Nestled at the base of the snow-capped Vitosha Mountain, the Bulgarian capital has a delightfully relaxed atmosphere, with a flourishing cafe culture, an easily walkable downtown, and a concentration of some of Bulgaria’s best museums and art galleries. Sofia balances its ancient and modern history with seeming ease, office blocks and busy shopping centres blend in unobtrusively amongst robust Soviet buildings, orthodox churches, Roman ruins and the golden domes of the Alexander Nevski cathedral.
Areas & Neighbourhoods in Sofia
City Centre - This is where most restaurants, bars and shops are located, as well as many of the cultural attractions.
Oborishte - Sofia’s foodie district is a swinging locale scattered with dozens of excellent restaurants and bars. It’s close enough to the principal sights, such as the cathedral, to make it an excellent choice for lunch or dinner.
Studentski Grad - Several miles out of the city centre there is a hectic nightlife scene thanks to the nearby university. With countless bars, clubs and fast food joints, if you’re here to party, this is the heart of the action.
Vitosha - Fancy getting out of town for a while, but don’t have a great deal of time? The mountain on the outskirts is easily reached, making it ideal for a day trip. Ski in the winter, hike in the summer, but enjoy the stunning views of the city all year-round.
Things to See in Sofia
The Museum of Sofia is a beautifully-rendered building - ormerly the city’s main mineral baths - that displays a number of permanent and temporary exhibitions dedicated to city history and culture. The Alexander Nevsky cathedral, dedicated to the saint and military hero considered one of the great heroes of Russian history, is a prestigious Sofia landmark, with a golden dome that flashes in the sunlight and interiors trimmed with Italian marble and oryx.
Things to Do in Sofia
If you’re unfamiliar with the city and its environs then without question the best way to get around is with a guided small group tour of Sofia. Walk local neighbourhoods to sample some rather delicious traditional foodstuffs, while at the same time visiting the principal cultural attractions. Out of town you can explore the ancient Rila monastery and sand pyramids of Melnik. There’s also the option of heading east to Plovdiv, where you’ll see a Roman theatre dating back to the 2nd century among a number of other notable archaeological sites.