Since obtaining the EU presidency in January, the spotlight has been all over Bulgaria. In the midst of this political limelight and a movement towards globalization, tourism is booming in its capital city of Sofia.
When we think of the hottest tourist destinations, Eastern Europe may not be the first place to come to mind, but that may slowly be changing. Bulgaria is currently going through something of a cultural renaissance, encompassing art, food and even ideological changes. Tourism has gone up 19% in the past year, according to the Sofia Globe, one of Bulgaria’s top newspapers, and it is projected to keep rising.
Visiting Bulgaria’s capital city of Sofia isn’t without certain challenges, due to their use of the Cyrillic alphabet and our general unfamiliarity with Eastern European culture, but the cultural heritage and current renaissance of this Balkan hub make the trip an unforgettable one. Sofia is also one of the most affordable capital cities in Europe, so your dollar goes a long way. Here are some of the top things to do in Sofia, Bulgaria:
Visit Vitosha Mountain
A European capital city with its own resident mountain? That’s right. For winter sports, hiking or a gentle walk through the foothills, take a taxi or the well-organized public transportation to Sofia’s Vitosha mountain for a morning or afternoon full of stunning views of the city.
Stroll Through One of the City’s Many Public Parks
Although Sofia isn’t a sprawling metropolis like New York or Los Angeles, it has managed to make room for a stunning and thoughtful collection of parks. Sofia’s larger South Park and Borisova Gardens offer serene, floral walks dotted with art pieces and historical monuments.
Tuck into One of Sofia’s Culinary Options
Whether you’re looking for a bite of Bulgarian culture or something a little trendier, this city has you covered. As a nation of farmers, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the Bulgarians are on board with the BIO (organic) food trend, with healthy eateries like Dream House and Spaghetti Kitchen gaining traction with their more environmentally-conscious options.
Sofia is a city on the rise, and it is going through changes both in urban development and overall culture. Visit soon, before the tourism boom is in full swing, and you’ll be rewarded with a genuine look into the history of this proud and beautiful Slavic nation.