Travel and Visas

1. Travel

Direct flights to Plovdiv Airport (+20min by taxi*):
London-Stansted (Mon, Wed, Fri)
Milan-Bergamo (Wed, Sun)

Flights from/to Sofia Airport (see also about transfer**):
– Search with skyscanner.net
– Search with Ryanair (22 destinations)
– Search with WizzAir (33 destinations)
– Search with BA.
– Search with Lufthansa.

Airport transfers:
*From Plovdiv airport, a taxi to the city centre should cost in the range of 10 BGN. For the 2 Sep flight from Stansted, there will be a conference organiser with an ILP-2019 sign outside arrivals – please approach them to be assisted with securing a taxi.

**From Sofia airport:
(1) For the most convenient way to travel to Plovdiv, please pre-book a taxi with the conference organisers by e-mailing avast.tour@gmail.com with the subject line: “ILP airport transfer”. Do specify your flight number, time of arrival and airport terminal. (You may already have provided this information when filling in the registration form.) If you are planning to travel with a large amount of luggage, do mention it in your email. The guaranteed price (for the pre-booked taxi only!) for a one-way trip is 120BGN / €60 regardless of the number of passengers. The conference organisers will strive to pair all single passengers in order to share the cost, and will notify you of this in advance. A separate receipt for the appropriate partial amount will be issued to each passenger.

(2) From Terminal 2 of Sofia Airport, you can also take the (only) metro/subway line (see map) to this terminus station (1.60 BGN single fare from ticket dispenser near the entrance), travel 12 stops to Serdika station, transfer from line M2 onto M1 in the direction of Slivnitsa station, then alight at Central Railway Station, exit the subway, and walk East 280m / 300yd following the red cycle path on the pavement to the Sofia Central Bus Station. Look for the till selling tickets to Plovdiv/Пловдив, and buy a ticket (~14 BGN one way, issued for a particular departure time and assigned a seat), then go outside to Bay 6 to look for your coach. Show the ticket to the driver, who will put a sticker for each piece of checked luggage. The trip lasts for approx. 2h. The coach will stop a couple of times in Plovdiv, and wait for passengers to collect checked luggage from the pavement’s (right-hand) side of the luggage boot each time. When boarding, tell the driver you are going to the last stop (‘Avtogara Yug’ [avtoh-gah-rah Yug] meaning South Coach Station), and put your checked luggage in the boot on the left-hand side of the bus. On arrival, you will be some 700m from the conference venue. If taking a taxi, just say “Hotel Trih-mon-tsi-oom”.  The taxi may need to take a longer route due to pedestrian-only areas, but should not cost more than 3-5 BGN. You may want to ask in advance what fare to expect, as each company has their own rates, which should be visible in their car window. (More local advice: a dispute regarding building protection status meant that an old tobacco warehouse to the back of the bus station has only been partially demolished. Don’t be put off by it, but keep your distance. Also, if hungry on arrival, cross the tiny side street and pop into Megdana Restaurant for a hearty and very reasonably priced local meal.)

There is a free bus/shuttle between T1 and T2 at Sofia Airport – do ask at the information desk for directions.

There are coaches from Plovdiv Coach Station ‘Yug’ to Istanbul, Thessaloniki, Athens, Belgrade, Bucharest.

Plovdiv is a major train station on the Orient Express route (800m dist. from venue, 100m from Plovdiv Coach Station ‘Yug’ (=South)).

2. Visa requirements

ILP 2019 participants may need a Bulgarian visa to enter the country. Please check whether you need a visa for Bulgaria at the official web site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA): https://www.mfa.bg/en/situationcenter

Participants can apply for a visa at the Bulgarian embassy or consulate in the region in which they live. To avoid uncertainty, participants are advised to apply for a visa as early as possible. It is recommended that they apply for a Bulgarian visa at least 1 month in advance.

For more information, please contact the local Bulgarian Embassy in your country and/or consult Travel to Bulgaria (general information): https://www.mfa.bg/en/services-travel/consular-services/travel-bulgaria/visa-bulgaria

Invitation Letter

  1. An invitation letter can be issued after the successful registration and payment. Please note, that it takes few working days for preparing and sending the invitation letter.
  2. You need to provide: your name (exactly as it appears on your passport, any differences between the name on your passport and the name on your invitation letter or other documentation could lead to a delay and/or denial of your visa), your current affiliation (university, organization) as well as postal address.
  3. Please note that the ILP 2019 organisers are not authorized to assist with the visa process beyond providing the Notification of Invitation Letter issued by the ILP 2019 organising committee. If your visa application is denied, the ILP 2019 organising committee cannot change the decision of the MFA, nor will it engage in discussion or correspondence with the MFA or the Embassy on behalf of the applicant.
  4. It takes around one month for the Embassy to process the visa application: please register as early as you can to make sure you have enough time.