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Located in the stunning Sofia Valley at the base of Mount Vitosha, Sofia is one of Europe’s oldies, having a history that dates back some 7,000 years. And having played host to Romans, Byzantines, Bulgars, Turks and Communists over the years, this city has a rich cultural heritage. Check out its grand Russian-style Neo-classical boulevards and its array of churches and Ottoman mosques to see what we mean. From 4th century Byzantine basilicas to huge onion-domed cathedrals, Sofia is a culture vulture’s paradise when it comes to historical riches too. And, of course, there’s all you could wish for in terms of museums and galleries, with some of the most impressive historic collections in Eastern Europe. The National Museum of History is a must see for anyone interested in European history. 

 

Since the fall of communism, Sofia has taken on a new character with the opening of glitzy new hotels, shopping centres and a whole host of nightclubs and bars that will keep you going until the early hours. And what’s more, after a night out here, you’ll still have change in your pocket. But this is also a city with a distinctly laid back vibe where the locals like to spend their time sipping coffees in the many open-air cafes, or strolling through the city’s beautiful parks. Summer months are all about lazing by the nearby Pancharevo Lake with its warm mineral springs, while in winter the slopes of Vitosha attract the ski set. One of the newer members of the city break brigade, Sofia is a holiday destination that is definitely here to stay. 

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Shopping


Anastacia is playing for the first time in Bulgaria, on 16 April, at the National Palace of Culture. This promises to be a great show for fans (Hall 1, National Palace of Culture, Town Centre, http://bulgariatravel.org).

Sightseeing


The Ethnographic Museum shop contains folk costumes, traditional crockery, jewellery and music CDs. It's also one of the best places to buy Bulgarian kilims. Authentic and affordable handiwork (1 Aleksandar Batenberg Ploshtad).


Don't miss the violin concert by soloist Elizabeth Pitcairn, part of the series "Music of America", on 30 January at the Bulgaria Concert Hall (1 Aksakov Street, elizabethpitcairn.com).


On 3 October fans of the original music of the Parov Stelar Band will have the opportunity to hear a great compilation of well-known hits as well as some new songs (Arena Armeets, 1 Asen Yordanov Bulevard, arenaarmeecsofia.com).

Key Areas


The district of Pancharevo is only 2km from the ring road, on the road to Samokov, near the Pancharevo Dam. It's a beautiful area where you can go picnicking, fishing or swimming.


Boyana Church is situated in the neighbourhood of the same name. It's a beautiful, unique old church famous for its wall paintings, and well worth a visit (1-3 Boyansko Ezero Street).

Day Trips


On the slopes of Vitosha mountain, where it meets the Yanchovska and Stara rivers, Bistritsa is one of Sofia's oldest villages, and a good starting point for hikes and monastery tours. To get there, take bus No.93 from Hladilnika to Dragalevtsi chair-lift, then it's a two-hour hike to Bistritsa, which is just 15km south of Sofia.


About 70km from Sofia, in the north-western part of the Rila Mountains, is the attractive village of Govedartsi. Explore one of the many hiking trials surrounded by gorgeous scenery. Perfect for getting away from it all.

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 Sofia Airport Guide | Visit Bulgaria | Low Cost Flights to Greece

*Prices shown are per person based on two people flying on the same booking. Fees & charges may apply. Min 4 seats available per flight, one way inc. taxes.