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At first glance, Sofia might appear as yet another one of those heavy, concrete, Soviet-style architectural monsters. However, the Bulgarian capital is actually quite an old city, dating back to centuries before Christ -- certainly it wasn’t built just by the Soviets.
Throughout its long history, Sofia saw several invasions and occupations, plus some serious bombings during the World War II; not many of its old buildings survived. Most of the remaining old architecture can be seen inside and around Serdika metro station. Also, on the outskirts of the city there is the medieval UNESCO-listed Boyana Chapel.
Other than that, Sofia is quite a new-looking city. Luckily, the straight streets and building blocks are enlivened by the greenery of the city’s abundant parks -- one of those worth a visit is the very central Sofia City Garden. Besides being one of the oldest of its kind in Sofia, it is also the place where heated, informal open-air chess tournaments between middle-aged Bulgarian men take place.
Among other Sofia’s lovable peculiarities are the hot mineral water springs, located next to the Banya Bashi mosque, where locals stop by to fill their bottles with a supposedly healthy drink, and the street market of secondhand books at Slaveykov Square.
Another quirk is the abundant stray dog population. Thousands of homeless dogs – deserted pets and generations of their off-springs – roam around the city in packs. They get more active between the dusk and the dawn, and sometimes attack people. Current law forbids killing the strays; they can only be neutered and let back to the street. Advice on how to scare away the approaching canines circulates in the city folklore, including loud shouting and carrying spray tear gas.
South of the city is the well-loved Vitosha Mountain and the namesake nature park. The area is nicknamed as Sofia’s lungs and is a favourite place for the locals, depending on season, to go hiking and skiing.
If you need more urban life and nightlife, Sofia has it too. Bulgarians are outgoing people, and with the growing admixture of resident international population you get a number of cafes, bars, and clubs from which to choose, ranging from traditional to cosmopolitan to cool.
Sofia’s hostels are scattered all over the city centre. An easy option is to stay somewhere close to the central bus and train stations (north of the city centre) and walk downtown. Otherwise, you can stay in a nicer area and be in the centre of everything. Wherever you stay, walking from one place to another should not take long -- just keep an eye on the city’s uneven pavers so that you don’t end up with your nose broken.
Overall, visiting Sofia is perhaps not as much about admiring the views as about what is happening there. You may have your thoughts refreshed, learn about history in one of the city’s museums, and go out to party and meet people.
Hi, I'm Agne Drumelyte, the Hostelz.com local expert for Sofia. Welcome.
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Art Hostel - Usually We Spend Our Time In The Garden
"Art Hostel - Usually We Spend Our Time In The Garden is a fun place to party, with activities centered in the fully equipped bar in the basement accessible to both patrons and friendly, young Bulgarians interested in meeting foreigners. As simply a place to sleep one could do better, but the cost and the common space can make up for the lack of comfort. The Location Art Hostel is a good distance from the train station, and unless you...
"The Location Sofia Hostel is situated in the heart of Sofia's cafe culture, and conveniently located near Mall Sofia and Vitosha Boulevard. If you call ahead, a friendly staff member will come and pick you up from the central railway or bus stations in a number 7 or 1 tram. If you prefer to walk, allow twenty minutes from the stations to the hostel, head towards the National Courthouse on Vitosha Boulevard and turn right on to Pozitano...
Hostel Mostel - Sofia
"Hostel Mostel - Sofia is in a fairly central location -- Sofia is not such a huge city and you can pretty much walk anywhere in the center within fifteen or twenty minutes. The Location The hostel is located at 2A Makedonia Avenue. You can catch an OK taxi here from the international bus station. It is located two shops after the Caesar casino. (Be careful which brand of taxi you take because the other brands can be very expensive!) The...
