The « Must Do » on a short break to Sofia

Sofia

Sofia is not a large metropolis, but it’s a largely modern, youthful city, with a scattering of different things to do. What are the “Must do” when you have only 48 hours in the Bulgarian capital ?

 

   1. The streets

Vitosha Boulevard is THE street you cannot miss in Sofia if you stay in the capital. For sure, this pedestrian street is full of stores, restaurants, bars, and cafés. This is the « Champs Elysées » of Sofia and this is a central spot of the city. Don’t hesitate to stop by Freddo to eat a typical Bulgarian ice cream or frozen yogurt or to have a drink on one of the numerous terrace.

Sofia
@MadameBulgaria, Vitosha Street – Sofia

Shishman Street is another street you should not miss if you are night life amateur. This is actually the street with the largest number of bars in the city (more than 50) but also very nice and design shops. Shishman street links the National Assembly and Graf Ignatev street. 

Sofia
@MadameBulgaria, Shishman Street – Sofia

   2. The cultural spots

Obviously, if you come to Sofia, you should go see and visit Alexander Nevski cathedral, unique and very easy to recognize with his golden cupels, the cathedral was built in commemoration of the help of the Russians to free Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire.

Sofia
@MadameBulgaria, Alexander Nevski Cathedral – Sofia

Just next to it, the Church Sainte Sophie is also a gorgeous Church, built of red bricks and with a great history. Walking from Alexander Nevski to Sainte Sophie will take you less than 2 minutes.

Sofia
@MadameBulgaria, Church Sainte Sophie – Sofia

Finally, the Russian Church, unique by its design is also a few minutes away from the two other churches mentioned above. If you go to visit it, don’t forget to walk down the stairs to the basement just on your left when you face the entrance. There is the tomb of Saint Nicolas. According to the legend, if you leave in the mailbox next to the tomb a paper with a wish, it will be granted.

Sofia
@MadameBulgaria, Russian Church – Sofia

   3. The Museums

There are two museums that we particularly advice visitors in Sofia. The first one is the Museum of Natural History located just next to the Russian church, and the second one is the National Art Gallery located just in front of Alexander Nevski cathedral.

Sofia
@MadameBulgaria, National Art Gallery – Sofia

   4. The traditional restaurants

If you want to try typical Bulgarian food in a traditional decor and atmosphere, you should definitely visit « Hadjidraganovite Izbi » located on Hristo Belchev N°18. If you go there on Saturday night you will even have the opportunity to see Bulgarian musicians. Don’t forget to give them a tip, they will be more than happy to sing you whatever you want to hear but our favorite song is « Edna Bulgarska roza ».

 If you still want to eat Bulgarian traditional food but in a more « modern » environment, you also can visit the Garden-restaurant of the Niki Hotel, located on Neofit Rilski N°16. The entrance is just next to the main entrance of the hotel. They have a great inner covered garden with red fishes and it is always enjoyable to spend time there, especially when it’s warm and sunny.

Check there our Top 5 of Bulgarian traditional cuisine restaurants in Sofia.

   5. The parks

The park in front of the Theater Ivan Vazov definitely deserves to be seen. With its fountain and its benches, this is one of the favorite place of Sofia inhabitants during Spring and Summer. In the evening, it’s always populated with people meeting there with friends and chatting, playing music or playing chess.

Sofia
@MadameBulgaria, Ivan Vazov Theater – Sofia

If you feel more like an « Indiana Jones », you also can go and have a long walk to South Park, located just in front of Paradise Mall. This is one of the biggest park of Sofia and you forget that you are in the heart of a 1.5 million cosmopolitan city. This is a bit our « Central Park ».

   6. The Bulgarian wine

You like wine ? You must try Bulgarian wine for sure. That would be a pity to come to Bulgaria and not try the wonderful wine that Bulgarian wineries are producing. We have never been disappointed from any wine here in Bulgaria. You basically can have Bulgarian wine in any restaurant or bar. If you tried and enjoy it, you can visit Vino Orenda, a wine cave located Boulevard Makedonia N°50A (be careful, the entrance is located on Boulevard Skobelev).

Sofia
@MadameBulgaria, Vino Orenda Wine Shop – Sofia

   7. The design spots

If you like design decor, then, you should visit the Sense Hotel, next to the National Assembly. From the rooftop bar, you can have a wonderful view on the cathedral Alexander Nevski, Sofia University and the rest of the city. If you go there, try to go in the evening when the street lights are already on but it’s still not too dark. This is the best time of the day to discover the roofs of Sofia with a glass of wine or a Margarita.

Sense Rooftop Bar
@MadameBulgaria, Sense Hotel Rooftop Bar – Sofia

Club Pouchkine is also a nice restaurant, Russian, located in the same area not far from Alexander Nevski Cathedral. The menu is great and the decor will immerse you into the Russia of the tsars. 

Club Pouchkine
@MadameBulgaria, Club Pouchkine Restaurant – Sofia

Kosmos/Cosmos restaurant is also a great place to discover, especially if you want to taste traditional Bulgarian food revisited by a great Chef. 

Cosmos Restaurant Sofia
@MadameBulgaria, Cosmos Restaurant – Sofia

   8. The relaxing spots

You want to relax after a hard and long day ? No problem, Sofia offers all types of facilities. You can for example visit the Sense Spa Sofia. Just in the center next to the National Assembly, you can really enter a bubble of relaxation and enjoy a great moment.

Sense Spa Sofia Bulgaria
@MadameBulgaria, Sense Spa – Sofia

Hotel Anel, on Boulevard Todor Alexandrov is also offering a great spa with a pool, steam bath, and sauna.

Sofia 

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Marie Pietrzak

Founder & Editorial Director

Marie is the founder of Madame Bulgaria. She fell in love with Bulgaria when she came for the first time for a weekend in 2012.