Ladies Market : 20 reasons to stroll there

Smiles, friendliness, generosity, an atmosphere, lot of good products, the Ladies Market or Zhenski Pazar is Sofia’s largest and busiest market, the most picturesque and vibrant one located near Stefan Stambolov Boulevard and Pirotska Street in the center of the capital. Recently well renovated, it is a place that I frequent once a week for the quality of its products and the friendliness of its merchants. 

Ladies Market

The Ladies Market – 9:00am – 7:00pm (Google map) – is one of the oldest outdoor market of Sofia established from the Ottoman era. It has been recently renovated but the place still retains its authentic and exotic atmosphere. I love the atmosphere of this market because it’s for me the best site in Sofia to observe a local way that apparently hasn’t changed in centuries. Upon entering the market, follow it to the end (when you can not go further, after more rustic fruits and vegetables market area). The Ladies Market is known for being the cheapest outdoor market in Sofia, with oriental influences, where you can find a wide range of seasonal colored fruit and vegetables, seeds and dry fruits, local dairy, cheese, cured meats, all kinds of spices, Bulgarian typical pottery, homemade honey and wine, plumbing equipment, clothes and others things.

Ladies Market Sofia

“This market is a real pleasure for all the sensesthe beautiful colors of fruits and vegetables (green, red, yellow, etc.), spices smell, the noise of the local life market and the delight of its products put all your senses in turmoil.”

Contrary to what local people sometimes tell me about this market, I never had problem there although I don’t seem to be very local. So, I was not robbed, nor attacked, nor talked evil and I think being not alone. I have nothing else than very good memories in this place. So, No !, the Ladies Market is no more dangerous than Disneyland in Paris (to take an example) and whenever I can, I like to spend time and to take home the products I appreciate to buy there. My 20 reasons to stroll there :

  1. Enjoy a glass of local wine for only 1 Leva 

Just after the market entry, in the first sellers block on the left, you can taste a local wine that will start your walk and the exploring of the market. Just beside, you can buy a Bulgarian hot dog which goes very well with your glass of wine (and a nice idea for a saturday’s cool lunch).

Ladies Market

  2. Find there the best quality of eggs and other bulgarian dairy products very good 

Just some meters later, on the same side of the market, you will find this very small shop of dairy products, arranged in the same way it was 50 years ago in France, I like it very much. Product are simple but of good quality. It’s also the only place I find eggs category 1, the best ones, when the hens run free in the meadow, and cow’s milk that I digest.

Ladies Market

  3. Meet the only merchant of the market – and maybe of this planet too – who plays bullfight with his Bulgarian tablecloth

To continue to follow the market, be sure to visit the shop of this guy, very friendly (he often gives gifts to his customers : the last time, he offered me a small cute bell (So cute !) and totally passionate by his product. There, you can find all you need to have a Bulgarian atmosphere at home for a very attractive price : Guvetche containers (5levas), coffee cup (3levas), tableware … All his products are manufactured in Bulgaria.

Ladies Market

  4. … who sells also super Bulgarian typical costumes for your small local parties with friends

You could find there also very beautiful and well colored Bulgarian costumes.

Ladies Market

  5. Speak about Bulgarian Crafts with the neighbour merchant just also as friendly and passionate by his products

Just 3 meters after, another merchant of Bulgarian potteries will tell you about its products with lot of passion, with some English notions and a smile from ear to ear. Anyway, I think he could have spoken to me of this beautiful Bulgarian dish made by his family for hours.

Ladies Market

  6. Contemplate the shelves fulled of sweets and to yield to temptation

In opposite to the right, there will be sweets everywhere. Be quiet, you have a good reason to want to buy some kilos : only 6 levas 1 kilo, it’s very interesting and Summer is still far …

Ladies Market

  7. Buy super slippers for long evenings by the fire

You will find there mainly slippers, tablecloths, etc. all made in Bugaria. 

Ladies Market

  8. … and beautiful woolen blankets Made in Bulgaria

To put on a bed and fill you with warmth for only 60 levas (30€). My next purchase there definitely.

Ladies Market

  9. Fall on an old scale, completely old school (I love !)

You can find everything you need to bake good cakes. A small well stocked shop close the last one, in the old part in front of the wooden renoved one, at the beginning of the market.  

Ladies Market

  10. Wonder what coffee beans you’ll choose as the choice is large 

At the middle of the renoved part of the Market, on the right, in a classic shop, this merchant propose lot of different kind of edible seeds – flax, rice, sunflower seeds, nuts, beans, coffee, etc. – let yourself with the coffee aroma that wafts throughout the place.

Ladies Market Ladies Market

  11. Test the delicious honey on sale here and there on the market

Made by Bulgarian local producers.

Ladies Market

  12. Visit the Church near the Market 

In your way, going to the Hall portion of the market, it is your right and deserves a stop.

Ladies Market

  13. Spices, Spices & Spices, she has all you need I think

Ladies Market

  14. A desire for bananas ? 

Stalls filled with bananas, only bananas with a merchant who only sells bananas. At least 450 bananas on this little table.

Ladies Market

  15. … Or potatoes ? 

I missed the photo but this merchant had played the game for my photo, there is a nice atmosphere here. You’ll understand it’s him we have to go if we want to eat potatoes (or onions).

Ladies Market

  16. So, lot of colored and fresh fruits and vegetables everywhere in this market 

Ladies Market

  17. All this give me the desire to cook a couscous. Sure, all I need is here (including the best seeds couscou that I find only there) …

Ladies Market

  18. …why not with some olives 

Ladies Market

  19. Here you find a good quinoa for only 1 leva / 100gr 

It’s impossible to leave the Ladies Market without enter on this shop, located close to Pirotska Street and the enter of the Market. You cannot miss it, because its window is filled with big pots glasses filled with herbs or seeds of all kinds. Inside, odors and flavors mingle and you will turn the head of pleasure. There, I buy lot of things but mainly my quinoa, really less expensive than other places. 

Ladies Market

  20. Then, visit the shop of the bulgarian brand, LB Bulgaricum 

LB Bulgaricum is the Bulgarian yoghurt made of high-quality cow milk and symbiotic starter that contains the bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus isolated in Bulgaria. Milk, cheese, yogurt, seasonal products, wine or butter, those products seems to be very good for the health. So why not ? To know more : lbbulgaricum.bg (english version). 

Ladies Market

The Ladies Market is definitely a place to visit or to shop for food. I let you find all these nice places on the market, it will not be complicated. And then, if you cannot find them, you will find others. Have a nice moment.

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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.

3 Comments
    1. Dear Janey, Where are you come from ? Visit the Ladies Market during a break in Sofia is a nice occasion to be impressed by the Bulgarian local atmosphere where few tourists are. If you are searching information about the Market or Sofia, we will be happy to help you.

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