Thinking of visiting Sofia?
There are a ton of must-see sights in Sofia, from ancient Roman structures, to the buildings of the Communist Era.
Read on to find a complete list of must-see Sofia sightseeing destinations, including:
- Nevsky Cathedral
- Roman Ruins
- National Palace of Culture
- National History Museum
- Boyana Church
…And a LOT more.
P.S. Are you looking for awesome things to do in Sofia (that don’t have anything to do with sightseeing)? Check out our article!
15+ Amazing Sightseeing Destinations in Sofia!
#1 – Nevsky Cathedral
Location: “Saint Alexander Nevsky” square
The most famous sightseeing location of Sofia, and perhaps Bulgaria is the legendary Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
This absolutely gigantic Bulgarian Orthodx church, built in a Neo-Byzantine style, should definitely be considered one of the minor Wonders of the World.
Built in 1902 in honor of the Russian soldiers who died fighting the Ruso-Turkish war of 1887 that resulted in the liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman Empire’s rule.
Today it serves as the main church of Bulgarian Patriarch and is considered to be one of the largest completed Orthodox Churches in the world.
It is a must-see location during your visit in Sofia. It’s a tradition to take a picture in front of this beautiful building.
And you will definitely enjoy the large square surrounding Nevsky Cathedral, featuring mini-parks and other monuments!
#2 – Roman Ruins (And Rotunda Church)
Location: bul. “Kniaz Aleksandar Dondukov” 2
If you explore the Sofia Center you will find that between the roads and buildings there are many scattered ruins available for viewing and sightseeing.
These are the ruins of Roman and Byzantine eras, and you can get further information from reading the plaques, detailing each ruin.
Also if you walk inside the courtyard of the Ministry of Education and President’s building, you will find Sofia’s oldest building – Church of Saint George Rotunda, dating all the way back to the 4th Century!
It’s also surrounded by ruined walls, and if you explore the ruins by the metro station you will find small ancient churches that survived to this day.
#3 – National Palace of Culture (NDK)
Location: bul. “Bulgaria” 1463 NDK
This imposing brutalist building is a Palace of Culture from the Communist period of Bulgaria.
During the times of Eastern Bloc, this complex was used to display state-approved performances and plays.
In the modern day, the many halls and stages of the Palace of Culture are used for all kinds of national and international performances. Famous ensembles, dance groups, concerts, conferences, comedy shows and so on.
NDK is now a European Standard level cultural, business and scientific exchange hub. You can always find something that aligns to your interests or explore new and exciting events.
The square and park outside of NDK has recently undergone a marvelous revamp with the help of EU funding. You can find both families and young people hanging out there on the daily.
And even some skaters doing sick tricks!
#4 – Sofia Courthouse
Location: bul. “Vitosha” 2
The classical pillared courthouse serves as THE center point of Sofia.
You will find that the majority of points of interest on this list can be found within a short walking distance of this building.
It is used as the gathering point for many various tours in Sofia.
And it is also the gathering place for demonstrations and protests and as such is associated with political voices of the public.
Make sure to snap a picture with the lions guarding the gates or even rest of the stairs!
#5 – National History Museum
Location: str. “Vitoshko Lale” 16
The National History Museum located in the Boyana Estate is not only the largest Bulgarian museum, it is the largest museum dedicated to the Balkan History and Culture.
You can find items, artifacts and illustrations from ancient all the way to modern times, being displayed there.
Learning about the unique historical circumstances that forged the current Balkan region can give you a better understanding of Balkan culture and mentality.
Besides the giant medium, you can also explore the vast Boyana estate, which is perfect for a leisurely stroll after absorbing all that new knowledge!
#6 – Boyana Church
Location: str. “Boyansko Ezero” 3
Beyond the Boyana Estate you will be able to find Boyana Church.
This church is actually a part of the UNESCO World Heritage!
Why, you ask?
Well it was built all the way back in the 10th century and is considered to be perfectly preserved!
Inside the three buildings that make up Boyana Church, you will be able to find complete paintings and engravings from late Byzantine and Medieval periods.
