24 Hours in Sofia

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A historical gem at the junction of Asia and Europe, Sofia has the creative energy of an up-and-coming destination city. Signs of ancient Rome and Thrace are on display alongside influences from the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires, as well as the 50-year period of communist rule.

Local galleries, museums, and cafés pepper the city with unique art, pottery, and cuisine. Visitors will enjoy sampling and shopping their way across this unique and vibrant city.


Start your day with a coffee and banitsa, a local pastry made with eggs and cheese. You can sample it inside one of the many bread shops in Sofia’s historic downtown, such as the popular ‘Denis’ Banitsa House.

View Thracian gold and other treasures at the National Archaeological Institute and Museum. Then explore the city on foot on the Free Sofia Tour, which departs daily at 11am from the Palace of Justice.

For lunch, Pod Lipite serves authentic Bulgarian food in a traditional setting. Warm up with a cup of soup and try the lyutenitsa appetiser, a traditional dip of peppers, onions, and tomatoes.

For a little nature after lunch, stroll through Boris’ Garden, the city’s largest urban park. In the winter months it’s possible to rent skates for a spin on the ice.

For a glimpse of Bulgaria’s communist past, head to the Museum of Socialist Art, featuring statues and monuments as well as representative paintings loaned from the National Gallery.

Stop at the delicious Tea Sweet Shop in the leafy diplomatic quarter of Istok for a sugary baklava. Then head back downtown to the National Gallery of Art to see the latest exhibition.

Take a stroll down to the historic Central Market Hall for a variety of indoor shopping and snacking opportunities. The 19th-century building contains a variety of craft shops and food speciality stores.

Adjourn to the rooftop of the Sense Hotel for a view across the city at sunset. Then take a taxi to Sage Bistro, a popular restaurant on the slopes of Mt Vitosha, for dinner.

There’s still plenty to do after dark in Sofia. Head over to The Apartment, a funky teahouse that really is a house, and finish the night with music or a show at the National Palace of Culture.


Sofia, Bulgaria
Distance: 3,223km
Flight Time: 7 hours 5 minutes
Frequency: 4 flights a week via Bucharest

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