As you can figure out from the title of the article, this text is a travel guide to Sofia. The capital of Bulgaria, Sofia is definitely well known but it is not the first place we would think of visiting. It is true, the city is not a popular tourist destination and we usually underestimated it as well. Traveling there is definitely cheap and easy, but not a lot of people would suggest you visit the city. But for us, Bulgaria is not just Bansko, Sandanski or Borovets. Read below to discover the things you should do when you visit Sofia.
Sofia has a lot to offer and every traveler can enjoy their time there. We recommend you to visit other parts of Bulgaria as well, but do not dismiss its capital just yet. If you live close to the country itself, you can arrive there by car or by bus. The trip wouldn’t be that long and you would have time to enjoy nature and big wide roads. Beware though because the streets may be fine, but Bulgarian people are notorious for their fast driving. You may be surprised, especially if you find yourself on the highway. If you’re an experienced driver you will have no problem, and the snowy surrounding will make up for any inconvenience.
Things you should do when you visit Sofia
1. Wander around the city
When you first arrive in Sofia, don’t rush into things. If you have around two or three days in the city, you have plenty of time. Most of the interesting attractions are located near the city center and that gives you time to relax and go for random strolls. The first thing that will catch your attention is definitely the wide roads and the open space inside the city. Bulgarian people are very careful drivers inside the city limits, compared to their driving on the highway. You will have no trouble walking around or even taking public transportation if you prefer. The metro is exceptionally organized and getting to the city center is very easy. Now that you have all your basics arranged, we recommend noticing the details.
These details are nowhere else than in the architecture of Sofia’s buildings. Most of the buildings in the city center and around it have been carefully preserved over the years. Thanks to that, everything gives you the feeling that you’re back in the ’70s. The colors, the decorations, the little details make you travel back in time and create this feeling of nostalgia in your heart. You may have felt this way before, but we suggest you visit Sofia to experience it there as well because it is extraordinary.
Things you should do when you visit Sofia
2. Go sightseeing
Walking around is also a good opportunity for some sightseeing. As mentioned before, you will not find it difficult to reach the main attractions throughout the city. You can reach most of them on foot but public transportation is also a good option to consider. We recommend you start at the Banya Bashi Mosque which is located right in the heart of the city. Right across the mosque, you will find the central market of Sofia: Hali. There you can grab some food or a drink while discovering traditional delicacies. Before leaving the area, pay a visit to the Synagogue as well, which is the biggest in the Balkans. Inside the synagogue, you will also find the Jewish History Museum which is definitely worth a visit.
For your next stop, you don’t have to go that far. Just behind the mosque, you will find the Sofia History Museum. Also known as the Regional History Museum it is located in one of the most beautiful and emblematic buildings of the city. Its building used to be the former Central Mineral Bathhouse, which was constructed in 1912. It is known among the residents of the city as the “Museum of Sofia”. There you can see exhibitions featuring artifacts from prehistoric until modern times. The museum itself is not that big, so you will have plenty of time to do something else as well. Last but not least, finish your sightseeing experience by walking down Vitosha street. You can do some shopping or enjoy your coffee in places such as Villa Rosice or Laguna.
3. Try good food and party
You might not get the idea that Sofia is a party city, but you’re definitely mistaken. You can find anything your heart desires, from pubs and clubs to good and inexpensive food. As for food we recommend you visit My Tapas Bar where you can eat for a good price and enjoy the surroundings. Admire its alluring decorations, perfect for a cozy winter meal. Once you step inside you will want to try everything. If you’re looking for something fast and even cheaper, just go to Happy Bar & grill. This is a famous fast-food chain in Bulgaria and it offers good food for very low prices.
After you’re full, it’s time to party. Because Sofia is a student city, the clubs and pubs are many and also full. One of the most famous ones is Once Upon A Time Biblioteka. It is located inside the National Library and it remains open from Wednesday to Saturday. Visitors of the club have usually the best time there, dancing to popular music and meeting new people. You can visit this place anytime between morning and midnight.
If you’re more into electronic music, we have just the place for you. The Yalta Club is certainly one of the most famous places that come up when one starts talking about nightclubs in Sofia. Being a significant part of history, this club was the first one that started playing electronic music in the post-communist period. Many of the famous Bulgarian DJs started their careers from this very club. The Yalta Club very often brings in EDM DJs from across the globe and in this way it is always very busy.