Logistical Information

How to get to Sofia 

Travel by plane
Sofia international airport has direct regular flight connections to London, Munich, Frankfurt, Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Dubai, and Zurich. Direct flights to other destinations exist, though they may not be as frequent or year-round. RyanAir and WizzAir are popular budget airlines in Bulgaria. Other cities with airports and international connections include Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas. From Sofia airport, take a taxi from the official queue or ride the metro directly into town. Transfer at Serdika metro station. 

Travel by train
Sofia train station and Sofia bus station are conveniently
located next to a metro station, on the same line as the NDK station.
 

Travel by car
When arriving by car, you will need to purchase a vignette upon border entry. It is advisable that you carry your international driver’s permit (an official translation of your local license). Bulgarians drive on the right-hand side of the road and overtake on the left. The speed limit in cities is 50 kmh unless indicated otherwise, outside of cities – 90 kmh, and 140 kmh on freeways. Sofia has a blue (inner city center) and green (outer city center) parking zone with different time limits and costs of hourly parking, usually indicated on street signs. Parking attendees issue tickets and are hard to find, but you can pay by sending an SMS with your plate number to 1302 (blue zone) and 1303 (green zone). 

Information on entry requirements can be found here.

 

Money and exchange 

The local currency is the Bulgarian Lev. 1 Lev = 1.95583 EUR (roughly divide by two to get cost in EUR). The EUR/BGN exchange rate is fixed.  

While Bulgaria looks forward to joining the Eurozone soon, euros are not accepted as legal tender, neither are other currencies.  

You can withdraw cash at ATMs and bank branches throughout the city. Bank branches located inside shopping malls have extended hours. There are also ATMs and exchange bureaus in the arrivals and departure areas of both terminals of Sofia airport. 

You can expect good-faith service and competitive rates when exchanging cash at the following exchange bureaus: 

  • Poli-Currency Exchange Office, Blvd General Mihail D. Skobelev 2, 1463 Sofia; 
  • Nikar, ul. Graf Ignatiev 36, 1000 Sofia. 

 

 

Shopping 

Vitosha Boulevard is an upscale pedestrian shopping area. Graf Ignatiev Blvd. and Pirotska street are bustling shopping streets, not necessarily upscale. Ivan Shishman street and the surrounding area is home to smaller stores with greater artistic expression, as are Solunska, Angel Kanchev and Hristo Belchev streets. The Zhenski Pazar (Women’s Market) close to Pirotska street is a city landmark and recently renovated. 

Typical shop opening hours are 10:00 to 19:00, Monday to Saturday. Many shops are also open on Sundays. You can shop until 22:00 in most malls. Popular malls close to public transportation points are Paradise Center, City Center, and Serdika Center. Typical supermarket opening hours are 07:00 to 22:00, with several chains operating 24-hour services that include delis. 

 

Practical information 

Emergency hotline: 112 (includes all emergency response services).  

The largest hospital complex in Sofia is located just a short walk away from the conference venue. It houses the Alexandrovska University Hospital, the Military Medical Academy, the St Ivan of Rila University Hospital, the Sveta Ekaterina University Hospital, the Mother’s Home Specialized Obstetrics & Gynecology Hospital, and others. Urgent care centers are located at the Military Medical Academy and University Medical Center N. I. Pirogov Emergency Care. 

Time zone: GMT + 2:00 (Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallin, Vilnius). 

Electrical voltage: The standard voltage in Bulgaria is 230 volts, and the frequency is 50 Hz. Electrical outlets in Bulgaria adhere to the European standard Type C (two round pins) and Type F (two round pins with grounding). 

Language: the official language is Bulgarian, while a minority of people speak Romani and Turkish. English is widely spoken. Russian is largely understood. 

Local transportation 

Sofia has a well-developed public transportation system that includes a metro, trams, trolley buses, buses, electric buses, and shuttle lines. A single ticket varies between EUR 0,80 and 1. A day pass is EUR 2. You can buy tickets for shuttle lines when you board the minivan. For all other transportation, you can pay in variety of ways: 

  • At automated stations or kiosks located within metro stations. 

  • Through your phone, contactless bank card, or smart watch on devices installed throughout each interior cabin. The price for your rides will automatically accumulate to give you the best fare possible.  

  • From vehicle drivers when the vehicle is not moving, and you have small change. 

The closest metro station to the conference venue is NDK (Lines 2 and 3). 

There is no Lyft or Uber service in Bulgaria. However, taxis offer competitive rates and a fast and comfortable service and are the preferred mode of night-time transportation. If you cannot distinguish legitimate taxi companies from scammers, it is best to call a taxi in advance or ask to have one called for you. Recommended taxi companies include Yellow Taxi (02 91119) and OK Supertrans (02 9732121). These companies also operate digital applications that you can download to your phone and offer English-language service on their telephone line. You can also use the digital-only TaxiMe app service. 

News on the Keynote Speakers will follow soon!