Sofia is the capital and the biggest city in Bulgaria. However, compared to most European capitals it is relatively small and most of the popular tourist attractions are located one next to another. We do not have an Eiffel tower like Paris, nor do we have a Colosseum, but still our capital is a beautiful place, especially if you know where to search for its beauty.
National Palace of Culture
This huge building built in Socialist Classicism style commemorates 1300 years (yes, that’s a whole era!) of the establishment of our country. Today, it’s a venue for various events and the park in front of the Palace is a favourite spot for many people. With the recently renovated fountains, alleys and several cafes the National Palace of Culture is definitely worth your time!
This is an entirely pedestrian area, which was recently renovated and I dare say it has quite an European atmosphere. It is always very busy – again, a favourite place to locals. Along both sides of the street you can see plenty of cafes and restaurants with fancy menus, and luxurious shops. Important part of the street’s ‘life’ are the buskers – musicians, dancers, artists, etc. From our Michael Jackson to Charley Chaplin, there is always something interesting to see on Vitoshka.
You might also like: Top sites in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
National Theater ”Ivan Vazov”
This one is my personal favourite. The building of the theatre reminds me of buildings in Vienna, Paris, etc. and it is just as breathtaking! Add the park with green lawns and the fountain and you have the perfect place to take a break. It is quite crowded, though, and here as well you can see many interesting faces. There’s one alley which is always ‘taken’ by chess players, on the square in front of the theater people dance and sing, and in the vacant space next to the park in winter one can enjoy the German Christmas market.
Graf Ignatiev Street
Winding through the heart of the city, this one is always full of life. Alongside you can see lots of shops and cafes. The street is famous for the trams always passing by and for the Slaveikov square. It is named after two of the greatest Bulgarian writers and it is almost entirely occupied by the old book market. I just love strolling down Graf Ignatiev st. with ice cream in hand, especially from Gelateria Confetti!
Large green lawns, giant old trees whose shadow you can lay under, the calming scent of lindens, spacious alleys to ride a bike or just walk around, pavilions witch ice cream and hot dogs – I could go on for hours! Borisova Garden is the place I visit the most and I love its endless alleys which resemble more a forest, rather than a park.
Sofia University and St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral
The oldest university in Bulgaria, this magnificent building just adds on to the charm of Sofia! Bonus: Its roof offers a breathtaking 360 degree view of the city!
Next to the university is the largest church in Bulgaria and (as far as I know) the only cathedral. St. Alexander Nevski is considered to be the symbol of Sofia and this is no wonder – it is one of the most significant buildings in the capital.
The Largo accommodates several government institutions, TZUM department store and the former Party House. An example of Socialist Classicism, the Largo stands tall and majestic, overlooking the city. And around square “Nezavisimost” (between the 3 buildings of the Largo) you can see ruins dating back to the times when Sofia was a Roman province!
Still not convinced?
These are the most popular sites in the Bulgarian Capital, but our city is packed with surprises! Just look around and you will see them. In addition to all the museums, there is the street art, the art cafes and the day trip options! For example, lake Pancherevo is the perfect spot for a chill picnic day!
To visit a city doesn’t necessarily mean you have to visit every museum or square in the city centre. The beauty of travelling lies in exploring. Exploring the unknown, secret places.
If you are interested in Sofia, I’ll be doing separate articles for day trip ideas and restaurants/cafes to visit! 🙂
Disclaimer: The photos below are not mine, they are from Sketches of Sofia.
Pin this for later!