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!
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!
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 foods and drinks, while listening to live music – what’s not to love?
This was the first and for many years the only Christmas market in the city. It might sound strange, but Christmas markets weren’t part of the Bulgarian Christmas tradition up until the last decade. It’s been happening for 13 years and it is already part of the tradition. Naturally, it is also the most well-known holiday location in Sofia. You will find it in the City Garden (in front of the National Theatre). It welcomes adults and kids with a lot of different stalls with food and drinks, a workshop, a photo booth, and a stage, with various activities, including theater performances for kids, visits by Santa Claus, and popular Bulgarian pop and jazz singers in the evenings. In 2023, it will be open from Nov 17th until December 22nd. You will be able to visit it every day between 11AM and 10PM. We even pass by it during our daily free walking tours.
We looove this new idea! It is situated in the park in front of the National Palace of Culture. It’s a place for theater performances, circus performances, concerts, winter farmers’ markets and much more. It’s open to visitors every day from November 17th until December 17th. On weekdays it opens at 12PM. On weekends from 11AM.
Another wonderful central location. Last year this new Christmas market in the heart of Sofia ended up being one of our favorites. With it’s unique selection of food and beverages and a wonderful jazzy live performances, this gives us a more grown-up Christmas vibe. In 2023 it will open on the 1st of December and run until the end of the month! Get festive!
This market will open on the 9th Dec and will work till the 28th. It will have a lot of pavilions for food and drinks, many handmade crafts to help you find the perfect presents, a nativity scene, and a photo booth with Santa Claus.
We’re on the Balkans after all and no winter season is complete without Bulgaria’s national drink – Rakia. Rakia and Spirits Fest 2023 gathers producers from all around the Balkans. During the festival you will be able to try more than 300 types of rakia and other spirit drinks. You’ll also be able to bring some of your favorite rakia home. Get into the Christmas spirit in Balkan fashion! The event will be held on Dec 9th – Dec 10th inside of the National Palace of Culture.
A total of 10 Christmas markets will be present in Sofia this year. If you happen to stay in areas that are out of the center, you have a few more options -the Christmas markets at:
Christmas fest & tea festival – More than 50 producers of tea, jewlery, honey, cosmetics and more will gather on Dec 9th-10th at Park Hotel Moskva for this Christmas festival.
Unfortunately, what was the biggest ever ice-skating rink on the Balkans will not open in Sofia in 2023. Right in front of the otherwise controversial Monument of the Soviet Army, in 2022 the park was turned into a real winter wonderland. The ice park was modeled after the famous ice park in Viena. We’ll make sure to provide you with other ice-skating options in Sofia as soon as they become available for the 2023/2024 season.
For more exciting winter activities in Sofia make sure to check out:
Winter in Sofia
Also check out:
5 Bulgarian Christmas Facts and Traditions
And last but not least, don’t forget to explore Sofia’s biggest landmarks with our daily free walking tours! Our tours run every single day at 11AM & 2PM, without exception – including on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and January 1st! We meet in front of the Palace of Justice.
Last edited: November 2023