Explore Sofia: its cafés, monuments, cathedral, and more!

Since the end of Communist rule in Bulgaria, Sofia has reinvented itself as a lively, cosmopolitan city. Stroll in the shadows of Byzantine buildings, gold-domed churches and Communist-era monuments to find modern shopping malls, acres of parkland, elegant boulevards and a lively café culture. With some of Europe’s most beautiful architecture and ski slopes on its doorstep, Sofia has plenty to show its visitors.

Marvel at the beauty of the multi-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Look inside at its Byzantine-style murals. Next to the cathedral, find the sixth-century Church of St. Sofia, which gave the city its name. See the Rotunda of St. George, thought to be the city’s oldest church. The redbrick structure was built by the Romans in the fourth century. Visit the 16th-century Banya Bashi Mosque.

Investigate some of the 650,000 artifacts inside the National Museum of History. Learn about Bulgarian art from the 19th and 20th centuries at the National Art Gallery.

Go on a shopping spree to the city malls. These include the Bulgaria Mall and The Mall, one of the largest malls in Sofia. Stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables at the market on Graf Ignatiev. Take a break from shopping and sightseeing for a drink at a pavement café or picnic at Borisova Gradina Park.

Sofia sits at the foot of the Vitosha Mountain, a 7,513-foot-tall (2,290-meter) peak. Trek along its numerous marked paths in the spring and summer or go skiing in the winter.

To experience Sofia’s nightlife, visit Vitosha Boulevard, Sofia’s main shopping street. Choose from a large concentration of trendy bars and cafés. For music and dance, visit Sofia Opera and Ballet.

Sofia is a compact city. Many sights are within easy walking distance of each other. Alternatively, get around by public transportation or rental car. With thousands of years of history, rich cultural pursuits and a lively social scene, Sofia is a fascinating and increasingly popular vacation destination.

Known for

Cafes, Museums and Cathedrals

Top Hotels in Sofia

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Image for Best Western Premier Sofia Airport Hotel
Best Western Premier Sofia Airport Hotel
4 out of 5
11 Briuksel Boulevard, Sofia
$62
per night
Oct 5 - Oct 6
4.5/5Wonderful! (387 reviews)

Situated in the business district, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Sofia Airport Centre, European Trade Centre, and Arena Armeec. Megapark and Inter Expo ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (387 reviews)

"When we tried to check in, we were told to go sit down and then watched as people who came in later were helped before we were. We finally had to force the issue. Not good."…"

Reviewed on Sep 4, 2019

Best Western Premier Sofia Airport Hotel
Image for Hotel Marinela Sofia
Hotel Marinela Sofia
5 out of 5
100 James Bourchier Blvd, Sofia
$67
per night
Oct 4 - Oct 5
3.7/5Good! (234 reviews)

Located in Lozenets, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of East Park Trade Centre and National Palace of Culture. Vasil Levski Stadium and Ivan Vazov National ...

3.7/5Good! (234 reviews)

"I love this property. I stay there every year when I come to Bulgaria for the last 6 years. It has everything you need and more for amenities, restaurants, fitness, bars, ect."…"

Reviewed on Sep 9, 2019

Hotel Marinela Sofia
Image for InterContinental Sofia
InterContinental Sofia
5 out of 5
4 NARODNO SABRANIE SQ, Sofia
$93
per night
Oct 20 - Oct 21
4.8/5Exceptional! (195 reviews)

Located in Sofia City Center, this luxury hotel is steps from Yellow Pavement and Bulgarian Parliament. National Gallery for Foreign Art and Alexander Nevski ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (195 reviews)

"Super clean hotel with perfect location and great staff"…"

Reviewed on Aug 18, 2019

InterContinental Sofia

Popular things to do in Sofia

National Palace of Culture
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National Palace of Culture

4/5 (49 Ratings)

This impressive castle-like monument is a multipurpose cultural center that hosts art exhibitions, a film festival and concerts by well-known performers.

Boyana Church
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Boyana Church

4.5/5 (42 Ratings)

See an incredible collection of perfectly preserved Eastern European Medieval art at this tranquil 10th-century Bulgarian Orthodox church.

Alexander Nevski Cathedral
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Alexander Nevski Cathedral

4.5/5 (59 Ratings)

Gaze in awe at this magnificent cathedral and step inside to see a fascinating collection of mosaics, murals and religious icons.

Church of St. George
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Church of St. George

4.5/5 (38 Ratings)

One of Sofia’s oldest churches is a centuries-old architectural treasure and contains a fascinating collection of preserved Medieval and religious art.

National Museum of History
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National Museum of History

4.5/5 (17 Ratings)

Discover a collection of artifacts that retrace the history of Bulgaria, from prehistory to today. Enjoy views of Mount Vitosha from the museum’s gardens.

Ivan Vazov National Theatre
Image for Ivan Vazov National Theatre

Ivan Vazov National Theatre

4.5/5 (14 Ratings)

Sofia’s largest theater combines a fascinating array of art and architecture with a busy schedule of performances by some of Bulgaria’s finest actors.

Top activities in Sofia

Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Tour
Image for Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Tour

Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Tour

$33

Rila Monastery is definitely a must-see if you are a tourist with a free day in Sofia. The arcaded balconies, the unique frescoes – a work of one of the most famous Bulgarian Revival Period painters, the gilded iconostasis, the fabulous mountain views.

Day Tour to Rila Monastery and Boyana church
Image for Day Tour to Rila Monastery and Boyana church

Day Tour to Rila Monastery and Boyana church

$39

Nowhere else in Bulgaria has so many cultures been created: the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabet and other rare and interesting testimonies about the role of the monastery for the political and Orthodoxy history of Bulgaria.

Plovdiv: Full Day Tour from Sofia
Image for Plovdiv: Full Day Tour from Sofia

Plovdiv: Full Day Tour from Sofia

$39

You can start to explore the town, dating from the Neolithic era, roughly 6000-5000 BCE. A full-day tour to Plovdiv, starting from Sofia, where you will explore the old town at your own pace.

Small-Group Sofia Food, Heritage & Culture Tour
Image for Small-Group Sofia Food, Heritage & Culture Tour

Small-Group Sofia Food, Heritage & Culture Tour

$45

Uncover the cultural charms of Sofia on this guided walking tour. Discover the city's fascinating historic center, pass impressive sights like the National Theater and the King's Palace, then indulge in a variety of traditional Bulgarian food and drink tastings to keep your energy up as you stroll.

COMBO Tour: Koprivshtitsa & Plovdiv
Image for COMBO Tour: Koprivshtitsa & Plovdiv

COMBO Tour: Koprivshtitsa & Plovdiv

$50

Discover the cities of Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa on this full-day tour from Sofia. The amusing mixture of traditions, culture, and architectural masterpieces are a must-see for every culture-hungry traveler.

Sofia City Of Lights PhotoWalks Tour
Image for Sofia City Of Lights PhotoWalks Tour

Sofia City Of Lights PhotoWalks Tour

$109

Itinerary This is a typical itinerary for this product Stop At: Ivan Vazov National Theater, Dyakon Ignatii 5 str., Sofia 1000 Bulgaria There is something magical happening when the lights of the city gradually come on and the sun sets behind the horizon.