Internet Hostel Sofia
"Internet Hostel is situated on Alabin Street, just some meters away from one of the main shopping streets of Sofia -- Vitosha Boulevard. But this is the only and the best thing about it. It is situated on the fourth floor of the building, not on the second as it written in the information about it and there is no lift. Also, it is not really a hostel -- it is more like a home-stay accommodation. There is no place for the reception at all...
Red Star Hostel
"We arrived at the Red Star Hostel at around 12 p.m. to get our room. The woman working there was very nice and explained to us that because another group was late, we would receive a better room for the first night for the same pay. The rooms are very spacious, clean, and arranged conveniently. A TV with many channels (most in Bulgarian but few in English) is set in the room. The shower and toilets are clean and tidy (both are cleaned a...
The Rooms Guest House
"The Rooms Guest House is not in the most ideal location, and it needs some refurbishment. The Location The Rooms Guest House is located a fifteen-minute walk from Sofia's city centre, but it is a fair distance from the bus or train station. It is also located on a side street, which can make it a bit difficult to find. Rooms and Bathrooms The Rooms Guest House offers private singles, private doubles or twins, and two-bed dorms....
"Rossi Hostel is a beautiful, spacious, clean, and bright apartment situated only a couple of minutes' walk from the main tramline, with easy access to train and bus stations, as well as the city centre. The apartment has two dorm rooms with four beds each and a double room that also has a private balcony. Each room is spacious and has wardrobes and cupboard space along with a couch and chairs. There are two bathrooms (with great showers),...
Be My Guest Hostel
"A sweet, quaint hostel that feels like a bed & breakfast. - I only stayed in this hostel for one night but it really made me feel relaxed and welcome. The kitchen is useful and the balcony is quiet and leafy. The room is high quality with an en suite bathroom and even a towel provided. The owner is a friendly old man who can tell you a lot of stories over a nice cup of coffee. Highly recommended for those who want a quiet, relaxed place to...
"We are just a walking distance (5-10min) away from the main Sofia institutions, place of sightseeing and trade buildings. A unique blend of church, synagogue and a mosque just few hundred meters from each other and us. Not to forget the HALI ( covered bazaar), McDonald's, Central Sofia Department Store also known as ZUM, the Metro, the President office etc. Come and enjoy your stay in cozy and tranquil rooms in downtown Sofia. Meet the...
Orient Express Hostel Sofia
"Basic - no hot water for shower, tv broken, basic, in need of TLC." … "Nightmare - I booked a single room -- instead I moved to a three-bed room no Problem but, nearly the living room of the housewife -- loud TV, where she was watching at the sofa for hours. lousy doors -- glass and wood, you can see what's going on in front of your room. childish drunken under twenty years age backpackers sitting in front of your room door, smoking,...
HI - Sofia - Sofia Guesthouse Hostel
"… the bus number 84 to the last stop (25-30 min). Do not forget to buy and punch a ticket in the bus, because most probably you will be checked by a conductor few minutes after the bus starts (one ticket for you and one for your rucksack if it is larger than 60x40x40sm). When you get off you will have to walk about 10min along "Vasil Levski" Blvd., passing by the "Patriarch Evtimiy" monument and again following the street of the same...
"… luggage room. You have the city's tourist attractions, outdoor markets, restaurants, clubs and bars all just around the hostel. Sveta Nedelia cathedral, cathedral Alexander Nevski, Parliament - the absolute centre of Sofia is 10 minutes walking away from the hostel. We're within a walking distance of the central railway / bus station as well. Every hostel room has own bath and toilet, clean and fresh sheets, blanket, pillow, hand...
Crosspoint Sofia Hostel
"… each of our guests. There is a refrigerator, a stove with oven, a coffee machine and kitchenware. Our guest may use FREE iron and FREE hair dryer as well. We also offer washing and drying. Our homelike rooms are with wooden floors and have sitting furniture. The beds are large and comfortable (1m wide). In the dormitory rooms there are lockers with personal keys, where our guests may safely keep their belongings. Now cultural...
