Sofia: The top 9 things to do

Sofia: The top 9 things to do

Bulgarije Sofia Overview

Sofia, the vibrant capital of Bulgaria, is a city of contrasts. It combines centuries-old history with modern architecture and vibrant energy. Explore the impressive Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, wander through the cobbled streets of the Old Town and admire the Byzantine and Thracian ruins. Discover the lively markets where you can sample local delicacies. Enjoy green parks, such as Borisova Gradina Park, perfect for relaxation. In the evening, you can enjoy the bustling nightlife, trendy bars and restaurants. Sofia offers a melting pot of cultures and a rich mix of history and modernity.

Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is a vibrant city with a rich history, architectural splendor and lively culture. Here are some things you can do and see in Sofia. Do you prefer to go on a guided tour, or do you want to visit Sofia from other places? Check out all the available tours here.

Transport in Sofia

Sofia is a city where you can do a lot with public transportation. You can buy a day pass for 4 leva, which is about 2 euros. This allows you to travel all day with public transportation without worrying on ow to get around the city. All trams, metros and buses are accessible with this pass. A rental car is only necessary if you are going outside of Sofia. There are many tours outside of Sofia, which you can book here.

Bulgarije Sofia OV Bulgarije Sofia OV

1:  Visit the Alexander Nevski cathedral

This beautiful Orthodox cathedral is one of the most iconic landmarks in Sofia. The impressive building with its 12 ton golden domes and white marble facade is an architectural jewel. And the interior of the cathedral is just as impressive, with soaring arches, colorful mosaics and a massive iconostasis. This magnificent cathedral can accommodate up to 5,000 people. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a must-see for any visitor to Sofia. It is a beautiful and impressive building with a rich history and cultural significance.

Bulgarije Sofia Alexander Nevski

2:  Explore the Old Town (Serdika)

The Old Town of Sofia, known as Serdika, has a rich history dating back to ancient times. Here you can explore Roman ruins, such as the Ancient Serdica Archaeological Complex and the St. George Rotunda. You can also enjoy the atmosphere of the narrow streets, cozy cafes and historical buildings.

Bulgarije Sofia Rotunda

3:  Discover the Rila Monastery and the Boyana Church

The Boyana Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a masterpiece of medieval Bulgarian art and architecture. The church is known for its well-preserved 13th-century frescoes, which are stunning in detail and color. A tour to the Rila Monastery and the Boyana Church can be booked here.

Rila klooster Sofia Bulgarije

4:  Visit the National Historical Museum

This museum is dedicated to the history of Bulgaria and houses an extensive collection of artifacts, artworks and exhibits covering different periods of Bulgarian history. The museum offers a fascinating insight into the country’s heritage and culture. You can combine the National Historical Museum with a tour through the mountains and the Boyana church here.

5:  See the Banya Bashi Mosque

The Banya Bashi Mosque in Sofia is a 16th-century Ottoman monument. It is the only active mosque in the city. With its elegant architecture, white marble walls and tall minaret, it is an important religious and cultural center. It symbolizes the diversity and history of Sofia.

Bulgarije Sofia Banya Bashi

6:  Enjoy the Vitosha Mountains

Vitosha, a mountain range 15 kilometers from the center of Sofia, offers a variety of recreational opportunities. You can go hiking, biking and skiing in the winter. Or just enjoy the stunning panoramic views of the city. The mountainous landscape and fresh air make it a popular destination for both locals and visitors. Be sure to wear your hiking shoes if you are going to the Cherni Vruh peak. You can climb the mountain yourself, but you can also book a tour.

Bulgarije Sofia Vitosha berg

7:  Explore the parks and gardens

Sofia has a number of beautiful parks and gardens where you can relax and enjoy nature. Borisova Gradina Park is a popular spot for walks, picnics and sporting activities. If you want a quieter park, you can choose one of the three wind direction parks, North, South and West Park. These parks are big as well, but less known by the tourists. The South park and the Borisova Gradina Park are very central, so if you are staying in the Marinela hotel, for example, you can easily walk into both parks.

8:  Try the Bulgarian cuisine

Don’t forget to sample the delicious Bulgarian dishes during your visit to Sofia. Try local specialties such as “banitsa” (a savory filo pastry), “kebapche” (spiced minced meat), “tarator” (cold yogurt soup) and enjoy the famous Bulgarian yogurt and local wines. There are lots of restaurants in Sofia, below we will name some.

  • Shtastliveca: The nice Bulgarian food like Shopska salad and katuk, a cheese dip, are exquisiet in this restaurant. Or you might want to try the risotto from their large Italian menu which is very good. It lies on Vitosha Avenue, in the heart of the center, so it is always nice to sit in this rural area.
  • Boom! Burgers: These restaurants (yes, there are two of them!) serve the best burgers in Sofia. Sloppy, tasty and big, like they’re suppose to. Both of them are in the middle of the city center, so you’re always close to one of them.

Tip: Do you want a food tour through Sofia, check out this Instagram page for a free introduction to the best restaurants and bars in Sofia.

Bulgarije Sofia Food

9:  Tours of Sofia

There are lots of tours in Sofia. Take the hidden bars tour for example. An excellent tour if you want to explore the nightlife and know where all the beautiful and nice pubs are. But maybe you would rather walk around Sofia and learn more about the history of Sofia and you could book a half-day tour in Sofia. Check out all the tours that Sofia has to offer here.

Bar wijnglazen horeca restaurant

Where to stay in Sofia

  • Oborishte 63 Boutique Hotel
    Each room in the Oborishte 63 Boutique Hotel is different, just like at home. Only this mansion has been converted into a hotel, with only large rooms and extremely beautiful rooms. You won’t come across a hotel like this very often, so booking a room here is almost a must.
  • Rosslyn Central Park Hotel Sofia
    The Rosslyn Central Park Hotel is located in the heart of the city and has many facilities. But the best thing about the hotel are the surroundings. These are all within walking distance of the hotel. Another way to enjoy it is from the room, where you have a beautiful panorama of the city. Combined with the professionalism of the staff, you will have the best stay in Sofia

Vitosha Mountains Sofia

Do you want recommendations about hotels in Sofia or for somewhere else in Bulgaria, you can soon check out this article about all the beautiful places to stay.

Sofia offers a fascinating mix of history, culture, nature and culinary delights. There is always something interesting to discover and experience in this vibrant capital of Bulgaria.

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