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Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria. It is also the biggest city in the country with about 1.4 million citizens . 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.
Sofia Airport (SOF) is 9 km east of the city center. It is the busiest airport in Bulgaria, with annual passenger traffic of approximately 4 million.
Over 20 airlines operate service to/from Sofia, with direct flights to/from Athens, Paris, Vienna, London, Rome, Amsterdam, Munich, Warsaw and other European cities.
Sofia Central Bus Station (Centralna Avtogara/Централна автогара) is in the north part of the city centre and is within walking distance to the central attractions. Schedules and fares are available in Bulgarian online.
International trains provide a large number of routes to Sofia, arriving from such places as Kiev, Istanbul, Vienna, Belgrade, Bucharest, Moscow and other common cities.
Streets have adequate tiled pavements, especially in the city centre. However, they are frequently uneven and potholed, and walking is further made difficult by parked cars, street vendors and cafes. Except for areas in the very centre, pavements rarely have slopes for wheelchair access or designated lanes for bicycle riders.
Rent a Bike
Sofia is one of the greenest capitals in Europe, with the big park zones ideal for biking. Slow traffic in downtown is perfect for cycling. On a bike you will save time and will enjoy sport activity. Sofia also has the few bike paths around the downtown area and districts such as Mladost, Nadezhda, Hipodruma.
Sofia is one of the oldest cities in Europe and has ancient ruins throughout the city center.
In the administrative center of Sofia, the streets are covered with a specific yellow pavement. It was laid in the beginning of the 20th century and were a present to the Bulgarian Tsar Ferdinand for his wedding from the Austria-Hungarian royal family.
Sofia was founded because of the quality of its mineral waters. In the city, there are 7 independent mineral water springs. One of the springs is in the central area of the city and is accessible for everybody - cross the square behind the mosque, next to TSUM.
Sofia Public Mineral Baths. It is an old building of interest, although it is in process of renovation at the moment.
Other places of worship
Banya Bashi Mosque. A rebuilt bathhouse, hence the name. Planned by master architect Sinan who also did the mosque in Edirne.
Amphitheatre of Serdica, 4 Budapeshta Street
Battenberg Mausoleum. The mausoleum and final resting place of Prince Alexander I of Bulgaria, the first Head of State of modern Bulgaria.
Knyaz Battenberg's Palace.
Monument to Vasil Levski. It commemorates the hanging of Bulgarian national hero and major revolutionary figure Vasil Levski in the city on 18 February 1873.
Monument to the Tsar Liberator. Representing the power of freedom and across from it are the National Assembly and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
Monument to the Unknown Soldier. Across from Alexander Nevsky cathedral; on the side of Hagia Sofia's Church.
Parks and gardens
Borisova Gradina (Boris Garden). The oldest and best known park in the city. Includes the Ariana Lake.
Yuzhen Park (South Park). Yes, and it's not the cartoon series. A nice park in the south-east part of the city, although a bit to crowded on weekends. Vibrant with open area cafes, entertainment for children and grown-ups, and a few ponds with ducks.
City Garden. It`s the oldest and most central public garden, in existence since 1872.
Orlov Most. It`s a bridge over the Perlovska River in the centre of Sofia
Lover's Bridge. It is called that way because young couples hang there. It is usually a place with various exhibitions - photo, picture, music and so on. Located between National Palace of Culture and Hotel Hilton, over Bulgaria bulevard.
Lion's Bridge, bulevard Slivnitsa, 1202 Sofia. Since 2014 the bridge is fully renovated and its old fame for being a dangerous place is now in the past. It has a beautiful lion sculptures, flower garden, benches to seat, a tram line. There is a metro station next to it.
What to do
Swimming and spa
Sofia is crossed by a few tiny rivers that even the locals call (dirty) channels ("Kanala") because of their limited water capacity and pollution.
Happy Beach Viktoria, 12-14 Pencho Slaveykov Blvd. Small open air swimming pool. Its advantage is that it's right next to the city center. Happy is also a popular chain of restaurants so you can have a bite.
Liulin Beach, Liulin district, 30 Dzhavaharlal Neru Blvd. Located in the largest district of Sofia, it has 3 outdoor swimming pools, fitness center, sand area, volleyball and football playgrounds, bbq, pizza, fast food, cafeteria