The capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, is a hidden gem when it comes to European tourist locations.
It may not be as flashy and extravagant as Rome or Madrid, but it offers a great value of new experiences, fun things to do, beautiful scenery to explore, and a unique culture to enjoy – all at an affordable price.
Sofia always has something special for every type of person to find and enjoy. So what are some of the awesome things that you can see and do in Sofia in 2020?
8+ Things to Do in Sofia
#1 – Sofia Pub Crawl
Probably one of the first things that come to mind when you are thinking of what to do in Sofia is going out. And what better way of exploring the abundance of pubs, bars, and clubs other than in a fun company.
Sofia Pub Crawl is a guided tour of some of the best bars and nightclubs in Sofia. You’ll meet with a diverse group of 20+ tourists from all over the world, and go on a bar crawl with them! Here’s how this works…
- Sofia Pub Crawl starts every Friday and Saturday at 8:30 in front of the Sofia Courthouse
- The tour covers 3 bars & a nightclub at the end
- You’ll get 1 (sometimes 2) English-speaking tour-guides to show you the Sofia Nightlife
- Freebies! Free welcome shots in each of the bars, and a free entrance to the club at the end of the tour
- Drinking games!
The tour costs only 20 BGN per person (that’s 10 Euros), and is LOVED by thousands of tourists.
If you have a group of 8+ friends, it doesn’t matter if you are celebrating a birthday, going on a student trip, a bachelorette or bachelor party and whatever else you would want to do in Sofia at night, you can order a private crawl just for yourself! The guides will create a bar route suited to your needs.
Fun guaranteed whenever you decide to do a public or private crawl either way!
#2 – The Hidden Bars.
If you feel like doing something adventurous you can seek out a number of the more hidden bars and pubs of Sofia.
There is the atmospheric Lorka Bar – an underground cozy bar that works late into the night, which is perfect for continuing your party after hitting the clubs. So grab a glass of rose rum and plop down the comfy chairs or strike up a conversation with other patrons who are definitely going to drink till the morning.
Want to feel quite noir? Find the secretive Speakeasy 5L, based on America’s bars from the times of Prohibition. Solve a key puzzle and you may be permitted to enter the expansive bar to experience the fanciest of drinks.
But if you want to do something truly unique head over to Hambara, knock on the heavy door and enter another world. A candlelit tavern, straight out of a fantasy setting, where the only things that use electricity are the fridge for beer and a music player. Sit on the hardwood tables and relax in the hazy coziness of this nerd’s dream.
#3 – The Fancy Clubs.
If you have money to spend, you may want to experience some of the more expensive clubs in Sofia.
Sugar is a rough R&B, Trap and House club that is very popular among foreigners. Go hard on the dance floor or head upstairs and cool down at the bar.
Then for the top of the top, there is the Bedroom Premium Club. For this club you will need to put on your best dress or your best suit, order a bottle of something expensive and enjoy the feeling of luxury.
But if neither tickles your fancy, head on to Culture Beat – a more classic city club with plenty of cocktails and an outside smoking area perfect for conversations between the dances.
#4 – Ale House
What’s the point of visiting a European capital if you are not going to spend a couple of hours in some kind of brewery?
Beer enthusiasts will be certain to fall in love with Ale House, a deep underground brewery pub with the two most essential things – an assortment of fancy brews and a plate full of delicious sausages to go along.
What’s even more amusing are the beer taps built into a wall by each table, with a gas-station styled meter on top. So refill yourself with that premium!
#5 – Hookah Night
Bulgarians REALLY love their Hookahs. Due to the history of the Turkish occupation, Bulgaria now has a tradition of enjoying Shisha and Hookahs.
In Sofia, there are many places that offer Shisha as an additional service, be it bars, restaurants or clubs.
But if you wish to go to a dedicated Shisha and Hookah place visit Harem to enjoy some nice flavors and some food and drink to go along.
Or if you are in the center, check out SpeShial Center for pure Hookah experience. Try out the various Shisha flavors from Turkey and the Middle East.
#6 – The Board Game Clubs.
If clubbing and bar hopping is not your kind of thing, Sofia has got other fun things for you to do!
