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Free Sofia Tour's Blog

January 12, 2024

Winter in Sofia – Top 10 Winter Activities

We’re not gonna lie, winter in Sofia can be quite tough. However, there are plenty of things to do in the Bulgarian capital even when it’s -20°C. We want to pass this insight onto you, our lovely visitors. Keep in mind though that you might just fall in love with Sofia and decide to make it your new home! Depending on what region of the world you hail from, the moment you poke your face out from your cozy hotel/hostel/Airbnb room, it might feel like a warm spring kiss or a bone-chilling North Pole slap in the face! Either way, we’ve got you covered, and will give you our top winter picks to make your winter visit to our lovely city as enjoyable as possible! Wondering what to do in Sofia in winter? Here are our top 10 picks for winter activities in Sofia: 1. Vitosha mountain – For our adrenaline junkies  It’s all about the powder a.k.a the snow! That’s right you saw it as you were landing – our beautiful […]
December 14, 2023

Sofia’s Lost Communist Heritage: Tracing Bulgaria’s Complex Past

This week we are witnessing the historical event that is the removal of one of Sofia’s most controversial monuments – The Monument of the Soviet Army, after years of debate. That’s why in this article, we are going to take a look back at Sofia’s lost communist heritage. From the end of World War II until the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, Bulgaria was under communist rule, deeply entwined with the Soviet Union’s political ideology. Sofia, as the country’s political center, became a canvas for grand architectural projects and ideological symbols reflecting the ethos of the time. Following the collapse of the regime, a lot was removed from Sofia’s administrative and historical center, symbolizing the beginning of a new era. While some landmarks were removed in the early 90s, right after the political changes, we’ve seen this trend continue through the 2010s and even in late 2023. Here’s our list of famous symbols of Bulgaria’s communist regime that are no longer. The Red Star The red star that […]
November 15, 2023

Christmas in Sofia 2023 | Christmas Markets & Festive Holiday Locations

It’s tiiime! The holiday season is upon us. And we are here with the most extensive list of festive Christmas locations ever compiled, including Christmas markets, charity bazaars, ice-skating rinks, holiday shopping options, and more! Get ready for your Christmas in Sofia! December in Sofia Now we have to be honest. Sofia isn’t known for being a holiday destination, nor for its wonderful decorations or a dominant festive atmosphere. If anything, the lack of holiday spirit in the air has become somewhat synonymous with the city. However, this year, it seems like things are changing. There is a noticeable increase in Christmas-themed locations and winter activities in the city. So, if you’ve chosen Sofia for your holiday city escape, you are in for a treat! And we are surely hoping for some snow to add to the festive mood! Christmas Markets in Sofia Who doesn’t love the Christmas markets and a cup of mulled wine? This winter we have plenty of options to choose from. Buying gifts, and enjoying tasty […]
November 13, 2023

How to get to Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery is the most popular Bulgarian tourist site. Rila monastery is the first thing that comes to your mind when you have friends from abroad visiting. I will dare to be accused of blasphemy and even say that sometimes it feels a bit of a cliché. But there’s a reason for that – no surprise it’s one of the nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bulgaria. Words fail to describe this heavenly monument. Believe it or not, getting to the place is not the easiest thing, though. That’s why one of the most frequently asked questions is… How to get to Rila Monastery? Here’s the answer(s): To Rila Monastery by BUS: Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started the bus has not been operating. There was a brief attempt to restart it in August 2023. Unfortunately it was short-lived. We will make sure to update this information as soon as the public bus starts operating again. Hopefully sometime soon in 2024. Call +35929555362 (Ovcha Kupel (Sofia-West) Bus Station) for the most up-to-date info. To Rila […]
October 24, 2023

5 Best International Food Places in Sofia

Naturally, your go-to option when visiting Sofia should be one of the traditional Bulgarian restaurants. However, you’ve already had enough of local food and want to go beyond – we’re here to help! It’s time for us to share our favorite international food places in Bulgaria’s capital.  And though the city’s more synonymous with history and culture, in recent years it has also earned a reputation as a culinary destination, offering a diverse range of international flavors. In this article, we’ll explore the five best international food places in Sofia. Each offering a unique culinary experience that reflects the city’s growing food scene. Ninja Bowl Sofia Nestled in the heart of Sofia, just a 2-minute walk from Free Sofia Tour’s final stop, Ninja Bowl Sofia is a culinary gem that transports you to the bustling streets of Asia. This trendy Asian fusion restaurant is known for its artful combination of flavors and aesthetics, and it’s a favorite among locals and tourists alike. It offers a wide variety of healthy and […]
October 9, 2023

