43 Things To Do In Sofia, Bulgaria

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Many people visiting Bulgaria focus on either the ski slopes or beaches, but there’s a lot more. Check out these fun things to do in Sofia.

Bulgaria Travel Blog_Best Things To Do In Sofia

Over a century ago, Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria aimed to make Sofia a fashionable capital city to the likes of nearby cities, Budapest or Prague. Walking the locally renowned yellow-bricked-tree-lined road leading to the National Assembly building, you will get a good idea of his vision.

Fortunately, although perhaps the city hasn’t reached the fashionable potential Ferdinand had in mind with matching standards of other European capitals nearby, it has reached its own unique, passionate, and quirky potential to do with culture, tradition, and art and is thriving with its distinctiveness.

There are numerous fun things to do in Sofia, which is growing into an enthralling capital in Eastern Europe. Some travelers swear this city to be the next Berlin because of its quirks, creative takes on culture, and the fact that the young generation has a tremendous impact on the city and what is happening within it. However, Sofia is on track to be whatever it wants to be, and there is no greater potential than that.

Sofia Is One Of Europe’s Most Exciting Cities

Things to do in Sofia - Wander the streets

Tucked in the country’s western side below the impressive Vitosha Mountain, this city, full of 2,000 years of history it has endured by the Greeks, Romans, Ottomans, and Soviets, is one of the most special you will experience in Europe.

Many people visiting Bulgaria tend to focus on the ski slopes or the beaches, like Bansko and Varna. Sofia, the country’s capital, is often overlooked in the process. That’s really a shame. Sofia is an eclectic city with so much more to offer than most people realize, including being home to some of the best hotels in Bulgaria.

Sofia is situated in the very heart of the Balkan peninsula—equidistant from both the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea—and is ancient. Archaeological evidence shows people have lived in the area for more than 9,000 years. Nowadays, it’s a thriving city with many different faces. There are plenty of fun things to do in Sofia, from great museums to Red Army monuments and iconic onion-domed churches to modern businesses.

On top of that, it’s one of the most affordable capital cities in Europe for tourists, with a great selection of accommodations for all budgets.

Entrepreneurs are also drawn to this vibrant and mostly modern city as it’s considered one of the world’s top ten cities for technology start-ups.

Long story short, this is a fascinating place to visit. It’ll surprise you, impress you and enchant you. Find out where to go in Sofia when you visit Sofia, Bulgaria, in this things to see in our Sofia city guide.

Best Places To Visit In Sofia, Bulgaria

Below is the all-inclusive list of best-known and alternative things to see and do within Sofia, Bulgaria, during your holiday:

Best Churches In Sofia

1. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Things To Do In Sofia -St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria

An enormous edifice with a capacity to hold 10,000 people, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is unquestionably the most iconic building in the city, the epitome of Sofia tourism, and one of the very symbols of Bulgaria.

One of the ultimate Sofia landmarks, it’s one of the world’s largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals. Like much of Sofia’s imposing architecture, this cathedral also dates from the late 19th century.

If you’re figuring out what to see in Sofia in one day, this place should be the focal point of your Sofia trip itinerary.

2. St. Sofia Church

Its roots go back to the 6th century; St. Sofia Church is Sofia’s second-oldest church. Even though it’s a rather unassuming building—especially compared to other churches in the city—the St. Sofia Church is the church that gave the town its current name in the 14th century, making it one of the most significant places to see in Sofia.

You can visit the church and see what remains of the building’s foundation and tombs that date back about 1,500 years.

3. The Quadrangle Of Religious Tolerance

A rare area in the world today where four places of worship among four different religions gather and are peaceful with each other. The Orthodox Christian Saint Nedelya Church, the Sofia Synagogue, the Banya Bashi Mosque, and the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Joseph all sit within a hundred feet or so of each other.

On the same street (Knyaz Boris Street), be sure not to miss the Romanian Orthodox Church of Holy Trinity, and on the other side (Todor Alexandrov Blouveard), you will find St Mary Armenian Apostolic church. This is a unique chance to see how religions can coexist harmoniously and peacefully.

4. Church St. George Rotunda

In the center of Sofia, you’ll find this beautiful, small church dating back to the 4th century. The church was originally built within the ancient city of Serdica as a Roman bath but was converted to a church later. It is now the oldest church in the capital and is made of attractive red brick with a domed roof.  

