How to go from Plovdiv to Bansko

Plovdiv to Bansko – bus, train, shared & private transfers

If you’re heading to Bansko, then it’s likely that you’re getting there from one of Bulgaria’s major cities – Sofia or Plovdiv.  If you’re arriving from Plovdiv, then here are details on how to get from Plovdiv to Bansko (and vice versa).  The journey to Plovdiv from Bansko is simple, drivers are friendly and there is stunning scenery regardless of the way you make your way from Plovdiv to Bansko. If you have the time we seriously recommend taking the train to Plovdiv from Bansko, as it is a glorious way to spend time crossing the country.  Most travelers, however, take the bus to Plovdiv from Bansko as it’s more convenient.


Where is Bansko?

Bansko is well-known as Bulgaria’s biggest ski resort.  It’s around 2.5 hours from Plovdiv or a 2 – 2.5 hour drive from Bulgaria’s capital city, Sofia.

How to get from Plovdiv to Bansko

The transport options from Plovdiv to Bansko include:

  • Private Transfer
  • Airport Taxi
  • Public Bus
  • Trains

I’ll describe how to get transport both directly from Plovdiv Airport to Bansko and also from Plovdiv City to Bansko.

Where Is Plovdiv Airport?

Plovdiv Airport is 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) southeast of the city of Plovdiv.   There is a single terminal and this is a small airport.  It is, however, served by Ryanair, so cheap flights are often an option. If you wish to travel from Plovdiv to Bansko on public transport, then your first stop should be one of Plovdiv’s bus stations.  For this, you will need to get into Plovdiv city.

How to Go From Plovdiv Airport to Plovdiv

The best way to get from Plovdiv Airport to Plovdiv is to take a taxi, you can find taxis at the airport or pre-arrange a pickup. There is no Plovdiv Airport Bus from the airport to the city.  Four taxi firms are approved at the airport.   They are Viailet, Taxi 1, Perfect Taxi, and Eco Taxi.

In Plovdiv, the bus stations and train stations relevant to going to Bansko are at the south end of the city.  There’s a map below.

Our guide on the best things to do in Plovdiv is here.

How to Take the Plovdiv to Bansko Bus

There is at this time just one bus per day operating between Plovdiv and Bansko.  The Plovdiv to Bansko bus leaves from the Plovdiv South Bus Station (Rodopi), which is close to the South (Yug/Zug) Bus Station and also very close to the Plovdiv train station.

The bus leaves Plovdiv for Bansko at 14:10.  The bus takes 3.5 hours. It goes at the same time every day, and the cost of the ticket from Plovdiv to Bansko on the bus is 13-15 leva.

How to Go from Bansko to Plovdiv on the Bus

An up-to-date bus timetable is always posted on the doors of the Bansko bus station.  It is only in Bulgarian.  Use Google Translate to help you out. I’ve marked on the photo where the Plovdiv part of the timetable is.

Bansko to Plovdiv Timetable

There is a single Bansko to Plovdiv bus each day at 06:50 (as of August 2023).

Where Are The Bansko Bus and Train Stations

The Bansko bus station is at the bottom of the town.  It is about a 3 minute walk from the train station.  Everywhere you might want to go in Bansko is uphill from both the bus and the train station.  Bansko taxis are expensive compared to Plovdiv.  A taxi from the bus station to the Gondola area will cost around 8-10 leva.  It takes 25-30 minutes to walk and it’s a steady uphill.  The bus and train station are open year-round as Bansko is an all-season town.

How to Go from Plovdiv to Bansko by Train

This is a fabulous route.  If you have an extra half day to spare.   First, you take a train from Plovdiv to Septembri (sometimes spelled Septemvri).  You can buy a ticket in Plovdiv all the way to Bansko.

Then you switch lines and transfer onto the narrow gauge railway from Septemvri to Dobrinishte.  Bansko is the second to last stop on the line.

You have several options for train times – at various times throughout the day. Timetables can be found on the Bulgarian Train website and they’re here for your convenience.

Plovdiv to Bansko Train Timetable

Plovdiv to Bansko Train Times

The Plovdiv to Bansko train ticket costs 9.65 Bulgarian leva.  The route is 172 kilometers (106 miles) and the route takes nearly 6 hours. The narrow gauge train is a glorious if slow ride.

Bulgarian Trains Fares and Timetables can be found on the official site in both Bulgarian and English

Bansko to Plovdiv Train Timetable

Bansko to Plovdiv Train Times

You can buy tickets at the stations just before departure. These trains are never full, there is always space.

When leaving Bansko the times for trains are posted online and also in the train station.  Buy tickets shortly before departure.

Map of Bus Stops and Train Stations for going from Plovdiv to Bansko

You can also see the train station and bus stops from Plovdiv to Bansko here

Map of Plovdiv to Bansko

How to Take Shared Transfers from Plovdiv to Bansko

If you’re looking for a shared transfer, especially in the lower seasons (i.e. not ski season and not August), then try the Bansko Notice Board on Facebook where folks generally post if they’re looking to share a ride.  You can also try the Co-Working Bansko group also on Facebook.

How to Take Private Plovdiv to Bansko Transfers

Most transfer companies that go from Plovdiv to Bansko are Bansko based transfer companies.   There is a combination of Bulgarian companies and British expats who run these businesses.  All are competitive and provide a variety of sizes of vehicles.  It’s possible to book and pay online with some, although most prefer cash on arrival at your destination in either leva or euros.

Here’s a selection of transfer companies that can help.  

Note that transfer availability is greater from Sofia to Bansko than from Plovdiv to Bansko.  Here are details of some of the transfer services from Plovdiv.

Rental Cars from Plovdiv to Bansko

Rental cars are also available in Plovdiv city and airport.  It takes approximately 2.5 hours to drive from Plovdiv to Bansko  Beware of potholes and unmarked speed bumps in the road.

Signposting throughout Plovdiv and en route to Bansko is in both Bulgarian Cyrillic and English.  Signs are not always obvious.


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Best Bulgaria Car Rental

If you need to rent a car in Bulgaria we recommend Discover Cars for car hire.  You can search, compare and save up to 70%, with no hidden fees and free cancellation, it’s the perfect option! Get a price for a rental car in Bulgaria here.

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Final Words on Going From Plovdiv to Bansko

We have utilized rental cars, private transfers, buses, and trains on our journeys between Plovdiv and Bansko.   We’ve found the Bansko to Plovdiv Bus to be easy to use.  This can be a gorgeous journey – we love the narrow gauge train for instance – or a lovely drive. This isn’t a difficult journey, it simply requires a little planning depending on the time of day of your arrival.

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