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Top reasons to visit the Gothic quarter in Barcelona in October

Top reasons to visit the Gothic quarter in Barcelona in October

October visit in Barcelona’s famous Gothic quarter Great views of Barcelona In today’s post I would like to give you an idea for a short weekend autumn trip in Europe. With Halloween coming close, going to Barcelona’s Gothic quarter is a great idea. You can […]

Top 3 shopping malls in Plovdiv

Top 3 shopping malls in Plovdiv

List of top 3 malls in Plovdiv, Bulgaria for shopping and entertainment experience Top 3 shopping malls in Sofia Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia and is voted to be 2019 European capital of culture. Besides cultural heritage, this city can […]

Driving from Vidin to Craiova by European route E79

Driving from Vidin to Craiova by European route E79

One day drive from Vidin, Bulgaria to Craiova, Romania by E79

Pictures from the Craiova food festival

 

We visited Craiova last weekend and to see their food festival. We arrived there by car from Northern Bulgaria so we had to cross the Danube bridge connecting Bulgarian city Vidin and Romanian town Calafat.

 

 

The road from Vidin (or Sofia – the capital) to Craiova is the European route E79, part of the international E-road network. The whole route begins in Hungary and ends in Greece, so it connects the capital Sofia with the north-western part of the country and with Romania.

The Bulgarian part of E79 from Sofia to Vidin is not a very comfortable drive and it could take you 3.5 – 4 hours on average. There is often road maintenance (currently the part between Vratsa and Montana is being worked on). It’s not unusual to get stuck in traffic caused by lots of heavyweight trucks or road accidents.

The Bulgarian part of E79, highlighted

The drive from Vidin to Craiova is around 1 hour 30 minutes if you don’t get stuck in traffic delays on the border after the bridge. The distance is around 90 km driving on country roads, no highway. The state of the road is good, although there are renovations ongoing currently in the part closest to the border.

Our trip took longer than that as we got stuck in a delay on the border. There was a queue of cars and TIR trucks and we waited more than an hour to cross the border.

How to make your trip easier:

  • make sure to schedule your trip to avoid lunchtime – the queues are big and there are delays
  • choosing early morning time is best and will give you more time to explore and return home early
  • have your ID card or passport ready along with your car license and registration
  • do not bring too much luggage if not needed – they will check it which will delay you and other passengers
  • do not carry any meat or byproducts – they are forbidden

What we saw in Craiova

Craiova is a beautiful city with classic European architecture. The Hungarian influence is noticeable in the buildings and streets, as in most of Romania. There are lots of places to see if you have more time to look around. We had only a couple of hours but I managed to take some amazing pictures as shown in my gallery below.

Have you visited Craiova? Share and comment below!

 

Pictures from the street food festival in Craiova, Romania

Pictures from the street food festival in Craiova, Romania

Craiova’s street food festival 27 – 30 September 2018 Street food festival events are getting very popular in Europe. Lots of cities and towns now organize one or more food festivals during the year to attract tourists. This weekend we visited Craiova in Romania and […]

Wizz Air review – top 5 reasons not to fly with them

Wizz Air review – top 5 reasons not to fly with them

Top 5 reasons not to fly with Wizz Air I’ve written about our recent trip to Italy and today I will tell you about our flight experience with the low-budget company Wizz Air. My experience with Wizz was bad on this occasion. The top reasons for […]

Crossing Bulgaria-Turkey border through Kapitan Andreevo and Kapikule

Crossing Bulgaria-Turkey border through Kapitan Andreevo and Kapikule

Crossing the Bulgaria – Turkey border during the weekend – not a good experience

 

Recently we visited Edirne for some sightseeing and to try the local food. We went there by car and since we were in Southern Bulgaria for a few days, we hoped that the drive there and the cross the border at Kapitan Andreevo will be quick so we can have time to explore Edirne. Oh boy, were we wrong.

 

Reaching the border

If you’re in the southern part of Bulgaria, you can easily reach the Turkey border taking the highway. Depending on where you’re traveling from, you may have to take Highway A1 – Trakia and then take the exit for Haskovo / Istanbul, which will get you to Highway A4 – Maritsa. This will be your example route if you are traveling from Plovdiv to Turkey:

Plovdiv to Edirne route
Getting to Edirne from Plovdiv – highway-only route

The highways in Bulgaria are toll-free, but you have to buy a vignette sticker.

The A4 highway will get you straight to Kapitan Andreevo in 2 hours if you are traveling from Plovdiv. This is the easy part. The fun begins once you arrive at the border.

 

Why we spent 4 hours waiting on the border?

