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SofiaBulgaria

Roman ruins, neo-Byzantine churches, sprawling parks and a vibrant cafe culture make Sofia one of the most interesting cities in Europe for a holiday – and one of the most affordable.

Located in the west of Bulgaria, Sofia is yet to attain the same status as some of its European neighbours. Yet this dynamic Slavic city is home to remarkable monuments, cathedrals and museums, it has a national park with skiing and hiking on its doorstep, and boasts some of the most affordable accommodation in the Balkans.

Sofia’s compact city centre is a good place to start. Begin at the dazzling golden-domed Alexander Nevski Cathedral – one of the largest Eastern Orthodox churches in the world. This cross-domed basilica can hold 10,000 people, and is richly decorated with Venetian mosaics and gleaming Carrara marble. Other religious structures worth visiting include the landmark St Nedelya Church and the Roman 4th-century Church of St George – a redbrick rotunda considered the oldest building in Sofia.

Enjoy a stroll along Vitosha Boulevard, the city’s main commercial thoroughfare. This pedestrianised street is home to designer boutiques and local chains, along with plenty of coffee shops, restaurants and bars. Or browse the colourful flowers and food stalls at the Central Sofia Market Hall, whose three storeys house more than 170 stalls and traders.

Sofia is home to dozens of galleries and performance venues. For a taste of the city’s arts and cultural scene, visit the National Gallery for Foreign Art or the National Art Gallery, or take in a performance at the National Opera and Ballet. See Soviet-era artefacts and sculptures at the Museum of Socialist Art, where portraits of Karl Marx hang alongside paintings depicting communist themes.

At Sofia’s southern limit is the national park of Mount Vitosha – a popular excursion any time of year. Hiking, biking, rock-climbing and paragliding are popular summertime activities, while in the winter months you can easily arrange a skiing or snowboarding daytrip from the city.

Sofia combines a long and varied cultural history with modern infrastructure and access to fantastic outdoor activities. With a great range of basic to upscale hotels at affordable prices you’ll find accommodation to suit your break and budget.

Where to stay in Sofia

Sofia which includes a house and heritage architecture

Sofia City Center

4/5Very Good!(180 area reviews)

Noted for its museums and historical sites, there's plenty to explore in Sofia City Center. Top attractions like Bulgarian Parliament and National Palace of Culture are major draws, and you can hop on the metro at Serdika Station or Lavov Most Station to see more of the city.

Sofia City Center
National Museum of History which includes interior views

Vitosha District

4/5Very Good!(4 area reviews)

Vitosha District is noteworthy for its spas, and you can make a stop at top attractions like Mount Vitosha and National Museum of History.

Vitosha District
National Palace of Culture featuring heritage elements

rayon Triaditsa

3.5/5Good!(6 area reviews)

While visiting rayon Triaditsa, you might make a stop by sights like National Palace of Culture and Vitosha Blvd.

rayon Triaditsa
Alexander Nevski Cathedral showing religious aspects, a church or cathedral and night scenes

Oborishte

Oborishte is well liked for its historical sites. You can also take some time to explore sights in the surrounding area like Bulgarian Parliament and National Palace of Culture.

Oborishte
Boyana Church which includes religious aspects, a church or cathedral and heritage elements

Boyana

While Boyana may not have many sights to explore, venturing just a little farther will lead you to top things to see and do like National Museum of History and Mount Vitosha.

Boyana
rayon Krasna polyana, Sofia, Sofia-city, Bulgaria

rayon Krasna polyana

Though rayon Krasna polyana may not have many top sights, you can venture to the surrounding area to see attractions like National Palace of Culture and Bulgarian Parliament.

rayon Krasna polyana

Top hotels in Sofia

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
InterContinental Sofia
InterContinental Sofia
5 out of 5
4 NARODNO SABRANIE SQ, Sofia
The price is £88 per night

Located in Sofia City Center, this luxury hotel is steps away from Yellow Pavement and Bulgarian Parliament. National Palace of Culture is 1 mi (1.6 km) away. ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (283 reviews)

"Hotel was great, staff very friendly. N/a for amenities as I didn’t have a chance to see or try them."…"

Reviewed on 14 Mar 2020

InterContinental Sofia
Central Hotel Sofia
Central Hotel Sofia
4 out of 5
52, Hristo Botev Blvd., Sofia
The price is £67 per night

Located in Sofia City Center, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Saint Nedelya Church, Saint Sofia Monument and Sofia Court House. Central Sofia Market ...

