Sofia, Bulgaria

With its drab suburbs and distinct lack of charming old buildings Sofia (София) can appear an uninspiring place to first-time visitors.

Sofia Travel Guide

However, much has been done in recent years to revitalize the heart of the city, and once you’ve settled in and begun to explore, you’ll find it a surprisingly vibrant place, especially on fine days, when its lush public gardens and pavement cafés buzz with life. It also possesses the draw of verdant Mount Vitosha, just 8km to the south.

Bulgaria’s pleasingly laid-back capital is often overlooked by visitors heading to the coast or the ski resorts, but they’re missing something special. Sofia is no grand metropolis, but it’s a modern, youthful city, with a scattering of onion-domed churches, Ottoman mosques and stubborn Red Army monuments that lend an eclectic, exotic feel. Excavation work carried out during construction of the metro unveiled a treasure trove of Roman ruins from nearly 2000 years ago, when the city was called ‘Serdica’. Away from the buildings and boulevards, vast parks and manicured gardens offer a welcome respite, and the ski slopes and hiking trails of mighty Mt Vitosha are just a short bus ride from the centre. Home to many of Bulgaria’s finest museums, galleries, restaurants and clubs, Sofia may persuade you to stick around and explore further.

Sofia Travel Guide Bulgaria Top Attractions

“Sofia Travel Guide”

Sofia was founded by a Thracian tribe some three thousand years ago, and various Roman ruins attest to its zenith as a regional imperial capital in the fourth century AD. The Bulgars didn’t arrive on the scene until the ninth century, and with the notable exception of the thirteenth-century Boyana Church, their cultural monuments largely disappeared during the Turkish occupation (1396–1878), whose own legacy is visible solely in a couple of stately mosques. The finest architecture postdates Bulgaria’s liberation from the Turks: handsome public buildings and parks, and the magnificent Aleksandar Nevski Cathedral.

Most of Sofia’s sights are centrally located and within easy walking distance of each other. The pedestrianized Bulevard Vitosha forms the heart of the shopping district and leads north to the Church of Sveta Nedelya, from where bul. Tsar Osvoboditel passes the major public buildings, culminating with the grand Aleksandar Nevski Church.

⇒ See Also: Bulgaria travel Guide


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