Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, offers to its visitors various sights and places to visit. Yet, the region around it is as or even richer in cultural and historical places to explore than the city itself. So, if you are looking for some amazing excursions from Sofia to do for the day, here is a list with top places that are really worth visiting.
If you want to go somewhere near yet beyond Sofia, you absolutely have to visit the Boyana Church. This is popular for its unique frescos. This Church (Боянска църква, Boyanska tsărkva) is a medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church. The spot is located on the outskirts of Sofia, in the Boyana neighbourhood. The building is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. It’s among the best excursions from Sofia to do.
Another place worth visiting is the Dragalevtsi Monastery which is located in the neighbourhood that has the same name. This is a really beautiful place in the Vitosha mountain that you absolutely must see and the nature is perfect! The entrance fee is quite affordable and there is a bus that goes near there. Then, take you lunch to picnic in the area.
Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa
These are among the most popular excursions from Sofia that tourists explore. Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa are two iconic Bulgarian cities. Plovdiv is only an hour and a half away from the capital. The city is famous for its old town that preserves the historic traces of the Romans, Thracians, and Byzantines. Then, Plovdiv was, in 2019, European Capital of Culture. Koprivshtitsa on the other hand is the perfect destination for a historical tour. It will help you learn how the revolutionaries freed Bulgaria from Ottoman rule.
The monastery is one of the favorite excursions from Sofia for people who like cultural and historical places. No visit to Sofia is complete without a trip to see the old Rila Monastery. Founded in the 10th century, the monastery is one of Bulgaria’s most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments. That’s why it is a main tourist attraction for Bulgaria and Southern Europe as well. What’s more along the way, you can enjoy the fascinating mountain views. Once you get there you can visit the monastery museum, see Rafail’s Cross, as well as the frescoes in the monastery.
Three caves near Sofia
If you are searching for another journey away from the bustling of the city, you might consider visiting the three of the country’s most beautiful, caves. You will learn about how these underground natural places have been used during the centuries. Almost every day from Sofia are organised trips to the 3 caves. Among those : Saeva dupka, Bulgaria’s most famous cave, the Prohodna cave—called also the ‘Eyes of God” and the Devetashka cave.
Valley of the Roses
Apart from its beautiful nature and old traditions Bulgaria is known world-wide for its rose oil. This famous oil is used in cosmetics production not only in the country but abroad as well. So if you happen to be in Sofia, take the opportunity to visit the Valley of the Roses. The valley is the center of rose oil production. However, you should remember that rose blooms can only be seen from mid-May to mid-June. After that you can go to the Thracian tomb in Kazanlak. There you will learn about its ancient history and admire its unique architecture.
Belogradchik Rocks & Fortress
And last but not least, go to explore the Belogradchik Rocks & Fortress. These strange rock formations are situated at the western slopes of the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. The rocks have been fascinating and intriguing scientists and ordinary people with their form, age and location. The area deserves its place among the top excursions from Sofia to do.
So, if you are in Sofia for a visit or considering going there, don’t limit yourself to the city’s monuments only. As you see there are amazing places to go to outside of it as well.
Cover picture @Monica Garniga
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