As travel reopens in 2022, you might find yourself called on important business in Sofia. If you’re lucky enough that your job takes you to the capital of Bulgaria, here’s a guide to getting the most out of your time in the land of roses.
Where to stay
The center of Sofia is full of historical sites and beautiful tree-lined streets. Cultural venues abound, and you’ll likely spend a lot of your free time strolling the wide pedestrian Vitosha Boulevard or visiting the bustling NDK district, which stands for National Palace of Culture.
These areas have a wide range of practical, affordable and charming hotels and the center is also known for its vibrant nightlife. While it’s definitely worth checking out, for those evenings where you have a morning meeting the next day, there are plenty of exciting places that cool off a bit earlier in the evening. We recommend that you consider staying in the neighboring areas of Oborishte and Lyuben Karavelov.
Both of these areas are within walking distance of the city center and have their own advantages. Oborishte is the perfect place for someone who wants their stay to be surrounded by interesting parks like Zaimov Park, which has its own theater, and Doctors’ Garden with its sculpture garden.
For a more artistic stay, the area around Lyuben Karavelov stretches from the NDK district to the trendy Lozenets. It’s a great place to explore the local galleries and quaint cafes.
Taking a client to a fancy dinner?
Once meetings are adjourned and seminars are over, it might be time to invite a business partner over for a slap-dump meal. If you’re always on time and want to impress – and who doesn’t, right? – then there is an area which is home to some of the best restaurants.
Take a short stroll outside the center to find the Monument to the Tsar Liberator. Tsar Osvoboditel (as it is called in Bulgarian) is an imposing memorial located in the heart of the city’s political district and opposite the National Assembly.
Take a stroll through the wide streets nearby and you will come across a number of first-class dining establishments. Here you’ll find everything from tasting menus with contemporary take on traditional Bulgarian cuisine to exquisite modern European restaurants bringing the best flavors from Italy to France.
Make you happy ?
If you are not attending a business dinner, you might want to explore the local gastronomy and taste some authentic Bulgarian cuisine.
In any typical Bulgarian restaurant, a meal doesn’t even start without a quick hit of rakia followed by a shopska salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and mermaid cottage cheese. once you’ve washed that down, one of the many cafes in Oborishte will be able to serve you a host of classic Bulgarian culinary delights.
For meat eaters, it’s essential that you take a look at Kebapche, which is Bulgaria’s answer to the meatball. The sausage-shaped mixture of meat and spices is often served with fries. Then we recommend a beer and you get the perfect relaxing meal after work.
Vegetarians shouldn’t miss out on a meatless version of gyuveche, either. Served in the terracotta pot in which it is cooked, gyuveche is the quintessential brunch dish. Baked peppers, onions and cheeses are covered with a layer of eggs. It’s filling, delicious, and the perfect way to start a day wandering around Sofia at your leisure.
What to do when you have free time
Do you have the whole day to yourself? Sofia is full of historical sites that date back to the Thracians.
Immersed in history, the Saint-Georges church is a must-see. Dating from the 4th century, the red-brick rotunda is the oldest building in Sofia. Inside its domed walls you’ll find stunning frescoes, including a 10th-century mural of an angel that illustrates the golden age of the first Bulgarian Empire.
Much of Sofia’s history is tied to religion, and other fascinating sites to visit include St. Nedelya Church, Sofia Synagogue, and Banya Bashi Mosque.
If you fancy a little excursion for a magnificent view of the city, Vitosha Mountain can be found just south of Sofia. In summer there are great hikes and in winter you can even spend an afternoon skiing on the slopes. Take the metro to Vitosha station in the south and you can catch a bus to the top of the mountain overlooking the city.
You may have traveled to Sofia for work, but at the end of your trip you will be in desperate need of an extension of your stay. For a last moment of rest and relaxation, take advantage of the natural springs above which Sofia sits and discover one of the city’s many spas.