Located at the foothill of Vitosha Mountain, Sofia is the remarkable, colorful and vibrant capital of Bulgaria. As one of the Balkan countries, it is often left neglected by tourists. Do not make the same mistake because Bulgaria will welcome you with its natural beauty, hospitality and mouth-watering cuisine. Every journey starts from the capital and Sofia will not disappoint you, as a fusion of ancient and modern influences meet in one place. Keep reading as I have prepared the ultimate Sofia travel guide with the top 6 must-visit places in the capital.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is the most iconic tourist attraction in Bulgaria, it’s the first stop of the ultimate Sofia Travel Guide. It might be just a hundred years old, but the cathedral’s unique Neo-Byzantine style will immediately grab your attention. The exterior is truly fascinating with the glittering golden domes and marvelous bell tower reaching 53 meters. While, you can spend hours admiring the cathedral from the outside, make sure to step inside as well. The Italian marble floors and beautifully painted walls will definitely impress you and you will quickly understand why it is believed that Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is among the World’s 10 biggest Orthodox buildings. Outside there are lovely old ladies selling homemade wares, I found some beautiful lace from them.
St Sophia Church
Situated right next to Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the next compulsory item of the ultimate Sofia travel guide is St Sophia Church. Dating back to the 4th Century, the church is known as the oldest in the Bulgarian capital. Looking from the outside, you might think that it is not as impressive as Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, however, the church has significant importance to the Bulgarian history. Once upon a time, the church was situated on top of a hill and it was the first structure to be seen from the distance. As a result of this, the capital city of Bulgaria Sofia was named after the namesake church.
St George Rotunda
You might be already wondering if there are just churches and cathedrals to be seen in Sofia!? The answer is no, however, St George Rotunda should definitely be on your travel itinerary to Sofia. Hidden in a small courtyard behind the Bulgarian Presidency, St George Rotunda is considered as the capital’s oldest building. The building was constructed as a Roman bath; however, it was later transformed into a church. Right in front of the rotunda, visitors will also find remains and ruins from the ancient Roman city of Serdica. Do not forget to step inside and admire the incredible frescoes from the 12th century – you will not be disappointed!
The true beauty of Sofia comes from its diversity and variety of architectural elements. It is a unique fusion of modern and ancient in one place, which can only be experienced as you are strolling down its streets. Located at the heart of the city, visitors can find three remarkable buildings, serving as excellent examples of the Socialist Classicism architectural style. As you are standing at the center of the Largo and you are admiring the impressive structures of the former headquarters of the Bulgarian Communist Party, the Central Department store and the Presidency, you need to realize that thousands of years of history is laying beneath your feet. Beneath the glass-ceiling, you will find the remains of the Ancient Serdica Complex dating back 7000 years ago.
One of the best ways to fully experience a new destination is by doing as the locals do! That is the reason why, Vitosha Boulevard is a must-visit in the ultimate Sofia Travel Guide. As the main pedestrian and commercial street in the capital, Vitosha Boulevard is a vibrant, colorful location. As you are strolling down you will quickly notice that this street never sleeps. Lined with shops, restaurants and bars, Vitosha Boulevard is a fantastic spot to visit both during the day and during the night.
If you have had enough of the hustle and bustle of Sofia or you are a nature enthusiast, who loves to spend your time in a more peaceful and relaxing setting, then you should head to Vitosha Mountain. Vitosha might not be home to the highest summits in Bulgaria, but it is a fantastic spot for a weekend getaway or even just a day of hiking and recharging your batteries, surrounded by deep green forests. During the winter months, visitors can find ski slopes perfect for night skiing at Vitoshko Lale, while the warmer spring and summer days are ideal for hiking up to the fabulous Golden Bridges or Cherni Vrah. If you are planning a longer trip to Bulgaria, make sure to add Vitosha Mountain to your Sofia travel itinerary.
I bet you are already excited to visit the Bulgarian capital – Sofia! Make sure to use my Sofia Travel Guide when planning your itinerary. Read more about the shopping in Sofia on Bountiful Bulgaria.
Subscribe for more travel posts. Have a lovely day.