You probably know the feeling of being completely lost in a big city. And no, I am not talking about not knowing where you are, because today we all have our maps on our smartphones and other smart devices. By “being lost”, I mean that you don`t know how things work in a specific place, partly due to lack of information. So, I have compiled a set of tips, which would guide you when you feel lost in the Sofia public transport.
The first impression you get after seeing the Sofia metro map is that it is composed of one long line. But don`t let that sink in - there are two lines, they just start from the same station. And a third one will be opened in November 2019. The working hours of public transport in Sofia are from 5:00 a.m. until midnight. Both line 1 and line 3 will meet at Serdika station, which is in the center of the city and offers connections to many other bus and tram lines.
One ticket costs 1.60 BGN, which is about 80 euro cents. A daily ticket for all transport costs 4 BGN, which is 2 euros, and would be a better option if you are staying longer in the capital city. As there are very few places where you can pay the metro tickets with a debit card, make sure you have enough cash with you. As the metro station at the airport is the only place where you can buy your transport pass with a card, make sure you have enough cash on you if you plan on staying longer in Sofia. On this station there is also an ATM, where you can withdraw the needed amount for the tickets.
This line starts at Slivnitsa station and goes through the central part of the city to the Business Park Sofia. You can use it to reach central locations like Sofia University, Vasil Levski Stadium or to go to Serdika station and switch to Line 2.
Metro line 2 is very useful for those who want to reach the city from the airport. It would take you about 30 minutes to get to the central part of the city by using the metro. Main stations of the line 2 are James Bourchier, then Obelya, then the airport. This metro line only goes to Terminal 2 at the airport, but there is a free shuttle bus which leaves from Terminal 2 every 15 minutes and goes to Terminal 1. You would recognize it immediately, as it is marked with a sign "T1-T2".
If you want to experience the Bulgarian lifestyle fully, you can also travel around the city by bus or by tram. In front of the entrance for Terminal 2, there is a bus station, where buses number 84, 184, and 384 stop. Buses number 84 and 184 go to Sofia Tech Park, and their final station is Orlov Most, which is near the city center, and at a short distance from the Sofia University metro station.
The bus number 384 has a shorter route, but within its itinerary is the metro station Druzhba, which is on metro line 2.
I wrote these two sections together because the Main Railway Station is just next to the Central Bus Station. There is a metro station right next to those two stations – it is called Central Railway Station, and is a part of Line 2. Important to note here is that the train which leaves from the airport is on line 2, but takes a different turn before reaching this metro station. So if you are coming from the airport, you need to get off at Serdika station and switch to another train on the same line.
There are also buses which go to this station – buses number 78, 85, 213, 285, 305, 404, 413, as well as tram lines number 1, 3, 4, 5, 12, 18.
If you already feel overwhelmed by all the information I just gave you, don’t feel too bad about it – even the locals find it hard to understand the public transport system in Sofia. A great help in a case like this could be Google Maps, which could tell you which bus and tram stops are near you and which means of public transport could take you where you want to go.
The public transport in Sofia is not ideal, but much work is being put into making it better, modern, and easier to understand. This guide is a small step towards this goal. So the next time you visit Sofia, don’t be afraid to use public transport, it would help you feel the local atmosphere!
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