Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bansko Transfers

Bansko Transfer Stress

Having once been left hanging around Sofia airport for a Bansko transfer that never turned up, I know that this is a potential weak link in your trip

Over the years, I have tended to hire a car and drive myself for the flexibility that gives. However sometimes I just want to get there and, for longer stays, its a load cheaper having a private transfer.

Transfer Options

I know there is the train option but this takes much too long. There is also the bus option, get taxi to Ovcha Kupal bus station and prepare for a long journey, stopping at Dupnitsa. Be prepared to pay very little too. I will ignore train option as its not a viable option.


The Six Transfer Options From Sofia Airport:

1. Bankso Express
2. private transfer

3. hire a car
4. take a taxi
5. take the bus
6. take the train

bonus option 7: fly to Thessaloniki (Greece) or to Plovdiv (Bulgaria)


1. Bansko Express


www.banskoexpress.com This will be a new service costing from £10 per person.

Their web site says:

EasyJet, Wizz Air and Aer Lingus Flights are covered.

Book well ahead.

This COULD BE YOUR CHEAPEST TRANSFER

"
Bansko Express works as a booking agent which gets holiday makers from the same flights and transports them between Sofia Airport and Bansko in one vehicle.

Depending on the number of bookings the vehicles used are cars, shuttle buses, mini-buses and coaches. If you are the only booking for your flight then it would be like a private taxi transfer at a much cheaper price. Whatever type of vehicle used, your journey will be pleasant."

Initial reports have been favourable.


2. Private Transfer:

The most common way for skiers to get to Bansko from Sofia, unless you have booked on a package trip.

Here are my recommended transfer companies. There is competition. So here are six to choose from.

1/ www.bulgariatransport.com/transfers.html

They currently charge according to number a number of people.

Expect to pay for 1/2 people 1
38 euros return.
For 3/4 people, 145 euros in total (€74 if just one way, no return)

So that's €36.25 per person return if there is four of you.

Call Alex Lub. He's a great guy and speaks perfect English and is very helpful. Tel:+359.886.222.400 or email Alex on: office@bulgariatransport.com
www.BulgariaTransport.com.

2. www.banskoservices.moonfruit.com - Jordan speaks excellent
English and is helpful too. Recommended.

3.
www.autorentbg.com - Radoslav. Drivers vary, but very reliable and
good car hire too. Recommended.

4. www.sofiaairporttaxis.co.uk - HHB Travel quote €150 return up to four people

5. www.motoroads.com - Very reliable service. Competitive prices

6. www.skidvd.co.uk/bulgariantransfers.htm - Prices on request. Luxury van from Steve. Recommended.

7. www.transferbulgaria.com - No reports - but efficient on email quote. But it was €178 for two people return to Bansko.


3. Taxi

www.oktaxi.net - I have used OK taxis several times. And its not a bad option - well, its just okay!

They are the official yellow taxis outside airport. If you're up for some hard bargaining remember its just one way, so start at €50/100 lev. Try and pay €80/160 lev. Let me know how you got on.

If you were last minute and all other options failed. Or you just forgot to book.

All is not lost. OK Taxis (Supertrans) will get you there. Try and pick and English speaking driver.

Very poor boot (trunk) space for your baggage. There is a large gas bottle in the boot.

www.sofiaairporttaxis.com


4. Hire a Car:

www.BulgariaTransport.com Alex provides great rates from just 16 euros per day. Good service.

www.autorentbg.com
who also provide a very flexible car hire service. Their yellow mini cooper drew admiring glances driving through remote villages.

There is now lots of hire car competition and prices have come down.

Hiring a car is a good option once you have been once to Bansko - or are used to driving abroad.

A car will also mean you will save money by driving out of Bansko in the evenings to local restaurants. Restaurants that are often half the price of Bansko's Pirin street mehana tourist traps.

www.autorent.bg
www.rentacarbg.com
www.bulgariacarrent.com
www.rentacarbulgaria.com

Go to
http://banskoaccommodation.blogspot.com/2008/06/getting-there.html.
for directions from Sofia Airport to Bansko


TOP TIP: Be sure you have a ticket attached to screen for the motorways outside Sofia. Do check you have winter tyres attached and that the windscreen fluid is full.

Carry your driving licence. Be very careful to obey speed limits.

Police (Kat): The time spent stopped by police makes it a waste of time speeding. Be sure you have a road legal vehicle. Don't drink and drive. Winter tyres are essential.

Go to
http://banskoaccommodation.blogspot.com/2008/06/getting-there.html for directions from airport to Bansko.

If you can recommend other transfer companies then please can you comment? I will then add them to the list.


5. Take the Bus

Why not take the bus? Save the environment and save cash. This is cheap, about 14 lev (7 euros approx) each way. It will take longer though.

Go to this site:
Central Bus Station - Sofia for timetable (its in English). But here its is as of today from Central Bus Station:

Be warned, this will take time as you have to get to Central Bus Station.

Best to use Ovcha Kupel bus station. But at least its on the right side of town. You will need to check these times.

Sofia Ovcha Kupal Bus Terminal to Bansko - 07:00, 09:20 (not Tues), 10:30, 11:50 (not Sun), 13:05, 13:55, 14:30, 14:40, 15:10, 15:28 (not Tues), 15:55, 16:30, 17:00, 17:30.

Bansko Bus Terminal to Sofia - 05:40, 7:00, 08:40, 13:15, 15:20 (not Tues).


6. Take the train

Never done it. But why not if you've got the time. Admire the scenery. Read a book. You'll have to change. Takes 7 hours, 7 euros click here for Sofia train station timetable and info http://www.razpisanie.bdz.bg/site/search.jsp)

Thessaloniki option

Fly to
Thessaloniki, hire a car and drive to Bansko from Greece. Car hire costs more and its a bit further but getting out of Sofia at busy times makes this an option to consider especially if you fancy time exploring Greece.

I went to
Thessaloniki in May 2007 and really enjoyed the atmosphere. Great bars and restaurants and really different from Bulgaria. Be prepared for drinks prices that are equal to, if not more, than London, Paris, Dublin etc.

Quality is high, however, and the weather is almost always warmer than Bulgaria.

Plovdiv Transfer Option

Sorry no knowledge of this. So no comments. But if you have experience of a private/taxi transfer from Plovdiv then please comment, thank you.

Do you have any more options? Please comment.


Thessaloniki option

Fly to Thessaloniki, hire a car and drive to Bansko from Greece. Car hire costs more and its a bit further but getting out of Sofia at busy times makes this an option to consider especially if you fancy time exploring Greece.

I went to
Thessaloniki in 2007 and really enjoyed the atmosphere. Great bars and restaurants and really different from Bulgaria. Be prepared for drinks prices that are equal to, if not more, than London, Paris, Dublin etc. Quality is high, however, and the weather is almost always warmer than Bulgaria.

Do you have any more options? Please comment.

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1 comment:

Jade Graham said...

However sometimes I just want to get there and, for longer stays, its a load cheaper having a private transfer. privatecarserviceparis.com