Sofia is a city that’s rich with history, culture and many influences from a variety of empires including Greek, Roman, Ottoman and the Soviet Union.
I spent one day in Sofia and have put together this Sofia Sightseeing Guide to help you plan your trip!
WHERE IS SOFIA & HOW TO GET THERE
Sofia is the capital city of the Balkan nation in the west of Bulgaria. The population of Sofia is 1.2 million.
The two most common ways of reaching Sofia is by plane or train.
Sofia International Airport is very well connected with daily flights from inside of Europe and also international arrivals from Asia and the Middle East. I always use SkyScanner to search and book all of my flights as they generally have the cheapest rates.
Search All ∼ Flights to Sofia on Skyscanner.com
Arriving in Sofia by train is the next best option of reaching this beautiful city in Bulgaria. Daily trains operate in and out of Sofia Station, connecting Sofia from other major cities in Eastern Europe such as Turkey, Romania and Hungary to name a few.
Traveling around Europe by train is one of the best ways to get around at an affordable cost. I highly recommend purchasing a Eurail Pass to make the most out of your Europe trip. There are many different passes available which give you access to the majority of trains, buses and boats within 31 countries in Europe!
Click Here to get your Eurail Pass today!
SOFIA SIGHTSEEING – TOP 3 THINGS TO DO IN SOFIA
#1 ST. ALEXANDER NEVSKI CATHEDRAL
The Saint Alexander Nevski Cathedral is nothing short of amazing! Located in the heart of the city, a visit to this symbolic masterpiece is a must on your Sofia sightseeing route.
St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral is 148 feet tall at its highest point and it comprises of metal from Berlin, mosaics from Venice and marble sourced from Munich.
12 bells, weighing a total of 23 tonnes, occupy the bell tower and one could only imagine the decibels they can emit.
The outside of the Alexander Nevski Cathedral boasts gilded domes and ornate archways, and on the inside are great artworks, five aisles and stained glass windows. The cathedral is also said to hold up to 10,000 people at a time!
Entrance Fee: There is no charge to enter the St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral, though a donation is welcome. Photography inside the cathedral is allowed however a 10$ fee is required for this.
#2 CHURCH OF ST. GEORGE ROTUNDA
The St. George Church is a unique, red brick rotunda which is thought to be the oldest building in Sofia.
The church is amid remains of old Roman buildings and I definitely recommend adding it to your list of things to do in Sofia. Built in the 300s, it’s a wonder that the Church of St. George Rotunda still stands unscathed!
Inside the rotunda is detailed medieval frescoes that were painted over when the church was converted to a mosque sometime in the 1600s.
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#3 VITOSHA BOULEVARD
Vitosha Boulevard is the main walking street in Sofia, lined with cafes, bars, restaurants and retail stores.
Vitosha is quite a long street and known to be more expensive than other parts of the city but it is a must-see on your list of things to do in Sofia.
Vitosha Boulevard is named after Vitosha Mountain which is located right next to the city.
My recommendation is while you are strolling down Vitosha Boulevard, be sure to check out all the little side streets too!
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Vitosha Boulevard – Sofia Sightseeing
Sofia walking street – Sofia Guide
SOFIA SIGHTSEEING MAP
WHERE TO STAY IN SOFIA
Sofia has thousands of accommodation options to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of my personal favorite places to stay in Sofia to fit the needs of budget backpackers and luxury travelers. See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: Sense Hotel Sofia
Mid Range: Suite Hotel Sofia
Budget: Moreto & Caffeto Hostel
For all other accommodations in Sofia, Click Here to search on Booking.com
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MORE EUROPE TRAVEL GUIDES
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Barcelona Itinerary: 2 Day Barcelona Itinerary
Istanbul Travel Guide: 5 Things To Do In Istanbul
Sofia Travel Guide: 3 Things To Do In Sofia
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Sifnos Island Greece: 7 Best Beaches In Sifnos
WHAT TO PACK FOR SOFIA
Everyday Backpack: One of the best backpacks on the market! The Nomatic 20L Backpack is perfect for on the go adventures. Featuring multiple storage spaces for valuables, drink bottles, chargers, notebooks and more. This sleek backpack was designed for you.
