Bulgaria heads into a long weekend from September 22 to 25, which once again is expected to create traffic congestion at the exits from Sofia, while the weather forecast promises cooler temperatures and changeable skies.
September 22, a Thursday this year, is Bulgaria’s Independence Day. The Cabinet has declared September 23 a special public holiday to make a four-day weekend possible, in turn declaring September 17 a working day to compensate. Given the opportunity for an Independence Day weekend breakaway to the Black Sea, the mountains, other cities in Bulgaria or Greece or Turkey, there may not be that many who choose to remain in the capital Sofia.
If the past is any indication, traffic congestion is to be expected on the major thoroughfares out of the city on the afternoon and evening of September 21, as well as the morning of September 22. The same can be said of the second half of September 25, when inbound traffic into the city is expected to spike.
Bulgaria’s state railways BDZ said that it was adding about 10 000 additional seats on trains during the long weekend, adding coaches to trains running on the busiest lines in the country, such as trains linking Sofia with, respectively, Varna, Bourgas, Vidin and Pleven.
Motorists are also cautioned that traffic police is likely to step up their presence in places likely to see increased congestion, as well as stepping up checks for drunk-driving and speeding.
Greece is a popular destination for Bulgarian tourists over long weekends, but travellers should be aware of a 48-hour strike is to halt operations at Greece’s seaports on September 22 and 23, which will affect all ferryboat routes to Greek islands.
Those who wish to visit the Greek islands should depart from ports not later than 6am on September 22. On September 24 and 25, ferries will sail on schedule and there will be no problems returning from the islands, Bulgarian National Radio reported.
The weather over the long weekend is expected to be mainly sunny, but cloudy skies will also be commonplace and some areas are likely to see scattered rain showers.
On Thursday, September 22, rain is expected in parts of eastern Bulgaria, including on the Black Sea coast, with temperatures ranging from lows of 5-8 degrees Celsius in western Bulgaria to 12-14C on the coast. Daily highs will fall into the 15-20C range.
September 23 will see mainly clear skies over the entire country, but no major change to temperatures, with the exception of Smolyan in the Rhodope mountain, where the daily low could be near 0C. Cloud cover is expected to increase on September 24, which will also bring slightly warmer weather, with daily highs ranging from 19C to 24C.
On Sunday, September 25, the Black Sea coast is expected to see more scattered rain showers, while the rest of the country see an increase in cloud cover. Daily highs are expected to range from 18C to 23C.
(Photo: Leah Sawyer)