The Bulgarian capital has emerged from its Soviet cocoon as a lively, modern and cultural capital nestled below the majestic Plana Zavala Mountain range. A stroll along Vitosha Boulevard lined with its cosy cafes and interesting shops, shows where the locals love to hang out on a sunny day in Sofia.
With vestiges of the Roman and Soviet eras remaining, Sofia is a pleasant combination of styles and influences from medieval and neo-Stalinist to 21st century design. The beautiful Orthodox Aleksander Nevski Cathedral, the Central Sofia Synagogue and the Banya Bashi Mosque are extraordinary contrasts. Another architectural gem is the Snail House. This colourful oddball 5 storey building in the shape of a giant snail will delight the younger visitor.
The oldest preserved building in the city is the Rotunda St George complete with 14th century portrait of Christ while the Russian Church of St Nicholas is the official church of the Russian Embassy. Boyana Church is another UNESCO protected site of cultural significance.
Forested hikes and walks abound in the stunning Vitosha Mountains, while escapism can also be found in the National Ballet and Opera Theatre, the Natural History Museum, the Sofia Art Gallery and in the excellent Mall of Sofia and the Serdika Centre. The Tzum Department Store caters for shoppers with designer aspirations while close to Aleksander Nevski Church all manner of stalls can be found selling everything from books and antiques to old Soviet memorabilia and locally made produce. For delicious Bulgarian food, the Ekzarh Yosif Street market is the place to go.
Is exotic city is a cross between Russian traditionalism and Mediterranean nonchalance. While it may seem a strange combination, it works superbly in Sofia.
The following information is correct as of January 2015 and is subject to change. Please check with the airline directly for complete accuracy.
Sofia Airport is located 6 miles from the centre of Sofia. It can be reached easily by car in approximately 15-20 minutes. Two local bus services connect the airport to the city centre taking around 30 minutes. Shuttle buses and taxis are also available for hire outside the terminal building.
What you need to know
Currency: The Bulgarian Lev
Visas: UK and EU nationals do not require a visa to enter Bulgaria. However, a passport valid for three months beyond the date of departure is required. Nationals of other countries may need an entry visa. More information can be obtained from a local embassy or from the Foreign Office website.
Laws: The legal age for purchasing and consuming alcohol in Bulgaria is 18. There is a smoking ban in force across the country, prohibiting smoking in indoor public places such as restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs but some do provide designated smoking areas.
Best Time to Visit
May, June and September are the best months to visit Sofia with fewer tourists than the peak summer season, with cheaper flights and warm temperatures. Summers are hot, particularly July and August while winters are very chilly often with plenty of snow. This is the perfect season to visit for those wanting to enjoy the country’s skiing and snowboarding areas.
May and June host Sofia Music Week International Festival, with theatre, ballet and music from all over Europe. March is a good time for film buffs to enjoy the International Film Festival while The European Music Festival in April will appeal to lovers of more classical music. June is all about the arts with the Arts Digital Festival while the International Folk Festival in July showcases the country’s traditional culture of storytelling, music and crafts. The Sprite Graffiti Festival in June is an exciting venture that brings together young people from many countries who practice the provocative urban art of graffiti.
Flexible where you fly? Search nearby airports for bigger savings.
Airports near Sofia
Frequently asked questions
Prices shown on this page are estimated lowest prices only. Found in the last 45 days.