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Transport connections in Bulgaria

Air, rail, road and water transport connects Bulgaria to Europe and the world.

Railways cross all of Bulgarias land borders. The first big European railway transport artery - Orient Express also cuts through the country. One may enter the country by bus or car throught the numerous checkpoints along the borders. The Danube River and the Black Sea are Bulgarias waterways.

Air links are maintained through the countrys local and international airports. There are three international airports in the country in Sofia, Varna and Bourgas. Daily two-way flights link Sofia with Varna and Bourgas. During the tourist season, including late spring, the summer and early autumn, there are five to six flights daily in both directions. One-way ticket prices vary between 55 and 60 US Dollars.

Bulgarian air companies fly to most European capitals and some larger cities like Munich, Frankfurt, Milan, St. Petersburgh, etc. Some of the major European airways reciprocate with flights to Bulgaria, doubling or supplanting flights.

Bulgaria maintains air links with some of the countries of the Middle East, Central and South Africa, some countries of North Africa, Central and Southern Asia and North America. Transfers to other destinations are through foreign travel agencies and representative offices based in Bulgaria. Telephones of international airports include:

Sofia    (02) 937 22 11; 973 22 12

Varna    (052) 650 452

Bourgas    (056) 684 083

Emergency landings may be performed in some bigger towns like Rousse, Kurdzhali, Razgard, Silistra, Plovdiv, etc. Chartered aircraft, helicopters and amateurs gliders possessing special permits may land in the country and air corridors for them are ensured by Bulgarian air-traffic controllers.

Bulgarias railway border checkpoints include: Svilengrad, Koulata, Gyueshevo, Kalotina, Vrushka Chouka (only on the Yugoslav side), Vidin (by ferryboat across the River Danube) Rousse, Silistra, and Dourankoulak. Numerous express and passenger trains reach Bulgaria or transit across the country, linking it with Europe, Asia (across Russia and the Middle East), and North Africa (across the Middle East). Travelling by train in Bulgaria is comfortable and inexpensive. The rail network connects practically all major towns and cities of North and South Bulgaria. In less accessible places and less frequented directions there are narrow-gauge railways. The price of second-class tickets for a 100 km distance amounts to about 1.5 Leva. Ticket costs generally increase in proportion to the distance travelled. Reduced-tariff tickets are granted to students against respective certificates, to soldiers and officers who are issued military tickets, to pensioners, war veterans, handicapped and railway employees.

Reduced tariffs are also granted to the holders of international cards for student and youth travel. The tickets are issued at railway stations, at ticket bureaus in the towns, and in tourist agencies; international travel tickets are available at special international booking offices, agencies and bureaus at the railway stations. The telephones for information are (02) 931 11 11 and (02) 932 33 33.

The road network in Bulgaria consists of motorways and roads of first, second and third class. Most of the network is asphalt. Motorways link Sofia with Varna (Hemus), and Sofia with Plovdiv and Bourgas (Trakia).

Local bus services cover most directions, with express buses linking the countrys major towns. Long-distance and local bus lines reach nearly 90 per cent of Bulgarias settlements. Exceptions are made for high-mountain villages and quarters accessible only along truck roads. The price of a ticket for a 100 km distance is about 6 Leva in a luxury-bus, and 4 Leva in an ordinary bus. The ticket price increases proportionally to the distance.

International bus lines are maintained with most European capitals and major cities. Via Turkey there are connections by road to the Middle East and Egypt.

Bus tickets are purchased from specialised bureaus, at bus stations and from transport and tourists agencies in the larger towns. A number of foreign travel agencies also offer these services.

The phone numbers of border checkpoints, including those with railway links, are given below:

Bregovo (Vidin-Negotin)        22 74

Vrushka Chouka (Zaychar),    20 03

via Vidin    

Kalotina (Nis), via Sofia        88 15 18

Strezimirovtsi         2 42 89

(Trun-Souroundoulitsa)    

Gyueshevo (Kriva Palanka),     2 72 10

via Kjustendil    

Stanke Lisichkovo         2 35 31

(Delchevo), via Blagoevgrad    

Zlatarevo (Petrich-Stroumitsa)    2 71 74

Koulata         2 31 87

(Sandanski-Sidirokastron)    

Kapitan Andreevo         65 86

(Svilengrad - Odrin)    

Malko Turnovo (Lozengrad)    21 98

Vidin Kalafat, (ferryboat)    2 49 79

Lom        2 41 02

Oryahovo        23 72

Russe (Gyurgevo)        44 01 86

Silistra (Ostrov-Culuras)        2 66 61

Yovkovo        424

Kardam         266

(General Toshevo-Constantsa)    

Durankoulak (Mangalia)        244

The waterway border checkpoints are riverside (along the River Danube and maritime (on the Black Sea coast). The first riverside border checkpoint as the Danube reaches Bulgarian territory is near the village of Vruv.

Along the entire course of the River Danube there are border checkpoints, which give access by water to and from Bulgaria. These are situated at the river ports of Vidin, Lom, Oryahovo, Rousse, Toutrakan and Silistra. Seaports are Varna and Bourgas.

It is possible to cross from Romania by sea by using the local small ports near Dourankoulak, and from Turkey at Rezovo. These ports can handle small vessels, which do not come from territorial waters.

Water transport for tourist passengers and cargo is available along the entire length of the River Danube and the Black Sea coast. Tourist services are effected by river and sea vessels; both the tickets for them and their timetable depend on the season, the type of vessel and its class.

Also available are numerous private boats, yachts and motorboats, which offer tours to local sites of interest and cruises on clients wishes. As a rule, water transport costs about twice than bus ride.

List of telephones of border checkpoints and riverside (maritime) stations along the Danube:

Vidin    (094) 2 49 79

Lom    (0971) 2 20 57

Oryahovo    (09171) 23 72

Russe    (082) 44 01 86

Toutrakan    (0857) 25 65

Silistra    (086) 2 00 05

Varna    (052) 22 23 26

Bourgas    (056) 4 27 38

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