By Plane -- Bulgaria has three international airports: Sofia, Varna, and Bourgas, but most visitors arrive at Sofia, currently served by 17 airlines from 47 European and Middle Eastern cities, with a brand-new terminal that opened in 2006. At present travelers from North America cannot fly directly to Bulgaria; the most frequent connections are usually through London or Frankfurt. Tip: Wizz Air (www.wizzair.com) offers flights from most destinations across Europe into Bulgaria, but a round-trip flight from London's Luton Airport to Sofia can cost as much as 385£ ($622) including taxes. In addition, charter flights into Varna and Bourgas usually are available during the peak summer season; others fly into Plovdiv to coincide with the skiing season, but beware of the taxes and fuel add-ons on any carrier that calls itself a "low-cost" airline.
By Train -- Rail travel is very time-consuming (traveling from Budapest via Serbia takes 17-24 hr.; via Romania, it's closer to 60), and trains and infrastructure in Bulgaria are not well maintained. There is also the wearing potential of a trip ruined by thieves or hustlers. Should you still favor the romance of rail, you will at least (assuming you're a citizen of the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the U.K.) not need a transit visa through Serbia or Romania. For information on a Eurail Selectpass, which allows travel between three to five Eastern European countries, check out www.eurail.net, though note that these passes seldom end up being real value for the money. Popular routes are the Trans-Balkan, which connects Budapest with Thessalonniki, stopping in Sofia (there's also a stop near Veliko Tarnovo), and the Bulgaria Express, which connects Sofia with Moscow; and the daily Sofia-Belgrade line. In summer you can travel from Bucharest, Budapest, Bratislava, and Prague to Varna and Bourgas.
By Bus -- Buses are generally newer and cleaner than trains, and most major cities in Germany, as well as Budapest, Prague, and Vienna, have regular bus service to Sofia. However, due to distances and poor roads (and occasionally tedious and lengthy delays at border crossings), this can be a time-consuming way to travel. Most of the bus journeys from western Europe pass through Serbia; as above, no transit visa is required. For information about bus service from Sofia's relatively slick International Railway Station, call tel. 02/952-5004.
By Car & Ferry -- Visitors traveling from western Europe by car either will take a ferry from Italy to Greece, then head due north; pass through Serbia, where special car insurance is required; or traverse Romania, where road conditions are poor. The ferry crosses the Danube from Vidin. Insurance is compulsory: It either can be taken out beforehand or on the Bulgarian border.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.