The best areas to stay in Sofia are Vitosha Boulevard, St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral area and the surroundings of NDK .We tell you how are these neighborhoods of Sofia and others that we also recommend.
Capital of Bulgaria, has an antiquity as a city of 2800 (more than 7000 as a settlement) and has had many names throughout its history.The present one was found for the first time in a document in the 14th century, in fact it was a Russian map of the mountains that surround the city and that compose the Vitosha massif.
Since the Thracians, the first people who seem to have inhabited the area, Sofia has been dominated by many more.Macedonians and Romans in the Ancient Age; Byzantines, Slavs and Ottomans in the High Middle Ages, Russians and again Ottomans in the Full Middle Ages, until it was liberated by the Russians in the 19th century.After the Second World War it became one of the Soviet Socialist Republics.
Since 2007, when it joined the European Union, the city, with almost 1.3 million people, has undergone a major industrial boom, and has also opened up to the world on a cultural level by holding cultural events at European level.
Even before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Sofia was a city with very good communications with the rest of the country and with neighbouring countries.It also has a large international airport and a train station with a multitude of destinations.
Within the city, users can move around by bus, tram or underground.The latter has two lines that connect the airport and the main train station, and cross the city from northwest to northeast.
As for the population in Sofia, 96% of the inhabitants are Bulgarian Slavs.Given its long history, the city offers many attractions in religious and civil heritage and, above all, the number of theaters and the works that are represented in the city.The options for accommodation in Sofia are described in the following section.
The best areas to stay in Sofia
The resources for sleeping in Sofia are numerous and varied. About 800 accommodations from 1 to 5 stars, with average prices below 100 euros and offers in hostels and lodges up to 15 euros in low season.
Except for the central 4 and 5 star hotels, the old town does not have much higher prices than the rest of the accommodation in Sofia.The quality/price ratio is good and the establishments tend to satisfy all the needs of the users who seek accommodation in Sofia.
1.In total, about 40,000 people live in the whole district.the East has several boulevards, such as Todor Aleksandrov, which crosses it from west to east.also, the metro line 2 runs through the area and has the stop at Serdika, considered the city centre.
In addition, between the Sofia synagogue and the Cathedral, there are pedestrian streets with a marked tourist touch and many hotels and hostels to stay in Sofia.However, visitors will also find many parks and large, austere buildings in this area, which are the remains of the Soviet influence on the city.In the neo-Byzantine style, there is also a large museum in the underground floor.
Not far away, you can also visit the Botanical Garden, and to the west is the Church of Hagia Sophia, from the sixth century. One kilometer to the west, there are also other temples such as the Sofia Synagogue and its museum, or the Banya Bashi mosque, in the Tsentr Alma Banya Park.
South of this, by the way, is the oldest Christian temple in the city: the paleochristian church Sveti Georgi, from the 4th century.
In terms of civil and artistic buildings, the historical centre also houses the Anthropological Museum, the History Museum, the National Art Gallery, the Ivan Vazov National Theatre and the Monument to the Liberator Tsar, south of the cathedral.Numerous cultural sights can be reached on foot.
As for shopping, around the cathedral, there are three shopping centres: TZUM, the oldest in the city; VIP Shop and MCI Guitar Center; and between the mosque and the cathedral there are two street markets: the Central Market, next to the Muslim temple, and the Alexander Nevski Market, near the cathedral.
Cheap food is possible in Sofia. Near the Ivan Vazov Theatre there is a very famous traditional Bulgarian food restaurant: Izbata, which has a good reputation and serves late dinners.There are other places like Cosmos and Moma Bulgarian Food and Wine, a bit more expensive.
Besides the fact that the restaurants are open late and have terraces where you can spend the evening, Sofia has a quite lively nightlife.Pubs like McCarthys; bars and clubs like Rock’n Rolla; cocktail bars like Chicago or clubs like Bedroom Premium and other discos on General Yosif V. Gourko street and surroundings.
– Accommodation in Centre
The name Vitosha also refers to a district in the south-west of Sofia.As for the boulevard, it is located in the very centre, just south of the historical centre. It begins precisely at the Palace of Justice and continues in a southern direction until it reaches Byala Cherkva Avenue, opposite the South Park.It is precisely between the area called NDK and the Palace of Justice, where the largest number of accommodations for sleeping in Sofia are in the area, from apartments to 4-star hotels.
The area of the boulevard mentioned above is also the most tourist area. On the avenue itself and nearby streets there are places of interest such as the Boris Christoff Museum, the G8 Cultural Center, the Peyo K Museum-House. This place is the largest civil building in the city and has a purely Bulgarian style, built between 1929 and 1940.It was built between 1929 and 1940.
However, Vitosha Boulevard stands out for its many restaurants and shops, although road traffic is allowed, it has very wide sidewalks where all kinds of shops are located.
In some of them, such as Gifted Sofia, in Ivan Denkoglu Street, you can buy typical products such as country wines, Mastika (the «Bulgarian anise») or products derived from roses as essence or jams.We should not forget that Bulgaria is a great producer of this flower.
Between shops, another great attraction of this great avenue are its coffees and restaurants.One of the most famous is the Vitosha Street Café, at the beginning of the boulevard.
For lunch, not far to the south, the Social Café Bar & Kitchen, with a very good quality-price ratio.And halfway to the NDK area, the UGO restaurant, informal and with facilities suitable for children.
The options for enjoying the night in the north of Vitosha Boulevard coincide in part with those of the south of the old town.In addition, further south, there are other places such as the Memento Vitosha bar, quiet and cosy, or the Patron XO Café & Shot Bar and cocktail bar.
