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How to Spend 3 Days in Sofia

How to Spend 3 Days in Sofia

With three days in Sofia, you have ample time to explore not just the city but the highlights of Bulgaria. Spend your first day in the fascinating capital, then savor day trips. Head into the countryside to spectacular Bulgarian Orthodox monasteries and mountain lakes, then explore heritage towns such as Plovdiv, Veliko Tarnovo, or Koprivshtitsa.

Day 1: Sofia’s Spectacles

Spend your first day in Sofia getting to grips with some of its 9,000 years of history. A walking tour of the city center introduces you to the ruins of the old Roman city, Byzantine churches, Ottoman-era mosques, and more. A Communist tour is another Sofia don’t-miss: the city’s brutalist architecture is some of the best preserved in the former Eastern Bloc, while the Museum of Socialist Art is unique. A food tour that explains the complex influences that have shaped Bulgarian cuisine is another must, as are tastes of wines from the Thracian Valley, where winemakers have resided for literally thousands of years.

Day 2: Magical Monasteries and Healthy Hikes

During summer, hiking is one of the great joys of the Bulgarian countryside. Many popular day trips combine UNESCO World Heritage Sites and walks: the UNESCO-listed Bulgarian Revival Rila Monastery and the seven glacial mountain Rila Lakes are a signature pairing. Alternatively, stay close to the city and discover the joys of Vitosha Mountain, whether that’s hiking in summer or snowshoeing in winter; the UNESCO-listed 10th-century Boyana Church is a popular stop en route to Vitosha. Perched on a mountainside in Stara Planina, Glozhene Monastery makes for mesmerizing photos, whether you’re hiking or horseback riding. Other great hiking trips run to caves, lakes, and fortresses.

Day 3: Ancient Enclaves

Venture farther afield and discover one of Bulgaria’s other gorgeous towns and cities. Options include Plovdiv, one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in Europe; Veliko Tarnovo, with its medieval cobbled streets; and Koprivshtitsa, a village replete with Bulgarian Revival mansions. From an ancient amphitheater to 19th-century timber-framed houses to junk stores, Plovdiv merits a whole day in itself, but many tours combine it with other beautiful spots such as Koprivshtitsa. Melnik, a scenic village surrounded by pyramid-shaped rock formations, makes a popular village stop, while the Thracian and neolithic ruins at Starosel thrill history buffs.

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11 Tours and Activities | All Sofia Tours

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Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa Day Trip from Sofia

Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa Day Trip from Sofia

star-4.5
Visit Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa on a full-day trip from Sophia, and discover the art and architecture of two iconic Bulgarian cities. Stroll the narrow lanes of Plovdiv’s old town, and discover historic traces of the Romans, Thracians, and Byzantines who swept through this region. Continue to Koprivshtitsa for a walking tour to the homes of the city’s most storied residents, and learn how a local revolutionary committee freed Bulgaria from Ottoman rule during the Russo-Turkish war before ending your tour in central Sophia. 
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$55.61
From
$55.61
Taking safety measures

Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip from Sofia

Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip from Sofia

star-4.5
Immerse yourself in the beguiling beauty of two of Bulgaria’s most spectacular sights on a full-day trip from Sofia. Admire the natural splendor of rural Bulgaria as you travel to the Rila Monastery, a sacred structure cradled by the dense pine forests of the mountains. Delve into the history of the medieval landmark and browse the intriguing exhibitions of the on-site museum. Continue to Boyana Church to gaze at the fascinating pre-Renaissance frescoes that decorate the walls within. Please note, entrance fees are not included on this tour.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$37.07
From
$37.07
Taking safety measures

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

Belogradchik Rocks and Belogradchik Fortress

Belogradchik Rocks and Belogradchik Fortress

star-4.5
Visit the town of Belogradchik and its two notable attractions—Belogradchik Rocks and Belogradchik Fortress—on this day trip from Sofia that combines the natural scenery and history of northwestern Bulgaria. Be wowed by the natural formations of sandstone rocks in the Balkan Mountains, and admire the fortress, which dates back to Roman times.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$74.14
Price varies by group size
From
$74.14
Price varies by group size