"Cool and the gang - This was the best hostel i've seen so far." … "Had a great time here - Thoroughly recommend this new hostel. I have tried several in Sofia but this is the best yet. Very friendly and helpful and in a good location." … "Memorable - This place was great. Playing guitars round the fire at night and really cool owners. Will definitely be coming back here!" … "Beautiful, Friendly, and all you need from a...
"… is away from home he/she would like to spend the time for rest to feel comfortable and pleasant like home, that is the reason why we have made it all for you. The rooms are brightened, the beds are comfortable,the linen and towels are clean and fresh. The rooms are equipped with all the necessary things to make your stay easy: cable TV, mini-bar, wireless internet. The other thing we really care a lot is the cleanness in the...
"… 6 Euro for 4 hours storage of personal luggage (large): 10 Euro for 4 hours Sofia Airport transfer (8:00 a.m - 6.00 p.m): 7 Euro per person, one-way; (6:00 p.m - 08:00 a.m): 10 Euro per person, one-way; Central Railway and Bus Station transfer - 5 Euro per person, one-way laundry and dry cleaning - 4 Euro/ kg Directions to the Hostel: From the Central Railway Station - Trams №: 4, 6 and 7 from the Central Railway...
"Lovely hostel -- would recommend. - Location was very convenient, and in what seemed to be a nicer part of Sofia. The security was excellent; you had to have a key to get through the front gate and then again for the bedroom. Beds were surprisingly comfortable in the dorm, and the rooms were cosy and homey. Breakfast was good, just your basics but that's all we need. Quite cheap as well, from memory." … "… surroundings and...
"Just fabulous - We spent one night in Sofia in this hostel when we went to ASOT. The staff was very friendly and they put us in a bigger room (the large dorm in the attic) for less money. I don't know where in the world will you find a squeaky clean private bathroom for 10-12 euros per night. The town itself is so beautiful that we literally spent two days just walking around and smiling. Plus there is like a gazillion free things that you...
"Alegra Guest house have four rooms with bathroom and kitchen .Wireless Internet and TV are also in place where you can enjoy your cup of coffee or tea kindly made for you by us Please, see our photo gallery for details or contact us for reservation. If you have any questions don't bother to ask. Bed with breakfast (for one night) Bed with breakfast (2 - 3 nights) Bed with breakfast (more than 3 nights) Room with 3 beds (per night)" …...
"… Train and Bus Stations. What makes us stand out: All natural furniture and linens. !00% woolen blankets and choice of pillows: goose down, silicone fibers, memory foam or cotton. Memory mattresses for en-suite rooms, Air conditions in selected ensuite rooms, 32-40" HDTV sets, free parking in Sunday and during the night time 20:00 to 08:00h, optional payable guarded parking lot, quiet area with no traffic in front of the house,...
Sofia Peace Hostel
"… to reach most tourist attractions by foot. The Hostel is open day and night and guests can go out and come back at any time. In addition to the bedrooms, the hostel has a pleasant bar, located underground. You can relax and have a beer there, socialise with the other guests, read books, or watch films in the common room. Sofia Peace Hostel offers WiFi, lockers, laundry facilities, and detailed information on what to do...
"Located in the city center, nearby Mall of Sofia. Rooms with two beds or a twin bed with bathroom, air conditioner, TV, WiFi connection. Rooms with shared bathroom, air conditioner, TV, WiFi. The Guest House offers you comfortable clean rooms. Free Wi-Fi zone and TV. Our rooms are near the Mall of Sofia and only 5 minutes away from the Sofia downtown by foot. It is near by the Central railway station and Central bus station. Also it...
YHA Levitt Hostel
"Highly recommended - Levitt is an absolute beauty. Design, modern, warm, spacious, I only spent a night there but I'd recommend it to anyone would want to spend a relaxing and lovely night in Sofia. Excellent location -- Sofia main street, confortable bed and huge bathroom, friendly staff. The best Bar on Vitosha Boulevard." … "High quality - Amazing,high-tech security hostel! They don't really have human reception, but only Virtual...