As one of the most touristy areas of the Bulgarian capital, there is a wide range of accommodation on offer.
– Accommodation on Vitosha Boulevard
3. NDK (Palace of Culture) area
This last area of interest in Sofia is called the NDK or National Palace of Culture and is a symbol in Bulgaria, it was built between 1978 and 1981 and is considered one of the best event and congress centres in the world.
The density of hotels to stay in Sofia near the Palace is large, and is dominated by 4 and 5 star hotels, but the price is not very expensive.One should also take into account its proximity to the most commercial part of Vitosha Boulevard, where the hotel offer is abundant.
The NDK is located in a park of the same name where there are other attractions.One of them is the Spirka NDK Tunnel, a series of fountains in front of the Palace with more than 300 meters long.
To the east of the park you can also visit the Temple to the Martyrs of Bulgaria, while to the south, with entrance from Vitosha, you can have a good time at the Galaxy Bowling.
As expected, in the NDK area, thanks to its popularity, there are all kinds of leisure services.In restaurants, highlight Talents Restaurant, in Professor Fridtjof Nansen Avenue, or Garden House, in Patriarh Evtimiy Boulevard.
As for nightlife, to the south of the park, near the bowling alley, is the Planet Club nightclub.
– Accommodation in the NDK Area
4.Central Train Station
It is the northern boundary of the central district and also houses the central bus station.
As for staying in Sofia near the station, you should know that accommodation is cheaper than in the centre without any decrease in quality, which means that there are many tourists, whether the accommodation in Sofia in that area is to be able to travel comfortably to other cities, or to have all kinds of transport available to visit the centre.
In terms of places to visit or things to see, the area is a bit dreary. In the Banishora district, opposite the station, in addition to residential buildings, there are banks, hospitals and public buildings.
For those looking for great shopping and dining experiences, most of the area around the central station has a neighborhood atmosphere, without many attractions in that regard.
– Accommodation in the Central Railway Station area
5.St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral area
Although it is the most central area of the city, the large square where the cathedral is located has wide roads.
This area of Sofia is not residential because most of the buildings are civil or religious monuments.At the same time, until one moves a few streets away from this space, the hotel offer to stay in Sofia is almost nil.
These monuments mentioned are the most interesting attractions of the area.Besides the cathedral itself – alone on Alexander Nevsky Square – other places should be mentioned, such as:
- The National Art Gallery.
- The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church.
- The Volunteer Monument.
- Sveti Nikolay, Russian Orthodox Church.
- The Library building of the Moscow Academy of Sciences.
- The City Hall building, opposite the aforementioned 6th century Byzantine church.
- The tomb and temple in honor of Ivan Vazov, next to the church.
- The Statue to the Unknown Soldier.
The area around the cathedral is not the best for shopping, but you can try the local cuisine in one of the restaurants such as La Cattedrale, which is expensive but has a good menu.
Not far away, behind the National Academy of Arts, there is a café with a terrace, the Coffee Club Academy, and south of the Monument to the Volunteer, two luxury restaurants: Oudri and Pectopah Victoria.In general, this area, where there are also several embassies, is the ideal one to enjoy the most aristocratic version of the city.
– Accommodation in the Alexander Nevski Cathedral area
In this case, we are talking about a residential district of about 50,000 people whose northern part is right on the border of the historical centre.Both the northern and southern parts of the district mix a modern architectural style with classical Soviet-era buildings.
Lozenets is well connected to the city centre and the southern districts and has two metro stops.Most of the accommodations in Sofia on this side are located on Sveti Naum and Cherni Vrah Boulevard.
In the north of the district, for those interested in culture, there is the National Museum of Land and People , precisely on Cherni Vrah Boulevard, while in the central area there is the Rezidentsiya Lozenets Park.In the southern part of the district, you can also visit the city zoo, beyond the Loven Park, which is as dense as a forest.
Because of its residential character, with numerous plots and villas, there are no noisy streets like Vitosha Boulevard, but both locals and visitors have the best option for shopping in the Park Center Shopping Center, located south of the National Museum of Land and People.
There are also restaurants and cafeterias in this mall, such as Costa Coffee, and a little to the south, on Cherni Vrah Boulevard, there are two places to enjoy the evening: Casa de Cuba and Maharani Relax.
– Accommodation in Lozenets
Here is the university campus which houses most of the universities in the city.It is located in the southeast of the Lozenets district and, as you can see, it has a very young atmosphere. This area is very well connected to the centre by three metro stops to the northeast and several avenues.
Given the university nature, the area is quite cheap to stay in Sofia in hostels and apartments.The center of this district is the Students’ Park, to the east and south of which are located most of the faculties of the district.
In the west, besides apartments full of students, there are numerous shops, restaurants and especially discos. In fact, this is the most suitable area of Sofia to go out at night and not spend much money.
In relation to restaurants, there are places like Joy Station, including bowling, and in the south, near a hockey rink, there are also several places where you can eat well, such as the Golden Grosha restaurant.
Back in the vicinity of Studentski Park, we recommend clubs like 35, Conte, Sounwave, 33 or Eleven Sofia, some of which have more of a pub atmosphere and others more of a disco.
– Accommodation in Studentski Grad
Three kilometers from the train station, accommodation in Sofia near the airport has the advantage of being able to easily rent a car to move around the area.
With good connections to the rest of the country thanks to the eastern motorways, Sofia is also easily accessible: the Bruksei Boulevard and the Iztochna Tangerita Avenue, which connects with the Botevgradsko Shose Boulevard to enter Sofia from the north.