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Make the most of your time in one of the richest corners of European culture as you explore the heart of the Balkans. With grand architecture lining the streets and a world of history in its churches, theaters, and museums, the city is home to some of the continent’s most remarkable stories. All that heritage is waiting for you to explore as you get to know the things to do in Sofia and see Bulgaria’s grand capital city for yourself.
With the mixture of narrow, disjointed streets and wide public plazas that comes with its long, grand heritage, Sofia’s urban center is the picture of a grand historic metropolis. Upscale shops and open-air stalls line along the pedestrian walkway of Vitosha Boulevard, and you can spot remnants of the ancient city walls preserved in between the modern roads.
Dominated for decades by communist-era housing blocks, this piece of southeastern Sofia is now one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in town. Home to the city’s largest business park and one of its first bicycle routes, the district caters to a rising population of young professionals.
Just east of the city center, this neighborhood is home to a growing collection of fine dining. Some of Sofia’s grandest buildings stand among the parks and tree-filled gardens, while a wealth of new restaurants and bars have made this one of the liveliest sections of town.
Churches tell the story of Bulgaria’s long and unique religious traditions, from the ancient Church of St. George to the grandeur of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. You can mingle with the iconic life-size statues of cultural icons amid the shops of Slaveykov Square, explore the patch of forest paths in the city park of Borisova Gradina, and visit the copper-and-bronze monument to Sofia’s patron saint, set on the former site of a communist-era statue of Lenin.
There’s more than enough to see in the center of Sofia to justify some expert guidance, so a walking tour to some of the city’s best attractions is well worth your time. Get up early for a tastier trip that includes breakfast with some favorite pastries and desserts, or take the long view with a visit to the National Museum of History and its collection of artifacts dating back to the ancient Thracians.
If you’ve got time for a trip into the countryside, a day trip into the Sredna Gora mountains lets you explore the folksy town of Koprivshtitsa. Head south to visit the beautiful Rila Monastery and get acquainted with the world of Orthodox Christianity.