5 Best Breakfast & Brunch Places in Sofia

Surprisingly for such a large city, Sofia’s breakfast and brunch scene was rather limited. Until recently. For many years local “grab and go” pastries (like banitsa) have been the dominant breakfast option for most locals. Fortunately, over the past decade we’ve seen several wonderful breakfast & brunch establishments open in the city center.  In this article, we’ll explore some of the best breakfast and brunch places in Sofia that cater to a variety of tastes and preferences. Sweet and Salty Bakery Cafe This cozy bakery in the heart of Sofia (right next to the Vitosha Boulevard) offers a wide variety of both Bulgarian and foreign brunch and breakfast classics such as fried french toast with filling, Bulgarian donuts or the traditional banitsa. Of course, you will also find favorites like eggs benedict, avocado toast, homemade granola and much more. Oh, and did we mention irresistible dessert options?  Sofiyska Banitsa This one is for the lovers of those oldschool Bulgarian grab and go “banitsa” places. Don’t get tricked by the dodgy […]
September 20, 2023

5 Best Traditional Bulgarian Restaurants in Sofia

Sofia, the vibrant capital of Bulgaria, is a city that boasts a rich culinary tradition. A tradition deeply rooted in its history and culture. Bulgarian cuisine is a delightful blend of flavors and techniques, influenced by a variety of cultures that have left their mark on the region over centuries. If you’re visiting Sofia and want to savor the best of traditional Bulgarian cuisine, you’re in for a treat. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best traditional Bulgarian restaurants in Sofia that offer a taste of the country’s culinary heritage. MANASTIRSKA MAGERNITSA In Manastirska Magernitsa you will find a wide range of authentic cuisine options with recipes gathered from monasteries around the country, hence its name which means “monastery canteen”. This culinary journey will take place in a beautiful ethnic house from the last century, with rural and “old Sofia” interior. The slogan of Manastirska Magernitsa is “Before the bread we are all equal!”. Therefore, guests are welcomed with homemade bread and Bulgarian hospitality!  MOMA – Bulgarian Food […]
October 27, 2022

Public Bath in Bankya (near Sofia) | History, Getting There & More

Sofia is famous for its abundance of hot and cold mineral water springs. Having said that, you will find it surprising that currently there aren’t any operating public baths in the actual city. The good news is that a couple of weeks ago, in the town of Bankya (only 17km away from Sofia), the newly refurbished bathhouse finally reopened to visitors. Needless to say, we couldn’t be happier. The historic bath in Bankya The construction of the building began in 1907. It first opened to visitors back in 1911. This bath is a prime example of the architectural traditions of public baths created at the beginning of the 20th century in Bulgaria. Designed by German architect Professor Carl Hocheder, this elegant building was widely known as The Royal Bath, as it dates back to the reign of Tsar Ferdinand. After a looong time of being abandoned, the bath reopened to the public on September 30th, 2022. You can finally see it in its full glory after a complete renovation, done […]
May 16, 2022

Bulgarian Modernist Architecture in Sofia – Top 8 Examples

Bulgarian modernism is one of Sofia’s best-kept secrets. It’s predominantly in the city center of Bulgaria’s capital where you’ll find prime examples of Bulgarian modernist architecture. Following WW1 and the two Balkan wars, Bulgaria saw a drastic change in the period between the two world wars. Naturally, that was also reflected in the architecture. History of Bulgarian Modernism The years between the two world wars in Bulgaria were a very dynamic period in terms of the changes in stylistic trends. The 1920s was a period of coexistence of different architectural trends such as Art Deco, echoes of Art Nouveau, and different eclectic styles. On the contrary, the beginning of the 1930s was the time of the consolidation of the new trend of the Modern Movement with its distinguishable features like the clearness of the form, functionality, lack of redundant ornamentation, horizontalism, etc. but sometimes with some elegant local taste. This was also the time of intensive growth of the urban population. As a result of that in Sofia, a great […]