The church is also part of a set of ruins, and behind the church, you’ll find old buildings, a former basilica, and a drainage system. Inside, you’ll find beautiful frescoes in excellent condition from the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries.

5. Sofia Synagogue

The largest synagogue in the Balkans and the third-largest in Europe as a whole, the Sofia Synagogue, can accommodate no fewer than 1,300 people. Its measurements are extraordinary, the main hall being 31 meters high and its central chandelier weighing 1.7 tons.

You can step inside to marvel at the Carrara marble columns, intricate wood carvings, and colorful Venetian mosaics. Also, don’t forget to visit the Jewish Museum of history, housed within this enormous synagogue.

6. Church of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Maker – Russian Orthodox Church

Things to do in Sofia Bulgaria - Church of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Maker - Russian Church

One of the prettiest sights in Sofia, no doubt about it. Aside from its beauty, you can also take the time and make a wish at the church. Open to people of all faith; all you need to know is where to go. Make your way to Georgi Rakovski Street and Tsar Osvoboditel boulevard and locate the Russian Church’s side door.

From there, make your way to the tables with pens and paper, write your wish and then drop it into the box. From there, you wait for your wish to be granted. My kids wished for a cat; what would you ask for?

7. Boyana Church

Another of Sofia’s many great churches, Boyana Church, is one of the major Sofia sights. This medieval Bulgarian Orthodox church lies outside the city center and is famous for its fresco-covered interior.

You can see no fewer than 89 different scenes, including 240 images of people. Because of this wealth of frescoes, the church was designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

Best Historical & Cultural Sites In Sofia

8. Serdica Ancient Complex

A stone’s throw away from the Serdika Metro station, you will find the Serdica Ancient Complex, a must-visit for history buffs. Here you’ll discover the remarkably well-preserved remains of Serdica, the ancient Roman city.

The remains were found when the Metro was built in 2010, and you can see the outline of eight Roman streets, baths, houses, and a basilica that dates back to the 4th century.

9. Monument To The Soviet Army

Sofia's Red Army Monument - Sofia Bulgaria

The Monument to the Soviet Army was constructed in 1954 as a form of gratitude of the Bulgarian government to the Soviet Red Army for protecting Bulgaria during World War II.

The monument depicts a soldier of the Soviet Army, a male worker, and a female Bulgarian peasant. The monument is located in the King’s Garden on Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard, close to Orlov Most and Sofia University – the heart of the city – which means it is a popular place for young people to meet and hang out. It is also surrounded by a splendid park around the statue and surrounding area. 

It has recently become somewhat of a canvas for local artists and graffiti vandals, and authorities have taken liberties in protecting the monument to reinforce good relations with Russia. It is easy to understand how locals (especially young Bulgarians) don’t appreciate what the statue commemorates or its message. The Soviets had a cold grasp on the country for so long.

10. Sofia Public Mineral Baths

Like many other major Eastern European cities, Sofia originated near or on top of natural hot springs. Arguably the greatest structure that commemorates this integral feature of Sofia is the Central Mineral Baths.

The current Sofia Public Mineral Baths building was constructed near the previous Turkish/Ottoman baths in the early 1900s. It features traditional Byzantine, Eastern Orthodox, and Bulgarian architectural elements and is one of Sofia’s most prominent landmarks.
While the mineral baths are now closed, you can still fill your water bottle and taste try water.

11. Monument of Stefan Stambolov

Stefan Stambolov is one of the founders of modern Bulgaria and is a revered figure in the country. This monument is an important spot, and it is also located a stone’s throw from the site where he died, having been killed in the middle of the day by two assassins.

If you want to learn about Sofia’s history, visiting this spot and understanding the founding behind the modern version is essential.

12. Amphitheater Of Serdica

Before 2004, no one even realized that Sofia sat on what used to be one of the largest amphitheaters in the eastern Roman Empire.

The ruins of this colossal amphitheater lie in the heart of modern-day Sofia but were once one of the landmarks of the ancient Roman city of Ulpia Serdica.

Some of the ruins are now integrated into the Arena di Serdica Boutique Hotel, which has to be one of the coolest hotels in Sofia. Tourists can see the ruins free of charge.

