Many people who visit Bulgaria, end up only staying in Sofia. And while the capital does have much to see and offer, there are still other wonderful cities and towns to explore in this country. Each having their own unique charm to experience. Plovdiv is certainly one you don’t want to miss out on and getting there is quite simple. The best way is to take a train from Sofia to Plovdiv.
Transportation through Bulgaria is very affordable and their train system is no exception. A two-hour journey from Sofia to Plovdiv will only set you back about $7.
The first step to leaving Sofia is to make your way to the Central Railway Station. If you’ve been staying in the city for a couple days, taking a taxi there may be the most convenient. However, the most affordable way would be hopping onto the local Metro. This train has a stop right at the Central Railway Station. Be aware that depending where you’re coming from, you may have to hop off at the Serdika station and transfer to another train. This is because not every train route crosses the Central Railway Station stop.
The airport in Plovdiv isn’t always the most affordable option to fly into, so chances of you landing in Sofia are extremely high. When you exit the airport, you want to find your way to Terminal 2, if you aren’t already there. There is a free shuttle bus that runs frequently between the two terminals, you’ll be able to find this right outside the exit of Terminal 1.
When you are at Terminal 2, proceed to find your way to the Metro station that’s located right outside of the airport. You will want to get on a train to the Serdika stop, then transfer to the line that leads to the Central Railway Station. This trip should only cost you 1.60 BGN.
Once you’ve made your way to the Central Railway Station, you will then want to purchase a ticket to Plovdiv. You can view the train schedule ahead of time here by inputting Sofia as the Departure station and Plovdiv as the Destination station. The trains run quite frequently, so even if you miss your desired time, there will be another one the following hour up until about 11 in the evening.
This train ticket from Sofia to Plovdiv should cost around 9 BGN and the train rides vary from 2.5 - 4 hours in duration.
Once you get off the train, you’ll find yourself walking down through an underground tunnel and then up again to the exit. When you’re at the exit, you can then continue on to your final destination in Plovdiv by either grabbing a taxi currently parked or using the Taxistars app to order one.
Information desks are your best friend! They are at all the stations and the airport, and the people working do speak English. They will help guide you to where you want to go if you ever feel lost or confused.
When you purchase your main train ride to Plovdiv, double check with the cashier which platform you should board at. The screen that displays the boarding schedule may only be in Bulgarian, therefore can be quite confusing.
The train ride to Plovdiv may stop at a few stations, but there is no announcement of where you are currently or which stop is coming up. You will know you’re approaching Plovdiv when you begin to see city-like structures, such as many apartment complexes and tall buildings. Most of the train ride is through rural Bulgaria, so you will see a definite difference.
It’s recommended that you download an offline map of Plovdiv using Google Maps. When you open it, with or without mobile data, it will be able to show your location and which town you are in.
Now, that you have finally arrived, there is lots to see and do. Take advantage of our city guide for Plovdiv to help you learn all about the area.