Sofia's centre is quite compact and most sights are easily covered by walking. Other than that public transport is quite good. You've got the choice between trams, buses, trolleybuses, minibuses and even a metro line. A regular oneway ticket is 1 BGN, you can buy them at booths near the the stops and you have to validate them on the tram/bus/trolley. If you're using a minibus, you pay the fee (which is 1,50BGN) directly to the driver.
Even in the centre of the capital you can see horse-drawn carts. It's usually gypsies collecting recyclebles, paper, old tyres, abandoned electrical appliances, grass for their animals, and tons of other things they find useful for some reason. Carts are banned in the centre but still you see one or two every day. The bad thing is that the horses don't have the 'toilet bag' or whatever it's called... Here is a cart we saw just turning into Dondoukov Street, close to the Presidency and the Sheraton Hotel. Maybe the guy was going to pick up some important guests...
This is a resume of a mail I got:
The essence of the system is the concept of tickets - small slips of paper that are supposed to grant you legitimate access to public transportation. Indeed, the Sofia Public Transportation Company has invented variety of tickets with different price, shape, function and color, thus demonstrating their hopes to gain as much money from confused travellers. Checks are done via sub-human individuals - controllers, whose only goal is to make your travel uncomfortable and to get as much money as possible.
In order to have a legitimate ride and not be attacked by a blood-thursty controller, you should punch the ticket in the puncher - a device that has a primitive key encryption system, that leaves irremovable holes on your ticket in a pseudo-random combination. It is constant relating to a single vehicle, but is different accross different vehicles, and is changed daily.
How to escape a controller:
- Speak in a foreign language - they surely are not aware of foreign languages
- Ignore the controller - Pretend to be deaf, blind and senseless - do not react in any way to his actions
- Run away from the controller - In crowded public transportation vehicles you can have the chance to get out on the next stop, before the controller reaches you
- Move in groups - Controllers tend to ignore groups of 7-8 or more people that appear to be in good health.
I have seen a 5th way to escape a controller:
- If the guy enters from the first door the passenger gets off from the second one waits for a while then goes to the first door and sneaks back in the vehicle behind the back of the controller.
But seriously, some of the controllers are rude at times. So, if you have the feeling that the contoller is being too rude or you have doubts if he is a legitimate one, you can call the number below and report what happened.
A legitimate controller should be wearing a jacket like the one on the picture, have a badge and ID card.
Amsterdam - 2164km
Athens - 784 km
Barcelona - 2322km
Belgrade - 385km
Bern - 1761km
Bruxelles - 2122km
Budapest - 775km
Warsowie - 1457km
Wien - 1020km
Geneve - 1724km
Copenhagen - 2001km
Koln - 1899km
Laipzig - 1552km
London - 2249km
Madrid - 2934km
Munich - 1440km
Oslo - 2451km
Paris - 2265km
Prague - 1291km
Rome - 1662km
Stockholm - 1812km
Frankfurt - 1735km
Helsinki - 2461km
Zurich - 1760km
Stuttgart - 1667km
I appologize about the mispelling of some cities, I will get the time to check the proper spelling later...
In downtown Sofia, there is too little parking space, so I suggest travellers use the public transport, or just walk between the landmarks they want to see, as they are usually not spread over a large area. Otherwise, be careful, car theft is not uncommon, even though it has declined over the last years. Another thing, if your car is not in the place, where you remember parking it, don't panic - it may have been towed. :-) What you see in the picture is the parking on "Tsar Osvoboditel" square. The yellow building is the Bulgarian Academy of Science.
Transport in Sofia
You will probably find the center of Sofia more accessible by tram, bus, or trolley bus than by car due to the shortage of parking space. Public transport runs from 5am till midnight for buses and trolley buses and till 1am for trams. Tickets are for single trip and are sold at kiosks at the major stops, at newsstands or in driver's cabin. You have to punch them inside the vehicle. If you transfer you must use another. Tickets are inspected at random by conductor.
MAJOR TRAM LINES
1 and 7: route passes through the Central Railway Station, Sheraton Hotel, and Vitosha Blvd.
2, 12 and 19: route passes through the Central Railway Station, Graf Ignatiev St., Zhurnalish Square in Losetets.
6 and 9: route passes through the Central Railway Station, the National Palace of Culture underpass, Losenets area.
5: runs from the National History Museum down Tsar Boris 3rd Blvd. to Knyazhevo area.
MAJOR BUS LINES
84: runs from the Airport to Sofia University.
213 and 313: run from the Central Railway Station through 'Lavov Most' (Lion's Bridge) down Tsarigradsko Shousse Blvd. to Mladost area.
280: runs from Sofia University down Tsarigradsko Shousse Blvd. to Darvenitsa area and Student Town.
94: runs from Sofia University through Losenets area to Darvenitsa area and Student Town.
MAJOR TROLLEY BUS LINES
1: runs from Banishora area (near the Central Railway Station) down Opalchenska St. through the national Palace of Culture underpass to Sofia University.
2: runs from Hadji Dimitar area through Sofia University down patriarch Evtimii Blvd. by the Medical Academy to Borovo area.
5: runs from Banishora area (near the Central Railway Station) down Opalchenska St. through the national Palace of Culture underpass to Mladost area.
9: runs from Slivnitsa Blvd. down Rakovski St. down Patriarch Evtimii Blvd. to Borovo area.
CENTRAL RAILWAY STATION
Maria Luisa Blvd. Tel. 31111, 31120
Train schedule information, advance sale (inland)
NATIONAL PALACE OF CULTURE
Train schedule information, advance sale (inland)
INTERNATIONAL TRAIN TICKETS
5 Gurko St., Tel. 875935, 870777
COMPANY TELEPHONE TYPE OF THE CARS
I TAXI 1282 Lada, Moskvich, etc.
TAXI S EXPRESS 1280 Lada
OKAY 2121 Daewoo Racer
SOFTAXI 1284 Lada
INEX 91919 Moskvich
YES TAXI 91119 Daewoo Nexia
I know that map isn't that useful...
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