13. The Largo

Things to do in Sofia - The guards in front of the Presidency building

A visit to Sofia is not complete without a walk around Largo. This is the governmental heart of Sofia, and therefore of Bulgaria, comprising three so-called Socialist Classicism buildings. The Largo is regarded as one of the prime examples of this type of architecture in Southeastern Europe.

The collection of buildings consists of the former Party House, which now serves as the National Assembly of Bulgaria, a building housing the Council of Ministers of Bulgaria and the TZUM store, and a third building housing the Sofia Balkan Hotel, Ministry of Education, and the President’s Office. Other notable sites in Largo include the 4th-century Church of St. George.

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Best Tours In Sofia

14. Cook & Eat With A Local Tour

A huge part of visiting any location is trying the food. But eating food in a restaurant and eating food in a local home are two totally different things. This food tour means you can enjoy local, authentic food cooked by those who know while also learning how to cook yourself.

The tour comprises guided shopping, cooking, and tasting the dishes. You’ll get to make a local shopska salad and banista, and you’ll also be able to try local drinks, including rakia!

For those who love food, this is a great day out and a way to say you’ve truly experienced the ‘real’ Bulgaria.

15. Free Walking Tour Of Sofia

This tour will take you around the most popular Sofia attractions and will make you aware of what the city offers.

Around cities in Europe (especially capital cities), you may have taken a free walking tour guided by a local – usually a young adult or student – who has taken the time to study the city’s history and modern realities and is often an excellent source of local information.

In Sofia, it is no different, and the city offers an excellent free walking tour which meets every day at the Palace of Justice at various times depending on what time of year you visit the city. When I was there in summer, the tours ran at 11h, 14h & 18h.

The tour will take you past all of the most well-known attractions in the city center of Sofia and give you the most bang for your buck in terms of historical and present information.

16. Sofia Communism Tour

Soviet Red Star - Sofia Bulgaria

Step back in time to experience Bulgaria, and specifically Sofia, during the time of communism. This historical 6-hour tour accommodates groups of 1-4 people and takes place in both the City Center and also on the outskirts of town.

Hop into a retro Chaika car and explore various sites around the city, including the Museum Of Socialist Art, the Bells Monument at the foot of the Vitosha Mountains, the purpose-built “Druzhba” neighborhood, the former office of the Communist party and the site of a bombing by the communist party in 1925 at St. Nedelya church.

You will also have a chance to pick up old communist relics at the market and eat at a local traditional restaurant during the tour (for an additional charge).

This tour is a great way to understand what everyday life was like for both the political leaders and residents of the time, as well as learning more about the influence and relations of the Soviet Union.

Best Parks In Sofia

17. The Borisova Gradina Park

Things to do in Sofa, Bulgaria - Garden Borisova Gradina Sofia Bulgaria

Many don’t know that Sofia is among the greenest capital cities in Europe. The Borisova Gradina Park is the oldest park in the city and is located at Sofia’s epicenter. Initially constructed on the park’s outskirts, it became centered in the town as the city grew.

It is also the biggest of the city’s four major parks. It takes a while to stroll through and will give you a nice breather from the city. There are ice cream vendors, restaurants, and bars nearby, and it is easy to spend a whole afternoon here!

You’ll find shady spots and plenty of sculptures to explore. It’s also a great place to let the kids run off some steam – much needed when sightseeing! During the summer, you’ll also find a large swimming pool, a lake, and sporting activities, such as football, tennis, and a cycling track.

18. Zaimov Park

Things to do in Sofia Bulgaria - Park Zaimov

The park is named after General Vladimir Zaimov and is easy to find as it is right by the Sofia Theatre. You’ll find many great fountains, statues, kids’ play areas, green spaces, and park benches here. The park is also close to one of the best restaurants in Sofia – Raketa! We got lost here for a while and found it relaxing.

19. Kristal Park

Located in front of the National Theatre, this is an excellent place to pair with your viewing of the iconic theater and can quickly fill an entire afternoon.

After long, cold winters being one of the highest elevated capital cities in Europe, the folks of Sofia are usually itching to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Swing by in the spring and summer months in Bulgaria and participate in your picnic, people-watching, and getting to know Bulgarian customs as you mingle with locals and backpackers.

