Best travel options from Dubai to Bulgaria
One of the top summer holiday destinations in 2012 is Bulgaria. It was recently voted by UK tourists the cheapest European country for vacations. The European country is well-known for its striking nature and rich cultural inheritance.
Dubai Chronicle’s team chose to explore Bulgaria during the summer holiday months of July and August. Earlier, we wrote that we would share the summer holiday experience in a dedicated weekly weekend column on the website. Our live blog can be found at www.dubai-bulgaria.com. For those who prefer to follow our summer holiday adventures in Bulgaria on Facebook, please Like www.facebook.com/DubaiBulgaria.
As it is still only May, we are just planning for the summer holiday, but many holiday goers are at the same stage too.
So, how we can reach from Dubai to Bulgaria?
There are plenty of options, but here are few of the most convenient, recommended by Bulgarians and experienced travelers.
Bulgaria is located approximately 5000 km North/West from the United Arab Emirates. The only transportation option suitable for summer holiday goers is boarding a plane. Companies have been sending cargo by tracks for years, but the journey takes nearly two weeks, and it is not easy.
Many airlines provide flights from Dubai to Sofia, the capitol of Bulgaria. Most convenient carriers are the Turkish and the Austrian airlines. The both do not fly directly, but with stopovers, and you will have to change a plane. The Turkish airline stops in Istanbul at Ataturk airport, the older centrally located airport in the city. The journey may take from 6 and half to seven hours, including the stopover. With the Austrian airlines, the trip is a bit longer, because you will have to reach Vienna first and then board another plane to come back to Sofia. On the average, the shortest flight will take from 7 to eight hours. The prices at the both airlines are nearly the same. Adult tickets, booked in advance costs in the range of AED2,000 (US $544). Tickets for childern may be slightly cheaper, but that depends on the airlines’ policies and the age of the children.
Another way to reach to Bulgaria that it may be far more interesting is to fly only to Istanbul and from there to use other transportation. The options are plenty with the nearest Bulgarian border just two and half hours away.
All well-established and popular airlines, including the budget ones, frequently fly to Istanbul. Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways offer regular flights. Flydubai also provides daily flights to Istanbul, but tickets are slightly more expensive than tickets from Qatar Airways. Apart from that, Flydubai lands in Istanbul at Sabiha Gökçen airport, which is far from the center of the city. The taxi fare is in the range from 50 Euro (250 Dirhams) to 70 Euro (350 Dirhams). There is also a shuttle buss that can take you for 15 Euro (75 Dirhams) to Aksarai, which is a popular spot in central Istanbul. In the city, you can pay for food and services either with Turkish lira or with Euro, both exchangeable at the airport as all other major currencies.
At this time of the year, Qatar Airways is the cheapest carrier offering daily flights from Dubai to Istanbul. An economy class return ticket costs 1,420 Dirhams (US $385). The number one Middle Eastern carrier, Emirates airline also offers daily flights to Istanbul with the cheapest return option priced at 1,920 Dirhams (US $522) for adults.
From Istanbul it is easy to reach any big city in Bulgaria, because many transportation options are available. You can choose between airplane, buss, boat and train.
Flights from Istanbul to the capitol of Bulgaria, Sofia, are provided daily by a number of carriers. The cheapest budget airline, that one can board from Sabiha Gökçen airport is called Pegasus. One way ticket to Sofia is priced from 39 Euro onwards (195 Dirhams). An early booked combination of Flydubai flight from Dubai to Istanbul and Pegasus flight from Istanbul to Sofia may be the cheapest option to reach from Dubai to Bulgaria.
Travelling from Istanbul to Bulgaria by bus, train or boat sound much more interesting, as you can see more places through the journey, both in Turkey and Bulgaria.
A train from Istanbul to Sofia departures every evening from the central train station in Sultanahmet. Tickets’ price may be from 80 Euro (400 Dirhams) to 100Euro (500 Dirhams).
The boat option is not available every day, but few days weekly. It sounds as a very interesting one as it offers the opportunity to explore the Bosporus, the dividing stride between Europe and Asia. Boats arrive in Burgas or in Varna port in Bulgaria. The journey doesn’t take longer than 6 to eight hours.
There are plenty of busses on daily basis from the central buss station in Istanbul, which is called Ottogar. The prices vary from one company to another. In general, an adult ticket can cost approximately 30 Euro (150 Dirhams), while children’ tickets are usually half price. A good company that goes to Bulgaria at least two times a day is the Turkish Metro. Bulgarian buss companies are slightly cheaper, but you have to research the schedules at the buss station. All busses servicing the Istanbul-Bulgaria roots are modern, equipped with TV, air condition and serviced by buss hostes who offer hot and soft drinks, and small snacks. A buss journey is especially interesting for children as they get to see many different cities, villages and lanscapes. The busses stop every 2 or two and half hours for a 20 minutes breaks during the complete journey. People are friendly and have warm attitude.
It seems, with so many transportation options, reaching Bulgaria from Dubai is not an issue. It could be a rather pleasant and interesting experience. Follow our updates to find out what we will do next.