There are two main options to get from Bucharest to Sofia without a car.
First, you need to decide if you want to go by train or by bus. After careful research Daniel and I found that the bus is the best option for most people simply because the train is two hours slower.
Once you’re ready to go from Bucharest to Sofia by bus, here’s everything you need to know to make the journey!
Cost: 125 lei / 32 usd / 27 euro per person
Location: Filaret Station at Strada Doctor Constantin Istrati 1, București, Romania
Time: 7.5 hours
Timetable for the Bus from Bucharest to Sofia
Busses leave from Bucharest to Sofia at 6:30 am, 1 pm, 4 pm and 10:30 pm.
Daniel and I took the 1 pm bus on the TPAHC 6 brand (which doesn’t seem to have a website) and it was a small but comfortable minibus. The 10:30 pm bus is also TPAHC 6.
The 6:30 am and 4 pm buses, on the other hand, are run by a company called the etap Group and Grup Plus – for them, I don’t know what size of bus, stops, or timeline you can expect.
Timeline: Bucharest to Sofia
1 pm – Board the bus and leave the station.
2:30 pm – Cross the border into Bulgaria (we stayed in the van and gave the driver our passports, crossing the border took 10 minutes).
2:45 pm – Stop at Pyce Station in Bulgaria for one hour. There are restaurants here where you can get food and drinks.
3:45 pm – Leave Pyce Station.
6 pm – Stop at Pleven Station for 20 minutes.
8:30 pm – Arrive at the Sofia Central Bus Station.
You can’t buy bus tickets for this route in advance. Daniel and I went to the station a day early and the lady just waved us away and told us to come back tomorrow… so don’t waste your time.
That being said, there’s no reason to. When we arrived at the station again 30 minutes before departure there was only one other person waiting to board it with us, so don’t worry about tickets selling out.
Also, make sure you change some money into Bulgarian levs before you leave Bucharest. We forgot and were unable to buy any snacks, food, or drinks once we crossed the border (which is only 1.5 hours into the trip). Luckily, they at least let us use Romanian money to pay for the toilets.
Once you arrive in the Sofia Central Bus Station, you can walk about 20 minutes to the center or take a taxi for around 4 lev / 2.50 usd (Uber was banned in Sofia, but you should download the TaxiMe app to make sure you don’t get ripped off).
Honestly, I thought the ride from Bucharest to Sofia would be way worse than it was.
The minibus was comfortable and uncrowded, and the views were nice in the last two hours leading in to Sofia. Use this guide, download a few new episodes on your Netflix app, and you’ll be good to go!
PS Ready to plan your trip to Sofia? Browse the Bulgaria Guide to learn how to hike in the city, see my favorite weekend trips, find the best cheap restaurants and craft beer during your stay, and so much more!