information about independent travel by intercity buses. We were unable to find any actual bus schedules in Bulgaria or ticket prices (and those that we have found were outdated), or some general recommendations.
That is why, during our holiday in Bulgaria, we photographed the main maps of the movements and routes of intercity buses, memorized prices and searched for bus stops. The experience gained we gained has turned into a series of short articles and tips for tourists who want to travel in Bulgaria on their own instead of paying for excursions.
How to travel in Bulgaria by intercity buses?
In fact, traveling by bus is not only simple, but also advantageous – you will save at least half the cost of a similar excursion and will not be limited by a rigid timetable.
Considering that taxis in Bulgaria are incredibly expensive, public transport is almost the only solution for thrifty travelers.
We recommend: if you do not like to wait, you can rent a car. It is not very expensive if you order online.
Public transport in Bulgaria
Intercity buses run from one point to another, picking up passengers along the way. All the buses were fairly new, there were air conditioners, and passengers did not suffer from motion sickness in them.
In front and on the side of every bus there is a sign with an exact route and the indication of every city where it stops.
In terms of empty seats – everything is fine. Even on the most popular routes almost always there are empty seats. During our holiday in Bulgaria, there was only one occurrence where there were not enough seats and passengers had to stand on the aisle.
Payment at public transport – the cost of a bus ticket
You can buy a ticket at a bus station or directly inside the bus. This will not affect the cost of the trip. The conductor will come to you, you will tell him the name of the the resort that you want to go and pay for a ticket. That’s it!
It is interesting to note that a price is not directly dependent on the duration of the trip. For example, a ticket from Burgas to Ravda costs 6 levs and to Sunny Beach is also 6 levs, although the trip is half an hour longer. Tickets from Ravda to Sunny Beach will cost 2 levs.
Children aged 7 or do not pay for tickets, but only if they are citizens of Bulgaria. On the other hand, children of tourists are charged for a regular ticket fee, although you may try to persuade the bus conductor to let your kids ride for free.
Bus stops and bus stations in Bulgaria
In many small towns, like Nessebar, there is no bus station in sight but there are three to 4 bus stops.
Buses, depending on the route, may only pass through some of the stops. For example, at a stop in the old part of Pomorie or Nessebar you will have to wait 3 times longer than you would at any other in these cities.
At every stop you can see a schedule of buses, which pass by here. It is necessary to clarify that it is not always accurate. For example, Balkanbus Ltd. (red with blue signs on a photo) indicates not the time when a bus arrives to that particular stop, but the time of departure from the first station. And to stop of whatever location you are, it arrives through 40 minutes, for example.
Also, 90% of the stops have a route map of buses, which pass by through it. With the help of a map, it is much easier to understand on where and how to get to.
In Bulgarian, a bus station is called “Avtogara”, and a bus stop is “avtobusna spirka”.
Bus stations in Bulgaria are in almost every major city, but most of them are similar rather on the stalls, than intercity buses stops. There you can not only learn the schedule of transport, but you can also to buy a ticket in advance.
Some bus stations even have a special person who tells tourists about the buses they need to take. We have seen similar at a bus station in the old part of Pomorie, near the fruit market.
In Bulgaria, it is not accepted to stop a bus on the way (though sometimes you can). People usually gather at bus stops. You can ask a driver to stop a bus not at a bus stop (we did so, when we went to the Botanical Garden of Balchik), but he may refuse.
Individual schedules of buses in different cities and resorts of Bulgaria
Sometimes it is not quite easy to understand where to go — for instance, where to go to Nessebar. For your convenience, you can find the following individual articles about the routes from Nessebar and back, plus a description of the most interesting (at least, in our opinion) routes:
- Where to go from Nessebar and Sunny Beach – bus schedules and advice
- Where to go from Varna – a list of interesting bus routes
- By bus from Burgas – where is the most interesting to go and how to get back?
- Public transport in Pomorie – where we advise you to go?
- Buses from Balchik – where you can get and what to see?
Bus schedules in Bulgaria
It should be clarified, that this information does not contain all routes – these are only for the popular resorts that are describe on the website, giving preferences to carriers that have a better fleet of passengers buses. In fact, there are much more routes than what you see here on this site.
It is highly advisable to walk to the nearest bus stop and to see what particular buses pass through it. The situation is similar with the departure / arrival time at a particular city. If, for example, a road through Sunny Beach takes about 30 minutes, then I have tried to indicate the time of departure and arrival to the bus station in the center of the resort.
I can not guarantee the accuracy of this information, which also includes summer routes, which are relevant only from July to the end of September. In most cases, these routes go in early in the morning and late in the evening.
The data are intended for approximate planning of trips. For example, you may realize that you can not visit Varna and Balchik in one day – the last route from Varna departs at 6 o’clock, and the road from Nessebar to Balchik with a change in Varna takes almost 4 hours.
Once again, I advise you to sort routes by the resort of departure and arrival and the start time of a trip (morning, afternoon, evening or night). You can even choose several resorts, if you do not know where exactly you want to go.