This free 2-hour walking tour gave us a a wonderful overview of Sofia during our first day in the city. Our guide, Simona, proved to be professional, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. She worked at getting everyone in our 17-member group actively involved by asking questions along the way, such as what is the national animal of Bulgaria. (Lion) She gave a candy to the first person with the correct answer. After a young woman answered the first three questions correctly, Simona asked how she knew so much about Bulgaria. The response: “I’m Bulgarian.” We all laughed and Simona, in a good natured manner, disqualified her from answering upcoming questions.
The tour focuses on Sofia’s history and central area (cathedral, mosque, archaeological sites, court of justice, national theatre, etc.). It involves much walking as well as ascending and descending many steps. Participants can leave at any time. No reservation is required.Those interested simply show up at the designated time — 11 a.m. for the morning walk or 6 p.m. for the evening departure — in front of the court of justice.
Simona was impossible to miss at the meeting point. She held a large sign and watched for participants. A second guide stood with her to form another group if a large number showed up. More than 30 arrived for this evening walk, so we divided into two groups.
Though the tour is free, participants are invited at its beginning to give a donation at the end to the organization that operates the tours. There is absolutely no pressure to contribute. We happily did so at the conclusion of our tour.
The Free Sofia Tour runs twice daily, 365 days a year, regardless of weather. We found it to be a great investment of our travel time.