A single visit to Sofia can never be sufficient as they say that there are simply so many things to do and see in the romantic capital of Bulgaria. Whether you are craving to look into the history or whether you are interested in nightlife, Sofia will make you fall in love with it. Being culturally rich, Sofia has made a place for itself in the tourist map primarily because of its tradition, history and stories that can never be old enough. As you visit Europe’s second oldest settlement, here are the things to do in Sofia.
11 Best Things To Do In Sofia
You must be very excited about your trip to Sofia. Before you start your journey, here are the things that we think you must do during your stay in Sofia. These things to do in Sofia will surely bring in the opportunity for you to experience a rejuvenating holiday amidst tasteful events, aesthetic architectures and rich history.
1. St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Being one of the largest Eastern Orthodox churches that you will find across the globe, the St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind while thinking of Sofia. Boasting on neo-Byzantine architecture, this cathedral was built in the domain of 20th century in the memory of the soldiers of the Russo-Turkish War. Carrying magnificence with it, this church adds to the skyline of the Sofia city with its gold dome. Besides having religious inscription inside, this cathedral is one of the finest example of unsurpassed quality European craftsmanship. The majestic and embellished interior will certainly leave you astonished.
2. The Museum of Socialist Art
Featuring invaluable artworks created during the socialist era in Bulgaria, the Museum of Social Art showcases masterpieces crafted by some of the most prominent painters of that time. The museum is divided into two parts i.e. indoor gallery and an outdoor park showcasing sculptures. You will also find the Socialist Party’s symbolic red star here. A number of compelling exhibits including sculptures of prominent leaders awaits for you here. The artworks here will help you realize the advancement of the art during the socialist struggle that Bulgaria has seen.
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3. Kambanite Park
Located at the lap of picturesque Vitosha mountain, the Kambanite Park is one of the most popular spots among the tourists, Created out of the movement emphasizing childrens’ suffering, this park was built when UNESCO took the initiative to declare 1979 as the ‘International Year of the Child’. You will find 68 bells here at this park and each of the bells denote a country. This park has been recognized for being the site devoted to ‘Banner of Peace’ and unravels the opportunity for travelers to find tranquility in a symbolic landscape.
4. National History Museum
If history is something that you find absolutely intriguing, this is the ideal place for you to be at. Instead of searching things to do in Sofia in winter, you should be visiting this museum to know more about the history of Bulgaria's people. Each of the five falls here represents different historic period. Whether you are willing to know more about the Ottoman dominion or whether you want to learn the history of the Bulgarian National Revival, this museum has equipped itself with all the necessary information.
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5. Borisova Gradina Park
If you are looking for romantic things to do in Sofia, this park should be at the top of you list as it unravels the scope for you to spend quality time with your partner amidst lush greenery. In case your romantic mind finds the concrete jungle little tiring, you can visit this park to get some fresh air. Built in 1884, this park consists of three sections which have been named after accomplished gardeners Georgi Duhtev, Daniel Neff and Joseph Frei. Besides letting you enjoy the natural beauty that Bulgaria has to offer, this spot accommodates the Borisova Gradina TV Tower which functioned as the HQ for the National Television here during the initial days.
6. National Palace of Culture
The National Palace of Culture was built to celebrate the 1300th birthday of Bulgaria. It’s design was the brainchild of noted architect Alexander Georgiev Barov. Being hexagonal in structure, this building takes pride in being minimalist in terms of design. Made with grass and concrete, this palace transports you to the socialist era with its architectures. You might consider attending any exhibition or events that usually take place around the year at the palace which is also the largest conference centre in entire Europe.
7. Pod Lipite Tavern
If you are wondering about the things to do in Sofia at night, Pod Lipite Tavern should be the best destination for you. This pub adorns itself in rustic fashion even in the 21st century and that is the main charm of this place. You can rejuvenate your taste buds here with a number of authentic Bulgarian dishes made from fresh ingredients from the farm of the restaurant. Visiting Sofia will remain incomplete without a meal a the Pod Lipite Tavern. You can’t just miss the homely atmosphere where all hints of modernity are vanished.
8. Bitaka Flea Market
Being the largest market here, the Bitaka Flea Market is the perfect place to get a souvenir or two for friends and family members back home. Offering products from different categories like clothes, jewellery, toys, camera, cutlery and so on, this market is truly diverse and you can literally find treasure here given that you spend enough time. The market remains open till afternoon and is ideal for experiencing the unique culture that Sofia is much known for.
9. Raketa Rakia Bar
If you have not heard of Rakia yet, Rakia is Bulgaria’s national beverage and tourists from across the globe literally die to taste it. The popular restaurant Raketa Rakia has earned popularity for providing the visitors with the best collection of the local beverage. The quirky vibe here lets you enjoy the evening in a laid back fashion while you take a sip of Rakia. It is highly recommended that you fill your stomach with some of the most delicious foods prepared here before consuming Rakia as some of them can have as much as 65% alcohol.
10. Swingin’ Hall
Being one of the famous music club in Sofia, the Swingin’ Hall lets you enjoy a musical evening in a vibrant environment. While this place is much known for giving opportunity to local artists, you can also experience swing nights here. Designed to unpretentious, this bar offers dancers a platform for practicing different dance moves. Having become synonymous to Sofia’s nightlife, this bar also serves a diverse range of spirits, beers as well as wines.
11. Rila Monastery
Lying at the lap of the Rila Mountain, this monastery brings you the unique opportunity to explore Bulgaria and know its history. Constructed in the 10th century, this monastery today is home to more than 300 monastic cells, the ‘Nativity of the Virgin’ Church, and much more. Being UNESCO World Heritage Site, this monastery invited thousands of visitors across the globe. The Church is embellished with five domes and was completed under the supervision of designer Peter Ivanovich.
As we said earlier that there are more things to do and more places to visit in Sofia than you can cover during your vacation, these are undoubtedly the top things to do in Sofia. Sofia has remained in the holiday hit list of every traveler who is inspired to visit every corner of the globe and does justice to the traveler’s hunger to know more. So, plan your international trip for an amazing and extravagant experience in this Bulgarian land!
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