Let's continue our Balkan journey by discovering the most amazing cities in the region, that would for sure make you raise your eyebrows in disbelief of such a natural beauty. Allow me to intriduce you offically the most affordable capital to visit in Europe, Sofia. Beside easy accessibility, great cuisine and nightlife and low prices, this Bulgarian capital, also known as the Eastern European Berlin, can offer you extremly interesting things to do. If you decide to spend a weekend day or longer, scroll down to learn more about this heart-warming capital.
In Sofia, East meets West, which makes the city charming, romantic, cosy and vital at the same time.
With its 1.3 million habitants, Sofia is the capital and the largest city of Bulgaria. Being at the foot of Vitosha Mountain in the western part of the country, in the centre of the Balkan peninsula, it is midway between the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea, and closest to the Aegean Sea. Sofia is a hometown of the numerous major local universities, cultural institutions and commercial companies. Fun fact that could be interesting to some of you is thet the city is one of the top 10 best places for start-up business in the world, especially in information technologies. Feeling like you could give it a shot? Book your tickets immediately!
Founded 2,500 years ago, Sofia allows an array of the remains of the old cities to still be viewed today. Through centuries, Sofia was given several names such as Serdica and Sredetz. Because of its strategic location in the middle of Balkans, it had been selected for several times as the capital of the former Roman Empire. Near Sofia there is the Boyana church, one of the most valuable memorials of Bulgarian and European culture. The church, telling the tale of the old times by its frescoes, has been acclaimed by specialists as “the best example of Eastern medieval art during the twelve century history”.
With its rich history and cultural monuments, today Sofia is a dynamic Eastern European capital, distinguished by its unique combination of European and Communist-style architecture as well as many beautiful orthodox churches, which I am pretty sure you will visit. Furthermore, it is definitely one of the few European capitals with beautiful scenery and a developed ski-resort so close to it - the Vitosha mountain. Also, nearby you may find the one of the most popular Bulgarian mountan resorts, Bansko.
Another great thing you should keep in mind when visiting Sofia is its pedigree in regards to the quality of its mineral waters. In the city, there are seven independent mineral water springs. For your convenience, one of the springs is in the central area of the city and is accessible for everybody, by tram or a bus. You will most certainly not be able to miss the spot as you will see many locals in front of it, filling up plastic bottles of water. The whole imagery will most certainly round up the authentic experience of the city, along with their rich cuisine, traditional Bulgarian wine and welcoming people.
Interestingly enough, streetart is found everywhere in Sofia, but make sure to check the Tsar Ivan Shishman Street to see cool graffitis, paste-ups and most importantly: the colorful transformer boxes. Furthermore, you will be surprised to see that Sofia is a very green capital, which allows you to relax in many gorgeous parks. My warm suggestion would be the biggest and possibly the most beautiful one, located in the city center, called Borisova gradina. There you can even find a small lake, a lot of statues of famous bulgarians and the two biggest stadiums of the city.
Especially if you are visiting Sofia on a budget and only have limited time, you should go for one of the great free walknig tours – they entertaining and you will learn the things you haven't hear before!The tour guides from the Free Sofia Tour, mostly students who are practicing their language skills, offer a professional, fun tour with interesting little stories along the way. All you need to do is show up in front of the Palace of Justice at Vitosha Boulevard and you are good to go.
If you are an art lover, then you will be more than content in Sofia as the city offers an array of different museums - a little bit of everything for everybody. The most popular ones are Sofia History Museum, Muzeiko, National Museum of History, Earth and Man National Museum and many, many other. Moreover, at the St. Aleksander Nevsky Square, apart from the St. Aleksander Nevsky Cathedral, one of the largest orthodox churches worldwide, you will find the National Gallery for Foreign Art, which will most certainly keep you occupied for some time.
Finally, this has been Sofia only in a nutshel, as this article did not give this gorgeous capital enough of a credit. More tips and tricks as to where to go, where to eat, never ending nightlife and what will be the hottest upcoming festivals are coming. So stay tuned and follow us for more inspiration.
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