Sofia Travel Guide

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Central Sofia Synagogue

Central Sofia Synagogue

mar1956tin

Sofia is one of the hippest cities in Bulgaria. In the past 10 years, Sofia has changed from a boring, sad-looking place to a modern and lively capital. To be honest, Sofia couldn't be called a tourist atraction. On the contrary, Sofia, despite the fact that it is the administrative city of Bulgaria, is an amazing destination for a non-stop partying experience. In fact, only in central Sofia there are over 300 bars, restaurants, discos and cafes you could spend a nice time in. The book market and the flea market are also interesting spots in Sofia.

As Bulgaria has only recently joined the EU, the prices are still much lower than those of Western EU states. As a result, Sofia is a cheap alternative, with an interesting twist. It isn't beautiful, it isn't clean, it isn't well organised, but it provides the grounds for an amazing holiday, spent in a luxurious hotel overlooking the mountain, and with over 300 bars, restaurants, discos and cafes in a radius of less than 2km, the capital is also an easily accessible city.

For those travelling on a budget, hostels (available on the internet) are definitely an alternative. One useful tip for those who need a ride to town: pay attention to the taxi drivers- they will usually try to charge you more,  and always choose cabs that are registered to a cab company (The official currency is Bulgarian Lev, so your bill is in bulgarian leva and not in Euros. Usually the taxi drivers will tell you the exact sum of money that is written in the electronical device but in Euros. 1 Euro = 1.95583 Bulgarian Leva. So, for example from the Airport to the City Center of Sofia should cost you around 10-12 leva which is 5-6 Euro. A good taxi company is "OK Taxi") . A few words in Bulgarian may be more useful than you imagine.

Sofia is a city that's needs to be seen from all angles - the bad and the good.There are a lot of sights that should definetely be visited.You will see at least half of them around the Tsar Osvoboditel boulevard.Such are The Largo (Ploshtad Nezavisimost),The Bulgarian National Bank,the first city garden located infront of the National Theatre Ivan Vazov,The Former King's Palace nowadays the National Art Gallery,the Russian Church,Voennia Klub (the Milatary Club),Tsar Osvoboditel monument,the National Assembly of Bulgaria,the National University Saint Kliment Ohridski,the St.Alexander Nevsky Cathedral etc.The boulevard finishes at Orlov Most (Eagle's Bridge) where is the National Stadium Vassil Levski and from where starts Sofia's largest park - Borisova gradina or The garden of Boris.From Orlov most can be seen the monument of the Soviet Army,a symbol of Bulgaria's communist past.The monument is one of the three places where young people from the capital gather along with Ploshtad Bulgaria (Bulgaria Square infront of NDK - the National Palace of Culture) and Patriarha (Patriarh Evtimiy Square).

The transport infrastructure of the city is very well developed.Sofia has a major bus and train station and also a very busy airport serving various destination around Europe,Asia,Africa and also offering charter flights to many other places.The public transport is the best one in the country - there is one subway line,second one under construction,9 trolleybus lines,16 tram lines,93 bus lines and around 50 marshroutka lines (very fast private minibuses covering almost all of the city.From the airport you can take bus line 84 or 284.The second one will lead you directly in to the city centre,right behind the monument of the Soviet army.From there you can walk on foot to Orlov most.That's one of the busiest places in the capital - from there you can get to almost anywhere in the by bus,marshroutka or trolleybus.The ticket for the tram,metro,bus and trolleybus lines is 1 lev or around 0,50 euros.For the marshroutka the price is 1,50 leva or 0,75 euros.

If you arrive in the city by train or bus (the Central Train Station and the Central Bus station are right next to each other) you can catch tram lines 1 or 7 which pass through Lavov most (Lion's Bridge) which is very close to the Women's Market - Sofia's central bazaar.After that they continue and will take you to the large Sveta Nedelya Cathedral,the statue of Santa Sophia and TZUM - the city's central departement store.Very close by is the Catholical cathedral of Saint Joseph.If you continue with the tram you'll travel through out Sofia's busiest and longest shopping street - Vitosha Boulevard or shortly Vitoshka.After you pass it,you will see the large Ploshtad Balgaria (Bulgaria Square) and the National Palace of Culture.

There are a lot of hotels in Sofia,most of which are in the city's outskirts.But there are a few right in the city centre like Grand Hotel Sofia and Grand Hotel Bulgaria.

Finding a place to eat won't be a challenge at all - only in the area of Vitoshka blvd. there are around 20 restaurants.In Sofia there are also fast food restaurants from world class like McDonalds,KFC,Subway etc.There are also two Starbucks coffee houses.If you are in the area of Tzentralna Gara (the Central Railway Station) you can buy fast foods from Stochna Gara Square.

Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: http://www.world66.com/europe/bulgaria/sofia/modify

Contributors

September 01, 2006 change by psychoralu (1 point)

September 08, 2008 change by largan

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