Sofia Central Train Station is undergoing a major renovation, scheduled to end at the end of 2015. Most of the the waiting hall is currently closed. You can use the waiting area of the nearby Central Bus Station. Check back for updates.
If you arrive to Sofia by train you will most probably find yourself at Sofia Central Railway Station. This is the biggest train station in Bulgaria and on a busy day welcomes close to 50 000 passengers.
The train station is, by all accounts, a gloomy and unwelcoming building. The surreal feel of the Communist architecture from the 70s is complimented by the shady characters that can be seen wandering around.
Information is provided almost entirely in Bulgarian and finding someone who speaks English can be a challenge.
The free (and surprisingly quick) Wi-Fi connection comes as a pleasant surprise.
TO AND FROM SOFIA RAILWAY STATION
The Central Railway Station can be easily reached by metro line 2.
It is approx 20 minutes walk from St Nedelya Square.
Taxis are parked in front at at the nearby Bus Station. Be cautious and always check the price sticker before entering the taxi. The station is a favourite spot for 'fake taxis" charging almost 3 times the regular rates. A ride to the city center should not cost more than 5 lv.
A large information board opposite the entrance lists the entire train schedule, under the somewhat curious English title, “Schedule of Train Movements”.
The current departure and arrivals are shown on an electronic board to the left, but in Bulgarian only.
The information desk is next to the entrance and it is open from 6 am to 11.30 pm, but English is not spoken there either.
Tickets for same-day trains are sold at the ticket offices opposite to the entrance, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. You must know where you are going and how to say it in Bulgarian, as it is highly unlikely that the ticket agent will speak English.
International train tickets, sleeper couches and advance tickets can be reserved in the Rila Train Ticket offices. There is one at the end of a corridor to the left of the main entrance. Passports are required for the purchase of international train tickets.
A train ticket to the Bulgarian Railways.
BUYING TRAIN TICKETS ONLINE
A long-awaited online ticketing system for advanced ticket sales -up to 24 hours before departure - was launched in 2014. As of now, it only issues tickets for a limited number of destinations, but these include Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Blagoevgrad and Pleven.
An email registration is required.
Payments can be done with Maestro, Visa and Mastercard.
Luggage can be stored for up to 30 days at the “Consigne Des Bagage” office on the right of the entrance.
The fee is 2 lv/ 1 euro for every 24 hours and all bags must have a label.
FOOD AND SNACKS
Your dining options at the railway station are close to none, but it might be a good idea to snack on something. Trains rarely have a dining car and food and drinks are not available on board. It is best to stock up on food and water.
HOTELS NEAR SOFIA TRAIN STATION
The closes hotel is Ramada with several hundred rooms, a casino and a fabulous spa center, a waliking distance from the Bus Station and the Metro.
A lot of low to mid-range hotels and hostels have also sprang up in the area.
This might be a good neighborhood to stay on a budget, but it is not the most glamorous part of town. If you're staying in Sofia for more than a night, then it might be worthwhile finding a hotel in the city center or in one of the nicer neighborhoods to the south.
For more on Sofia neighborhoods check out our
Neighborhood Guide and Map.