Affordable Adventures: Sofia, Bulgaria

November 14, 2017

Sofia, Bulgaria

Hey everyone! I am really excited to have my first guest blog post!

A new travel blogger, Monica Vaklinova, born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria, is here to share some of her insiders’ tips on traveling through this wonderful city on a budget.

Monica is passionate about travel writing and promoting healthy lifestyles. She has kindly agreed to write this Affordable Adventures post about her hometown, the city of Sofia, Bulgaria. Check it out!


Sofia is a modern city, a capital, and a real historical treasure. It is not only the capital of the amazingly beautiful Bulgaria, it is also one of the most captivating places from among the European cities.

Its rich history makes this lovely city more interesting for visitors from all around the world. There is a lot to see, a lot to do, and a lot to taste. This city is one of the most underrated places in Europe but, trust me, it is a hidden treasure.

Churches, churches, and churches again

Sofia, Bulgaria
Photo by Monica Vaklinova

The three words, which can describe Sofia are churches, beauty, and history. You will hardly miss the gorgeous and fascinating Cathedral Saint Alexander Nevski. This church is best-known for being the largest Orthodox cathedral in Europe. The cathedral is made of luxurious materials such as gold, marble, and onyx.

Another must-see treasure in the city is Saint Nikola’s Russian Church. People mainly go to write open-hearted letters to Saint Nikola, praying for his help. They also may bring flowers in return for Saint Nikola’s help.

The architectural monument in the heart of Sofia, called Church of Saint George, is a unique historical place, and one of the main symbols of the capital. It is an interesting red brick rotunda and it is found to be the oldest building in the city. Build in the 4th century by the Romans and restored a few years ago it is a captivating building with substantial history.

Other beautiful churches, which deserve to be seen are Boyana Church, Saint Sofia Church, and Sveta Nedelya Church.

You will be fascinated by the pure and magical beauty of these exceptional and outstanding churches in Sofia.

How affordable is it?
Cost: Free

National Palace of Culture   

Sofia, Bulgaria
Photo by Monica Vaklinova

One of the most famous marks of the capital city Sofia is the National Palace of Culture, which is located perfectly in the center of Sofia. This is not only the heart of Sofia but also and the largest multifunctional conference and exhibition center. Built in the not so distant 1981, this magnificent palace is a host to many different and interesting events such as colorful exhibitions, film festivals, working conferences, shows and fairs. It also has a beautiful and tranquil view. There is an alluring park with fountains in front of the building where most people go after work to meet with friends and enjoy the beauty of the building and its nature.

How affordable is it?
Cost: Free

Vitosha Mountain

Vitosha Mountain is in the surrounding area of the city. It is the perfect place for those, who love adventures, hiking, and ravishing nature. There is a lot to see on this beautiful mountain, but you should definitely see the divine Boyana waterfall. It is pure magic.

You can only access it by foot after 3 kilometers of hiking, but don’t be scared because you are going to be surrounded by a fascinating nature and fresh air. It is absolutely worth it.

The Boyana Waterfall is the largest waterfall in Vitosha Mountain. It is a popular spot not only for tourists but for the locals as well. Its calm surroundings may bring peace to its visitors. It is the perfect spot for the long, hot days during the summer season.

How affordable is it?
Cost: Free

Botanical and Zoo Gardens   

Sofia has something for everyone. If you love flowers, a natural and calm atmosphere, and sweet scents you should definitely visit the University Botanical Garden. My first time there was so memorable. I was absolutely amazed by the beauty of the garden.

Be sure to see the open garden and the glasshouse garden, which is full of rose gardens, palms, and other magnificent flowers. In the open garden, there are benches everywhere and you can calmly sit and think surrounded by beautiful creations. The rich collection of the garden contains over than 1,500 species. Established by Stefan Georgiev in 1892 and it is the perfect mixture of beauty, color, and scents.  

Another great attraction in the city for animal lovers is the Zoo Garden. It is also the ideal place for families with children. Founded in the distant 1888 it is the largest zoo garden in southeastern Europe.

This incredible place is home to so many and different animals. It contains 4,500 animals of which there are 840 species. You can easily access the zoo’s garden by public transport because it is located downtown. Go there and give all your precious love to the animals because they need it!

