Sofia, Bulgaria

The largest city in the eastern European nation of Bulgaria, Sofia is located in western Bulgaria. Sofia’s population of 1.2 million people makes it the largest within Bulgaria and the 12th largest in the European Union. Many Bulgarian corporations, universities, and shopping centers are located within the Sofia area, which allows travelers to experience a wide variety of culture and events within the city itself.

Sofia, Bulgaria has a long and varied history, with the earliest settlement dating to the 4th century BC. Sofia was flourished under the governance of the Roman Empire, and notably became one of the first holdings of the Romans to allow Christianity as the official religion. As a result, numerous ancient church ruins still remain in Sofia to the present day, including The Church of St. George, which dates to the 4th century AD. Sofia is also well-known for the Boyana Church, a Bulgarian Orthodox church which was constructed in the 11th and 12th centuries AD.

Sofia’s recent history has been one of revitalization and rebuilding. After being bombed by Allied forces in WWII, the People’s Republic of Bulgaria was established in 1946. As a result of Bulgaria’s independence, the population of Sofia boomed with rural countrymen moving to the city for a chance to find gainful employment. This created a cultural melting pot as settlers from all over Bulgaria made their homes in the capital city which is still evident in the present day.

Sofia is home to several museums that will allow any traveler to experience Bulgaria’s diverse past. From archaeological remains to natural history exhibits, and many private art galleries, there is a museum to fit any interest within Sofia. Sofia is home to several large universities, which provides the town with numerous research institutions and rotating exhibits.
Architectural tours of Sofia are available, and the focus of these tours can range from the older ruins of Sofia to the modern 20th century skyscrapers for Bulgarian business headquarters. For animal lovers traveling through Sofia, a visit to the Sofia Zoological Garden is a must-see attraction; the aviary collection is particularly noteworthy at the zoo. Sofia also features several theaters for performing arts, with productions of plays, operas, musicals, and dance taking place regularly.

Luxurious fashion boutiques and local designers line the streets of Sofia, providing tourists with the unique opportunity to take part in local fashion design shops as well as the very latest couture runway fashions from internationally renowned designers. Bulgarian cuisine is easily found throughout Sofia, and dining options range from local taverns and eateries to five-star fine dining restaurants. International chefs are becoming increasingly visible throughout Sofia and bring with their skill set the cuisine of their homeland from across Europe.

An easy day trip into Mount Vitosha allows tourists to experience the natural beauty of the Bulgarian countryside at one of the many mountain resorts and spas. Recreational activities such as skiing are available in winter and early spring months along the Mount Vitosha area.



Bulgaria is one of the most attractive holiday destinations in Southeast Europe. It is full of history and culture with nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as fantastic beaches, ski resorts, eco-tourism and high adventure. The sparkling night life with clubs and discos in the beach resorts as well as the capital Sofia is second to none in Europe.

For 13 centuries the small country of Bulgaria has been part of Europe, and it has historical ruins that go back much farther into history. Kazanluk Tomb, a Thracian tomb from the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. still has its colorful ancient frescoes. The Sveshtari Tomb is from the same time and has beautiful caryatides in relief and impressive decoration.

Plovdiv, inhabited for 8,000 years, has the Roman Theater which is dated from the 2nd century and is the best preserved example in the country from Roman times. Nessbar, one of the oldest cities in Europe, Boyana Church with 1259 murals, the Ivanovo Rock Churches from the 14th century and the Rila Monastery from the 10th century are just a few of the architectural wonders of Bulgaria.

The Black Sea Coast is the sun and sand destination. With miles of beautiful beaches and scenery as the background for swimming, sunbathing and water sport. The resorts are world class with first class facilities and swimming pools, horseback riding, diving, paragliding, beach volleyball, jet skis, tennis, fitness gym, open air bars and spa facilities.

Most of the resorts are right on the beach with all the modern services including restaurants, shops, TV, internet connections and all the information for visiting the ancient sites in the country.

There are four main ski resorts in Bulgaria for downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding and snow surfing that are suitable for beginners and experts. The Banderica slope is where the 2009 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup for Women was held. Only 22 miles from Sofia is the highest ski resort. It has extensive ski runs as well as first class hotels and opportunities for hiking in the national park as well as other entertainments for visitors.

The amazing mountain ranges and natural wonders offer hiking trails and horse riding routes through forests, gigantic rock formations for the adventurous. There are also rare birds, bears, lynx and other animals that are rarely seen anywhere in Europe. The Belogradchik Rocks, formed for millions of years by nature, are the leaders of the New Seven Wonders in the caves, rocks and valleys category.

In the south, Plovdiv is an international transport hub easy to reach from all over Europe. It is also an important railway hub to Sofia and the rest of Europe. Bulgaria is a place where visitors like to return. The beaches and skiing are one reason, but the broad expanse of relics of civilizations over thousands of years, and the truly amazing natural beauty make it a very satisfying holiday destination.

Bulgaria has excellent, inexpensive public transport that make visiting the whole country easy. They travel between cities as well as to the remote villages. The life of the locals moves at a slow pace, and they are very welcoming to visitors because they are proud of their culture and ancient heritage.