Sofia, Bulgaria | 10 Ways to Travel Like a Local
Welcome to Sofia, my home for the past few years and capital of Bulgaria. My name is Geri and I am the founder and blogger behind When Woman Travels, a place where female travelers can find resources, ideas and inspiration to make their travel dreams come true.
Today I will give you a few tips about how you can visit Sofia like a local. There are many places in the Bulgaria’s capital city that’ll keep you busy and entertained. You can choose from various activities, restaurants, cultural spots and more. And, certainly, every one of you will find something that will peak your interest.
First, a short introduction: Sofia is one of the oldest cities in Europe. It may not be as well-known, but its origins date back to 4 BC, and thus, Sofia a place with lots of history and culture. Nowadays, the city has become popular for travelers because of its fairly affordable standard of living and cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Now, what you came for. The following are a few insider tips on how to spend few days like a local in Sofia. Enjoy!
Have Lunch at a Local Favorite
Have a lunch at one of the local’s favorite restaurants, Shastlivetsa (The Lucky Man). Not only are the dish options great, but the food is really tasty as well. To top it off, the atmosphere in the restaurant is like in no one other. The interior is decorated in an early 20th century European style that was popular among the wealthy Bulgarians at that time.
Dance Like the Bulgarians
An experience like no other is participating in the Bulgarian folk dances. You will find a group of young Bulgarian enthusiasts dancing traditional folk dances every Sunday around 5 p.m. in front of the National Theatre Ivan Vazov. Don’t be shy. Join them and they will be very happy to teach you!
Take a Break at Memento
After lunch, have a coffee at Memento – the Sofia’s most popular specialty coffee bar. It’s located along the pedestrian Vitosha Boulevard, not far from the restaurant discussed earlier, Shtastlivetsa.
Treasure Hunt on Shishman Street
A great place for a unique gift is Shishman Street. There, you’ll find small shops selling handmade jewelry that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s a great place to go treasure hunting for someone special, or even yourself!
Eat Traditional Bulgarian Food for Dinner
For dinner, try out some Bulgarian restaurants such as Chevermeto, Manastirska Magernitsa, and MoMa. They are some of the best known places for traditional food in Sofia, and a great way to eat like a local while you are there. In addition to the cuisine, some of these restaurants also have live folk shows too so you can have a glimpse to the rich Bulgarian culture as well.
Experience the Ballet and Opera
If you like culture, join the Bulgarians and see some of their ballet and opera productions. The Bulgarian artists are good and professional, and their style has been influenced Russian Ballet.
End Your Night with a Drink on a Rooftop Terrace
To finish your evening in style, head to the the Sense Hotel for a drink on the rooftop terrace. This bar offers one of the best views of Sofia, particularly of those impressive golden domes of the Alexander Nevski Cathedral.
Attend Church with the Locals
If you are looking for a spiritual moment, light a candle in the two most impressive churches in Sofia – the Patriarchate Cathedral Alexander Nevski and the beautiful Russian Church, also known as the Church of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Maker. They are centrally located and, on Sundays, many locals visit them.
Don't Forget About Some Day Trips
One thing that makes Sofia a great place to visit is its proximity to some of the most interesting places in Bulgaria. One of the best day trips is to the Rila Monastery, which is the most important UNESCO Heritage site in the country. Another great day trip is to Plovdiv, the second largest city and the long time cultural capital of Bulgaria.
Geri started her expat journey in Ethiopia many years ago. Since then, she has lived in different countries and is now on a journey to make her teenage dreams of being journalist come true by sharing her female travel experience on her blog Geri Vladeva, a place for female travel trip ideas and tips such as helping women be stylish and to travel more.