Nightingale Hostel & Guesthouse
"Value for money; location; flexibility of staff - I call it excellent for these reasons -- off-season private rooms very cheap; location fabulous for culture and transport; breakfast lovely; free WIFI everywhere; staff very flexible; new showers. Some of the description on hostel booking sites is of the future however -- the inaccuracies are that the upper floor (described as laundry and chill-out zone) is not used as it needs to be...
"… common room with sofas and TV, free Internet and Wi-Fi access in it and in each room as well. Our rooms are sunny and spacious, all with wooden flooring, new beds with orthopedic comfortable mattresses, TV in each room and designer bathrooms. The FREE all you can eat breakfast is for each guest paying 10 + euro/ accommodation per night. We offer variety of rooms to suit each situation: Singles, Doubles, Twin, Triples, Quadruples...
10 Coins Hostel Sofia
"Location not easy to find - Location is not easy to find. but the boss is nice." … "Very good Hostel! - Super price, very good owners!" … "… Everywhere in the house You can use free Wi-Fi. If you travel by car, motorcycle, bicycle or horse You can leave your vehicle in our garage. In summer season we will be glad to provide you with a bicycle - the main cycling route of Sofia is just near our house. If there is necessity...
"… coffee or just to relax after a long day filled with sightseeing. We have positioned chairs and tables, where you can enjoy the silence, while being in the heart of the city. What is more, our common room is at another floor, so that people that want to chat don't bother the ones that want to sleep. When staying in Hostel 44, you’ll actually feel at home as we have included: - delicious fresh made breakfast and hot tea/coffee -...
Moreto & Caffeto
"… free locker, free towel, free linens. Separate WC and bathrooms with free hairdryers are on each floor. The kitchen has all possible utensils and household appliances. Small minibar with drinks and snacks is available. Our living room is our favourite place, here we held parties, here we meet and make new friends! Watch HD TV with lots of channels, play board games, read a book or simply post to your blog! WiFi is free and super...
Guest House 32
"… can be booked on site. A cosy Italian restaurant downstairs. Breakfast, laundry & drying services for a small extra cost. The guest’s safety is guaranteed by the safe area, our security system and a night porter. 10 % off in our restaurant and 15% in The Green Bar at Vitosha blvd. Guest House 32 Policies & Conditions: Check in time is 1 PM. Check out before 12 PM. Payment types: cash, credit cards, debit cards....
Hostel Ivory Tower
"… temples, government buildings, theaters, clubs and shopping streets. Ivory Tower is restricted to only 4 rooms(1 with 3 beds,3 with 4 beds) in order to keep the atmosphere cosy and not overcrowded. The furniture is kept minimalist, so that the rooms have more space to be filled by the personalities of our guests. Hostel Ivory Tower Policies and conditions. Check in from 14:00 Check out before 12:00 Cancellation policy:...
"Nightingale Hostel is very good value and in an excellent location. The atmosphere is friendly and the staff are very informative. Most of Sofia's sights are within walking distance of the hostel, making it a great place to base yourself. Security is good; guests are provided the codes to use at a keypad at ground level to access the building and also at the hostel entrance into the hostel. There is no curfew; however, late at night the...
"… separate WC and two separate bath rooms -24 hours’ hot water, central heating, cable TV and free internet access -Free WiFi -Washing machines -Laundry service -No curfew , 24 hour hot showers -Reception -Elevator / lift(s) -free breakfast -linen is free We offer the following rooms: one double room and a dormitory with 6 bunk beds. All rooms are equipped with fans. The bathrooms are shared. Welcome! Please...
"… /> + FREE Sofia map with highlights * FREE full information support for every spot of Bulgaria. We are here 24 hours to help you with whatever information you might need : - What to see and do - Where to stay - How to get there - Maps - Information, guide books and maps for the surrounding countries - Bus/trains timetables and ticket reservations - Visa support * One day trips - get immersed in the Bulgarian culture and...
