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.
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.
Fortunately for everybody with a tight schedule, Sofia’s historical center is very compact. You can explore it easily in just 2 hours with one of the daily free walking tours (offered in English and Spanish), guided by professional local tour guides. In a condensed and fun way, you will see most of the city’s important landmarks and gain a great understanding of what Sofia is all about. The Sofia free tours also include the ancient Roman ruins, many of the city’s temples, mineral water springs, and of course, what you probably see on every single postcard of Sofia – The St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. In fact, it’s in front of the cathedral that the tours end. Enjoy the view, take a few photos, enter the building for just a couple of minutes and continue. This location is very convenient for the next step of your 24-hour journey in the Bulgarian capital.
Ending the tour at Sofia’s cathedral is perfect for your short stay as you have a variety of lunch options to choose from in the area. If you want to try some local food you can go with the nearby Raketa Rakia Bar or Izbata. In case you prefer international food – Ninja Bowl Sofia is just 2 minutes away and offers Thai, Indian, Japanese, Hawaiian, and Mexican classics. If you follow this schedule closely, you will have around 60 to 90 minutes to rest and enjoy your lunch break.
We have an unusual suggestion for an exciting afternoon. To understand the country’s present state and its people it’s vital to look at its most recent history. Of course, we are talking about Bulgaria’s controversial communist past. Surprisingly, there are very few options for people to learn about the 45-year long communist period. One that really stands out is The Red Flat. As the name suggests, it’s a way to understand how people actually lived by entering the home of a regular Bulgarian family from the 1980s. Not quite like a usual museum, right?
If you feel like you prefer to stay outdoors but still learn about the country’s communist past you can consider joining one of the Sofia communist tours.
Of course, you haven’t been to Sofia if you haven’t had a stroll down the city’s most famous street – The Vitosha Boulevard. You can enjoy your afternoon coffee at one of the countless cafes or do a quick shopping – it’s up to you. At the end of the pedestrian part of the street, you will find a beautiful park with fountains and a huge black and white building. That’s the National Palace of Culture. Apart from being a very famous building, serving as the city’s main hub for cultural events, it is also a very pleasant area to hang out.
There are plenty of great restaurants in the center of Sofia. However, we are going to focus your attention on two.
Moma – A traditional Bulgarian restaurant offering authentic recipes with a modern touch. Oh and make sure to try the wine. It’s not to be missed.
Aubergine – If you’re more of a beer person – that’s the place for you. “Craft Beer. Craft Food” – That’s Aubergine’s slogan. Their dishes are inspired by local traditions and international gastronomy.
Of course, your one day in Sofia has to end with some fun. After a long day, you deserve to treat yourself to a night out. We suggest kicking it all off at Bar Friday or K.E.B.A. After a few drinks you might want to change the atmosphere and proceed to one of the city’s famous clubs like Terminal 1 or Stroeja.
If you are in the mood to meet some new people and mingle with a crowd of fun people then why not join one of the Sofia pub crawls?
Also check out:
Sofia – Capital of Bulgaria – The Ultimate Travel Guide