4.4/5Excellent! (896 reviews)

"The location was convenient for walking to explore the historic core of the city. The room itself was in good condition. Nice bed, great shower, and maid staff and front desk seemed attentive. The walls were thin so you will hear the people next to you. The breakfast had good variety, though the ..."…"

Reviewed on 7 Mar 2020

Central Hotel Sofia
Grand Hotel Sofia
Grand Hotel Sofia
5 out of 5
1 Gurko Str, Sofia
The price is £71 per night

This family-friendly Sofia hotel is located in the historical district, within a 15-minute walk of Slaveykov Square, Bulgarian Parliament and National Palace ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (684 reviews)

"Great location, friendly staff, good food,, 20 minutes from airport"…"

Reviewed on 8 Feb 2020

Grand Hotel Sofia

Popular places to visit in Sofia

National Palace of Culture
Image for National Palace of Culture

National Palace of Culture

4/5(41 reviews)

This impressive castle-like monument is a multipurpose cultural center that hosts art exhibitions, a film festival and concerts by well-known performers.

Bulgarian Parliament
Image for Bulgarian Parliament

Bulgarian Parliament

4/5(24 reviews)

Admire the architecture of Bulgaria’s national assembly building and attend a parliamentary session at this elegant government building in Sofia’s city center.

Sofia University
Image for Sofia University

Sofia University

4/5(18 reviews)

Enjoy the student vibe when you visit Sofia University during your travels in Sofia. Discover the museums and cathedral in this culturally rich area.

Boyana Church
Image for Boyana Church

Boyana Church

4.5/5(42 reviews)

See an incredible collection of perfectly preserved Eastern European Medieval art at this tranquil 10th-century Bulgarian Orthodox church.

Sofia Central Mineral Baths
Image for Sofia Central Mineral Baths

Sofia Central Mineral Baths

4/5(15 reviews)

You can find out about the history of Sofia with a trip to Sofia Central Mineral Baths. While in this culturally rich area, find time to visit its shops.

Alexander Nevski Cathedral
Image for Alexander Nevski Cathedral

Alexander Nevski Cathedral

4.5/5(71 reviews)

Gaze in awe at this magnificent cathedral and step inside to see a fascinating collection of mosaics, murals and religious icons.

Top things to do in Sofia

Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Tour
Image for Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Tour

Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Tour

90% of travellers recommend
£26
Per adult
Small-Group Breakfast with Sofia Tour
Image for Small-Group Breakfast with Sofia Tour

Small-Group Breakfast with Sofia Tour

92% of travellers recommend
£31
Per adult
The Seven Rila lakes
Image for The Seven Rila lakes

The Seven Rila lakes

76% of travellers recommend
£36
Per adult
Plovdiv: Full Day Tour from Sofia
Image for Plovdiv: Full Day Tour from Sofia

Plovdiv: Full Day Tour from Sofia

90% of travellers recommend
£31
Per adult
COMBO Tour: Koprivshtitsa & Plovdiv
Image for COMBO Tour: Koprivshtitsa & Plovdiv

COMBO Tour: Koprivshtitsa & Plovdiv

80% of travellers recommend
£40
Per adult
Plovdiv- Small Group Day Trip
Image for Plovdiv- Small Group Day Trip

Plovdiv- Small Group Day Trip

£24
Per adult

Reviews of Sofia

4.3

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
77
5 - Excellent 46.666666666666664%
4 - Good
65
4 - Good 39.39393939393939%
3 - Okay
21
3 - Okay 12.727272727272727%
2 - Disappointing
2
2 - Disappointing 1.2121212121212122%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

17 Jan 2020

Abit polluted, but otherwise fine, get rid of the factory chimney smoke near Central station. 

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

16 Jan 2020

A good place to visit if you have to.

5/5 - Excellent

James

12 Jan 2020

I have been hereany times, I love Sofia!

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

8 Jan 2020

I love it. Definitely going back again.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

5 Jan 2020

An interesting city

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

15 Dec 2019

People are friendly . Explore the whole city , be polite and make an effort to learn some basic Bulgarian at least . It’s appreciated