Universal Power Adapter: Don’t leave home without one! I highly recommend getting this Universal Power Adapter so that you are able to charge all of your electronics when you’re on the road. Compatible in Asia, UK, Europe, Africa, USA, SA and Australia.
Hidden Money Belt: I never go on a trip without one! The best thing is they are always out of sight, hidden beneath your clothing. With RFID blocking, they are perfectly designed to keep your credit cards, cash and other valuables safe when you’re out adventuring!
Waterproof Phone Case: A waterproof phone case is a must-have item! This universal case will keep your phone safe from water damage, sand and scratches during your adventures. Suitable for all smartphone models.
Portable Charger: One of the best portable chargers on the market! The Anker Power Bank keeps your phone and accessories charged on those longer adventures. Featuring 2 USB charging ports, rechargeable battery, works with iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Oppo and Android.
Microfibre Travel Towel: To pack a towel or not to pack a towel? A standard bathroom towel can take up a lot of space in your travel bag. Get your hands on a quick-dry Microfibre Travel Towel which is perfect for the beach, backpacking, camping and general traveling.
Rain Jacket: A light-weight rain jacket is an absolute must when traveling! North Face waterproof rain jackets come in both men and women sizes, featuring a breathable mesh lining and adjustable hood that can be tucked away inside the collar.
Kindle: The best alternative for books! Kindle e-readers are perfect for long haul flights, reading on the beach or a quiet evening away from the bars. Kindle’s are waterproof with rechargeable batteries and adjustable light settings to suit indoor/outdoor conditions.
Packing Cubes: My favorite item in my backpack! Perfect for organizing your shirts, pants, jackets, socks, underwear and more. This 5 Set Packing Cubes makes packing easier and more efficient, adding extra space in your bag for your next trip.
Activated Charcoal Tablets: Want to avoid food poisoning? Most of us have been a victim of travelers diarrhea from eating street food. Organic Activated Charcoal Tablets are fast-acting and will rid your system of the bad bacteria that causes stomach upset.
MY CAMERA GEAR
Everyday Camera: The most affordable mirrorless camera on the market! I personally use the Sony A7ii Mirrorless Camera on all of my adventures. It’s compact, lightweight and super easy to use for all levels of photography. A 28-70mm Sony lens is also included.
Drone Camera: Take your photography to new heights! The DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone is at the top of the game when it comes to high-quality images and video, easy to control functions and traveler-friendly capabilities. I guarantee you won’t regret purchasing one.
GoPro Hero 8: One of the most popular cameras on the planet! I love using the GoPro Hero 8 for all of my underwater shots and fast-paced adventures. The GoPro Hero 8 captures the best moments with its wide range of functions that are very simple to use!
Camera Bag: My favorite camera bag I have ever owned! The Lowepro Protactic 450 AW II Camera Bag features a waterproof rain cover, drink bottle holder, padded compartments for cameras, drones, lenses, accessories and it also has a laptop pocket.
Selfie Stick: Everyone loves a good selfie, right!? The Sandmarc Metal Edition Selfie Stick is sleek, stylish and can extend to 1.2m. I find it much easier to take photos and videos with the GoPro when it is mounted to the Sandmarc Selfie Stick!
Camera Tripod: The Joby GorillaPod is suitable for all cameras. This tripod is easy to use and perfect for setting up a time-lapse video or even using it as a selfie stick. The legs are flexible so you can wrap it around a tree or a pole to get creative with your shot.
GoPro Dome: Have you ever wanted to capture those under/over water shots with the GoPro? This epic underwater GoPro dome housing is the best camera accessory to have to create the perfect 50/50 shot. I use mine every time I am in the ocean!
Memory Card: The best thing about SanDisk Extreme Pro is that it delivers maximum speed for images and videos. Having 64GB of storage means that you can store hundreds of files on this SD card for 2-3 days and not have to worry about running out of space.
External Hard Drive: As a photographer, my images and video files take up a lot of space on my MacBook so I use the WD Elements External Hard Drive to store everything. With 4TB worth of storage space, this is more than enough for 1 year worth of content.
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FINAL THOUGHTS OF SOFIA SIGHTSEEING
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions about Things To Do In Sofia, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can!
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