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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
"Excellent rooms, a reasonable price and very friendly hosts. Also, it's very convenient for the center of Sofia. I recommend The Rooms to anyone." … "… time and have a conversation with international guests. You can have actual information about current art events in the capital.(Centrally located we're within a walking distance of the central Railway / bus station as well.You can have here a typical Bulgarian breakfast. Around...
"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...
"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
"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
"… wallet in the tram as the segment between the central train/bus stations and "Patriarch Evtimiy" station is favourite place of many pickpockets in Sofia. Sofia Guesthouse is located at: 27 "Patriarch Evtimiy" Blvd. in the very center of Sofia and just 350 m from the most famous meeting point in Sofia - the monument of Patriarch Evtimiy (conditionally named "Popa" in Bulgarian). The tiny corner between the streets "Patriarch Evtimiy"...
"… location - short walk from the bus and train station. At just a short walk from the center of Sofia, Elysia Hostel provides a warm and comfortable alternative to a Sofia hotel with its own beautiful garden, bar and secure parking. Sit back and relax when booking rooms at the Elysia Hostel as your accommodation is inexpensive, you'll have everything you need. Look up where to go and what to see thanks to wireless internet...
Crosspoint Sofia Hostel
"… cards. We have full equipped kitchen available for FREE to 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...
"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." … "Cool and the gang - This was the best hostel i've seen so far." … "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...
"… from both stations is the same. From the Central Railway Station - Trams ?: 4, 6 and 7 from the Central Railway Station, get off on the fourth Pirotska stop, (this should take about 15 minutes by foot). The Hostel is situated on the corner of Hristo Botev blvd and Pirotska street. Get on the tram from the front door, and buy a ticket from the automated ticket machine, by putting coins inside. The price for one ticket is 1 lev( if...
"… guests peace. Our staff will provide you with all the necessary information about Sofia, the surroundings and about treks and trails in the Bulgarian mountains. We are not quite a hostel – we combine the comfort of a budget hotel with the hospitality and coziness of a guesthouse and all this at the prices of a hostel. The hostel is easily reachable from Central Bus/Train Station - just 20min by walking or 5min by tram. We offer...
"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...
"… can all be used free of charge. WE ACCEPT GROUPS - we offer to the groups 11 beds, 2 bathrooms, and huge furnished kitchen with all extrass. When the weather is nice you can unwind in the garden. A washing machine and ironing facilities are available as well. A pick-up service from Sofia Airport, which is 15 km away, is available on request. Free public parking is possible on site. We offer a shuttle from the airport to the Hostel...
"… 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,...
Levitt Hostel & Guesthouse
"… hospital patients and within a 10 minute walk is our famous South Park – a great place to relax and have fun. Features. The property offers an FREE Airport Shuttle (surcharge) for Our Guests. High-speed Internet access is available in public areas. Levitt Hostel features multilingual staff, ATM/banking services, and concierge services. Additional property amenities include a television in the lobby. Guestrooms. There are...
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
"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!" … "… you can always get free 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 house. If there is necessity we can meet You at the airport or railway...
"… 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...
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,...
"… /> + 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
"Our hostel is located in city center near all important places in Sofia.We have 6 triple rooms with bathrooms and a separate section for housing a group of 20 people." … "Our hostel is located in city center near all important places in Sofia.We have 6 triple rooms with bathrooms and a separate section for housing a group of 20 people." … "… National Gallery of Art, Ethnographic Museum and the Polytechnic Museum....
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,...
"… 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 Please Note: Cancellation policy: 72h before arrival. In case of a late cancellation or No Show, you will be charged the first night of your stay. Check in from 12:00. Check out before 11:00. 24 hour reception....
"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." … "… Kervan Hostel we care more for the comfort of our guests than for the crowded bedrooms. You can feel the domestic atmosphere with your first steps inside. A nice collection of old radios and maps will meet you...
"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...
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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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