Mt. Vitosha and Boyana Waterfall Hiking Tour from Sofia

Mt. Vitosha and Boyana Waterfall Hiking Tour from Sofia

star-4.5
Trek up Mt. Vitosha and see the Boyana waterfall on this full-day tour from Sofia. Don your walking boots and hike to the top of Bulgaria’s fourth-highest mountain, passing lush meadows and pine woods. After soaking up panoramic views of Sofia from the summit, enjoy lunch (own expense) and descend to the Boyana fall, whose waters tumble down a steep rock face. Your tour includes return transfers from Sofia, including hotel pickup and drop-off.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$55.61
Price varies by group size
From
$55.61
Price varies by group size

Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi Small-Group Day Trip from Sofia

Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi Small-Group Day Trip from Sofia

star-5
Experience old-time Bulgaria on this small-group tour of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi from Sofia. Travel by air-conditioned minivan to Tarnovo, a one-time medieval craft center and capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Stroll the cobbled streets, discover the craft shops, explore Tsarevets Fortress, once a stronghold of Bulgaria’s tsars, and visit nearby Arbanassi village, famous for its well-preserved stone houses and church frescoes. Central Sofia pickup and drop-off included, with entrance fees at own expense.
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$122.34
Price varies by group size
From
$122.34
Price varies by group size

Koprivshtitsa and Starosel Tour

Koprivshtitsa and Starosel Tour

star-4
Enrich your knowledge of Bulgaria’s rich culture and history on a full-day excursion to Koprivshtitsa and Starosel from Sofia. Alongside an expert guide, travel through the picturesque Bulgarian countryside and embark on a tour of Koprivshtitsa, a town whose architecture typifies the Bulgarian style. After admiring 19th-century houses, historical monuments and precious jewelry, continue to the ancient Neolithic ruins of Starosel, home to the largest underground temple in the Balkans. Conclude your tour with a visit to a popular wine cellar to sample some of the best wines in the region before returning to Sofia by comfortable coach.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$80.32
Price varies by group size
From
$80.32
Price varies by group size

Snowshoeing Vitosha for 1 day

SPECIAL OFFER

Snowshoeing Vitosha for 1 day

star-5
Experience the beautiful nature outside of Sofia on this guided full-day snowshoe hiking tour. Transfer to Vitosha Mountains and suit up with snowshoes and poles. Follow your guide and begin your trek through Vitosha Nature Park on forest trails and mountain plateaus. Admire panoramic views of the city of Sofia.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$97.83
$107.51
$9.68 savings
Price varies by group size
From
$97.83
$107.51
$9.68 savings
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

The Seven Rila Lakes Circuit (small-group tour from Sofia)

The Seven Rila Lakes Circuit (small-group tour from Sofia)

star-4.5
Hike through rugged terrain to the Seven Rila Lakes on a full-day tour from Sophia, and discover the remarkable scenery of the Rila Mountains. Take a chairlift to a high-mountain hut and continue on foot along the jeweled string of lakes. Follow your guide through alpine passes into remote valleys, then rest in the shade of hikers’ shelters; take in sweeping views of the Bulgarian landscape and enjoy the crisp, clear air of the Balkans’ highest mountain range.  
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  • 8 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$49.43
From
$49.43
Taking safety measures

Private Ancient History Spa and Wine from Sofia

Private Ancient History Spa and Wine from Sofia

star-5
Explore Bulgarian customs and culture, and discover a pace of life far removed from the busy capital on this 8-hour history, spa and wine tour from Sofia. Follow your guide through Koprivshtitsa and admire the town’s 19th-century Bulgarian Revival architecture. Learn of the role the locals played in the struggle against Ottoman rule during the 1876 uprising, and gain insight into the town’s rich heritage. Head through the Rose Valley to the Thracian Temple of Starosel. Visit a local winery and spa, then return in comfort to Sofia.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$97.62
Price varies by group size
From
$97.62
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

The Eyes of God natural wonder Saeva Dupka cave and Glozhene Monastery day trip from Sofia

The Eyes of God natural wonder Saeva Dupka cave and Glozhene Monastery day trip from Sofia

star-5
Cover ground that’s unimaginable by public transport and check off three of Bulgaria’s key attractions safely on this private, fully guided day tour. Hike to—and through!—Prohodna Cave, explore beautiful Saeva Dupka cave, then tour the 13th-century Glozhene Monastery. Besides your private driver/guide, enjoy a dedicated caving guide in Saeva Dupka.
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  • 6 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$92.68
From
$92.68