Silvia and Ashleigh are our experts in travel to Sofia, and Silvia knows the country intimately after living in Bulgaria. Her knowledge is invaluable when planning a trip to Bulgaria. Silvia and Ashleigh can maximize your time and plan the best methods of travel within the country.
Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, is a historian’s fantasy. One of the oldest settlements in Europe, it dates back almost 7000 years. Originally a Thracian tribal settlement, it later went through several phases of influence before becoming the capital of Bulgaria. The architectural clash in Sofia is an odd blend of Christian Roman, Medieval Bulgar, Neoclassic, and Soviet era. Ruins of Byzantine, Ottoman and Roman buildings dot the city and include the ruins of the Rotunda of St. George and the Amphitheater of Serdica (the original name of the city). Named for the church of St. Sofia with its bulbous domes, this ancient monument has beautiful interiors that are not to be missed. Sofia is also home to several acres of greenery and spreading trees line the avenues and boulevards of the city. Explore the serene environs of this stately city with Exeter International.
To experience the best weather and smaller crowds, we highly recommend visiting Sofia between April through June, and September through early November. Traveling during these time frames not only helps you avoid the crowds during the summer months, but also helps you avoid the summer heat.
Late September to early November is a quieter time to visit as well. Many of the smaller villages in the mountains start to shut down in November as the country moves into winter.
With a history that stretches back over 7,000 years, Sofia is a true historic gem. Your local guide will walk you over to the Alexander Nevsky Memorial Cathedral, which is hard to miss due to its gold onion-domes. After exploring within the city, your guide will take you to visit the small Boyana Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on the outskirts of Sofia.
From Sofia, you are a short drive from many incredible cities. To the east you can visit Veliko Tarnovo and Kazanlak. If you are interested, you can continue to travel east to spend a few nights in the coastal towns along the Black Sea. Southeast of Sofia lies Plovdiv and the Rhodope Mountains. This area is perfect for those interested in experiencing Bulgaria’s traditional culture and the outdoors!
A private driver-guide will transfer you throughout your entire journey, as the roads can be difficult to maneuver.
A visit to Sofia would not be complete without a visit to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. It was built as a tribute to the Russians who liberated Bulgaria from the Turns at the turn of the 19th century. Known for its signature gold onion-domes, the cathedral’s interior uses some of the finest and rarest materials from all over the world. Step inside with your guide and take in the stunning floor to ceiling details and paintings.
If you are looking for a local favorite, look no further than Cosmos. It is a fine dining experience that creates traditional Bulgarian cuisines with a twist. They specialize in cuisine and mixology to create a fantastic and unique experience for their guests.
No matter where you are in Bulgaria, you will notice that woodcarving is a popular traditional craft. Locals often can make almost anything for their home from wood, including kitchen utensils, jewelry boxes, or just decorative pieces. They are intricately carved and sometimes painted and are a great souvenir option to help remember your amazing trip!