The 14th largest city in the European Union, Sofia is the capital as well as largest city in Bulgaria and is beautifully located at the foot of Vitosha Mountain in the western part of the country. A Beta− city as declared by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, the city is the education, culture, commercial and political center of Bulgaria. Expanding on an area of 492 km2 of land the city has a population of over 1,296,714 residents and has an elevation of 500–800 meters above sea level. Strategically positioned at the center of the Balkan Peninsula, the city has developed significantly. The history of the city goes back to the time when Thracian was the only settlement and during that time the city was called Serdica. The city has subsequently been ruled by Byzantium Empire, Ottoman Empire, and Russian forces before becoming the People's Republic of Bulgaria in 1946. While Bulgarian is the official language spoken by majority of people, English is also a popular language.
Passengers travelling to Sofia, land at the Sofia Airport which serves as the major international airport in the country. Located at a distance of 5 km from the city center, the Sofia airport is currently served by more than 25 airline operators that offer schedule passenger flights to and from Sofia. The city falls in the humid continental climate zone which features warm and sunny summer and freezing cold winters along with short spell of spring and autumn season. During winter months, the temperature can dip to as low as −15 °C and January is the coldest month of the year. Summer is Sofia last from April to October and the temperature rarely exceeds 35 °C. July is the hottest month of the year and is prone to heat waves. Apart from the chilling winter months (which have their own charm, especially if you want to enjoy snow fall or skiing), the city can be visited at any time of the year. The month of July which is the warmest in the year can be skipped when you are planning a holiday in Sofia. Sofia Music Weeks in May and June , Sofia Film Festival in March, A to Jazz Festival in June, International Folklore Festival in July, Sofia Dance Week in October, Challenges Days in November and Sofia Rocks in June or July are the major cultural events celebrated in Sofia.
Begin you city tour by visiting the numerous churches, museums, theaters, tombs, gardens and parks. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is one of the major sightseeing places and is the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world. There is a unique charm in the city's Centre and its Streets and Graf Ignatiev Street, Tsar Shishman Street, and Rakovski Blvd are among the most important streets filled with heritage attractions. The UNESCO approved world heritage site, Boyana Church, is an exquisite beauty famed for its location at the foot of Vitosha Mountain and gardens located around it. The Church of St. Nicholas is another UNESCO approved world heritage site where tourists can see the grave of archbishop Seraphim Sobolev-Winderworker who was believed to have healing powers.
The city is known for its numerous parks and Borisova Gradina Park, Yuzhen Park (South Park) and the park at the Military Academy are the best of all. Vitosha Mountain surrounded by lush greenery is another major draw where tourists can enjoy relaxing walks, one-day hikes and skiing in the winter. The Rila Monastery (UNESCO protected monument) and The Belogradchik Rocks (famous for its Magura Cave and Baba Vida Fortress) are also worth visiting.
Eating and Shopping
Baking, grilling and steaming are the general methods that are used to cook a traditional Bulgarian feast. Moussaka, gyuvetch, and baklava are the oriental food available all across the city. While Pork is the most common meat eaten here, fish and chicken are also consumed. Beef is less common in Bulgaria. Some of the local delicacies which you can enjoy here are - Banitsa, kozunak, Tarator, Shkembe chorba, Shopska salad, Snezhanka salad, Trushia, Kyopolou salad, Lyutenitsa, Kebapche, Kyufte, Sarma, Musaka, and Garash cake. The city is home to number of fast food giants and for those who do not wish to savor the local dishes, there are plentiful restaurants across the city, serving wide range of international cuisine.
For the shopping aficionados, Sofia with its numerous traditional and modern offerings will not disappoint you. TZUM, Antiques, Halite, NDK, Women's Market, Vitosha Street, Zhenski Pazar, The Book Market, Street market next to Alexander Nevski and the old part of the city are the major shopping destinations in Sofia. Lace, rose oil, shampoos, perfumes and soaps made of rose oil, Bulgarian Rose Jam, CD with typical Bulgarian music, Bulgarian cheese, football t-shirt of the Bulgarian national team and a statue f Sofia's patron saint are some of the things you can buy in Bulgaria.
Flexible where you fly? Search nearby airports for bigger savings.
Airports near Sofia
Prices shown on this page are estimated lowest prices only. Found in the last 45 days.