It is a great place to bring hostel mates as there is also a growing international vibe, with backpackers starting to show up at the park.

Tip: It is an excellent place for sunset, and more locals show up later in the evening anyway.

20. Vitosha Mountain Nature Park

Things to do in Sofia - Sofia and Vitosha mountain

Located on the outskirts of Sofia, Vitosha Mountain towers over the city. Its massive dome rises 2,290 meters toward the sky and is Sofia’s most accessible ski destination. It will undoubtedly feel as though you have made it off the worn tourist track in Sofia once you’re up on this mountain.

It’s so large that it actually consists of many different peaks, ten of which reach more than 2,000 meters in height. This enormous mountain is also a nature park—the oldest one in the Balkans—and offers a wide variety of outdoor activities.

If you’re looking to escape the big city for a while, Vitosha Mountain is one of the best places to go in Sofia. Although many visitors know of the locally famous mountain, few take the time actually to hike up it. It’s easy to reach the top– no need to take an expensive tour with a guide or anything. Make your way toward the foot of Mount Vitosha using public transport (Bus 93 and 122 will get you there from the city center) and find one of many trails to start climbing.

If you’d like to do as little climbing as possible but still want to take in the excellent city views and breathe the fresh mountain air, Bus 66 will take you near the Aleko area, which is the highest you can climb using public transport.

Unfortunately, Sofia is also known as one of the smoggiest cities in Europe. So, hopefully, you get a clear day to take in the view. It may be the only European capital city with a large mountain nearby. Don’t miss your chance to explore nature so conveniently. Make a day excursion out of it!

Best Theaters & Performing Arts In Sofia

21. Ivan Vazov National Theater

One of the top Sofia tourist attractions, the Ivan Vazov National Theater, is Bulgaria’s national theater and the oldest theater in the country.

Located in the heart of the city, facing the City Garden, it’s named after famous writer Ivan Vazov, whose play “The Outcasts” was the first one that was performed in the theater after it opened. This imposing building, with its huge portico, is a major landmark in Sofia and Bulgaria, depicted on 50 lev banknotes printed in 1999 and 2006.

22. The National Opera & Ballet

Not only is this building pretty unique in terms of architecture, but it’s a cultural hotspot in Bulgaria, not just Sofia. Located in the city’s center, there are regular opera, ballet, and art performances. Be sure to check online to find out what performances are available during your stay, but even if you don’t get tickets, visit the building anyway.

Having been founded in 1890, this is the site of the first opera and drama company in Bulgaria.

23. The National Palace Of Culture

Things to do in Sofa, Bulgaria - Garden in front of the National Palace of Culture,

The heart of modern Sofia runs through the National Palace of Culture, built in 1981. This is one of the most well-known attractions on this list. Hosting events – anything from concerts of international pop stars to film festivals to art exhibits and fashion shows. Check the NDK (National Palace of Culture) website for details and prices of all the events at the event center while you are in Sofia, and try to check it out at least once.

Things to do in Sofia Bulgaria - Metro

There are many ways to get to NDK via public transport: Bus 204/604, Trolley 5, Tram 1, and the Blue Line metro will all take you to NDK. Oh, and while we are talking about the Metro in Sofia, I can say that the experience is top-notch. We rode it to several locations costing just 4 LEV for the day!

Best Museums, Art Galleries & Street Art In Sofia

24. National Institute Of Archaeology With Museum (NIAM)

We know that Sofia is one of the oldest cities in the world, so it makes sense that you can find all types of archaeology. The National Archaeological Museum is a historically significant architectural landmark filled with fascinating exhibits that makes exploring easy, with everything in one place. The building itself is also pretty special.

The museum is housed within a former mosque, which was once the oldest Ottoman Mosque in the city. Inside, you’ll see examples of architecture dating back to Thracians and Medieval times.

NIAM exhibits cover the complete study of the culture of tribes and peoples who have lived in Bulgaria’s remote past up to more current times. Its displays showcase Bulgaria’s cultural heritage, spread across five exhibition halls—Prehistory, Middle Ages, Treasure, Central Hall, and a gallery for temporary exhibits. 

Spend a few hours browsing through artifacts housed in the multi-leveled building, including tools, metal works, grave goods, gold & silver ornaments, ceramics, and art, all of which tell the story of this unique country’s history.

