How to Get from Sofia to Bucharest (3 Ways)
Romania and Bulgaria are two neighbouring nations with a shared history but also a fair amount of differences.
The most notable being that the Romanian language hails from Latin, and so they write using the same alphabet that we do, while Bulgarians are Slavic and use the Cyrillic alphabet. But the two nations both came under the thumb of Communism in the 20th century and, today, are flourishing cities of brutalist architecture that hides a bustling art scene, a wonderful food scene, and a fascinating history.
It’s easy to get from Sofia to Bucharest, and there are a few different ways to do it. Let’s look at how to get from Sofia to Bucharest by bus, by train, and by plane: where to buy tickets, how long it takes, and how much it costs.
Sofia to Bucharest by bus
This is the cheapest way to get from Sofia to Bucharest, though it also takes the longest time. While Bucharest is conveniently located to the south of Romania, fairly close to the border of Bulgaria, Sofia is located inconveniently further away, to the west of Bulgaria. This means that getting from Sofia to Bucharest by bus can take quite a while.
Because of the sheer length of the journey, buses from Sofia to Bucharest typically only run through the night. A popular company to travel with is Flixbus, whose buses leave Sofia’s bus station at around 10pm most nights, and will get passengers into Bucharest in the early hours of the morning. Schedules predict that the journey takes a total of nine hours, but experience says that this can actually be as little as seven hours, which is actually less convenient.
Arriving early in the morning means being trapped. The bus station you arrive into is far to the west of the city, and Bucharest is very spread out. You will then need a taxi to get you from the bus station and into the city centre. While this is certainly inconvenient, it still makes for a relatively simple journey, as long as you’re prepared to call an Uber or a taxi upon arrival, and you may be doing so before the sun even rises.
Getting the night bus can be tough on your body; sleep doesn’t come easy and you may find yourself truly exhausted by the end. However, getting on the bus is simple. You can buy your ticket online via the Flixbus website, wander over to the bus station in Sofia after a day of exploring and relaxing, hop on the bus, try to sleep, and arrive in Bucharest by sunrise. Tickets also cost around €12 per person, which is incredibly cheap for a 9-hour bus ride between two countries.
Sofia to Bucharest by train
Travelling from Sofia to Bucharest by train is, honestly, not a great option. The train is not any faster than the bus, with the quickest route from Sofia to Bucharest by train still taking nine hours. And, as mentioned, the bus is often quicker if the traffic is good and the roads are clear. The other massive downside is that the train is far more expensive than the bus. Bus tickets cost around €12 while train tickets cost around €70, which is a colossal difference for no good reason.
All of that said, there are a few perks to travelling from Sofia to Bucharest by train. One is that you have more freedom when it comes to time. If you can only travel at a certain time of day, or you would prefer to avoid travelling through the night, then you can hop on a train in the morning and get to Bucharest by nightfall. This avoids the very frustrating and unfortunate danger of being exhausted and unable to sleep on the night bus.
The other perk to the train is that it’s safer, though this is minor. Bus travel in Bulgaria and Romania is perfectly safe, but statistics are definitely on the side of trains in general when it comes to safety. This is true everywhere, though, and not a good enough reason to take a train over a bus since buses are still perfectly safe.
Booking a ticket for the train can also be done online, and Rail Europe is a great option for finding the perfect ticket for you. The train station in Bucharest is also far more central than the bus station, and you can take the metro from there to the city centre.
Sofia to Bucharest by flight
Travelling from Sofia to Bucharest by flight is absolutely the quickest way to do this journey, with the only downside being how unpredictable the price of flights tends to be. In order to have the best chance of scoring a good deal, you’ll need to book your flight as far in advance as possible. If you book your flight within the same month you plan on flying, expect to pay around $100. Booking further in advance (or sometimes last minute, though that’s a big risk) can get you a flight for $30, which is very reasonable and cheaper than taking the train.
The flight itself from Sofia to Bucharest takes only one hour, which is delightfully short. The only extra time is spent getting through security, being at the airport two hours ahead of time, and then passing through immigration and baggage claim. Getting to and from the airport in Sofia and Bucharest will require getting a taxi or an Uber on either end, but that’s easily done since airport taxis are always around, 24 hours a day.
Going from Sofia to Bucharest by flight is the best option, provided you can get a cheap enough flight. It is much faster than taking a bus or a train; you are up and back down before you’ve barely had chance to open a book. Airport transport is quick and easy in both Bulgaria and Romania. And flights can be very cheap.
If you’re prepared to make your flight a few hours longer, though still often shorter than taking the bus or train, you can get a flight with a single stop (often in Budapest) that might extend the flight to five or six hours. This will guarantee a cheaper ticket option, with these flights costing around $50 even if you book a week in advance. But the best and most convenient way to fly is still to book far in advance, get the cheapest possible deal, and enjoy a one-hour flight from Sofia to Bucharest.
Other articles you will love:
- Visiting Romania for the First Time
- What to Do in Bucharest, Romania
- Planning Your Epic Romania Road Trip
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