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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
"Very good hostel - This is a great hostel. The owner is honest and punctual (a girl at the reception made an error and asked us an higher price then the true, at the evening the owner gave us back the rest). The location is ok, three minute by foot from Vitosha. Breakfast is included. Very good." … "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...
"… diverse culture, enjoying a variety of goods and food. 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...
Orient Express Hostel Sofia
"This hostel is totally New in the downtown center, a perfect place, one of the best hostels I visited in Eastern Europe. The breakfast was made by the host. The price is average, and the rooms are new. The host is really kind, so I can recommend it. The hostel location is one of the best you can get in Sofia. The hostel is very clean, with spacious rooms.You could say even better from most hotels in town. The staff were very friendly, helping...
"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...
HI - Sofia - Sofia Guesthouse Hostel
"… Euro/pax. From the central train station & the central bus station: The two stations are located at a distance of just 150m from each other. So the ways of transportation to Sofia Guesthouse by public transport or taxi are all the same. Walking it takes about an hour to get to Sofia Guesthouse (see the map): walk along "Maria Louisa" Blvd., then cross the bridge of "Slivnitsa" Blvd. and continue towards the mosque, located further...
"Located 200 meters from the center of Sofia, Elysia is intimate and peaceful place.The hostel offer Bed&Breakfast service in 6 modern furnished rooms,which have own bath and toilet, FREE clean and fresh sheets, blanket, pillow, FREE middle towel on request, Reading Light. Wireless Internet, closed parking with fee 7Euro per night. ********" … "… is inexpensive, you'll have everything you need. Look up where to go and...
Crosspoint Sofia Hostel
"… 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 monument the house was built at...
"Beautiful, Friendly, and all you need from a Hostel - Staying at Ethno Hostel exceeds all expectations! The couple that run this little place are so friendly and welcoming, who go out of their way in so many aspects, from tourist information and providing a breakfast to socialising with guests in the evening. The rooms are beautiful and although basic are more than enough to ensure a happy stay. The only down point is that its difficult to...
"… 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...
"… Euro web access with our computer: 1 Euro per hour storage of personal luggage (small): 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...
"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." … "… and about treks 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...
"The spacious rooms at the Sky are bright and airy. Each includes wooden floors. Some units have a private bathroom. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner while room service is also provided. An on-site playground is available for younger guests. We offer a Double or Twin Room with Shared Bathroom on each floor. Double or Twin Room with internal bathroom." … "… TV. Our rooms are near the Mall of Sofia and only 5 minutes away...
YHA Levitt Hostel
"High quality - Amazing,high-tech security hostel! They don't really have human reception, but only Virtual receptionist -- one very sweet bear (Winnie the Pooh) which can answer our questions, well, sometimes not quite right. However,they also had Intercom system for direct contact with the manager. The place itself is bright, extremely clean and very warm! I didn't pay for any breakfast but was offered coffee,tea and tasty Cake -- was really...
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...
"We are centrally located, about a kilometer away from the Sofia Central Railway and Central Bus Stations and about 10 km away from the Sofia Airport. We are a family-run hostel established in 1995, centrally located in Sofia in a detached two story building with 24/7 reception and only privately used guest rooms. Please note : Check-in time : 12h30 Check-out time : 12h00 (regularly or any time earlier in case that the respective...
"… 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
"Very good Hostel! - Super price, very good owners!" … "Location not easy to find - Location is not easy to find. but the boss is nice." … "… tea, coffee and cookies. 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...
"… stay in Sofia can start. In just a few minutes time, you can get to the main attractions of Sofia - The Presidency, the Sv.Nedelya church, the largo of Sofia, the Central Halls, the shopping street Vitosha, plenty of bars, coffees and restaurants. In same time we are located in a small and very quiet street. You feel like you are in the heart of the vibrant and crowded capital, but without its unpleasant noises. No lockouts, no...
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
32 Hristo Belchev Street
Hostel Ivory Tower
60 Tsar Samuil str
Nightingale Hostel & Guesthouse
"Hostel Liulin locate in top center near to mineral spring Sofia and Central Market Hall, opposite Sheraton Hotel. Hostel Liulin has unique location. He is surrounded by synagogue, church St. Nedelya, and mosque. Conveniences and services: • Access to furnish kitchenette • Access to two separate WC and two separate bath rooms. • 24 hours’ hot water, central heating, cable TV and free internet access.Free WiFiIn additionally, the hostel Lulin...
"We visited this hostel in November 2001, and I can see they took many of our suggestions to improve. They were extremely friendly and were very eager to please customers. It was very clean and quiet." … "This place was well situated, the staff were friendly and Trops restaurant (a place that does real cheap cafeteria food) is just down the road. It's about a 10-minute walk into the center of Sofia. It was clean, if a little noisy on...
Sporto Centre / Best Sofia Hostel
"… May we suggest unusual ways to celebrate your parties: Plain "wet" partiy, water-and-baloons party, BBQ-and-hats party etc. FACILITIES: - Laundry - Telephone - Drying - Таxi - Ironing - Room service - Iron - Excursions - Internet - Taurist informations - Free parcking FITNESS - Massage - Personal trainer - Sauna - Personal programs - Aromo-therapy - Diets - Тable tennis -...
"It is a perfect place to stay!" … "Very good help there!" … "… two hostel rooms. One of them has a large double bed for two persons. Guests can use the kitchen which is fully equipped. The house is cleaned everyday for your convenience. We are ready to help you organise your time to the maximum while providing advice on activities, a car-driver, home cinema options, private music party option, personal cooking,...
"WORST HOSTEL EVER......this is not a hostel for backpackers/travellers but local Bulgarian people. I recently stayed at this hostel (unfortunately!!) and wanted to warn other people from making the same mistake. The staff are very RUDE and UNHELPFUL. Everything you read about this hostel on the internet is LIES. There is NO reception at all, but they advertise 24 hour reception. They have a notice on the door telling you to call...
"… /> + 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
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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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