Sofia

Sofia

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About Sofia

Perfect city break destination for exploration of east meets west

For years Bulgaria’s capital city has hidden away in relative obscurity, but now the culture, cuisine and beautiful scenery of this cosmopolitan city are pulling in visitors faster than ever before. However, Sofia has still managed to stay off the radar of the tourist trail, making it the perfect city break destination to explore the beautiful combination of east meets west.

Here you will find everything that you would expect from a great European city, such as art galleries, stylish nightclubs and delicious traditional cuisine. Be sure to also keep an eye out for a few famous faces as thousands flock to the city throughout the year for the exciting jazz music and international film festival.

Flight deals to Sofia

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Irrespective of budget the historic centre of Sofia is the best place to consider hotels. Those looking for old-world charm should stay at the Sofia Hotel Balkan (5 Sveta Nedelya Square), while the luxurious Arena Di Serdica Hotel (2-4 Budapeshta Street) features the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre. The Crystal Palace Boutique Hotel (14 Shipka Street) is a solid mid-range option that boasts a restaurant with an attractive terrace and inviting bar, while for those on a tight budget, Hotel Aris (1 Seliolus Street) offers excellent value for money.

The selection of traditional and contemporary ceramics and textiles on offer at Traditzia (36 Vasil Levski Boulevard) is excellent, and you'll also be helping to support local minority and disabled artisans by shopping there. Good quality works can also be found at the Centre of Folk Arts and Crafts, albeit for higher prices. There are a number of busy markets that are ideal for a browse, including the Central Sofia Market Hall (25 Maria Luisa Boulevard). Not quite as well-known but bursting with atmosphere is the Zhenski Pazar (Ladies’ Market) between Ekzarh Yosif Street and Slivnitsa Boulevard, which sells everything from pottery to fresh produce. For traditional embroidery, original art and religious icons hit the stalls that permeate Alexander Nevsky Square.

Despite lacking a strong reputation on the international foodie radar, there are plenty of dining options to be found in Sofia. Eat in style at Panorama Restaurant (100 James Bourchier Boulevard), which ranks as one of the city’s finest haunts. There is no menu, but rather you select what you want from the numerous trolleys that fly past your table. Ego (12 Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard) boasts a more contemporary feel, while Pri Yafata (29 Dondukov Boulevard) is great for traditional Bulgarian fare. Meanwhile, enjoy a beer with the locals at the Kanaal Beer Garden (2 Madrid Boulevard).

Sofia International Film Festival

March

This film festival is one of Sofia’s largest annual events, showcasing world cinema and local Bulgarian works. A series of Q&A sessions and discussions allow visitors to immerse themselves in big-screen culture.

Sofia Jazz Peak

March and October

This festival has been running for a long time and is held twice each year. Newcomers and international stars alike put on performances around the city that cover a wide variety of the jazz genre.

Sofia Music Weeks International Festival

May/June

This festival celebrates classical and orchestral music, ballet and opera, with a busy programme of events that include choral and chamber music concerts.

Sofia Design Week

June

Design professionals from all over the world gather for this week-long event that sees workshops, exhibitions, discussions and film screenings celebrate contemporary visual culture.

Sofia Dance Week

October

A number of workshops and lectures complement the programme of performances that are put on by international contemporary dance companies at the Sofia Dance Week.

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Key facts

Language:Bulgarian
Currency:Bulgarian Lev
Time zone:GMT +2 hours
Flight time:3 hours 25 mins
Airport code:SOF
Holiday type:Beach / Summer Sun

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Sofia map

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