Nerd out at LevelUp, a Tabletop focused game club where you can get yourself a table, some beer and an assortment of various party games to spend your time and socialize. You can even buy a plethora of sci-fi and fantasy books, merch and board games themselves.
If you want to play some board games and also have a fantasy-themed food, check out Three Trolls – a board game café under a bridge. They even hold Beer Pong tournaments from time to time. What more could you ask for?
#7 – Virtual Reality Club
Ever wanted to try out VR, but never had the money or space for it? Worry not, Sofia is a city of innovative entrepreneurs, who also just happened to open a club just for you. Now you can finally give it a go for cheap in one of Sofia’s best VR clubs!
Avatar Celestial is a club where you can get yourself a space with a VR and a TV to try out the various Virtual Reality games and apps while your friends can laugh at you losing your balance and freaking out. It is a surprisingly fun and entertaining way to hang out and experience new technology and costs only 12 Euros per hour per VR set.
#8 – The Shopping Malls
While visiting Sofia, it only makes sense to do a little shopping and explore the giant malls. Out of all the malls, Paradise Center Mall is unique due to the fact that the Metro Station has an exit directly into it.
Check out the international brand shops and local novelty shops, eat at the huge food court, watch the latest movies in the original dub and be amazed by an actual amusement park on the roof of the Paradise Mall. There are always fun things for you to do in the malls in Sofia.
5+ Things to See in Sofia
#1 – Saint Alexander Nevski Church
When visiting Sofia, it would be foolish not to witness the nation’s wonder – the giant Neo-Byzantine style church of Saint Alexander Nevski, located near the center of the city.
This breath-taking architectural beauty is one of the oldest and biggest Orthodox Churches in the world. It is almost a tradition to snap a photo in front of it to mark the beginning of your Sofia experience.
#2 – National Palace of Culture
The giant menacing building of the communist era, that in the past held state-approved performances, today the National Palace of Culture is brimming with modern style. Comedy shows, music concerts, business conventions, ballet, theater and much more – be it Bulgarian or from the International Community, NDK has them all.
The square and small park right outside of the hall is buzzing with life, from families taking their children on a stroll to daring skateboarders grinding the fountain sides. Explore for a bit and you will surely find fun things to do!
#3 – Vitosha Walking Street
After the NDK you will find yourself walking on Sofia’s busiest street, lovingly nicknamed Vitoshka.
Shops of every kind and popular restaurants featuring both Bulgarian and International cuisine can be found on each side of this street. Fountains, promotions, street performers and vendors stand out like islands in a flowing sea of locals and tourists.
Vitosha Street is the prime meeting place for any social gathering, be it lunch, bar-hopping, clubbing and eventually brunch. The best part about Vitoshka? – If you step into one of the side alleys you will enter an exciting maze of even more discoveries, places to see and things to do. It is the heart of your Sofia experience.
#4 – “The Center”
At the end of Vitosha Street you will see a large columned building – the Courthouse, a common gathering place for various tours. This is where the rest of the center of Sofia starts, from here you can explore and find a variety of curiosities and landmarks.
Nearby you can find a complex of unearthed ancient Roman ruins. Surrounding it are various national museums to satisfy your cultural and historical interests.
The black and gold statue of Sofia overlooks the crossroads, while further numerous churches and mosques can be found.
If you were to walk in the direction this lady is pointing, you will come across City Garden – a bustling mini-park near a theatre and an art gallery – a popular location for chilling and drinking in the open.
There are many more places to see from here on, a perfect place to wander without a particular goal in mind.
#5 – Vitosha Mountain
If you are more of an outdoorsy type and prefer to do things out in nature, but are short on time – do not worry, because Sofia got you covered too.
The city is built at the base of a lovely mountain Vitosha, all it takes is roughly 20 minutes of driving up a nice road and you at the peak overlooking Sofia.
During winter you can do some skiing and snowboarding, and during summer you can explore various trails, perfect for hiking – either way, you will enjoy the fresh pine air. There are no wild animals so it’s pretty safe, just watch out for the occasional snake in springtime.
…And phew, we are done!
Hope you loved our short guide on things to do and see in Sofia.
By now, you should already have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to be doing on your trip!
And if you’re looking for an AWESOME nightlife experience, make sure to check out our Pub Crawl!