Sofia places to visit are ample and of great interest. A weekend escape is enough to see much and you can combine sightseeing with a leisurely and pleasant stroll in the city center. Having visited Sofia, Ruse, and Pleven ten years back, Bulgaria appeared on our travel plans once again only when family members moved to Sofia temporarily.
The country was not on the top of our bucket list but lately, I keep coming back. Recently I visited Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa and plan to expand to other interesting districts. If you follow the tips below, you will manage to see several of its highlights. Enjoy it….
Aleksander Nevski Cathedral
You can start off your tour with one of the most recognizable symbols of Sofia. Imposing and stunningly beautiful, take your time to admire its façade, and step inside to see more.
The imposing and noble building of the Cathedral was built between 1882 and 1912 in memory of 200.000 Russian soldiers who died in the Russo-Turkish War. The Cathedral is one of the symbols not only of Sofia but entire Bulgaria, and the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world. There are daily services, visitors are welcome and they can hear evocative Orthodox chants and prayers.
Saint Sofia Church
Saint Sofia Church, is one of the oldest churches in this capital, the church that has given the city its name. Visit the catacombs if you have the time.
Sofia Places to Visit
Close by, the St. Nicolas Church, also known as the Russian Church. You will be impressed by the beautiful architecture and the Russian-style bulb domes. If you have a wish to make, get to the church’s crypt and write it on a piece of paper. It is said that it will come true. Give it a try and see what happens!
By crossing the boulevard in front of the Church of St. Nicolas, you will come to a nice garden with a fountain. It is a meeting spot for locals finding shelter under the shade of trees gathering for a game of chess, but also street musicians. Opposite the fountain, you will see the nice building of the National Theatre.
Towards the end of the sight-seeing tour of this first day, and before heading to Vitosha Boulevard you should consider visiting Largo. Above the glass, the busy contemporary capital, and below the Ancient Serdica city. Time for a drink, or lunch, even to buy a few souvenirs. Take a leisurely walk in the pedestrian zone of Sofia. There is everything you dream of, and head to Vitosha Boulevard, a street bursting with life.
You could start your day from Graf Ignatiev Street to feel a different atmosphere this time. A popular central pedestrian and busy street with a lovely atmosphere. A mixture of people, trams passing by once a while, shops and bakeries.
Reaching the cross street Tsar Shishman turn left to find yourself in a trendy area with art shops and quirky bookstores but also popular bars. This road leads to the Parliament building and a minute from the oldest university in Bulgaria.
Sofia Places to Visit
Continue to Oborishte Street which is a haven for the curious traveller, one of the most pleasant streets, flanked by the large neo-classical residences, a street that has always been inhabited by the elite.
To feel its particular ambience walk through a few of its cross streets to find second-hand shops, Sicilian restaurants and nice bakeries.
The last significant attraction of your weekend itinerary, the Sofia History Museum. It is behind the Banya Mosque and to get there take Dondukov Boulevard. The Sofia History Museum has long been a Sofia landmark known for its elegant style, lavish ornamentation and exquisite majolica decoration. You could easily spend a couple of hours inside if you have the time. It is the unique building of the former Municipal Baths. Since 2014, it hosts the new permanent exhibition of the Sofia History Museum.
Sofia Places to Visit
And for the good end of the day, if you have some more time, you could step into the Central Sofia Market Hall which is across the street. It is a covered market located on the Marie Louise Boulevard.
The Central Market
The building of the Central Sofia Market Hall combines a neo-Renaissance style with neo-Baroque and a touch of neo-Byzantine features. The atmosphere is more like a modern shopping centre. One can buy anything from food, cosmetics, clothing, jewellery and accessories, leather goods and many more. The atmosphere inside is pleasant, modern, clean and the market in all is well-organized. Open from 07.00 to 24.00 h. The prices in the shops are normal and not overpriced.