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Free Sofia Tour's Blog

November 25, 2022

Christmas in Sofia | Christmas Markets & Most 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 […]
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 […]
November 22, 2021

One Day in Sofia – What to Do in 24 Hours

Visiting Sofia for just one day and want to make the most of it? We are here to help. Needless to say, 24 hours are not enough but you can actually cover most of the essentials if you follow our plan strictly. 1. Start your day the Bulgarian way Once you wake up it’s time for some breakfast. The most “local” way to begin your day is with some banitsa and ayran. Banitsa is a local pastry with white cheese. Ayran is a cold yoghurt drink that is most often paired together with some banitsa. Both are considered street food and are usually consumed while standing or walking. However, if you prefer to have a longer and more relaxed morning we recommend starting your day at one of our favorite breakfast places in town – the Sweet & Salty Bakery Cafe, Mekitsa & Coffee or the Rainbow Factory. 2. Explore the main landmarks Fortunately for everybody with a tight schedule, Sofia’s historical center is very compact. You can explore it […]
June 28, 2021

Alternative Ways to Get Around Sofia

We’ve already covered the more traditional ways of getting around Bulgaria’s capital with our Sofia Public Transport Guide and Guide to Sofia Metro. Today, we are looking at some of the more innovative, alternative, and eco-friendly ways to move around Sofia. This is especially important considering the city’s heavy traffic and air pollution issues. Renting a scooter – Hobo You might be familiar with this concept from other cities. Scooters have grown in popularity over the past decade. There are now a couple of companies offering rent-a-scooter services in Sofia. However, we are keen on the Bulgarian micro-mobility startup Hobo. With its user-friendly app and conveniently located scooters around the city, it’s the perfect way to get around the central part of the city and its neighboring areas. Needless to say, they are also quite fun and easy to use without requiring too much physical effort. You can also use them on the bike lanes. Parking zones for scooters are available in various locations in the city center. A ride […]
April 29, 2021

Spring in Sofia

After the looong and snowy winter it’s what we’ve all been anticipating for months – Spring in Sofia! The season of awakening, excitement and good mood! Sofia in spring is truly magnificent and a perfect option for an extended weekend trip or a spring getaway. The flowers are blooming and nature is coming to life. The beauty and excitement of this season is just one of the reasons why it’s the perfect time to visit the Bulgarian capital. It’s also the perfect time of year to discover some of Bulgaria’s most interesting traditions. It is indeed during spring time that Bulgarians celebrate some of their most beloved national holidays. Spring Holidays in Bulgaria March 1st – Baba Marta & Martenitsa  Red and white decorations appear everywhere in Bulgaria to celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of the new cycle of life. This old and pagan tradition is so widespread in the country that it’s impossible to miss it. Vendors start selling martenitsas on the streets as early as […]
March 14, 2021

Belogradchik Rocks and Fortress – How to Get There, History & More

Bulgaria offers so much variety when it comes to day trips. There’s a lot to see and it is sometimes hard to prioritize. Most visitors with a 2-3 day stay in the country usually choose a trip to Plovdiv or the Rila Monastary. However, if you have more time, a trip to the Belogradchick Rocks and Fortress will surely be one to remember. History Belogradchick is a town in the North West of Bulgaria. While the region itself is economically lagging behind other regions in the country, there is something that attracts local and foreign visitors alike. And that’s the famous Belogdradchick Rocks and Fortress. Truth is, Bulgaria is not famous for its castles. However, this one is definitely among the ones worth visiting. Not only because of the fortress itself but because of the way it’s situated among the incredibly beautiful rocks. In fact, the fortress has been there in different shapes and forms for the past 2000 years. Artefacts found in the area (such as Roman coins, ceramics […]
January 19, 2021

The Vitosha Boulevard – Sofia’s main shopping street

Often referred to as Sofia’s Champs-Élysées, The Vitosha Boulevard is by far the most famous street in Bulgaria. Contrary to many “main streets” in big cosmopolitan cities, this one is equally popular among both locals and visitors. Whether for shopping, a stroll down the boulevard or just to sit down at one of the many cafes and restaurants, Vitoshka (as most Bulgarians call it) is as close as it gets to Sofia’s beating heart.  History of the Vitosha Boulevard The development of Sofia’s main street is intertwined with the development of the city itself after it was chosen as the new Bulgarian capital in the late 19th century. The street had several different names throughout the decades. Its initial name was the ottoman “Dzhebel vitosh sokagi”. It was first called Vitoshka (The Vitosha Boulevard) back in 1883. After that, however, the name was changed several times. In the early 20th century it was renamed to “General Yosif Gurko”. Later, to “Tsaritsa Joanna”. After WW2 the street was called “Joseph Stalin” […]
December 1, 2020

Self-Guided Sofia Tour

There are a number of reasons why one might prefer exploring the city on their own. And while we’re best at guiding walking tours in Sofia and Plovdiv we are also here to help you out if you’ve decided to do things at your own pace and time. If you prefer doing that here’s our suggestion for a self-guided Sofia tour that will take you around the city’s main landmarks. You should be able to cover the route in around two hours. 1. Start: Palace of Justice As with all our tours, the Palace of Justice is the perfect place to begin your journey. It is situated right next to the pedestrian part of Sofia’s main street – The Vitosha Boulevard. Look out for the two lion statues at the very front and you will never miss it. Apart from the countless shops, restaurants, bars and cafes around, the area is also really well connected by tram and metro. Nearest metro station is Serdika. 2. Sveta Nedelya Church You should be […]

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