Don’t book flights to Sofia for the typical must-see checklist of tourist attractions found in other European cities. The capital of Bulgaria doesn’t have much to offer visitors by way of castles, churches and monuments, but Sofia is full of fascinating people and off-the-beaten-path gems that appeal to any kind of traveler.
Travelers eager to explore Bulgaria start with a flight to Sofia. Look away from the drab buildings and traffic-filled roadways in the city center and explore Sofia by foot. At stop at a local coffee house or sidewalk café offers more to tourists than a walk through the city center. The open-air bars and restaurants greet visitors with a savory meal and a refreshing beverage before heading off to discover the rest of Bulgaria.
Summers are balmy with temperatures usually in the 70s (Fahrenheit) and low humidity, although July and August can reach the 80s. Winters are cold with below freezing temperatures December through February.Rain is typical any month of the year, especially in April and May. In winter, Sofia gets snow instead, most of it falling from December to February.
Best Time to Fly to Sofia
Sofia is busy in summer and winter, mostly with visitors on their way to the Black Sea resorts. Hiking trails in summer and the ski slopes in winter are popular so it's wise to book Sofia flights and accommodations early. In June, the city hosts the popular Sofia Music Weeks.with a reputation for being a party town, the nightlife is exuberant around the clock and year-round. The clubs also host varied and eclectic performances from traditional Bulgarian music to punk, reggae, and metal.
Winter is when you are less likely to find tourists lingering in the city. If you do not mind the cold and snow, find cheap flights to Sofia during the winter months and explore the wealth of museums, galleries, and cultural entertainment.
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Getting around Sofia
Sofia’s public transportation network of buses, trolleys and trams reaches all corners of the city from early morning to late evening. Buy tickets from street kiosks. Fares are cheap, but one-day and multiple-day tickets will save you even more money. The metro doesn’t hit tourist attractions or hotels. Be prepared and travel with a map, and don’t be afraid to ask locals for help. Despite public transit system’s extensive coverage, stops aren’t well-marked and contain little if any information. For a bit more money, you can travel in a private minibus, which is faster than a regular bus. Don’t worry about buying tickets ahead of time, just pay the driver when you board. Calling for a taxi can get lost in translation. Most dispatches don’t speak English, but the fares are reasonable as long as you’re not overcharged. Make sure the meter is running and know where you’re going. Drivers expect you to know where you’re going and often need you to give directions. Don’t drive in Sofia. With public transportation and taxis available, battling the horrible traffic isn’t worth it.
Sofia Travel Information
If you’re looking for an incredibly relaxing way to enjoy nature, then consider a flight to Sofia to experience the amazing mineral baths. You’ll know them by the striped façade outside and beautiful ceramic decorations. This architectural gem has undergone a lot of restoration since its start in 1911, and has become the centerpiece of the little square it resides on, right near the Banya Bashi Mosque. Nearby, there is also a serene flowing fountain that locals drink from.
National Gallery for Foreign Art
For artsy travelers looking for a flight to Sofia, the National Gallery for Foreign Art is the place to be. Although you won’t find any world-class treasures here, you’ll experience the little known pieces that are surely worth discovering. Indian wood carvings, Burmese Buddhas, African tribal art, and Japanese prints are all part of the mix.
Built as the headquarters for the Ottoman Police, the Royal Palace has an intriguing history. When local hero Vasil Levski was tried and tortured publicly at this site in 1873, Bulgaria’s royal family was in an uproar. After the liberation, they took over the land and building and deemed it their new residence. Now, is encapsulates the National Art gallery as well as the Ethnographic Museum with a park and statues. So when you step off your flight to Sofia, be sure to check this place out for some historical perspective.