The queues for TIRs and heavyweight trucks on the Bulgarian-Turkey border are notorious. Some of them spend days (or so it looks) to cross. Since this is the outside border of the European Union, strict checks apply for trucks carrying various goods.

However, tourists and travelers by cars should have it easier, right? No such luck. The checks you have to go through are:

  • passport and car documents at Kapitan Andeevo
  • passport and car documents check at Kapikule
  • luggage / car trunk check at Kapikule

Those are 3 separate queues you have to wait on. That’s right, the Bulgarian patrol checks your passport and there is nowhere else you can go from there besides the Turkish border point Kapikule, however, they check your passport again. And they check your trunk. And sometimes they take their sweet time doing it.

The Bulgarian checkpoint was well-manned when we got there (and back) so the wait there was not so much, maybe around an hour or a bit more. However, the Turkish border point was … well, disorganized, not well-manned and honestly a nightmare. You can see below the lines of cars that were gathered and waiting:

 

After all this wait, we had almost decided that Turkey’s not worth the trip, however of course you can’t turn back and just go home, you have to stay there and wait. Although some people dared to turn their cars around, not sure if they managed to go back.

 

Tips to make the border cross easier

If you are determined to get across, here are some tips to make your trip more bearable.

  • If you’re traveling to Edirne, which is close, have someone pick you up at the Turkish border. Leave your car at Kapitan Andreevo and cross on foot. I was told that this is possible, but I haven’t tried it and did not see anyone do it. If you try this, please comment below to let me know!
  • When you reach the Turkish border, get a coffee or lunch at the duty-free outlet there. Some refreshment will help make your wait more bearable
  • Other travelers have shared that crossing the border very early in the morning is quick and takes about an hour total. If you can get to the border before 7 AM, you should be able to get across much faster.

Have you traveled to Turkey by car? What was your experience? Share below!

 

Local cuisine in Edirne, Turkey

 

Travelling in Barcelona by rental car

 

Should you visit Platamon castle in Greece?

Should you visit Platamon castle in Greece?

One-day trip to Platamon castle, Northern Greece Greece is mostly visited because of its wonderful beaches, but the country is so much more than that. Greece is a place of ancient history so if you have the time, there’s a lot of sightseeing you can […]

What to eat in Edirne, Turkey

What to eat in Edirne, Turkey

Which Turkish food to try in Edirne Edirne is a small (by Turkish standards) city near the Bulgarian border. It’s mostly famous for the Selimiye Mosque, which is the biggest on the Balkans. With a lot of sightseeing and shopping to do, any tourist will […]

Finding parking near Sofia airport

Finding parking near Sofia airport

Where to park around Sofia airport

The Bulgarian capital Sofia is a growing business center in Eastern Europe. In latest years, flights to and from Sofia are increasing along with the number of people who live and work in the Bulgarian capital. Sofia is now the busiest airport in Bulgaria with over 5 million passengers a year.

If you choose to reach the airport with your personal or rental car, you’ll need a safe place to park close by. There are several places around Sofia airport where you can park.

Park and Fly

Price table

Park and Fly have two parking lots close to the airport. Their prices are affordable, but you have to check them onsite for most up to date info.

Location #1 of Park and Fly close to Terminal 1

The second location of Park and Fly is not yet officially added to Google Maps but it’s ready to use and you can find it here:

Location #2 of Park and Fly

Paid parking lots near various office buildings

There are multiple office buildings close to Sofia Airport. Since the parking options are limited for the employees working there, they’ve built several paid parking lots. Most of them charge either by hour or day. Weekly or monthly rates can also be negotiated onsite.

 

Office buildings near the airport

In the map below I’ll show you some of the parking lots close to the airport that I know and that can be used for a fee.

 

Option 1 – close to DHL office building

 

Option 2 – close to Sofia Airport Center office building

 

Street parking around the office buildings – Nova TV office and Sofia Airport Center

Street parking can be found near the offices of Nova TV, Mazda and Sofia Airport center for free. It’s usually busy, but after business hours a parking spot can always be found. However, there are no guarantees that you will find your car in the state you left it. If you’re gone for more than a couple of days, I would not advise you to use street parking.

 

Top 3 cinemas in Sofia, Bulgaria

 

Popular hotels in Sofia, Bulgaria

 

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Top 3 cinemas in Sofia, Bulgaria

Top 3 cinemas in Sofia, Bulgaria

The best cinemas and movie theaters in Sofia for your movie experience.   The capital of Bulgaria offers many entertainment options for its growing population – food, drinks, shopping venues etc. Most of the big shopping malls have a movie theater area for guests to enjoy […]