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How to Spend 1 Day in Sofia

How to Spend 1 Day in Sofia

Sofia is a fascinating city that simply oozes its 9,000 years of history, from the Roman ruins in Serdika metro station to the elegant neoclassical buildings above them. One day in the Bulgarian capital gives you enough time to hit the highlights, sample delicious food and wine, and even squeeze in Communist or Byzantine relics. Here’s how.

Morning: Travel Through Time

In among the parks and green space, Sofia’s history reveals layer upon layer of occupation—and most of it’s so blissfully compact that you don’t need transport to experience it all. Discover ancient catacombs, the ruins of the Roman city, Ottoman-era mosques, tiny Byzantine churches, and grand imperial buildings on a historical or cultural walking tour that takes you below the surface of the city. Consider swinging by the fascinating National Archaeological Museum to learn more about the mysterious Thracians, whose rich culture dominated Bulgaria before and during Roman times—the jewelry is particularly amazing.

Afternoon: Brutalist Beauty or Boyana

In the suburbs in particular, Sofia’s Communist-era architecture is some of central Europe’s best preserved. Spend the afternoon learning about the impact of Communism on the nation as you tour signature sites, perhaps including the fascinating Museum of Socialist Art, and get out among the locals in a typical brutalist block. Alternatively, there’s just enough time to experience the city’s signature green space, Vitosha Mountain, to the south of the city. Try hiking (or snowshoeing in winter), or explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Boyana Church, a series of three churches with murals dating back to the 10th century.

 

Night: Wine and Dine

Bulgaria’s indigenous cuisine is a fascinating mix of Turkish elements acquired during the Ottoman occupation; western Mediterranean meats and vegetables (hello, prosciutto!); and central European pork, game, and pickles. Savor it all on a food tour, on a market tour, or at one of the many modern restaurants that adorn the city’s historical center. An absolute must-try when in Sofia is the wine. The Thracians were some of Europe’s earliest winemakers and, from unique grapes such as mavrud to more established varietals, Bulgarian winemakers punch well above their weight in value terms. It’s worth booking a wine tasting that includes the chance to buy.

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6 Tours and Activities | All Sofia Tours

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Communist Walking Tour of Sofia

Communist Walking Tour of Sofia

star-5
Learn what life was like in communist-era Bulgaria on a Sofia city walking tour. Meet your informative guide in central Sofia and check out the buildings and monuments that testify to its and Bulgaria’s 45 years on the eastern side of the Iron Curtain. See the Largo complex, former home of Bulgaria’s Communist Party; the Monument to the Soviet Army; the National Palace of Culture and more as your guide explains communist ideology and the everyday lives of Bulgarians during the controversial Cold War period.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$13.59
From
$13.59

Private Sofia Food and Culture Walking Tour

Private Sofia Food and Culture Walking Tour

star-5
Want to know what makes Bulgarians tick? Then, get to know Bulgarian culture better on this small-group tour in Sofia. With an experienced local guide, learn the things everyone should know about Bulgarian life. Sample a traditional Bulgarian breakfast; learn the ‘horo’ national folk dance, and discover more about the country’s language, history, and regional customs.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$92.68
Price varies by group size
From
$92.68
Price varies by group size

Private Sofia City Tour with Wine Tasting

Private Sofia City Tour with Wine Tasting

Explore Sofia in comfort and taste local wines on this private tour. Depart from your hotel in an air-conditioned car equipped with WiFi, so you can stay connected throughout the day. Explore the city with a guide and learn about Sofia’s history. Make your way to a local winery and taste three different Bulgarian wines.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$98.86
Price varies by group size
From
$98.86
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Market Food Tour

Market Food Tour

star-4
Designed with foodies in mind, this off-the-beaten-path market tour visits three essential Sofia markets: Flea Market, Zhenski Pazar Women’s Market, and the covered market known as Central Market Hall. Alongside your guide and a small group, enjoy access that would be impossible to achieve independently and savor tastings of classic Bulgarian fare at a range of venues.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$43.25
Price varies by group size
From
$43.25
Price varies by group size

Small-Group Alternative Tour in Sofia with Treasure Hunt

Small-Group Alternative Tour in Sofia with Treasure Hunt

star-5
If conventional tours are not for you but you’d like to learn more about Sofia, embark on this unique adventure that’s half escape room, half treasure hunt. Meet at the office, pick up the starter pack, and get off the beaten path as you puzzle your way through clues around Sofia. Finally, meet your guide, complete the final challenge, and get a rundown on your personal experience.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$12.36
From
$12.36

Real-life Escape Game in Sofia

Real-life Escape Game in Sofia

star-5
Put your wits to the test and bring your ingenuity to the fore for this 1-hour real-life game of escape in Sofia. Hour Escape sees groups of contestants locked in a room for 60 minutes, with only a curious selection of clues and tools to help them get out. As the clock ticks down and the stakes rise higher, work with your friends to solve the riddles, use every ounce of ingenuity you have and maybe you’ll escape the room in time!
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$38.73
per group
From
$38.73
per group