SOFIA

The capital and largest city of Bulgaria houses about 1.3 million people in the city and almost 1.7 million people in the metropolitan area. Located at the foot of Vitosha Mountain in the western part of Bulgaria, Sofia finds itself in the center of the Balkan peninsula. Sofia is an important area of human habitation and hometown to many local universities, cultural institutions, commercial companies and others. As at 2013, the city was considered the most affordable capital to visit in Europe. As a developed city, Sofia owes its recognition as a significant settlement to its central location in the Balkans. Though unlike many other European countries' capitals, Sofia does not have large rivers or bridges, yet it is surrounded by comparatively high mountains on all sides. Sofia has an extensive green belt and remains one of the most visited tourist destinations in Bulgaria plus the coastal and mountain resorts. Also, it holds the largest museum collections as top attractions for students, among others. You definitely do not want to miss out of the pleasingly laid-back specialties in Sofia.
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Best Things To Do In Sofia

Main Things You Need To Know About Sofia

Weather

Sofia's climate is relatively mild and a bit cooler than other destinations in Europe. A number of tourists would prefer visiting Sofia between May and October and the reason for that is not far-fetched; the weather during this period is warm and favorable for excursions. Visiting Sofia during the winters is the best shot for travelers and visitors at large. Sofia gets a fair amount of snow because of the drop in temperatures below freezing in the winter. On the average, Sofia experiences about 77 days rain out of 365, and it peaks in April and May. Still, May is not a bad time to visit Sofia.

Travelling Here

The Sofia Airport (SOF) is located 9km east of the center of the city, making the city and entire country easily accessible from all parts of the world. This airport is the busiest in Bulgaria, recording an annual passenger traffic of over 4 million, and more than 20 airlines operate service to/from Sofia- directly to/from many European and Middle East cities. You can connect the city from anywhere in the world and be received at the major airport where you can get your tourism journey kickstarted. Aside coming in by plane, Sofia has a central bus station in the north part of the city center with Eurolines Bulgaria being the largest operator of international buses to/from Bulgaria. The operations of buses range from Belgrade to Serbia, Vienna, Austria, Paris, Berlin and other cities in Germany plus Budapest and Prague. In addition, you can access Sofia by train as international trains provide a large number of routes to Sofia to arrive from places like Kiev, Istanbul, Vienna, Belgrade, Bucharest, and Moscow, among others. Moreover, you can gain access to the Bulgarian Capital city via several entry points by car. Some of these include: From the North & South via E79/A6, From the East via Thrace Highway E80/A1-A3 or from the old road paralelling the E80 Highway-Zlatitza-Pirdop - Pazardzhik route, and other routes

Lodging

Sofia has some nice options for tourists in terms of accommodation. This is to ensure you have an unforgettable memory of the city and entire tour during your stay. You can check out some websites like booking.com for interesting hostel suggestions. You should note that majority of hotels in Sofia are of high standards; hence, it doesn't matter much where you go. In Sofia, dorm rooms with 6-8 beds are about 20 BGN per night. If you want luxury hotels, you can get them on the Vitosha Boulevard, but away from there, you can find attractive medium and low prices hotels around. Some of the top-ranked hotels are: 1. Hotel Hernan Cortes 2. Hotel Oca Santo Domingo Plaza 3. Hotel Sofia 4. Hotel Lotelito Valencia 5. AC Hotel by Marriott Valencia

Eating

Sofia remains yet a wonderful travel destination even as it boasts of modern restaurants that meet every stomach-concern of yours. You can get affordable takeaway food in Sofia.Cuisines like traditional Bulgarian food in bakeries where banitsa and other kinds of pastries are offered, pizza, a hot dog or a sandwich for less than 2.7 BGN. Also, you can get vegetable, fruits of all kinds and others at affordable prices. All over Sofia, Pizzeria-type restaurants and snack bars can be found. Regardless of what you crave, there are soup places and other amazing restaurants in Sofia to meet your food needs.

Safety

Sofia is a considerably safe city, at least compared to most U.S. and European cities. Meanwhile, you should keep your common sense active lest you get into conflicts. Also, ensure you avoid going into dark alleys and parks alone at night. Bulgaria, like all places, has its shady areas but you can be sure walking home alone is to a large extent safe in Sofia because the streets are always calm and lit. Just ensure you take necessary little precautions, and you are fine.

Getting Around

Transportation systems in Sofia are active and on-point, readily available to allow you explore the entirety of the city. Sofia has a well-developed and efficient public transport system for all- locals and visitors. These systems range from buses to trolleys, trams, and subway. The only transport system available at night is taxis. Ensure you get your tickets for whichever option you choose and use appropriately. You can also decide to tour the city on foot as the streets therein have adequate tile pavements, especially in the center of the city. Other options of getting around Sofia are by mini-bus (even though this is relatively tourist-unfriendly because of their numbering), renting a car, renting a bike and by taxis.

Top Attractions

In Sofia, it's a sure bet that you would probably want to stick around for some more time and explore further. This is for no other reason than the interesting and ancient ruins that cut across the city center. Some of the top attractions you might want to visit are: 1. Aleksander Nevski Cathedra. 2. Boyana Church 3. Sveti Georgi Rotunda 4. Sveta Sofia Church 5. Archaeological Museum 6. Museum of Socialist Art 7. Sofia History Museum 8. National Museum of History

Being Local

Sofia is a place where you will get treated friendly and receive a warm welcoming from the locals. Even though not all of them speak foreign languages, you can be sure learning the basics like few phrases in their local language and identifying with all of their activities during your visit will leave you with a memory never to forget.