How affordable is it?
Cost: Botanic Garden – € 1.00
Zoo Garden – € 2.50

Cyril and Methodius National Library

Sofia, Bulgaria
Photo by Monica Vaklinova

Cyril and Methodius National Library is established in 1878. It is an incredibly beautiful place with exceptional buildings and a magnificent garden in front of the building. The library is named after Saints Cyril and Methodius, who are the creators of the Glagolitic alphabet.

This is also and the biggest library in Bulgaria. There are 7,808,928 books and collections within it. It is the perfect place for bookworms, who are drugged by the smell of old books. You can reach the highest level of inner peace in there.

How affordable is it?
Cost: Free

Ivan Vazov National theatre

Sofia, Bulgaria
Photo by Monica Vaklinova

Ivan Vazov National Theatre also located in the center of Sofia, it is one of the most important and breathtaking trademarks of the city. It is a must see place to visit. Even though it was established in 1908, it is one of the best looking buildings around the city.

There you can watch all of the finest Bulgarian actors and their plays. Their amazing staging production can absolutely make you laugh at first and the next second, you may find yourself crying like a baby. It is a fascinating feeling.

How affordable is it?
Cost:
 € 5.00 – 10.00

Take a Walk in The Park

Sofia is not only a busy city. There are a lot of gardens and parks all around the city center, which offer incredible nature and a variety of attractions. South Park is a favorite spot for many people. You can take a long walk, ride a bike, do some exercises, lay in the green grass, have a picnic or whatever you want. If you are not such an active person you can just enjoy the nature, or go for a cup of coffee or to grab a meal at some of the very nice restaurants near the park. The perfect location connects the park with Sofia’s most popular shopping boulevard, Vitosha.

Another place for relaxation is the Borisova Garden. It is known as the oldest park in Sofia. The park is full of sculptures of famous Bulgarian people. You can literary find them anywhere around the garden. Ariana Lake is nicely located to one of the sides of the Borisova Garden. It is perfect both in the summer and the winter. Go for a ride with water wheel in the summer and fresh yourself in the long hot days, or go ice-skating in the winter and take a part in a magical winter fairy tale.

How affordable is it?
Cost: 
Free

Taste it

Sofia, Bulgaria
Photo by Monica Vaklinova

There are some traditional dishes you have to try in Sofia because you won’t find them in any other country in the world. One of the main dishes is a greasy pastry called “banitsa.” You can find this sensation in every bakery around the town. It is filled with cheese, but there are also many variations of the dish, which contains spinach, pumpkin or cabbage. It also can be found with sweet filling – apple, with Turkish delight or pumpkin. The price of “banitsa” varies from 1.00 to 1.50 BGN (around 0.70 Euro).

For the fans of healthy eating and the salad lovers, Bulgarians have a simple salad called “shopska.” It contains cucumber, tomato, onion, pepper, cheese, and parsley. The price goes from 3.00 to 5.00 BGN (1.50 – 2.50 Euro).

“Musaka” is the goddess of all the traditional dishes in Bulgaria. It involves potatoes, eggs, and minced pork meat. There is even a joke amongst the Bulgarians, which says that if the woman can’t cook “musaka” she isn’t ready for men. The price is about the same as for the salad.

“Tarator” is a refreshing yogurt-based soup with cucumbers, dill, garlic, and walnuts. It is best when it is cold and it’s perfect for the summer season. The price is around 2.00 BGN (1.00 Euro).

Be sure to also try the grilled food in Sofia. Bulgarians are famous for their grilled specialty, called “kebapche.” The price goes around 2.00BGN (1 Euro).

How affordable is it?
Cost: €5.00 – €15.00 for two people


There you go a lovely city guide for fun and affordable things to do in Sofia, Bulgaria. Click here if you love Monica and want to check out her website: Monica Vaklinova.

Do you love all things affordable? Check out my Affordable Adventures page with more on cheap travel.

Affordable Adventures: Sofia Bulgaria
2 Comments
    1. I’ve been to Sofia recently and it was an unforgettable experience, Lindsey. Unfortunately I haven’t visited the stunning Vitosha mountain. Bulgaria is a great budget travel destination. 😉

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