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Has anyone been to Bulgaria ...a few questions


We are wondering how you travelled from Sofia to Plovdiv and Rila Monastery.

Also any hotel recommendations in Sofia?

Thanks so much!

Posted by
12040 posts

Haven't been to Plovdiv, so I can't help you there... but I assume the rail or bus connections are adequate.

The tour I took of Rila Monastery was set-up through a local travel agency in Sofia. You can probably find more information at a TI.

I stayed in an interesting relic called "Hotel Rodina", on General Totleben Blvd. As of when I visited a few times in 2001, it was just undergoing its first post-communist renovations, but it wasn't a bad place at all. It had a Turkish bath-like pool in the basement, a nice breakfast spread, and to be avoided, a cheesy nightclub on the top floor and casino on the ground floor. I also found the bathroom interesting, because the bath water first drained onto the floor before ultimately going into a pipe located in the center of the room.

I usually avoid national chains in Europe, but in this case, the Sheraton sitting centrally by the national gallery looked like a good choice. There's also a Radisson within sight of the Alexander Nevsky cathedral.

Posted by
1556 posts

When we were there last summer (2007) we just took a bus from Sofia to Plovdiv - only about 2 hours or so. No need to book in advance - just show up at the new bus station in Sofia.

Note that cab rides in Plovdiv can be quite expensive as some of the meters run very fast. It is possible to walk into town (10-15 mins) if you have a map and are traveling light.

Sorry I can't help with the Rila Monastery. We only ventured out to the Bachnokov? Monastery which is about 30-40 minutes by bus from Plovdiv.

In Sofia, we stayed at the Sheraton which was great. Used points so didn't have to actually pay hard cash. It is a very nice hotel but not one if you are looking for budget accomodations.

Posted by
4 posts


Thanks for the advice..

We are past the bare bones backpacking accomodations..

So the Sheraton, Hilton, SAS will work..

normally we would prefer a more moderate price, something that oozes authenticity to it's surroundings..but in Bulgaria it's become quite evident that we should step it up star or two.

The Hilton is pricing out at 130 euro advanced purchase, SAS higher...still need to check out Sheraton..Best Western 105 Euro...but not so great reviews on tripadvisor.

Thanks again!

Posted by
12040 posts

"something that oozes authenticity"

The Sheraton does offer a unique little bit of Bulgarian flare. The hotel was built around a medieval Orthodox church that still stands... unless of course my memory is mistaken and I'm actually thinking of another building. I'm pretty certain its the Sheraton, however.

And maybe an extra touch of local flavor. The Sofia Sheraton is one of the few western companies I have seen transliterate their logo into the Cyrillic alphabet. It looks something like "WepatoH".

Posted by
1556 posts

Tom is correct - the Sheraton is built around an old church. There is also a very nice church right outside the Sheraton that you can see from the rooms.

I liked the location of the Sheraton - very central.

Posted by
4 posts

Hello Gentlemen!

We will be booking the Sheraton,

and we've decided to just splurge while in Bulgaria
there is so much mixed feedback on safety, ease of navigationa, transportation..we thought why our we being so cheap over a 100 euro..let's just hire the driver through ZigZag and enjoy the ride!

We will do the tour for Rila AND we found one for Plovdiv..

while I do like the idea of spending the night in Plovdiv..we just don't have the time..hopefully using the driver will mitigate the extra time we would of needed with transportation, getting to the hotel checking in..etc etc...

Bulgaria...ended up being a afterthought in our trip planning when Cyprus scheduling didn't pan out we were left with 4 days to fill between extensive Greece and Turkey... from both Athens and Istanbul are very cheap we thought ...why not's on the list! :)

Thanks again for all your info...

I really appreciate it!