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Winter in Sofia - 5 things to do in the city!

24 December 2018

You are traveling to Sofia during the winter months and you wonder what can you do in the city?

We have prepared a short list of activities for you to enjoy during your trip!

Here are some suggestions from near and far that don't require much planning from your side so you can simply enjoy the experience and have a good time:

1. Museum walk

 Yes, this point is in every city guide ever created, but in an old city like Sofia, there are lots of historian artifacts to be seen! For instance, why not visit the NAtional History Museum

With its nearly 700,000 exhibits, the National History Museum is the biggest museum in Bulgaria and one of the biggest on the Balkan Peninsula. You will travel through time from prehistory through the magnificent ancient golden treasures to the latest history. The museum is housed in the building of the former communist government residence in Boyana district, on the outskirts of Sofia.

16, Vitoshko Lale Street, 1618 Sofia, Bulgaria
Take a car or order a taxi and you will reach the museum from the Expo hotel in just 20 min. 


2. SHOP TILL YOU DROP

If you want to do some shopping while in Sofia, you can easily do that in one of the 5 big shopping centers in the city. The closest one to Best Western Plus Hotel Expo is The Mall.

The mall is the largest shopping center in Bulgaria with 178 stores featuring international brands, a ten-screen cinema, various entertainment venues, a fitness center, restaurants and cafes. You can reach it with a car in just 4 min. from the hotel as they are both located on Tsarigradsko shosse.

If you are not a fan of big shopping venues and would still like to explore the city a bit, then you can take the metro to Serdika station and simply follow the line of people marching to Vitosha Boulevard. There you can mingle with the locals, as this is one of the most popular pedestrian streets in Sofia, while you enjoy the grand view of Vitosha mountain, the cozy restaurants and cafes and a selection of stores and boutiques.

115z Tsarigradsko shose Blvd., Sofia 1784


3. SKI Adventure

Sofia has one amazing advantage that not many other cities in the world provide – Vitosha mountain who is standing high just 10 km away from the city. This gives you a great opportunity to enjoy some winter sports during your stay in Sofia! The highest peak of Vitosha is Cherni Vruh (2290 m) and the main skiing area is right under it.

How to reach it? You can take a taxi from Hotel Expo and have 16 min. ride (around 10 km) to reach the Simeonovo lift which would take you to Aleko hut. Or you can get a Sofia PASS card which is valid for 3 days and gives you not only access to all public transport but some pretty nice discounts on different sites across Sofia (including -20% for the lift!).

Mind that the lift is open from 8:30 to 16:30 every day and every first and third Monday of the month is closed for maintenance between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. You can rent all the equipment you need, get a ski pass and instructor if needed and enjoy a snowy day. Sadly, the website of Vitosha Ski is in Bulgarian only, but you can still look around and even see Live cameras from the slopes.

4. GALLERY

The National Gallery, which was established in 1948, is the largest art museum in Bulgaria, with over 41,000 paintings, sculptures, graphics, decorative and contemporary artworks. With it’s newest wing called “Square 500 / Kvadrat 500” there is lots to see if you are an art lover!

You need an hour or two to walk through all the exhibitions so it’s something that you can definitely do if you have a few hours to spare. Simply take the metro to Sofia University station and walk past the university’s incredible building, then the National Library building and you will be just next to the gallery.   

Knyaz Alexander I Sq., Sofia, 1000, Bulgaria - The Palace 

1  19th February str., Sofia, 1000, Bulgaria - Square 500


5. EXPERIENCE THE LOCAL CUISINE

Who has not heard until now about the infamous Shopska salad? But Bulgaria has so much more delicious dishes to offer! In the winter months the popular meals are a bit heavier – consider lots of potatoes in different variations, bell peppers with rise, cheese Shopski style, pickled cabbage and meat. Lots of meat.

Most Bulgarian restaurants are offering part traditional cuisine part European, or a spectacular mix of both, so you will definitely get to enjoy a delicious meal nonetheless. Popular areas of restaurants in the city are: just behind Sofia University where you will find coffee shops, and restaurants as hidden gems; west from Sofia University is Shishman street where apart from some great dining places are also a variety of bars; Vitosha Boulevard, of course, is also a nice option so you have a good variety to choose from!