Discounted tickets are available for students and groups, and if you visit on the last Sunday of the month, admission is free for everyone.

25. Regional History Museum Sofia

Learning about history is much easier when everything is in one place. This museum is an excellent spot for those who want a thorough overview of Sofia’s history, dating back thousands of years. Inside you’ll find eight halls with various attractions and temporary exhibits from time to time. Be sure to check out King Ferdinand’s carriage and the Deed of Tsar Ivan Shishman, which is gold-sealed and dates back to 1378. The old neolithic home exhibit is also a great spot, referring to the 6th century BC.

26. National Museum of History

The vast National Historical Museum exhibits Bulgaria’s history, from prehistoric times to the nation’s communist era. With its 650,000+ artifacts related to history, ethnography, archaeology, and art, this is one of Sofia and Bulgaria’s most excellent museums.

The museum is home to both permanent and temporary exhibits and 59 thematic collections. The permanent exhibits walk visitors through the changes in Bulgarian land over time, with a special focus on the Neolithic, Bronze, Renaissance, and Middle Age periods. A beautiful exhibit of folk culture and costumes is also on display. Collections feature flags, fabrics, traditional clothing, weapons, jewelry, coins, and so much more! 

You can explore the multi-level museum on your own or book a guided tour. Tours are offered in multiple languages (Bulgarian, English, French, German, Russian, or Japanese) and should be requested two weeks in advance so the museum can accommodate a guide who speaks the requested language. Special talks for children can also be arranged ahead of time if you are traveling with young kids

Buses No. 63, No. 111, No. 304 (from Monday to Friday), and trolley bus No. 2 can all be taken to the museum from locations around Sofia.

27. Muzeiko Children’s Museum

Muzeiko is a children’s museum, one of the first of its kind in Bulgaria. Award-winning and super-modern, the museum is an excellent spot for children to learn while exploring – they won’t know they’re remembering! With many exhibits for all ages, it’s a great day out for all the family and a good option for a rainy day.

The museum takes you on a journey through time and space and has three floors that help you to explore the past, the present, and of course, the future.

28. Museum Of Socialist Art

Museum Of Socialist Art Sofia Bulgaria

Displaying works of art from the period of Socialist rule in Bulgaria (1944-1989), this museum is definitely worth a short visit. It is home to an extensive sculpture garden featuring at least 70 works throughout the park grounds, including the large five-pointed star that once crowned the former Party House. It’s a great place to escape the city for a quiet art history walk.

Indoors, a rotating exhibit hall features easels and fine art based on themes from the era, showing various perspectives and interpretations of the period. Additionally, Socialist-era archival and documentary-style videos are shown in a separate room for a different type of visual experience.

The gift shop is a great place to pick up a piece of authentic memorabilia for those wishing to take a piece of history home with them.

29. National Art Gallery

If you want to immerse yourself in Bulgarian art, the best place to visit in Sofia is the National Art Gallery. Battenberg Square houses no fewer than 50,000 works of Bulgarian art, including the country’s most extensive collection of medieval paintings and superb National Revival and contemporary art pieces.

30. Local Street Art In Oborishte District

Not many tourists stumble upon this little gem of a neighborhood. It has an incredible repertoire of local eateries, artisan shops, and cafes, which is excellent for getting some work done. Not only that, but the entire neighborhood is filled with creative art on walls and sides of buildings which have become a theme for the area.

Arguably the best part of the neighborhood comes when you get north of Chavdar Bridge, where the density of building murals increases.

These aren’t just your ordinary graffiti artists, either. It is apparent from the sheer size of these murals that these local artists were contracted to bring this neighborhood to life. Some murals cover the entire length of the buildings, and the whole area feels like an open canvas.

31. The Big, Vibrantly Colored Snail House

Every bit of this unique building is of the anatomy of a snail, from its entrance doors symbolizing the snail’s mouth. It is as weird as it sounds, but it makes it a can’t miss!

Though this big colorful building is starting to show up on more internet travel lists, it is still (for the majority) unknown. Head here if only to grab a few photos of one of the most unorthodox residential apartment buildings you will ever see.

