Sofia, the colorful capital of Bulgaria, has a lot of stories to tell. With high raised glasses and tasty food, Sofia welcomes fans of good life.
Sofia is slowly finding place among the best European destinations and many travel magazines and guides are claiming it as the new Berlin. Each historic attraction will give you a perspective on Sofia’s complicated past. Each plate will tell you a different story. Here’s a quick guide of the best things to do, try and taste!
Things you should know
Bulgarians shake their heads for yes and nod for no. No, it’s not a joke. But pay attention to the contest because some people use the international way.
Non-stops are the best thing about Sofia. You can find an open shop or pharmacy almost everywhere, but they tend to be a little more expensive.
Klek shops (in English: knee shop) are small shops you can hardly see unless you watch your feed while walking. Many of them are also non-stop and mostly sells food and beverages.
Getting around in taxi is so cheap and easy – download the TaxiMe app and save time.
The Lev is the Bulgarian currency. Except for hotels and some restaurants, you can pay only in leva. Be sure to only change your money in change offices. A secret place to change your money without a commission is Poli Currency Exchange on blv. “Skobelev” 2. You’re welcome!
Tap water is good for drinking, but you can also refill your bottle from one of the many mineral water springs.
The delicious food
Trying banitsa is a must during you stay. It’s a traditional kind of a pie with cheese that people usually have for breakfast. Combine with a special yoghurt drink called ayran. Another delicious breakfast to try is mekica, fried dough typically served with cheese or homemade confiture. Mekica&Kafe is where you should try them.
Rakia is a Bulgarian legendary beverage and the most popular spirit among the South Slavic people. The most popular rakia is made of plums, grapes or apricots. It’s alcohol volume is 40 degrees and goes up to 70 so be wise. Order the aromatic drink with shopska salad (tomatoes, cucumber, cheese) to complete your experience. Raketa Rakia Bar or Sputnik have the best selection and Raketa also serves some delicious Bulgarian dishes.
Moma is a restaurant serving typical Bulgarian dishes. The atmosphere is amazing – modern interior design mixed with traditional patterns. Ask for the plate of the day if you want to be pleasantly surprised.
Cosmos is a place from outer space in the very center of the city. Amazing interior and food that takes you to the moon and back. Don’t leave without trying the rose desert. By far, the best restaurant in Sofia in my opinion.
Head to one of the two Chef’s by chef Viktor Angelov for a modern cuisine and amazing meat dishes accompanied by carefully selected Bulgarian wine.
If you want a more extravagant experience head to Secret by Chef Petrov. Try the tasting menu and let your senses guide you. Note: the menus are changing often so try not to read Tripadvisor’s reviews and just go and experience it.
Note: almost every restaurant in Sofia closes its kitchen around 22:30-23:00 so be sure to ask or check their website when making a reservation.
Things to do in Sofia
Sightseeing is a great way to learn more about every city, so Sofia offers a Free Sofia Tour in English. Fun and educational, it is the perfect introduction to the city and its thousands years of history.
The National Gallery Kvadrat 500 is a brand new cultural sensation. With a collection of over 42000 exhibits the museum offers a glimpse at the finest Bulgarian and international art.
Locals love to have fun at escape rooms or hanging at a bar with a nice drink while catching up. In Sofia there are plenty of escape spaces to try with friends.
Sofia has many green spaces and parks such as Borisova Gradina (Boris’ Garden), Yzhen Park (South park) and many others where you can sit and enjoy a nice sunny day or join the people playing chess.
Visit Vitosha mountain ( less than 30 min with a car) and enjoy the views from Kopitoto (the hoof) – The Vitosha mountain TV tower.
Sofia has so much more to offer – pick up a local tourist guide from any of the mentioned restaurants or bars above and explore my home country!