Train services in Bulgaria are provided by the Bulgarian State Railways Company – BDZ (Български държавни железници - БДЖ). Railway stations (жп гара) are usually situated close to city centres and public transport to the railway stations is always available.
Some regional services are operated by Desiro, a light, modular train run by BDZ.
Trains carriages are either open plan, with compartments or with sleeping births. Smoking is forbidden on all Bulgarian trains.
The BDZ website provides a useful search option for available trains, types of tickets, ticketing agencies, international routes and timetables.
International routes operate to and from neighbouring countries such as Greece, Romania and Serbia. There are international trains to and from Praha and Krakow, Moscow, Kiev and other European cities. City Star service provides trains to Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and other cities.
Information on international journeys, routes, timetables, fares is available by e-mail from The Railway ticket agency, Rila.
The underground system in Sofia provides a fast and comfortable service for passengers in the capital. A comprehensive map of metro stations can be found on the Sofia Underground website.
Tickets are usually bought at the entrance of one of the metro stations. The smart card service is also available for this kind of transport.
There are a number of international trains including routes from Burgas and Varna to Poland and Russia.
First and second class tickets are available. There are a number of different types of tickets: one-way and return tickets, weekend tickets, urban travel tickets, group travel tickets and one-way tickets for small groups of three to six passengers. Route passes are available for five days, one month or three months and allow unlimited travel in a particular urban zone.
Tickets can be bought at railway offices and stations up to five days prior to travel. During the holiday season, tickets can be bought up to 20 days before travelling.
A variety of discount cards/railway passes allow reductions on all train tickets. Cards are available for youths, students, families, children, the disabled and senior citizens. The cards are valid for one year from the date of purchase.
Children under the age of seven are entitled to free train travel although a fare will have to be paid if they have their own seat or sleeping berth.
Mothers may be entitled to one free return ticket a year depending on the number of children they have.
Disabled travellers with a 71 percent disability or permanently reduced capacity are entitled to two free return second class tickets a year on presentation of a disability certificate. The person accompanying the disabled passenger also travels for free.
Services for passengers with reduced mobility are available with the following express trains in Bulgaria:
Some carriages on these trains are adapted for people in wheelchairs and toilet facilities are equipped in accordance with European and international standards.
Railway stations in Sofia, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Bourgas and Varna have restrooms and appropriate facilities for people with disabilities.
A system of transport called "car - train- car" is available for passengers with reduced mobility. This service must be booked at least three days in advance.
A special information service for foreign disabled passengers is available:
Pets can travel as hand luggage in second class carriages on Bulgarian trains. Their presence must not affect other passengers and they must be in a waterproof cage, on the owner's lap or on the floor. One small dog, one cat or three rabbits are allowed per passenger.
Large domestic, hunting, service and guide dogs must be muzzled and have a veterinary certificate. A half fare second class ticket must be bought. Guide dogs may travel with their owner in a second class carriage on condition that they have a non-flexible leash. All other dogs travel in the entry lobby of the carriage.
Bicycles are not allowed on diesel or Desiro regional and fast trains. On other trains a fare must be paid to transport a bike.
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