6 Prof. Georgy Bradistilov Street
"As guests of the hotel you share a few meters away from sights such as: Central Department Store, the Presidency and Council of Ministers. There are several museums in the neighborhood: Archaeological Museum, National Gallery of Art, Ethnographic Museum and the Polytechnic Museum. Excavations and many temples can be seen again just a few minutes walk from the hotel. In less than an hour will be able to visit some of the most prominent...
The Danish Hostel In Sofia
"We are the only Danish run hostel in the capital of Bulgaria fully decorated to the western standard. Central located next to the most vibrant fruit market in the centre of Sofia.Sofia most famous Vitosha Bvd is just a 5 minute walk away.We're within walking distance of the central railway / bus station as well.Located in a newly renovated apartment building within a stones throw from the center.We are one of the cheapest hostels in Sofia,...
"… ( 1000 Mbs) and Wi-Fi connection through the entire hostel FREE Coffee and Tea any time of the day! FREE Use of fully equipped kitchen FREE Blankets, pillows and sheets FREE Towels on request FREE Laundry (with 3 nights stay)* FREE Use of Iron/Ironing Board FREE Hair Dryer FREE City Maps - Huge Discounts for Our Bar - Good Tips on FREE Walking Tours Every Day! - Travel Desk + Travel Info - High-Tech Security System + 24 Hours Video...
"Hi, I stayed at Kervan Hostel in January of 2004. I found the staff here extremely helpful and friendly. Actually, I found Sofia to be a warm and friendly city in general. I wish them every success for the future." … "… and maps will meet you in the corridor. In the Oriental style furnished kitchen you can drink a cup of coffee or tea, chat with other guests or with local people or prepare your meal. Or you can enjoy the...
"A recently renovated apartment consisting of one big bedroom, equipped kitchen, private shower and toilet. Facilities: air-conditioner, cable TV, telephone, oven, fridge, electronic coffee and tea maker, iron and ironing board, linen and towels included, running hot water, central heating, fan, balcony, 3 rd floor, lift / elevator available. Children friendly, flexible check in-out available, travel info, map of Sofia, car parking available,...
Sofia Intersof Hotel
"Sofia is a beautiful capital city located in the Republic of Bulgaria which is situated on the Balkan Peninsula in south-eastern Europe. Our hostel is a fully furnished 2-storey house. Each bedroom is cosy and clean with wardrobes and cable TV. We have 3 single rooms, 3 double rooms, and 3 rooms with 3 or 4 beds. The hostel conveniently situated in the city centre nearby the central railway station and bus station near Princess Hotel."...
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Sofia Travel Tips & Suggestions
Visit the world famous Boyana Church which can be reached by public bus, Sveta Petka Church which is surrounded by the Sheraton Hotel. So a half-day walk through Sofia is enough to visit the most important sights -- if you want to do more, a full day is all right. Please note that you have to purchase and punch a second ticket for your backpack. I saw fellow travelers who got fined by paying 7 leva (a single ticket is 0,70 leva). This is still usual in some other eastern European countries, not only in Bulgaria. The "Inspectors" or "Kontrol" only speak Bulgarian and are mostly elder people. Be careful when you enter the street tram at Sofia railway station or some stops before it.
Varna is about 6 hours away (by train - maximum 30 leva) from Sofia. It has clean beaches and lots of character - lovely people and very cheap. Varna's night life is great, eating out is very cheap.
Sofia is one of the best cities in Europe, it has variety of interesting places to go and party. Girls are nice, if not the best, and I'll go to visit again for sure!
Sofia is the capital city of Bulgaria. Its traditions are based on the 800 year old war between Bulgarians and the Turks. Now the Bulgarians are busy reconstructing their country and to be a part of the European Union.
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