Useful information

To help make your stay in Sofia during the presidency of the Council of the European Union productive, pleasant and trouble-free, we provide information about the agenda of events, public transport, accommodation and other useful advice.

Events during the presidency

The events agenda is available in the sections Political Events and Cultural Events

Subscribe to press releases

If you would like to receive the press releases of the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the European Union, please send an e-mail to [email protected] Please indicate if you want to receive information on both political and cultural events. You can also subscribe to the latest news on the Bulgarian Presidency website via our RSS feed.

 

Currency

The official currency in Bulgaria is the Bulgarian lev. The exchange rate to the Euro is approximately 2:1.

Money can be exchanged at bank branches or at exchange bureaus (we recommend checking if the bureaus take commission for the exchange, as well as the percentage). ATMs can be used with most credit and debit cards. Most shops accept card payment but still there are exceptions. The current exchange rate can be found on the website of the Bulgarian National Bank.

Flights

Information on all flights to and from Sofia can be found on the Sofia Airport website.

Public transport

Sofia has a well-developed public transport system which includes two underground lines, trams, buses and trolley busses.

Metro line 2 (blue) runs from Sofia Airport to the city centre (Terminal 2- Serdika Station).

Bus 84 also runs from Sofia Airport to the city centre (Terminal 2-Terminal 1-Centre, General Gurko bus stop), as well as bus 184 (Terminal 1-Centre- General Gurko bus stop).

The price of a ticket is 1,60 lev. A ticket is valid for a single trip. It can be bought from the driver, from a machine inside the vehicle or from newspaper kiosks. There are different tickets for buses and for the underground. For 12 lev you can buy a talon of 10 tickets for the on-ground and a travel card for 10 trips for the underground. A daily travel card for all public transport costs 4 lev. Bear in mind that you have to validate your ticket by perforating it in trams, trolleys and buses and by marking it on the electronic system in the underground. The fine for travelling without a valid ticket is 40 levs. More information on public transport schedules, routes and prices can be found on the websites of the Urban Mobility Centre and Metropolitan.

If you prefer traveling by taxi, we recommend asking for assistance at the reception of your hotel.

Sofia is connected to other cities by rail and bus transport.

Taxis

There are many private taxi companies in Sofia. The price for a journey from Sofia Airport to the city centre should not exceed 15-20 levs. We recommend the services of OK Supertrans company which works in partnership with Sofia airport. You can book a taxi at their offices in the arrival halls at Terminals 1 and 2. For more information visit OK Supertrans website.

IMPORTANT: We recommend avoiding taxi services offered outside the company offices or in front of the airport terminal because of the risk of scams. The tariff should not exceed 0.80 lev during daytime and 0.90 lev at night.

Security

The National Security Service and the police will cordon an area around the venues hosting events during the Bulgarian presidency. Persons without accreditation will not be allowed.

Accommodation

Sofia is turning into a popular tourist destination and for that reason we recommend booking accommodation for your stay in advance. For more information go to the accreditation system.

Time zone

Eastern European time - GMT+2 with summer time GMT +3. There are no different time zones within the country.

Phone country code

For Bulgaria dial 00359 or +359

for Sofia dial 02

Power

Voltage: 220V

Frequency: 50Hz

Type F with two round pins

Traffic

Vehicles in Bulgaria drive on the right side of the road. The speed limit is 50 km/h in populated areas, 90 km/h outside populated areas and 140 km/h on motorways.  For more detailed information go to Road safety rules at the EU Commission website.

Emergency numbers

Number 112 is the universal European phone number for ambulance, police and fire brigade.

Language

The official language in Bulgaria is Bulgarian. English and Russian are widely spoken, French and German to a lesser degree. Bulgarian is an Indo-European Language of the South Slavonic group of languages. The alphabet is Cyrillic. For more information visit the Bulgarian Language and the Cyrillic section.

Official holidays during the Bulgarian presidency

1 January - New Year's Day

3 March - Liberation Day

5 March - Holiday after Liberation Day

6 April - Good Friday

7 April - Holy Saturday

8 April - Easter

9 April - Easter Monday

1 May - Labor Day

6 May - St George's Day (Day of the army)

24 May - National Day of Culture and Slavic script

Working hours

The shops in Sofia are open until any time between 18:00 and 22:00 every day, most shopping malls are open until 22:00.

Pharmacies are open daily between 8:00 and 20:00

24 h pharmacies in central Sofia

Avocado Pharmacy - 56 Patriarh Evtimii Str., tel. 024818888

Aronia 2001 Pharmacy- 6 Pencho Slaveikov Bld., tel. 029531308

Avicena pharmacy -2 Constantine Irechek Str., tel. 029549635

Banks are open between 8:00 and 18:00 on weekdays. Bank branches in Shopping Malls have longer opening hours.

Smoking

Smoking in public places is allowed only in designated areas.

Internet

Many public places in Sofia offer free wireless Internet, almost every restaurant and bar provides free Wi-Fi connection.

Climate

Bulgaria is situated in the temperate-continental climate zone and the weather conditions vary from season to season. The average winter temperature is around minus 10̊ and sometimes they go down to minus 20̊. Cold weather is often accompanied by heavy snowfall. Summers are hot with average temperatures of over 30̊, which can go up to 40̊ in the hot months of July and August. Spring and Autumn are both mild, often with rain. Up-to-date weather forecast for Sofia and Bulgaria can be found on the website of the National Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

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