This is a mandatory Sofia sightseeing spot for any self-respecting history buff!
#7 – Ivan Vazov National Theater
Location: str. “Dyakon Ignatiy” 5
The gorgeous Ivan Vazov Theatre is located in the very center of Sofia.
It is built with lovely red bricks and white columns, and the outside is decorated with gold engravings and marble statues.
The inside is just as luxurious with red velvet, gold decorations and crystal chandeliers.
The theatre hosts both national Bulgarian performances and foreign guest plays.
The Theatre also has its own mini-park called City Park, which is a popular hangout location both during the day and night.
You can find concerts, open-air art displays and holiday events held outside the Theatre frequently.
#8 – Banya Bashi Mosque
Location: bul. “Knyaginya Maria Luiza” 18
The oldest mosque in Sofia, built during the Ottoman period of Bulgarian History.
What makes this mosque so interesting is the fact that it is built on a natural hot-spring.
That’s why it’s named Banya Bashi, which means “Many Baths”
#9 – Russian Church
Location: bul. “Tsar Osvoboditel” 3
Hidden away in the Sofia center is a Russian Orthodox church.
Technically there is a difference between Bulgarian Orthodoxy and Russian Orthodoxy, especially when it comes to the church designs and traditions.
You can really see the difference in architecture of the Russian Church compared to the Bulgarian counterparts.
And there is a lovely garden next to it, that will certainly make your sightseeing adventure in Sofia even more enjoyable!
#10 – Alexander II Monument
Location: bul. “Tsar Osvoboditel”
The Russian Tsar that played a big role in the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman rule is immortalized by this incredible monument.
Alexander II Monument even has its own mini-square with flower beds, and you can see Alexander Nevsky Cathedral from there.
While sightseeing this location, make sure to check out the amazing detail at the base of the monument, depicting many soldiers and riders “holding up” the Tsar.
#11 – Saint Sofia Monument
Location: bul. “Todor Alexandrov” and bul. “Knyaginya Maria Luiza” intersection
The black and gold statue of Saint Sofia serves as the icon of this city.
It is also, obviously, the saint that Sofia got its name from.
What’s interesting is that the statue is dressed in a medieval Bulgarian style.
It stands on a tall pillar overlooking the central roads, so it can be quite tricky to take a picture with this statue.
#12 – Sofia University
Location: bul. “Tsar Osvoboditel” 15
This giant and imposing university was founded all the way back in 1888, right after the liberation of Bulgaria.
Today it is still active and is considered to be in the top 4% of the best universities world wide.
Outside of being an architectural beauty, it also often serves as a meeting place for many Sofia tours.
#13 – National Library of Cyril and Methodius
Location: bul. “Vasil Levski” 88
If you didn’t know, the Cyrilic alphabet that is widely used by many Eastern European and Central Asian countries and languages, came from the work of two Saints – Cyril and Methodius, who were both part of the First Bulgarian Empire.
That’s why Cyrilic alphabet is named like that, in honor of Saint Cyril.
This giant library is also named after the two saints, and it is the oldest cultural institution of modern Bulgaria.
You can find the statues of both St. Cyril and St. Methodius in the garden-square in front of the library.
#14 – National Archaeological Museum
Location: bul. “Knyaz Aleksandar Dondukov”
Did you know that five of the oldest golden treasures of human history, dating back to 5000 BC.), were all found within Bulgaria?
That’s right, the prehistoric Bulgarian region was one of the most important and developed regions of the ancient humans.
Knowing this you should be delighted to visit the National Archeological Museum, found in Sofia center.
The amazing exhibitions will give you a glimpse into the daily lives of prehistoric humans.
The museum also contains other galleries and exhibits all the way up to the 18th century.
#15 – National Arts Gallery
Location: “Knyaz Aleksandar I” square
This beautiful beige building is actually a former royal palace that was converted into a National Arts Gallery by Bulgaria’s first female architect.
Today the Gallery displays thousands of paintings and art pieces of Bulgarian history and culture.
