Sofia, capital of Bulgaria, has a very eventful past, which explains its large variety of sometimes mismatched but still amazing architecture. The area has been home to Romans, Celts, Visigoths, Huns and Slavs as well as been under the rule of both the Byzantine and the Ottoman empires.
As a result, Sofia has something new – or rather, old – to see on every street and around every corner: from ancient ruins to traces of the Soviet occupation during WWII. This has turned into a bit of a history lesson already, but don’t worry, there’s a lot of present day fun to be had too if you come with us on our exciting journey through Sofia. You ready?
Pro Tip: The hotels in Sofia are rather cheap, so it might be a good idea to start there in your search for accommodation.
The things to do in this city are as diverse as the city itself, which we really like because that means that there is a little bit of something for everybody, no matter personal taste and preference. One thing those things do have in common, though, is that they are a great way to get to know the city while having so much fun!
This tour is a lot of fun, very interesting and will take you to most of the must see places in Sofia. You’ll stop at the Sofia Synagogue, the Largo Square ruins and the National Gallery as well as the Statue of Sofia – all while hearing fascinating stories about the city and its colorful past.
The cinema, really? Yes, really! The Cultural Center G8 is not only a private art house cinema, it also hosts several events such as presentations and concerts, and houses a museum, a café and a garden – a garden that turns into an outdoor cinema in the summer. Choose between new, classic and independent films. If you don’t want to see all of them, that is.
This mountain is close to the city itself, and it doesn’t matter if you’re visiting Sofia in the summer or during the winter months, there’s lots of things to do here either way. How about some hiking, skiing or climbing? Yes, you can do all that while have a beautiful panoramic view over the city below.
Well, you’ve probably caught up on the whole city being a sight worth seeing in itself by now, but here are some sites that it would be such a shame to miss. Grab your comfy shoes, and let’s go!
There are so many of these that they could fill a whole blog post on their own, but some really special ones include the medieval Boyana Church, the Roman Serdica Amphitheater and one of the largest cathedrals in the Balkan region: St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Even though it’s relatively new, it’s very, very impressive, and has room for 10,000 people.
Buildings from the Soviet era have proven to be excellent canvases for street art, and boy has that been taken advantage of! You can go on tours to see all the best street art, or just take a walk by yourself, admiring the large murals and finding hidden gems. It’s entirely up to you.
Here are two beautiful and unique places, at your service: the Monument to the Soviet Army, and the Snail House. The latter is exactly what it sounds like – a house, without any straight walls or angles, shaped like a snail painted in all the colors of the rainbow. The Soviet monument is meant to honor soviet soldiers, but has turned into a spot for protest and turning the statues into pop culture characters. Imagine that on your insta feed.
Dishes you simply must try when in Sofia include banitsa (a greasy pastry deliciousness filled with cheese, onions or spinach), shopska salata (a simple but effective salad), musaka (almost like a lasagna but with potatoes instead of pasta) and lyutenitsa (a tomato and pepper relish, perfect to spread on toast). You might want to write that down.
If it’s all a bit overwhelming and you don’t really know where to start, don’t worry because we do! Or rather, the guides in charge of the free food tours do, and will take you to many different places where you can get a taste of the delicious Bulgarian cuisine. If you’re not up for that, keep reading because we also know a good place or two.
Cafés are so popular that it seems like they’re everywhere – and maybe they are. You can find great coffee all over the city, especially along Vitosha Boulevard, but if it’s delicious, hot tea that you’re after, look no further than Veda House. Not only is the tea fantastic, the food is both tasty and healthy! Great job, Veda House. For even more of natural goodness, give Supa Star a visit. They serve warm, hearty homemade soups – and yes, there will be soup for you.
Nothing like a warm, homemade meal with fresh, high quality ingredients, right? If this is a statement that you agree with, Sun Moon is a great little place where you can find just that. The veggies are organic, the delicious homemade breads and pastries are made from spelt and oats – if anyone’s ever told you that good food is boring, take them to Sun Moon and order some vegan banitsa for them. Don’t forget to get some yourself.
Have you already fallen in love with the beautiful city with great food and an even greater personality, just like we have? Well, there’s no reason for this love story not to have a happy ending – Sofia is right there! Do leave a comment and tell us all about your first date.