We’re not gonna lie, winter in Sofia can be quite tough. However, there are plenty of things to do in the Bulgarian capital even when it’s -20°C. We want to pass this insight onto you, our lovely visitors. Keep in mind though that you might just fall in love with Sofia and decide to make it your new home! Depending on what region of the world you hail from, the moment you poke your face out from your cozy hotel/hostel/Airbnb room, it might feel like a warm spring kiss or a bone-chilling North Pole slap in the face! Either way, we’ve got you covered, and will give you our top winter picks to make your winter visit to our lovely city as enjoyable as possible!
Wondering what to do in Sofia in winter? Here are our top 10 picks for winter activities in Sofia:
It’s all about the powder a.k.a the snow! That’s right you saw it as you were landing – our beautiful Vitosha mountain! And yes we are totally going to brag that once work is over during the winter season we can drive up the mountain and do some night skiing. You are an early riser? You can get on those slopes as early as 8:30 AM. Due to the changing weather conditions, it is wise to check what time the lifts are open.
We have a less extreme outdoor activity. It’s the outdoor ice-skating rink at Yunak stadium. You will find it at the entrance of Borisova Garden, right next to Vasil Levski Metro Station. Near the intersection of boulevards Evlogi & Hristo Georgievi and Dragan Tsankov. Once you have discovered it, you will be ready to rent your skates. Don’t worry! You don’t need to be an ice-skating champion to put on those skates. If it is your first time, and you are not the most coordinated person, you might spend the majority of your time inspecting the ice on the ground, i.e. get ready to fall a lot, but trust us you will have tons of fun.
Every Day: 10 AM to 11:20 PM
Kids up to 3yo – free of charge
Adults: 13BGN (including the skates rental)
Adults: 11BGN (if you have your own skates)
A lesson with an instructor: 16BGN
You can also buy your tickets online.
For the 2022/2023 season, you can also visit the exciting new Sofia Ice Park. The entrance fee there is 20BGN (around 10 EUR) for 2 hours. From January 1st 2023 the entrance for kids will be free of charge between 9AM and 11AM.
Perhaps you made some new friends last night at your hostel, but the outside temperatures are a bit snippy and you are not too keen on exploring the city. Don’t fear! There is a solution! You will be able to do something with your new BFFs. How about some board games in a cool renovated old house that has a bar! Stop by Abordage or Karkason and you will see what we are talking about. That’s right – board games, drinks, and great company! That’s one way to escape a harsh winter day in Sofia!
You should definitely visit the Sofia Opera and Ballet and take advantage of the incredibly low prices. Yet the standard of the performances is really high! Bulgaria is famous for its wonderful operatic voices and the Sofia Opera and Ballet house is one of the best value for money you could get in the Opera world. You can book your tickets online, or at the location. We advise you to do that online, so you can avoid the potential language barrier at the ticket box while personally selecting your seats from the comfort of your home/accommodation.
The Red Flat is now open. Explore Bulgaria’s communist part by entering the cozy home of an average Bulgarian family from the 1980s. A 1.5 hour long interactive indoor activity that will immerse you into the daily life of the regular Bulgarian people during the Cold War.
Unfortunately, there are not many options for rooftop views in Sofia. However, there are several bars/restaurants that offer great views such as:
Our organization is most famous for doing walking tours in Sofia and Plovdiv. A walking tour might not be the first thing that comes to mind when it’s really cold. However, if you do enjoy walking in the cold winter weather the Free Sofia Tour is always there to guide you through the city’s most famous landmarks! In the snow, they look even more enchanting. The very friendly, young, and energetic tour guides will graciously take you for a leisurely two-hour sightseeing walk. Feel free to join us every single day of the year in front of the Palace of Justice. See you there!
Malls are everywhere in Sofia. We have more shopping malls than we have time and money to spend on, enjoy them all. It’s warm, inside, at least. You can also check out our guide to shopping in Sofia.
Christmas markets are not really part of the Bulgarian Christmas tradition. That’s why usually there’s only one such market in town and it’s extremely popular. It is situated in the garden in front of the National Theatre. However, in 2023, Sofia’s festive spirit has been raised by around 10 different Christmas markets. Check them out! Christmas specialties and mulled wine will keep you warm in the cold December days! If you happen to be in Bulgaria during Christmas time make sure to learn about some of the fun local Christmas traditions.
Traditional Bulgarian restaurants are so cozy that they offer the perfect environment for you to spend several hours enjoying incredible Bulgarian dishes and most of all… great local wines. One of our favorites is Manastirska Magernitsa.
Author: Free Sofia Tour Guide – Nina Nikolova
Last Updated: December 2022
Also check out: