How to Have a Really Cheap and Affordable Holiday or Backpacking Experience in Sofia

cheap travel cheap food: all this for under 1 euro!
Yummy lunch for under 1 Euro? hell yess!!

Having spent quiet some time living with locals in Sofia, I know a thing or too about bargains – in this post I will cover:

– Cheap travel inside Bulgaria: pay what the locals do (how flying can be cheaper than a bus
– Free Unlimited Booze (no joke, no exageration)
– Cheap food, shop where the locals do
– Cheap clothes, laptops
– Free wifi
– Staying and teaching in Bulgaria
– Getting to Greece for only 15 Euros
– The unique way to get truly cheap flights (requires a bit of effort, but is worth it)
– Top 10 unique tips for a cheap holiday or backpacking experience

Cheap Travel Inside Bulgaria
Most real backpackers fly by the seat of their pants – well here’s one time when it’s worth not doing that.

There are two main destinations in Bulgaria – Sofia and the extremely popular seaside city of Varna on the black sea coast.If you try catching a bus to Varna, expect to pay 14 Euros and be stuck in an uncomfortable bus for 5 hours. A train is somewhat cheaper, but again, slow.

If you fly however, and you book two weeks in advance with wizzair (which you find through you can enjoy a short 1 hour flight for just 10 euros! If you leave it till last minute expect to pay through the nose. Only catch is the carbon emissions and impact on our earth are much worse than a train/bus.

Also, when using public transport, usually you have to pay 50 euro cents for each trip. However if you go to a ticket booth and ask for a ‘talon’ a pack of ten, you only pay 3.25 euros for ten. If you stay long term you can get an electronic pass which is even cheaper.

Free Unlimited Booze (no joke, no exaggeration)
I’m not joking. Get a membership at any casino in Sofia (passport required at sign up) and you have access to free unlimited booze. Why? because they want you to get drunk and spend your money of course! Doesn’t mean you have to tho. Mingle with the crowd and don’t be noticed!!

Cheap food, shop where the locals do
If you really want to save on costs – cook in the hostel kitchen. If you want cheap vegetables, you can’t beat the ‘lady’s market’ (Corner Stephan Stambolov and Tsar Samuel), where if you shop around, you can buy 1 kilo of green peppers for .20 euro cents, a kilo of apples for .35 euro cents and so on.

Only the fresh produce is cheap there tho. If you want cheap eggs, bread, milk, juice and everything else, there is a cheap supermarket called Billa (part of underground crossing/metro station where Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd meets Vasil Levski Blvd – look for the huge rotating yellow shopping bag) you need to look for the brand called ‘Clever’. Bring your own bags tho otherwise you pay a fee.

Cheap clothes, laptops
Get some good, reliable warm or otherwise clothes at the Lady’s markets – at least 40% cheaper than the stores. For the laptops – you may want one to take advantage of free wifi – you can pick up small portable notebooks for about 150 euros second hand in a shop (on Tsar Simeon street, near Stephan Stombolov Street – near ladies market)

Free wifi
The main national parks all have free wifi 🙂 take your laptop or phone there and psonge legally.

Staying and teaching in Bulgaria- The unique way to get truly cheap flights (requires a bit of effort, but is worth it)
If you enjoy a country so much that you want to stay a bit longer, get yourself an Online TEFL courseTeaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate, and make it happen. I have 🙂

Getting to Greece for only 15 Euros
Catch the train from Sofia to Thessalonikia and book two weeks in advance and that’s the price you’ll pay!
If you want to go to Athens they will quote you 50 leuros however – you don’t have to pay that. Get to Thessaloniki for 15 euros and then if you book your ticket from there to go on to Athens its only 15 euros 🙂 a saving of 20 euros!

The unique way to get truly cheap flights (requires a bit of effort, but is worth it)
Visit my other posting of how I reduced my 25 hour flight ticket drastically.
Top 10 unique tips for a cheap holiday or backpacking experience
More of my tips on
doing what you love best.

I’m an Aussie who has been backpacking and living overseas continuously since January 2009. I cover cheap backpacking tips for every city I go to. You can find more of unique tips at


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