Sofia Guide

Travel tips

1 Travel tips

Here are a few things to bear in mind during your stay in Sofia: Do not exchange money at the change bureau at the airport; if you need local…

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Getting to Sofia

2 Getting to Sofia

Above: up, up and away! Left: Bulgarian Air is still alive and kicking Below: old schoolin' it on the railway...By Air Sofia Airport was once…

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Getting around Sofia

3 Getting around Sofia

By Taxi One of the easiest ways to travel around Sofia is by taxi. All taxis in Bulgaria are yellow and have a "taxi" sign on the roof: don't…

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Money Matters

4 Money Matters

Use of credit cards is not as widespread as in Western Europe but is on the increase. Bulgarians still mainly use debit cards of the local banks.…

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Language

5 Language

The first thing to know about the Bulgarian language is that it uses the Cyrillic alphabet created by St. Constantine the Philosopher (Cyril) -…

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Info about Sofia & Bulgaria

6 Info about Sofia & Bulgaria

Situated in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria boasts a long and rich history. Thracians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs and Bulgarians…

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About the guide

Above: The Alexander Nevski Cathedral is one of the world's largest Orthodox churches... Below: ...while the the late Roman Church of St. George is one of the oldest.

Unlike many Central and Eastern European capital cities, all of Sofia's sights aren't compacted into a tiny Old Town, but spread out throughout this large and vibrant capital, waiting to be found. The city of over 1,250,000 people has a long and turbulent history that adds to the complexities of its current layout. Luckily, most sights can be found in the city centre, and good public transportation within the city makes it easy to get around.

Because of recent history, huge contrasts can be found in Sofia's city centre: ancient Cathedrals are surrounded by grey Stalinist architecture, while sprawling block housing stands next to pre-war structures and tree-lined European streets. Meanwhile, all you can see of nearly 500 years of Ottoman domination is one small functioning mosque - though some of Sofia's older inhabitants can tell you about completely different times.

Some of the main attractions you won't want to miss are Sofia's cathedrals. Sofia's long history of Eastern Orthodoxy has left behind impressive and beautiful cathedrals, some dating back to the 10th century. Among those not to be missed include the massive Alexander Nevski Cathedral - a structure so gigantic we really doubt you could miss it anyway. Within its Neo-Byzantine exterior, the beautiful central dome has the Lord's Prayer inscribed around it with thin gold letters. The 10th century Boyana Church, a UNESCO World Heritage site, can be found further out in the Boyana district, while right in the centre of the city (ironically situated in the courtyard of the Sheraton Sofia Hotel) stands the Church of St. George, a late Roman church dating back to the 4th century. And one shouldn't miss the early Byzantine Church of St. Sophia, the very one that gave the city its name.

But if museums are more your style, Sofia's got hidden treasures all over the map. Notably, the National Historical Museum, the Bulgarian Natural History Museum, the Museum of Earth and Men, the Ethnographic Museum, the National Museum of Military History, the National Polytechnical Museum and the National Archaeological Museum all draw crowds throughout the year. Art lovers will want to explore every crevice of the Bulgarian National Gallery of Arts, as well as checking out the Sofia City Art Gallery and the Bulgarian National Gallery for Foreign Art. Many private galleries can also be found throughout the city.

History fans should be thrilled to discover that St. Cyril and Methodius National Library was named after the inventors of the Cyrillic alphabet, and houses the largest national book collection, as well as being Bulgaria's oldest cultural institute.

But if you think visiting Sofia is all about visiting galleries, museums, and churches, Sofia Land will be a pleasant surprise - nearly nine acres of fun await in this massive amusement park, as well as the Sofia Zoological Garden, which can be found right next door. But why are you still reading? Get out and enjoy all that Sofia has to offer, whether you find what you're looking for in a corner of a gallery or in a grassy field in one of the city's gorgeous parks.

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Patrick from Turkey Reply Jan 22nd, 2011

Does anyone monitor these comments or is it basically a fully functioning self censoring web site?

Jacob Kepple from United States Reply Jan 11th, 2011

One fact about bulgaria is................. There are lot's of unfinished work in Sofia, Bulgaria >_> O_O >_> O_O xD

Toop from United States Reply Jan 5th, 2011

Love it i want to go again

davesh kaushal from Kenya Reply Jan 28th, 2009

i would like to visit Sofia but in Kenya Bulgaria have no Embassy so plz rep me the nearest Embassy where i can apply me visa application