City trip Sofia: 4 tips for the winter

It was almost December again. Since I had received an incredibly nice birthday gift from my then-boyfriend, I wanted to give something nice in return. Making memories together I still think is one of the most beautiful things you can do as a couple. You won’t talk later about that nice coat or that one time you got an external hard drive. No, you’re talking about how funny it was when you almost fell at that little bridge during your city break in Lisbon, or how f*cking tough the hike was in Chicaque National Park in Colombia right the first day after arriving. All experiences that no one can take away from you.

That’s why I chose a city trip as a birthday present. But preferably to a place that is affordable, non-standard and 2-3 hours away by plane.

city break sofia

Of course, a sunny spot immediately popped into my head. I just loooove the sun! But yes…for really nice weather above 23 degrees you must fly at least 4 hours in January. So I thought…well why not: I’ll go see what Whizz Air has to offer. A city break Sofia it is!

Having been there, I can say one thing: I would love to go back (preferably in spring or summer anyway) to explore more of Bulgaria!

Tip: Whizz Air flies from terminal 1. When you arrive in Sofia, it is not such a problem. When you fly back, you need to take this into account. From Terminal 2, it is about another 10-minute bus ride. A free shuttle bus goes twice an hour from Terminal 2, but you can also catch bus 84. This one costs 1.60 lev. And goes much more often.

After some comparison work, I stumbled upon 2 tickets to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. I don’t know anything about that! That’s something different from a weekend in Naples. Being very interested in Sofia’s history, I immediately felt that Sofia had to be the city. Having been there, I can say one thing: I would love to go back (preferably in spring or summer anyway) to explore more of Bulgaria!

Why would you want to do a city break Sofia?

1# Sightseeing and surprisingly uncluttered city

This city surprises you. My prejudice was ugly Soviet buildings that I saw a lot in Kazakhstan and Mongolia. And a lot of grumpy people. How wrong I could have been! At least 90% of all the people we met were friendly and tried to help us well. And of course there were typical Soviet buildings, but also very beautiful ones. For example, the top attraction: the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Hidden Church and all the parks. All attractions are within walking distance. Within 2 days you have seen all the highlights well. That’s why a city break Sofia is perfect. Not too short not too long and you can see everything.


2# Interesting history

Bulgaria has a rich past. Thus, the Romans dominated here, the Ottomans and, of course, the Bulgarians themselves. After World War II when everything was bombed flat offered assistance to the Soviet Union. Communism made its appearance. According to our guide from Communist Tour (highly recommended!), Bulgaria was ultimately never fully communist or socialist. Simply because money was always in circulation. On the black market or just in stores. But you couldn’t “just get” that money, because it was forbidden. So you can imagine that this was a breeding ground for black money.

Our guide Daniel told us more interesting things. For example, men and women earned equally, if you were a woman you got 54 weeks of maternity leave (still do, by the way!) and everyone was allowed to go to school. BUT students were not allowed to get too smart, because then they might rebel. So in that, people were oppressed.

I recommend you also take the communist tour to do! Costs 20 lev (= about 10 euros). You can just go to Palace of Justice. Here is the meeting point. Pay at the guide. At the time of writing, the tour is every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m. If you first do the free walking tour in Sofia you get a discount on the communist tour. The free walking tour is every day at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and also starts from Palace of Justice.

3# City trip Sofia? Also go to Plovdiv

Besides a city break Sofia, there are nice other places within 2 hours’ travel from Sofia. Consider Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s cultural capital. In this college town, you can still see authentic houses. You will also find relics of the Romans such as a theater. This city is at its best when there is no snow, I suspect.


4# Perfect for the small wallet


Ideal for when you’d like to get away but don’t have that much money to spend. Tickets with Whizz Air cost – if you get there in time or have an offer – very little. Especially when flying with only carry-on luggage. Just be aware at Whizz Air, normal carry-on luggage requires you to pay a little extra. A small handbag is free. But nevertheless still perfectly affordable. Cabs are also super cheap. I had a cab (take an OK cab) and cost me 12 lev from airport to downtown at 9pm. That’s something like 6 euros converted.

6# Plenty of vegan offerings

For me as a gourmet, good food is important. Especially when I go on a city trip. Call me stupid, but I really didn’t expect that there are quite a few choices for vegans in Sofia. For example, at a Japanese restaurant where they have a vegan section on the menu, a waiter told us that 10% of Bulgarians in Sofia are vegan. Seemed slightly on the high side to us, but the fact that a traditional Japanese restaurant dedicates a menu page to vegan sushi was heavenly to me! Read all my tips for good vega(n) restaurants in Sofia.

city break sofia


Sofia’s metro works well. There are also many streetcars. Since our Bulgarian is not what it used to be, we usually opted for the subway. Although everything downtown is within walking distance. The train to Plovdiv also goes several times a day. I bought my ticket a day in advance. Did I find it convenient. Keep in mind that in summer, the journey from Sofia to Plovdiv takes just under 2 hours. The cab is also spot on. Use the cab app: OKtaxi. Also watch out for rogue cab drivers.


I paid an average of 27 euros per night for an Airbnb right in the center. So a city break Sofia is perfect for up to 5 nights. You then have time to do everything at your leisure. And to go outside Sofia. By the way, with 2 full days you can also do fine in Sofia. You will have to make more choices. I really liked Sofia a lot. Tastes like another visit to Bulgaria, but….then in the summer. Then again.