Sofia holidays

Essential Information

When To Go

Spring, Summer, Autumn
April

June – August
September – November

Getting There

60 £GBP

LCY → SOF

Stay There

21 £GBP

3-star hotel

Visas

Tourist Visa
not required

Freedom of movement

Currency
Bulgaria, Lev
1.00 USD = 1.79 BGN
CURRENT WEATHER
Sunny
+24°C
Airport Transport

Taxi: 4 £GBP (15 min)

Bus: 0.7 £GBP (40 min)

Restaurants

Lunch ≈ 4.70 £GBP
Dinner (for two) ≈ 13 £GBP
Espresso ≈ 1.50 £GBP
Bottled water ≈ 0.30 £GBP

Health & Safety
Travel insurance is recommended
Emergency numbers:
Ambulance: 150
Police: 166

Why Sofia

Despite Bulgaria being one of the poorer countries in Europe, the nation’s capital Sofia has a cultured, unique charm. Think of Sofia holidays as an amalgam Moscow, Istanbul and Vienna in one small package.

That can been seen in Sofia’s compact centre where lavish Orthodox churches, mosques and synagogues sit next to late-19th century tenements and Stalinist baroque buildings. The city is home to the second largest church in the Balkans the neo-Byzantine Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Sip coffee on the cafe-filled Vitosha Boulevard, or snap up a cheap bargain in markets like Zhenski Pazar (Woman’s Market).

Sofia is a mountainous town. Peaks more than 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) high rise to the south of the city, and a cable car transports visitors from the suburb of Simeonovo into the Vitosha massif. Some of the cheapest skiing in Europe can be found in these mountains as well as the remote Rila Monastery set in a valley below the highest summit in the Balkans.

When to go

Climate

Winters in Sofia are cold and dominated by snow. On the coldest days the temperature can fall to as low as 15 degrees Celsius (5 Fahrenheit) or lower, notably in January and February. Sofia receives an average snowfall of 95 centimeters (37.4 inches) and 60 days of snow cover.

Summers are typically sunny and warm with the hottest days being in July and August. The spring and autumn in Sofia are both reasonably short with variable weather.

Where to go/stay

There is a wide range of accommodation options for holidays in Sofia from family-run hotels to five-star luxury.

Of the luxury, there are a great number of elegant, old hotels, worth the extra money you pay for the atmosphere and ambience of the place through to modern, five-star hotels.

If it is standard accommodation you’re looking for, the four-star Best Western Premier, Downtown Hotel, Central Park Hotel and Park Inn by Radisson are popular options for you to select from. If those are over your budget there is various mid-range, three-star accommodation for holidays to Sofia as well.

If you are on a budget, go for one of the pensions or small inns, generally family-run, which can be found all over the city.

Things to do

Sofia is home to eclectic mix of architecture: from the ghosts ‘People’s Republic of Bulgaria’ through to 19th century Russian and Viennese houses.

Follow the ‘yellow brick road – see the sights along the famed yellow-hued pavement that runs through Sofia. Or feel the history of the Bulgarian people by visiting the ‘Alley of the Greats’ in the city’s public gardens - Borisova Gradina.

A must see on Sofia holidays is the stunning golden-domed St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, another is the tiny  Boyana Church with its exquisite 13th century medieval frescoes. The Banya Bashi Mosque, designed in 1576 by the celebrated Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan is also worth seeing.

Head to the Women’s Market, (originally all stallholders were women). Here you can get a feel for the flavour of Sofia with its Bulgarian, Turkish and Greek influences. For serious shopping and top designers, visit the ‘Mall of Sofia’.

For a cultural excursion out of the city number one on your to-do list for holidays in Sofia should be the Rila Monastery in Alpine forests 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Sofia.

Dining out in Sofia is an important part of experiencing the city’s culture and traditions. Traditional dishes include Kyufleta (meat balls) and Kebapcheta (mince meat rolls).

Bulgaria is also known for some very good red wines and you can sample them on a night out during your holidays to Sofia. Head to Vitosha Boulevard and the uber-trendy Ulitsa Rakovski.