Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sofia Airport Bansko Transfer Update


Sofia Airport To Bansko transfers are one of the most popular search requests for this Bansko Blog. Click play for the audio version of this article:




George, a Bansko Blog reader from the UK, has now tried Bulgaria Transport for car hire to Bansko - after reading my Bansko transfer article - as wrote: "I'm as happy as larry with the value for money. I got the lowest price I could find - everything was spot on."

I caught up with
Alex outside Terminal 1, Sofia Airport. So if you use the service you'll know who to look out for... although its not always Alex! If you are happy with your transfer or car hire, then please let me know in the comments section below.

Warning! Beware of rogue transfer and hire companies.


Don't risk your life
! There are some cars you can hire which are unsafe. You need winter tyres, a motorway ticket. Don't risk a car that is dangerous to drive. There are many cowboy operators out there. Too cheap? Then Be careful.
There are six transfer options to Bansko:

1. Bankso Express
2. private transfer
3. taxi
4. hire a car
5. take the bus

6. train (not reviewed - takes far too long)

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



1. Bansko Express

www.banskoexpress.com This will be a new service costing from £12 per person each way PLUS £1 booking fee. £25 return. (€28 approx).

From their web site they say:

Easy Jet, 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."

Seems like a great option particularly if you are a small group or alone.

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 seven 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.

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. Often they are over half the price of Pirin street 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 Central Bus Station, Sofia for timetable (its in English).

Be warned, this will take time as you have to get to Central Bus Station. Best may be 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, 07:00, 08:40, 13:15, 15:20
(not Tues).

6. Train

Here's the link for the timetable:
http://www.bdz.bg/ . Go to central train station. Change of trains is required. It will take you seven hours. Take a good book.

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.

When I went to Thessaloniki I 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.

Links to useful Bankso resources, apartments, hotels can be found here:

http://banskoaccommodation.blogspot.com/2008/08/mountain-residence-3
-special-offer.html


http://banskoaccommodation.blogspot.com/2008/10/rent-this-predela-ap
artment-to-be-proud.html


http://banskoaccommodation.blogspot.com/2008/09/villa-daisy.html

http://banskoaccommodation.blogspot.com/2008/12/pirila-hotel-for-local-bulgarian.html

http://banskoaccommodation.blogspot.com/search/label/three%20bedroom
%20apartment


http://banskoaccommodation.blogspot.com/2008/10/you-dont-have-to-be-
rich-to-stay-in.html


http://banskoaccommodation.blogspot.com/search/label/transfers

If you enjoyed this article, and would like to receive more, then simply register for regular emails. You'll also receive the new guide to getting the best out of Bansko.




31 comments:

Lance Nelson said...

I have been asked to report that hire car availability for Christmas and New Year holiday period is getting challenging.

Be sure to book well ahead for availability and best rates.

Any comments on Bansko Express service would be appreciated

Anonymous said...

I used Bulgaria Transport on my last trip to Bansko (Jan 31 - 7 Feb) and they were very good.
They were on time to pickup and collect me on way back, the drivers were nice and spoken decent enough english.
Overall I would recommend them.

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I used the Bulgarian transport my last trip to Bansko (31 to 7 in February) and they were very good. They were on time and I pick up on the way back, the drivers were friendly and spoke decent English enough. In general, I recommend them.

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