Located at Boulevard Simeonovsko Shose 187

Best Shopping & Markets In Sofia

32. Shishman Street

Shop local culture at Shisman Street!

Though Shishman is prominent and popular, what you find on this street is the real treat. This street will keep your afternoon busy, whether it’s local art, food delicacies, local fashion, or other small trinkets and surprises.

Not only that, but a walk down Shishman Street will take you past a few of the larger landmarks in Sofia, like Patriarch Evtimiy Square and Sveti Sedmochislenitsi Church. You’ll find this street easily if you’re staying near the InterContentantal hotel.

33. Vitosha Boulevard

If you like (window) shopping, you want to take a stroll down pedestrianized Vitosha Boulevard. Many a Sofia travel guide says that this is the most important commercial street in Sofia, lined with restaurants, cafés and bars, fashion stores, and boutiques selling luxury products.

34. Bitaka Flea Market

Sofia may be chock-full of culture and history, but it has a lighter side. If you’d like some fresh air after spending hours in the city’s museums, consider going for a walk through the Bitaka Flea Market. This is easily the most interesting flea market/bazaar in the city.

Casually browsing the many stands is one of Sofia’s most relaxing and fun things. Vendors sell everything from jewelry, old cameras, and photos to watches, clothes, merchandise, and toys. Who knows what you might find?

35. Zhenski Pazar Women’s Market

The Zhenski Pazar Women’s Market opened over 140 years ago and is a bustling and vibrant spot even today. Here you can find everything you need and taste some of the most delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. You can also buy clothing, souvenirs, and spices.

The experience of walking through the market is like no other, with a colorful and exciting vibe. The market is also in the city’s center, so you can easily find it and make it a part of your day.

Where To Eat And Drink In Sofia

Eating and drinking are also among the best things to do in Sofia. They’ll enhance your travel experience tremendously, giving a fantastic insight into the local Bulgarian culture. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started.

36. Vodenitsata Restaurant

Bulgaria Travel Blog_Things to do in Sofia Bulgaria_Vodenitsata Restaurant
Photo Credit: Vodenitsata Restaurant

Eat traditionally, and watch culture at Vodenisata Restaurant. Located On Vitosha Mountain, the journey to get here is already worth your time, not minding the quality of the local food you are served. However, even the food is delicious! And you get more than a healthy serving size of any dish you order for a very reasonable and affordable price.

The restaurant’s interior design is traditional, and almost every night, you can witness a folklore program of traditional dances, costumes, fire dances, and other energizing performances.

It is one of the best places to go for a complete local taste of the city. Though, it will take you on an excellent ride to get there. Completely worth it!

Address: Kv. Dragalevtsi, Park Vitosha, Sofia | Website: Vodenisata Restaurant

37. Izbata Tavern

Bulgaria Travel Blog_Best Things To Do In Sofia_Tavern Izbata
Photo Credit: Tavern Izbata

In the heart of Sofia, near the Alexander Nevski cathedral and the Parliament, this restaurant serves authentic Bulgarian cuisine in an invitingly traditional setting. Food is local, prices are low, and there is an option for an English menu should you need it.

A hearty selection of vegetarian and meat options are featured on the menu, and recipes for the dishes come from all over Bulgaria to give you a true sense of the country’s cuisine. Sip Bulgarian wine, beer, or rakia as you dine, and don’t forget one of the local desserts to polish off your meal.

Reservations can be made online ahead of time.

Address: ul. “Slavyanska” 18, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia | Website:  Tavern Izbota

38. The Hadjidragana Tavern

Housed in a building featuring old cellar decor, the atmosphere of this restaurant is unique and cozy. Upon entering, note the stone walls, old wooden barrels, displayed traditional Bulgarian clothing and wood carvings, all carefully selected.

Traditional recipes from all over Bulgaria are on the menu, and each day an entire lamb is roasted in a classic wood-burning oven. Plentiful options for traditional salads, meat platters, vegetable dishes, and desserts fill this menu, all made with local ingredients. In addition, the restaurant hosts an extensive wine list with many Bulgarian varieties.

On Wednesday through Sunday evenings, guests are treated to live folklore music, making this a place that’s incredibly fun to take kids along.

Be sure to call ahead for reservations.

