I have never felt more ignorant than this past week. I had a misconception of Bulgaria and it’s capital Sofia. Thankfully, I have never been more pleasantly surprised. Sofia, is an amazing city and I am glad I had the opportunity to visit this spectacular city the past six days.
There are plenty of things I can mention in this post that will attract you to this city, but instead, I have narrowed down the topics to what I feel are significant sites to visit. However, if you have visited or live in Sofia and feel I left something out, please provide your comments and recommendations below.
Saint Nedelia Church
According to my travel guide, the exact date of when the church was built is not really known. Many believe the church was built in the 10th century. Over the centuries many additions were added to the old wooden structure including domes in the late 19th century.
Saint Nedelia Church is located in the center of the city and it can be found between Vitosha Boulevard and Maria Luiza Boulevard. I enjoyed visiting the church and was blessed to witness what appeared to be a baptism of several young Bulgarians that I was careful not to be too intrusive with my photo taking. I had to pay 5.0 Lev to be allowed to take photos inside the church.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
The Nevsky Cathedral is a Neo-Byzantine Church that is the church of the Patriarch of Bulgaria. It is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox churches in the world and it is also one of Sofia’s largest tourist attractions. Construction of the cathedral began in 1882 in honor of the Russian soldiers who liberated Bulgaria during the Russo-Turkish War. The cathedral was named after Alexander Nevsky, a Russian Prince. Photos are not allowed to be taken inside the cathedral.
Sveti Sedmochislenitsi Church
This church was a gem of a find. The administrator gave me permission to take photos and video inside the church. Thankfully, I arrived just in time prior to a thunderstorm that lasted a few hours.
Food & Drink
I don’t like using the word cheap but visiting Bulgaria is not going to break the bank. I was stunned on how inexpensive food was. Large beers will cost you around 2.00 Lev which is around one euro or $1.40. A good size meat ball will be around 1.40 Lev and a salad will cost about 1.50-2.00 Lev. The Trafa Pub is a great place for lunch. The restaurant has a very cool second level deck overlooking the street. The address is Center, 37 Tzar Asen Street Sofia, Bulgaria.
I took a day trip to the Rila Monastery which is about an two hour drive from Sofia.
There are no shortages of amazing places to have a drink in Sofia. A good start would be to visit Vitosha Blvd. There are several cool bars that have outdoor seating. Of course, the drinks will be more expensive here, but it’s worth the visit.
JJ Murphy’s Irish Pub
If you’re in need for some decent pub food and want to watch some football, JJ Murphy’s is the place to go. When I arrived for the Chelsea vs. Liverpool game, the pub was completely packed. Therefore, arrive early and expect to pay higher prices for both food and drinks.
Where to Stay
There are several amazing places to stay in Sofia. However, if you’re on a budget but want good service and free breakfast, Hostel Mostel is the place to stay. I was very impressed with the staff and their willingness to help out with anything I needed. Once I arrived, a staff member sat with me and went over the city map and provided suggestions on where to eat, site seeing, and day trips. Click here for more information on Hostel Mostel.
I had such an amazing time in Sofia that I didn’t want to leave. While boarding the train to Plovdiv, I felt that there was still so much for me to see and experience. The food, drinks, bars, and history makes you want more. I highly recommend visiting Sofia. Don’t be a check box traveler (new post on this topic coming soon). Spend at least 4-5 days in Sofia to ensure you experience the city and the people.
New post on the Houses of Plovdiv, Bulgaria coming Wednesday, May 7, 2014.
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