Sofia is a stunning European capital city with an incredible variety of things to see. It also makes a great destination for a short city break.
The first thing you’ll need to do is take a look at the city’s famous sights. We recommend starting with the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
One of Sofia’s symbols and primary tourist attractions, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a neo-Byzantine church that was designed by Russian architect Alexander Pomerantsev. It was built in memory of 200,000 Russian soldiers who died fighting for Bulgaria’s independence during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, as well as to honour Saint Alexander Nevsky, a Russian prince who ruled Kievan Rus during the 13th century.
The neo-Byzantine cathedral is a massive structure, with several domes and numerous window arches. The topmost dome is 148 feet high and made of gold!
The entire interior is filled with mosaics, gilded columns of alabaster and onyx, and precious decorations of Italian marble. It is also home to a museum of Bulgarian icons, which are housed in a crypt.
Vitosha Boulevard (also known as ‘Vitoshka’) is the main shopping street in Sofia, lined with posh retail outlets, bars and restaurants. Partially pedestrianized, it stretches from South Park in the south to St Nedelya Square in the north and is home to higher-end stores and cafes as well as landmarks like the National Palace of Culture, St. Nedelya Cathedral and TSUM, the former Communist Party headquarters.
The most attractive aspect of the boulevard is its pedestrian zone, where tourists and locals enjoy a walk with a cup of coffee and a pastry at one of the many shops. It has been renovated in 2007 with historical benches, street lights, Art Nouveau round kiosks, green areas and open-air bars.
There are a number of high-end boutiques here, such as D&G, Armani and Boss. However, there are also plenty of smaller boutiques where you can find exquisite goods for a fraction of the price. The boulevard is also home to a wide range of delis, cafés and restaurants serving delicious Bulgarian dishes.
The Central Market is a covered market in Sofia, Bulgaria. Opened in 1911, it is located on Marie Louise Boulevard.
The building was designed by the famous Bulgarian architect Naum Torbov and is regarded as his best work. Its facade is Neo-Renaissance with elements of Neo-Byzantine and Neo-Baroque architecture.
In front of the main entrance there is the famous coat of arms of Sofia and on the tower there are three clock dials. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city and it has been a landmark for trade and commerce since its inauguration.
This place is perfect if you are looking for English books, stationary or school supplies. You can find everything you need here at reasonable prices.
The Lion’s Bridge in Sofia is one of the most photogenic places in the city and it’s definitely worth a look! It’s a pedestrian bridge that connects the north side of the capital to the central train station.
The bridge is a two-level intersection with trams on top and four giant lion statues in the middle. It’s a nice place to see and is a great example of how much of the city has changed in the past century.
The Lion’s Bridge is also known as the Lviv Bridge and it’s one of Sofia’s more notable landmarks. It was designed by the Czech brothers-architects Vaclav and Josef Prosek with their cousins Bogdan and Jiri in 1889. The bridge is a surprisingly good place to walk and it has all the amenities you could ask for. It’s a shame that it isn’t in the tourist brochures as it deserves more attention! The other big thing about the Lviv Bridge is that it’s the first in Bulgaria to have electric lights.