IATA Code: SOF
Address: Sofia Airport
1 Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Distance from City: 10km
Terminal Guide: Here
Day Trip Possible: Yes
Passenger Numbers: 3,300,000 (2010)
Closest Alternative: Plovdiv
OVERVIEW: The main airport for the country of Bulgaria, the airport has constructed a new terminal recently and looks set to benefit from the increased passenger numbers as this part of Europe benefits from increased tourism.
Airport Past: Built since the 1930′s, the airport was a former military base and became an important domestic airport and became very popular before passenger numbers crashed in the 1980′s.
Airport Present: The recovery was marked and required an extension of the current site which was not complete until 2006, with the airport serving a large range of European destinations.
Airport Future: Various improvements are underway to both the terminals which should make for a better experience at the airport.
GETTING THERE: The airport is located around 10km from Sofia which should make for a short journey.
Bus: There is a public bus line 84 which takes in both terminals and the city centre, fare 0.70Lev; for which you need to purchase an additional ticket for luggage if it’s over hand-luggage size.
Train: No train station at the airport.
Taxi: There are regulated taxis at the airport, and the best thing is to purchase a ticket from the counter, which is pre-paid and will get you to the town. Prices are fixed and non-negotiable.
Car Hire: All desks are based in terminal 2 so you’ll need to take the shuttle bus to get there from T1. Europcar, Hertz, Sixt and Avis among others have desks.
GENERAL TIPS: The new terminal at the airport has certainly improved things and it’s a wonder how much traffic fitted into the old terminal. The new Terminal 2 takes all the flag-carriers including the national Bulgaria Air, with most low-cost airlines using the old Terminal 1.
Terminal: The new Terminal 2 is the newer and better one of the two, and it’s probably best to stay here if you have a longer layover as it’s brighter, with more seating facilities. Prices for food and drink tend to be expensive here, so it’s best to fill up before you go.
Facilities: Bar, Newsagent, Duty-Free, Shop, Restaurant, Bank, ATM, Bureau de Change, Business Lounge, Bank, Tourist Information.
Nearest Hotel: None at the airport – with the nearest being the Intercontinental about 5km south, from which there is a free shuttle.
Nearby: If not visiting Sofia, there are not too many other places within range.
BUDGET TRAVELLERS GUIDE: The newer terminal has allowed some spare capacity at the old one, and there are many more low-cost flights here than previously, giving you a good chance of getting a cheap fare, with traffic all-year around.
Accomodation: Good range of hotels in Sofia, and caters for all star ratings. Prices are much under the European average.
Transport: Excellent public transport facilities, with buses, trams, trolleycars and the subway to choose from, and very cheap too, with one journey on each costing 0.40 EUR equivalent.
Connections: Good number of places to travel from the airport with most of them via Bulgaria Air in Terminal 1 to most of the main European destinations. Wizz Air, unsurprisingly are the dominant low-cost carrier, having flights to Barcelona, Beauvais-Tillé, Brussels South-Charleroi, Dortmund, Eindhoven, Forlì, Hahn, London-Luton, Madrid, Milan-Orio al Serio, Rome-Fiumicino, Valencia and Venice-Treviso. By contrast, Easyjet fly to just London-Gatwick and Manchester.