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Bulgaria's biggest and busiest airport stands just three miles outside the eastern European nation's capital city, Sofia. Two bus routes connect Sofia Airport with Sofia University and Mladost 1 Metro Station, while a small shuttle bus travels between the airport's Terminal 1 and Lyulin, Sofia's largest residential district. Taxis and car rental in Sofia Airport are readily available at both airport terminals, which are connected by a courtesy shuttle.
Who to Book With
Car hire selections at Sofia Airport's Terminal 1 include Europcar, Sixt, Thrifty and a local company called Choice. All of the above agencies are also represented at Terminal 2, along with Avis, Budget, National and another local company named Moto-Pfohe. Courtesy shuttles travel between the car rental areas of both terminals about once every half hour.
Need to Know Essentials
You will need to show the following documents at vehicle collection:
- Both sections of your UK driver’s licence
- The credit card with which the vehicle was reserved
- Identity confirmation such as a valid passport
Bulgarian motorways, including those around Sofia, seem to be in a constant state of construction. Sofia's own streets are frequently filled with chaotic and jammed traffic. Motorists must stop behind public transportation vehicles and remain in their lanes to avoid accident or injury to disembarking tram or bus passengers. Purchasing Blue Zone or Green Zone parking tickets is the easiest way to land one of Sofia's hard-to-find parking spots. Using a mobile phone to text your vehicle registration number is the easiest way to extend parking time by an extra hour. Motorists venturing outside Sofia should be especially cautious on Nishava ravine roads.
Each of Sofia Airport's two terminals has its own car hire desks, car parks, bus stops and taxi stands in their arrivals areas. Each half hour, a white shuttle bus travels between the two terminals at no cost to passengers. Taxis and two city bus routes are the airport's main means of public transportation.
In September 2012, construction began on a Sofia Metro Line 1 extension to the airport. Until this extension is complete in 2014, the airport's closest rail link is Mladost 1 Metro Station, which can be reached directly from the airport via bus line 384. The bus journey between the metro station and Sofia Airport takes about 30 minutes. Sofia Metropolitan has information about fees and schedules in both Bulgarian and English.
OK Supertrans is Sofia Airport's official taxi provider, with cabs at the ready at the Arrivals areas of both Terminal 2 and Terminal 1. Passengers can request taxis at the desks located inside both Arrivals halls, but should avoid the fraudulent drivers who solicit passengers in the lobby and charge up to five times more than legitimate taxis, which display official fares on their vehicle windows.
Sofia Airport to Sofia city centre is about £5
Sofia Urban Mobility Centre operates the number 84 and number 384 buses which travel between Sofia Airport and the heart of Bulgaria's national capital. The 84 bus line stops at Sofia University and Orlov Most, while the 384 bus line links the airport with Mladost 1 Metro Station. Both routes take no longer than 30 minutes under normal traffic circumstances. One-way tickets on Sofia Urban Mobility Centre buses cost under £0.50, while vouchers valid for up to 10 trips cost just over £3. Tickets for these buses can be purchased at a Terminal 1 ticket vending machine as well as at newspaper kiosks at both terminals. Lyulin, Sofia's most populous residential region, can most easily be reached aboard the number 30 shuttle bus.
Terminal 1, the older of Sofia Airport's two terminals, first opened in 1937 but recently underwent major renovation. Nowadays, Terminal 1 mainly handles charter and budget flights. Most other flights use the newer and larger Terminal 2, which opened at the end of 2006. A separate VIP terminal is situated in the Terminal 1 west wing. Both main terminals greeted a total of nearly 3.5 million passengers in 2011.
Sofia Airport EAD operates both of the airport's car parks, both of which are open 24 hours, seven days per week. Up to 400 vehicles can park at once at the open type Terminal 1 car park, while the Terminal 2 parking garage can hold up to 800 vehicles simultaneously. A passageway links the Terminal 2 parking garage to the Arrivals and Departures areas. Terminal 1 car park payments are made at an exit cash desk, while Terminal 2 car park payments are made at a pay desk or parking payment machine near the elevators. Payments for both car parks range from less than £1 for 20 minutes up to £30 for a six-day period, with an extra £2 for each extra day thereafter.
Both Sofia Airport terminals include free wireless internet access.
Information desks with helpful staff are available at both Sofia Airport terminals.
Information Desk: +359 2 937 2211/2212
Most of Sofia Airport's disabled persons’ facilities are situated inside the newer Terminal 2, including adapted restrooms, lifts, telephones and wheelchair ramps. Further assistance can be obtained at the Terminal 2 information counter.
Restaurants and Bars
Eating options at Terminal 1 are the Cool Wings coffee bar in the public area as well as two more coffee bars in the Departures area. The public area of Terminal 2 contains a deli sandwich shop and a World News café, while the passenger area boasts three separate Sky Cafés and a more formal restaurant called Jimmy's.
Money and ATMs
Terminal 1 contains most of Sofia Airport's currency exchanges and banks, as well as an ATM adjacent to the post office and a branch of United Bulgarian Bank.
News stands are situated in the public and Departures areas of Terminal 1, which also includes shops selling toys and Bulgarian souvenirs. Terminal 2 contains a news stand in its public area as well as tobacco and Bulgarian souvenir shops in its passenger area.