They also frequently hold temporary exhibitions and interactive events to better help visitors understand and learn about Bulgarian culture.
#16 – National Assembly Building
Location: bul. “Tsar Osvoboditel”
This pearl white building serves as the headquarters for Bulgarian parliament, called the National Assembly.
Built all the way back in 1884, it is still used to this day and is considered a monument of culture.
It is so significant in fact, that you can find it on the back of a 20 leva banknote!
5+ Things to do along with your Sightseeing Adventure in Sofia!
#1 – Sofia Pub Crawl
Location: bul. “Vitosha” 2
Time: 8:30 PM every Friday and Saturday
After spending all day enjoying your sightseeing adventure in Sofia, why not enjoy a different kind of sightseeing at night?
Sofia Pub Crawl is a guided tour that will take you to the best bars, pubs and clubs that Sofia has to offer.
The guides, which are all fluent in English, will not only help you navigate to different bars, but will also provide you with entertainment, welcoming shots, and most importantly a good conversation.
While learning about Bulgarian history and culture from sightseeing locations is important, nothing beats learning about modern Bulgarian culture with its residents over a pint of beer!
You can order a private crawl or join one of the public ones, either way the fun is guaranteed!
The prices start at 20 BNG per person, which is just 10 Euro! For that price the guides will take you to three of the best Sofia bars and finish the night with one of the popular Sofia clubs!
#2 – Sofia Walking Tour
Location: sq. “Alexander Nevsky”
Time: Every hour between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM
If you are struggling with making your own sightseeing schedule, we recommend you check out Sofia Guided Walking City Tour.
This guided 2 hour tour will take you to see the majority of the sightseeing spots on this list that are located in the center.
The local guides are enthusiastic to teach you about the history of the landmarks and ensure that you have a good time.
There are TEN tours a day – every day, which means it will be very easy to fit this tour into your own schedule.
And it’s only 58 BGN or 30 Euro!
#3 – Vitosha Street (Vitoshka)
Location: bul. “Vitosha” 192.
While exploring the Sofia Center you should absolutely visit the best walking street in Sofia – Vitosha Street.
The long and cobbled street, lined with classical buildings is a heart of any European capital, and Vitosha Street is exactly that.
The countless restaurants, cafes and novelty shops will provide you with endless things to do while you are taking a break from your sightseeing adventure.
It also helps greatly that it is conveniently located between all the major sightseeing spots on this list.
And its central location makes it the heart of Sofia nightlife.
Seriously, this street alone can provide you with breakfast, lunch, dinner and a souvenir on top!
#4 – South Park
Location: Str.“Byala Cherkva” and bul.“Vitosha” intersection.
While Sofia has many amazing parks, the South Park is the most well maintained and is up to the EU standards.
It is absolutely huge, featuring many alleys, squares, attractions, bridges, bike courses and even a dog park further in.
You could spend a whole day there and always find something interesting around the corner.
Just don’t get lost!
#5 – Visit the Paradise Mall
Location: bul. “Cherny Vrah” 100
Now, I know you will be visiting the various Sofia malls on your visit either way.
But, in my opinion, Paradise Mall is the coolest mall in Sofia, partially due to the fact that the newest metro station will take you straight into the mall.
Paradise Mall itself is everything you would want from a mall: endless shops, food court, restaurants, cinema and even a theme park with rides on the rooftop!
#6 – Vitosha Mountain
Finally, if you got some extra time on your Sofia visit, you might want to check out the gorgeous mountain that is overlooking Sofia.
Just a 20 minute drive away is Sofia’s own Mountain – Vitosha.
It has both incredible nature and breathtaking views on the peak.
You can go on hike trails during the summer and try the skiing tracks during winter.
Definitely something fun to spice up your Sofia sightseeing adventure!
We hope you found this little sightseeing list for Sofia useful for your visit.
Please enjoy the deep history and culture of Bulgaria, may it be as fun as it’s educational!
And we also hope to see you on a Pub Crawl soon 🙂