Sofia

Sofia is the modern day capital of Bulgaria and it has been ruled by Celts, Romans, Byzantinians, Ottomans and Soviets so has a very mixed architecture. Bulgaria was home to the Thracians in ancient times, the most famous of which was Spartacus the gladiator who challenged Rome.  It is also home to the oldest civilisation in Europe – the Varna culture.

The city itself sits under the Vitosha mountain which makes you feel like you are in the Alps. The central street is pedestrianised and there are parks everywhere

1 Lev is about 50p ( Feb 2019) so food accommodation and drink is cheap at about £1.20 a pint. It can be a destination for stag and hen do’s. Note some places are cash only but there was a good number of contactless payment pubs and shops.

Transport

The Sofia metro runs from the Sofia airport to the city centre for 1.6 lev and the information about public transport. A day ticket on public transport is 4 lev but you need to validate it each time before use which is a pain. 

Sofia Bike Rental has bikes for 20 lev a day. Lots of parks in Sofia and very tolerant of pavement cycling. The bike shop is good and flexible and does tours from April. 

Tram and bus journeys can be planned with the Easyway app or website. Most of the tourist sites are easily accessible on foot.

Bars

Na Popa bar, Sofia, Graf Ignatiev St 43, 1142 , Sofia with beer garden was one of my favourites. Great Bulgarian food and English version. Be prepared to have the wrong food delivered and then be asked to eat it because it is good anyway. Their English is not great and they were so nice I ate it. 

Bira bar had the best beer in Sofia – Bulgarian IPA was great. 

JJ Murphys was mostly full of Bulgarian Manchester United fans. We liked the staff here none of whom are Irish. 

Hambra bar, ul. “6-ti septemvri” 22, 1142 Sofia Center, Sofia.  Candlelit basement bar …. and smoking allowed. You have to knock on the door to get in. Quite a few tourists there. We didn’t enjoy the smoke.

The Thirsty Dragon Inn, ul. “13-ti Mart” 2, 1142 Sofia Center, Sofia.  Cheap margaritas and food here.

Made In Home, ul. “Angel Kanchev” 30, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia. The food here is eclectic. 

Pizzalab, ul. “Graf Ignatiev” 44, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia.  Cheap and cheerful pizzas and beer. Has a few outlets.

Sense Hotel Rooftop bar, bul. “Tsar Osvoboditel” 16, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia. Great views over the city

The In-Your-Pocket site has a full list of bars in Sofia.

Things to See

National History Museuem, ul. “Vitoshko lale” 16, 1404 Boyana, Sofia. Has Thracian gold on display. Plus oldest gold treasure in world from 4000BC . I enjoyed these two exhibitions most. Some of the regional costumes are nice.


Serdica Roman ruins – city was Rome of the east and many ruins around centre centre. At one time the emperor had it as his capital. The ruins are around and under the Serdica metro station
St George church, the oldest building in Sofia built in 345 by the Romans. The Roman emperor published his edict of tolerance against Christians from Sofia in 315.

Churches – there are many religions here and the churches are everywhere.

Links

Archaeology in Bulgaria

12 reasons why your next trip should be Bulgaria 

 

Basic Phrases

Thanks Blagodarya Благодаря

Yes Da да

No ne не

Please Molya te Моля те

Bill smetkata сметката

 

 

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