Sofia in 48 hours

48 hours in Sofia, Bulgaria

SOFIA

Sofia is the capital city of a Balkan country - Bulgaria. Sofia is often overlooked by visitors, as they tend to head directly to the coast resorts. However, Sofia deserves one or two days to discover the youthful city center with onion-domed churches, Ottoman mosques and a long pedestrian street overseeing the nearby hills and mountains. Do you know that the city was called "Serdica" before? Or that Bulgaria has beautiful nature just a short bus ride away from the centre? In this guide I will outline some of the things to do and see in Sofia if you will stick around before exploring further.

Your 48h itinerary 

DAY 1

10:00 
Start your day with a cup of coffee or tea from Drekka and take a walk around boulevard Vitosha, before many locals and tourists will come to the main street. Stroll around the pedestrian main street and admire the view on the mountains from far.
11:30
Reaching the end of the street, you should arrive to the beautiful public park of National Palace of Culture. Take a stroll around the park and make a round around the fountains to head back to the city.
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria
12:30
Head to Craft bistro for a lunch break. This cozy place has great choice of wine and food with the cute little outdoor seating area.
14:00
After your lunch, walk towards Church of Sveti Sedmochislenitsi. The Orthodox church that was created between 1901 and 1902 through the conversion of an abandoned Ottoman mosque.
Not far from this mosque, you can get to The Ivan Vazov National Theatre, the neoclassical building which is one of the important landmark of Sofia.
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria
15:30
Sofia city center is pretty walkable. Hence, you can now move north-east towards Russian Church "Sveti Nikolay Mirlikiiski". The small pretty Orthodox church built in Russian Revival architecture and situated on Tsar Osvoboditel boulevard.
Not too far from there, you will also arrive to the famous Bulgarian landmark icon of Cathedral Saint Aleksandar Nevski. The cathedral built in neo-byzantine style is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedral. Do you know that from 1931 until 1992 it was the largest finished Orthodox church in the world? And until the year of 2000, it was the largest finished Orthodox cathedral. Take the opportunity to admire the beautiful cathedral inside out.
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria
16:30
Just around the corner, don't miss out to visit The Saint Sofia church as well. It is the second oldest church in Sofia, dating back to the 4th century. After visiting cathedrals and churches, take a walk back towards eagle bridge in the downtown of the city. You will pass Sofia university and arrive to the bridge over the Perlovska river. Just behind the Ploshtad Orlov Most or so called Eagles' bridge, you will oversee the large Borisova Gradina park
18:30
Stop by Rainbow Factory 2 for a dinner, a great and pretty place for brunch, lunch as well as dinner.
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria
DAY 2

10:00 
Start your day exploring the ancient Serdica archaeological complex in the city center nearby Banya Bashi mosque, which is the only functioning mosque in Sofia. This archeological site is situated just above the Serdika metro station and it displays the ruins of Roman city. There are fragments of early Christian basilica, baths and houses dating from the 4th to 6th century.
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria
11:30 
You may want to visit a Regional History Museum located just opposite of Banya Bashi mosque. Not only that the building of a museum is spectacular, but this house was once a former baths building, which was opened to the public in September 2015 after years of restoration. Thus, it is one of the newest place in Sofia to visit. Museum is dedicated to history of the city and people's life. 
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria
13:00
After the visit of a museum, walk to Sofia's central market hall to grab some lunch. The building with three entrances is built in neo-renaissance style with some features of neo-byzantine and neo-baroque architecture. You'll find bakery, olives, nuts, sweets, rose oil products, souvenirs, accessories or fast-food restaurants in there.
14:00
After a break, check the Sofia Synagogue located just next to the market hall. It is the largest synagogue in Southeastern Europe and one of the two functioning in Bulgaria. 
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria
14:30
Few minutes away from synagogue is Lion's bridge if you would like to walk towards there to see. Alternatively, walk south towards the city center and stop by St. George rotunda to see the remains of the ancient town of Serdica (the name how Sofia was once called). It is an early Christian rotunda, considered as the oldest building in Sofia. It is located just behind the Sheraton hotel. For those who are interested to learn more about archeology and history, visit the National Archaeological museum located just nearby St. George rotunda.
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria
16:00
Before your day ends or before your flight, have your last meal at Made in Home restaurant. A cozy restaurant not far from the main street Vitosha. Make sure to withdraw some cash, as they don't accept cards, also book your table in advance if travelling in a big group.
Depending on your time, speed and level of interest to visit other museums and galleries, you may plan your day in your interest. You may also want to do as much as you can in one day to allow you a day trip outside of Sofia. Read further to see what other places you can visit around Sofia.

What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria



Where to stay?

In Sofia we have stayed in St George hotel near the main Vitosha street and close to the National Palace of Culture. The location of this hotel was perfect, because it was walkable to everywhere as well as it was few minutes away from an undeground station, making it even more easier to get from and to airport.

St George hotel had everything we needed, from a little kitchen area to a cute balcony. Check your options on Airbnb or Booking.com and make sure to use my links for some ££ off!     
                                         
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria

How to get around

The city center of Sofia is pretty much walkable. You can easily get through the main attractions and parts of the town. To have quicker and easier access around, you can get an underground or trams around. One way ticket costs 1.60 BN and you may purchase them in ticket machines. If you are planning to travel more frequently, you may consider purchasing pack of 10 tickets, one or three full days tickets. 
The best thing in any city is that the airport is well connected with the underground, so you don't need to purchase any additional tickets nor book transport in advance. 
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria

Places around Sofia

For many of you, Sofia for a day or two would be enough to capture the essence of this capital city. Nevertheless, Bulgaria is a beautiful country by itself with full of natural parks, beautiful churches and ancient history around the corner. 
Below are some suggestions for some great day trips out of the city. Whether you like hiking, relaxing days in a nature or exploring history, there are places for all of your needs. Easily approachable by public transport, tours or you can even hire a car for a road trip.
1. Boyana Waterfall
2. Seven Rila lakes
3. Belogradcdik fortress
4. Rilla Monastery
5. Plovdiv
6. The Melnik Pyramids
7. Belogradchik rocks
8. Vitosha mountains
9. Koprivshtitsa
10. Saeva Dupka cave
What to do and see in Sofia, Bulgaria

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