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Free Sofia Tour's Blog

June 28, 2021
alternative transport sofia

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 […]
January 19, 2021
vitosha boulevard

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
sofia self-guided tour

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 […]
November 17, 2020
golemiyat sofiyski quiz

Големият Софийски Куиз на Free Sofia Tour – Quiz за София

Екипът на Free Sofia Tour вече 10 години е ангажиран с безплатните турове, които разкриват забележителностите на София. През тези 10 години нашата организация успя да развие и редица други проекти. Това, в което се съсредоточихме през особената 2020-та година е представянето на наследството на нашия град в игрови формат. След успеха на вълнуващия лов на съкровища – Sofia Treasure Hunt, сега предлагаме нещо по-подходящо за месеците на физическа дистанция, които ни предстоят. А именно – Големият Софийски Куиз на Free Sofia Tour. Куиз за София Големият Софийски Куиз на Free Sofia Tour е поредица от събития на български език, които представят интересни и забавни факти от софийското минало и настоящи под формата на викторина с награди. Каним ви да се включите в първия онлайн куиз на тема “София”! Куизът е разработен от екскурзоводите на Free Sofia Tour, които запознават гостите на столицата с нейната история, забележителности и скритите ѝ тайни вече цели десет години. Ако смятате, че познавате София като петте си пръста, ако искате да проверите колко всъщност я […]
October 26, 2020
parks in sofia

Parks and Gardens in Sofia

They call it one of the greenest capitals in Europe for a reason! Sofia might not have sea access or a large river crossing it but it is full of beautiful parks – green in spring, yellowish in autumn and (hopefully) white in winter. Here is our selection and description of the most popular and attractive open spaces you should not miss! The City Garden We simply had to start with the oldest one! During the Ottoman rule there was a private garden here in front of the then police station. The park was not open to the public but remained accessible only to the local ruler. Right after the liberation in 1878, the park was officially opened under the name The Alexandrov Garden in honor of the Russian Emperor Alexander II. Today, the most important building in the City Garden is the National Theater Ivan Vazov finished in the first decade of the 20th century. The park is small and neat, with plenty of benches to sit, relax and […]
June 12, 2020
ladies market

The Women’s Market (Zhenski Pazar) – Sofia’s Beating Heart

Both old legends and contemporary tips share one thing in common – the Women’s Market (also referred to as the Ladies’ Market, Ladies’ Bazaar and Zhenski Pazar) is the must-visit colorful, lively and fragrant spot in the heart of Sofia. Established right after Bulgaria’s Liberation from Ottoman rule in 1878, the Women’s market is the oldest open-air market in town. Back then Sofia had just been declared as a capital of the newborn country and the city was still much smaller than today. Today, this open-air market is at an immediate proximity to most major tourist sites such as the Square of Tolerance comprised by the four temples of the four main religions in Bulgaria. In its early days, the Women’s Market quickly became the favorite place for local people eager to buy fresh agricultural production which farmers from the villages nearby sold on more than affordable prices. A single egg would cost only 5 cents, a hen would cost 60 cents and a pig – 4-5 leva. Origins of […]
May 29, 2020
covid-19 sofia

5 reasons why Sofia should be your first post-COVID-19 trip

As life in Europe is slowly transitioning to the “new normal” many are itching to travel. However, a lot of us are not sure how to go about it in a post-pandemic world where the coronavirus is still very much present. Many of the travel restrictions in Europe are expected to be eased in mid-June/early July. Intercontinental travel however, is still uncertain. Covid-19 has changed the travel industry. That’s why a lot of Europeans will be looking for vacation options within the continent. Here are 5 reasons why the Bulgarian capital might just be the perfect option for your first post-pandemic trip: Bulgaria is one of the least affected countries by the pandemic One could argue why that is. Possibly a combination of safety measures applied very early on, closed borders and local discipline. Whatever the case, the local health system was not overwhelmed and many lives were spared. As of the end of May Bulgaria saw a total of less than 2500 cases and 136 deaths. These numbers also […]
October 28, 2019
top indoor activities for a cold day in sofia

Sofia on a cold rainy day – Top 9 Indoor Activities in Sofia

You know the feeling when you go to a new and exciting destination and you can’t wait to explore all the sights and then… it starts raining. You most probably do if you’re already here. Sofia is one of those cities that might appear amazingly beautiful on a nice sunny day or incredibly gray and depressing when it’s cold and rainy. Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with 9 exciting things to do when it’s raining in Sofia: 1.  Visit one of Sofia’s great coffee spots Fortunately, in recent years many great coffee shops opened in Sofia. Depening on where you’re staying in the city you might consider visiting the Rainbow Factory, Vanilla or Chucky’s Coffee House. Or, if you prefer having your coffee in a more formal environment then Grand Café is the option for you. Have a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate while planning your rainy day schedule. 2. Check out Sofia’s quirky shops The center of town is home to some unique, artsy stores that might have you spending […]
September 16, 2019
parking in sofia

Parking in Sofia

Have you ever considered visiting Sofia by car? A lot of people do and that is why this time we are focusing on everything you need to know about parking in Sofia. WHERE CAN I PARK? In Sofia the company responsible for all the transport and parking is called the Urban Mobility Centre aka UMC. They are the ones providing parking premises, passes, tokens and basically everything connected with parking in the city as well as impounds your vehicle. If you don’t want to get there it is always better to pay for the parking. There are two types of short term paid parking zones in the center – a Green one and a Blue one. They are active only during the day and the municipality of Sofia has given detailed information about the reach of those zones and provided a map. BLUE ZONE Parking limit: The maximum duration of parking in this zone is up to 2 (two) hours. Working hours: Weekdays from 08.30 to 19.30 Saturday from 08.30 […]

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