With tons to see and do, Sofia ticks all the boxes when it comes to an ideal weekend away. Here are 33 amazing things for you to wake up to in Bulgaria’s beautiful capital.
With over 2,500 years of history on show, Sofia is one of the oldest cities in Europe. While wandering the town you’ll come across fascinating Roman ruins, centuries-old churches and brutalist architecture that dates back to communist times.
While its historical sights and cultural landmarks are certainly one of its main draws, Bulgaria’s capital also has lots of trendy bars, interesting street art and resplendent nature for you to enjoy.
To help you plan your trip, we’ve come up with 33 amazing things for you to see and do in Sofia – let’s take a look!
1. With its wonderful neo-Byzantine architecture and gleaming golden dome, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and its fresco-filled interior really are special to behold. No trip to Sofia can ever be complete without a visit.
2. Watch a spectacular sunset over Sofia with a cocktail in hand at the Sense Hotel Rooftop Bar.
3. Take a trip to the National Historical Museum to learn all about Bulgaria and Sofia’s interesting and illustrious past.
4. After having worked up an appetite exploring Sofia, head to Shtastliveca and revel in the restaurant’s traditional (and tasty!) Bulgarian cuisine.
5. Shop till you drop at the Paradise Center – the largest shopping mall in the Balkans.
6. Towering over Sofia, Vitosha Mountain makes for some great hiking. During winter, you can even ski on its slopes.
7. Head to the massive National Palace of Culture to watch a concert, attend an event or simply admire the communist architecture.
8. While exploring Sofia, keep an eye out for hidden poems emblazoned on the sides of random buildings. With twenty-eight poems, one from each member state of the European Union, for you to find, the Wall-To-Wall Poetry project is meant to celebrate the EU’s ‘United in Diversity’ motto.
9. Stroll peacefully around Borisova Gradina Park and bask in the wonderful nature.
10. As each room has its own particular vibe and feel to it, The Apartment is a trendy yet cosy bar in which to start a night out.
11. If you’re interested in learning more about Bulgaria’s recent past then taking the captivating Communist Tour is an absolute must.
12. The main high street in the city, Vitosha Boulevard teems with life and makes for some great people watching.
13. Live life like a local and drink boza – a sweet, thick, creamy drink that foreigners aren’t usually quick to enjoy!
14. Squat down to knee height and buy a drink or pack of gum from one of Sofia’s Klek shops which are located at street level and date back to communist times.
16. Visit the beautiful Russian Church that looks like it’s right out of a storybook.
17. If you need to take a break from the Balkans’ meat dominated dishes then head to Sun Moon which serves up delicious vegetarian and vegan food.
18. One of the largest synagogues in Europe, Sofia Synagogue is worth visiting for its Moorish Revival architecture and an attendant is always on hand to tell you all about its interesting history.
19. Keep an eye out for all the graffiti and snap photo after photo of all of the amazing street art.
20. Breakfast at Mekista and Coffee and munch on a crumbly banitsa pastry. Delicious!
21. Located on the outskirts of Sofia, the 10th-century Boyana Church is a World Heritage Site that is well worth checking out as its incredible frescoes are amongst the most impressive in Southeast Europe.
22. Take a ride on the metro and walk by ancient Roman ruins in Serdica Station.
23. Serving up fantastic cocktails, the aptly named The Cocktail Bar is a great place to spend an evening with its lively but laid-back ambiance.
24. Watch a play, opera or ballet at the Ivan Vazov National Theater.
25. Descend below Saint Sofia Church and wander around the fabulous old ruins that lie buried beneath it.
26. Pick up some souvenirs, icons or antiques at the flea market beside Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
27. Snap some photos of the Rotunda of St. George’s beautiful brickwork that dates all the way back to Roman times.
28. Buy groceries or souvenirs in the elegant Central Sofia Market Hall.
29. When in the Balkans, drinking rakia is a must so head to Rakia Raketa Bar to try a shot of the strong liquor.
30. Walk around town and see magnificent landmarks such as the Monument to the Soviet Army, Lions’ Bridge and Saint Sofia statue as you go. Stop at the marvelous Museum of Socialist Art and check out all of the communist-era statues and sculptures.
31. Just finished your book? Then head to the Elephant Bookstore and pick up something to read or one of their quirky gifts.
32. Enjoy a magical night at 65 Fireflies – an atmospheric bar that has fairylights almost everywhere you look.
33. Head to the top of the Kopitoto TV Tower and bask in the stunning views of Sofia before you.