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Located just to the southwest of central Bulgaria, Pazardjik is a small but useful town that is growing as a tourist destination. Due to its close proximity to the capital, visitors with their own transportation often use the town as a base for trips to Sofia. To boot, trips to the likes of Greece, Turkey and Macedonia are also a possibility from Pazardjik.
Who to Book With
Pazardjik is home to two small car hire companies, Drenikov and Kameo, both of which have depots in the centre of the town. There are further options in nearby Sofia and Plovdiv where bigger names such as Thrifty operate.
Best Time to Go
Bulgaria has two main tourist seasons. The first runs from July to August and is generally the busiest. During this period, expect prices of hotels and car rental to jump higher than at other points of the year. The second season, from late September to early October, is slightly shorter and not as popular.
Need to Know Essentials
Whenever collecting a rental vehicle, the following documents should be presented:
- International Driving Permit
- Full valid passport
- Valid credit card
- Print-out of the reservation confirmation
Due to its small population, Pazardjik is easy to drive around and traffic isn't all that common. Some areas, such as the central square, are only accessible on foot, with parking sometimes a problem due to the town's age and a lack of space. Main roads such as the E80/A1 can become congested regardless of the time of day as they link the destination to the likes of Sofia.
Our Guide to Bulgaria contains more detailed driving information.
Pazardjik's public transport network is limited at best, with select bus routes and taxis available to visitors. This makes Pazardjik a driver's town, especially for those who wish to take regular trips to Sofia.
There are no trains around Pazardjik, but it is possible to get into the town using the regular trains provided by Bulgarian State Railways between Sofia and Plovdiv.
Buses run around selected parts of Pazardjik and Pazardjik state, but the decaying condition of many roads makes bus travel slow. Similar to the trains, these services are provided by the state, with fares typically between £0.50 and £1 for trips within Pazardjik.
Like in most Bulgarian cities, taxis in Pazardjik are generally ordered prior to travel and aren't flagged down in the street. Some of the biggest companies are Veilna-Borislav Dimov, Chance and Elma Taxi, and fares usually have to be agreed on with the driver beforehand but rarely exceed £5 for inner city trips.
Pazardjik is an ideal base for excursions to Sofia and other destinations around southwestern or central Bulgaria. Due to the relatively small size of the country, excursions to cities of Bulgaria's neighbours are also an option.
Sofia – The Bulgarian capital is just a 1 hour, 15 minute drive from Pazardjik. On the way, the lush mountainous terrain of Pazardjik can be enjoyed before rolling up in one of Europe's finest capital cities. Once selected as a new capital for the then-growing Roman Empire, Sofia boasts plenty of history given its 2,500 year existence. Among experts, its churches are regarded as come of the finest examples of Medieval Art.
Istanbul – Heading east along the E80 road takes tourists to Turkey's largest city, Istanbul. The journey takes a little over 5 hours to complete and is a good way to enjoy the Bulgarian countryside before exiting the country. This city, believed to have anything from 12 to 19 million inhabitants, is separated into the Sultanahmet Old City (once known as Constantinople during the reigns of the Roman, Ottoman and Byzantine empires), the Galata district known for its nightlife and the New City that is growing as a business hub and is home to modern shopping malls.
Thessaloniki – Northern Greece ca be accessed in just over 4 hours, 30 minutes from Pazardjik by heading south on the E79 and then the E90 to Thessaloniki. Greece's second-largest city is known as the cultural capital of its country, while it has also been voted as one of the best party places on the planet.