Address: ul. “Hristo Belchev” 18, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia | Website: The Hadjidragana Tavern

39. Raketa Rakia Bar

Raketa - Where to eat in Sofia Bulgaria

This trendy & funky bar, set in a Soviet-era building, feels like a museum and bar in one. Both pet and family-friendly, it’s a welcoming spot for all. Enjoy the Soviet-style interior and memorabilia as you relax at this local establishment.

It hosts an extensive selection of Rakija, as the name suggests, and is also a great place to grab a beer and a bite to eat, with local European dishes on the menu. And, as a bonus, if you like the spirits you try, you can buy them by bottle to take home with you!

Address: 17 Yanko Sakazov Blvd Next to Sputnik Cocktail Bar, Sofia 1000 | Website: Raketa Rakia Bar

40. Farmhopping Kitchen

Bulgaria Travel Blog_Things To Do In Sofia_Farmhopping Kitchen
Photo Credit: Farmhopping Kitchen

Head to Farmhopping Kitchen to enjoy authentic Bulgarian food produced by farmers who are members of the Agricultural Cooperative SIS Coop.

This hidden gem has a constantly changing menu as it specifically uses the freshest local ingredients in season. Diners will love the quality of the food, the excellent value for the cost, and the family atmosphere of the dining experience itself.

The fresh meat, wine from local producers, and homemade raki are all worth a special mention, but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. You might find yourself coming back again and again during your stay in Sofia!

Feel free to eat at the restaurant, order take out or have food delivered. 

Address: Bul. “Patriarh Evtimiy” 44, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia | Website: Farmhopping Kitchen

41. Shtastliveca

Bulgaria Travel Blog_Things To Do In Sofia_Shtastliveca
Photo Credit: Shtastliveca

Shtastliveca is a small chain of popular restaurants, originally started in Veliko Tarnovo in 1997. The Sofia location is on the newer side, and the shabby chic and vintage decor of Europe’s 1930s will make you feel at home.

Two halls and a summer garden provide ample space for diners during both the lunch and dinner hours. The focus here is on traditional Bulgarian, or Balkans region, food, with a menu that lines up with the ingredients of the seasons.

In addition to tasty food, a good, extensive wine list will make any wine connoisseur happy to spend an evening here.

Address: Bul. “Vitosha” 27, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia | Website: Shtastliveca

42. Mehana Mamin Kolyo

Bulgaria Travel Blog_Things To Do In Sofia_Mehana Mamin Kolyo
Photo Credit: Mehana Mamin Kolyo

If you are looking for a spot where the locals eat, this is it! Here, you can unwind from the city noise, eating in either the summer beer garden accompanied by music or indoors with authentic decor and often dancing later in the night on the main floor, especially during the weekends.

Here you will experience authentic dining without the restaurant trying to be authentic. Portions are large, and the food can be heavy, so come on an empty stomach. Prices are moderate for the city, so it’s a good choice when looking for something a little less expensive. 

If you are traveling with kids, the garden hosts a play space where they can get out some energy while waiting for dinner to be served.

Book a table online or order for delivery!

Address: ul. “Pozitano” 40, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia | Website: Mehana Mamin Kolyo

43. No Matter Where You Eat – Try Rakia


Rakia isn’t unique to Sofia or Bulgaria, but they certainly have their distinctive take on it. I recommend trying Rakia in every city/country in the Balkan region of Europe.

In Bulgaria, plum and grape rakia is often mixed with various herbs, honey, sour cherries, and other ingredients to give it an individual taste different from other versions of Rakia you have tried in the Balkan region.

This fruity brandy is the national drink of Bulgaria and is popular among other south-Slavic countries.

Visit Sofia Bulgaria, And Revel In Its Quirks!

Sofia is one of the most unique cities in Europe, and it is only a matter of time before the rest of the European tourists catch on to this secret and crowd the city. Beat them to Bulgaria to witness all of the existing culture and traditions that are often lost to major tourism. Now is your time!

As Berlin is to Germany, Sofia is the real heart of the country, and it is easy to recognize it provides life to the rest of the country. There is something special about this city you must see to understand!

So, tell us – will Sofia, Bulgaria, make it on your travel itinerary this year?

Comments (3)

  1. I enjoy reading your travel blog, each time i want to just pack my bag! Now, I feel ready for a dose of Bulgaria.

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