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Sofia Travel Guide, Bulgaria

Sophia is the capital of Bulgaria, its largest city and the cultural nexus of the country, all of which make Sophia a prime tourist destination.  It is also nearly surrounded by mountains, which makes for great hiking or skiing day trips. Also, the Black Sea resorts are within 3 hours travel by car.

  Sophia has several well known thermal mineral springs that were first put to use by the Romans who constructed baths during the reign of Tragen. Since that time, several baths have always drawn visitors seeking the rejuvenating effects. 

Sophia has a rich history beginning in the 8th century BC, when it was a Thracian village. It has served as the capital, or as an important city, during the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, and the architecture, food and ambiance of Sophia reflect this diversity. Bulgaria became independent from the Soviet Union in 1989 and has recently joined the European Union.

Sophia has many historic sites, including a UNESCO designated site, the Boyana Church, which was built in the 10th century. Other churches of architectural and cultural interest are the Orthodox Alexander Nevski Cathedral and Church of St Sophia, which is a fine example of the Byzantine style.

Sophia is the home of the Bulgarian National Opera and Ballet and the NDK, a culture and congress center. The Rakovski Street district is home to several theaters, including the Ivan Vazov National Theatre. Many art, history, military history, archeology and special interest museums are to be found in Sophia.  Among the latter are the Museum of Earth and Men and the Ethnographic Museum, which offer in depth information on unique subjects.

There is a central shopping area in Sophia where most of the contemporary European chain stores are represented. TZM is the oldest department store and Vitosha Boulevard is the place to find luxury items and fashion boutiques, with shops featuring most of the popular international designers. An alternative are the outdoor markets, especially the book market located at the Slaveykov Square.

Sophia has a vibrant night life with cafes, bars and clubs that remain open 24 hours daily. Many offer live music and there are several DJ orchestrated house music dance clubs. A visit to a traditional Bulgarian tavern, or Methani is a pleasant and unique experience. Sophia boasts a great number of restaurants with nearly every type of cuisine on offer.

There are several destinations for family outings, such as Sophia Land, a very large amusement park, and the Sophia Zoological Garden, which is conveniently located next door. 

Sophia's central district offers a lovely area for strolling, with streets cobbled in yellow stones and the Borisova Gradina, a large public garden, offers a quiet place to sit.

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Read our members' reviews about Sofia

  • vcppowGreat clubs and the best parties in Sofia
    review by vcppow posted more then 30 days ago
    Sofia, Bulgaria is a city filled with people who enjoy a good party, so it is easy to find bars and cafes open around the clock and filled. Licensing laws do not exist here, so a drink is on hand at any time. The area surrounding the Vitosha Boulevard is a the best destination for nightlife and...
  • vcppowDiscovering Sofia
    review by vcppow posted more then 30 days ago
    Sofia has been conquered repeatedly throughout its history and has been part of the Roman, Macedonian, and Byzantine Empires, and in the Twentieth Century, became part of the Soviet Bloc. This turbulent history left Sofia with traces of all of the exotic cultures that have annexed it and it is a...
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