The bus from Plovdiv to Bansko Bulgaria is cheap, easy and comfortable.
Especially when it’s a van!
After spending a few days exploring Plovdiv we decided to make our way to Bansko Bulgaria which is an emerging digital nomad hub.
There is sort of an option to take a bus plus narrow gauge train on this route but by far the bus between Plovdiv and Bansko is the most efficient and convenient.
Bus Station in Plovdiv Bulgaria
There are 3 bus stations in Plovdiv.
The main bus station – called Yug (Bulgarian for ‘South’) – is adjacent to the Plovdiv train station.
But our bus from Plovdiv to Bansko departed from Ropodi – a second main bus station that is also adjacent to the train station.
Rodopi bus station is accessed by an underpass from the train station.
The bus stations and train station are a 15-minute walk or a 5 leva taxi ride from the Plovdiv pedestrian zone.
If you do take the walk to the train or bus stations from the pedestrian zone you will pass through the lovely Garden of Tsar Simeon and its Singing Fountains.
The third bus station in Plovdiv is called Sever bus station and is in the northern suburbs.
Bus From Plovdiv to Bansko
Our bus from Plovdiv to Bansko was actually a Sprinter van.
We were a little confused by this at first. But when we saw how few passengers were taking this journey in summer it did actually make sense.
And the bus fare is about 15 leva ($8.50 US). Affordable luxury!
It’s a nice way to travel, if a bit cramped. That said, riding in a van rather than a bus made for a more comfortable experience along the windy roads between Plovdiv and Bansko (more on that in a minute).
I got lucky and ended up in the seat by the door so had I had unlimited legroom! Lisa had an empty seat next to her the entire ride.
Bulgarian Bus Ride from Plovdiv to Bansko
The 150 km bus ride from Plovdiv to Bansko took about 3.5 hours and has 2 scheduled stops in Pazardzhik and Velingrad along the way.
But our bus made many more stops than that. Several passengers got on and off at ‘unscheduled’ bus stops along the way. From what we could surmise it’s possible to waive the bus down and then let the driver where you want to get off (this was all done in Bulgarian). Our driver picked passengers up at random spots and dropped folks off at remote farmhouses and other random places.
Aside from the unscheduled stops, the reason that the trip takes so long is that after Pazardzhik the route climbs into the mountains following valleys carved out by streams.
This makes for windy roads, cutbacks and slow speeds.
But also truly amazing views.
Arriving in Bansko
After the long, beautiful ride we arrived in Bansko Bulgaria.
We planned to stay in Bansko for 3 days to visit some blogger friends we had met in Da Nang Vietnam.
We left 8 weeks later.
But that’s a story for another article.
Bottom Line – Bus Ride Plovdiv to Bansko Bulgaria
We really loved our time in Plovdiv Bulgaria. And the bus ride from Plovdiv to Bansko is gorgeous. But the best thing about the bus from Plovdiv to Bansko is that it drops you off in Bansko!