My last trip to Sofia was just perfect! It was decided many months ago during a lunch with my friends when one of them (living in Milan but from Sofia) asked us to join her for a weekend in her native town. Flights were very cheap at the time so we booked the trip.
Being there with someone who is from there was just great, probably also one of the key factors to let us love and enjoy Sofia in its full magic. We did so many things, enjoyed secret places and ate the best food following our “tour guide” tips and advices.
Second key success factor was the company: it was the first time that I traveled with this group of friends all together but the company was perfect and we enjoyed every single moment together.
And then Sofia: some people told me that they didn’t love it too much but I literally adored it! We arrived on a Friday at lunch time and from the first lunch on the rooftop of the former Soviet archive I was in love! We enjoyed a stroll in the city center visiting the famous Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the beautiful parks full of green and the best kept secret of Sofia, the Russian Church, where people go to leave their prayers and wishes to Saint Seraphim (which we all did, of course!). We wandered in Sofia the whole afternoon but it was only on Saturday morning that we took a serious tour of the city with the Sofia Free Walking tour. It was such a great tour and we enjoyed so much that we booked a Sofia Communist tour for our Sunday afternoon. If it ever happens that you visit Sofia I truly suggest you have a tour with these guys: they are free or very cheap and what you learn is not written in any guide. They are all lead by young people from Sofia and they really manage to make you feel their love for their hometown!
We basically toured the town, with or without guide, by walk even if taxis are very cheap in case you need them. Also food is very cheap, even in the best restaurants (I’ll give you some hints on the best places to eat in Sofia at the end of this post, as usual). Vintage lovers will be a bit disappointed though, as Sofia is not very vintage, I would say it is not vintage at all. A part for the small flea market near Alexander Nevsky Cathedral where you can almost find soviet memorabilia there is no space for vintage shopping in Sofia, even if, as I like to say, Sofia itself is such a vintage town, full of memories from its past; when you discover it you feel like being in a vintage journey and there are many places that will remind you this when you walk around its streets.
But Sofia is also a very young town, full of bars, parties and places to meet, drink, talk and enjoy life, especially in summer when people get out of their houses after the very cold winter and enjoy the warmth and the sun.
The most vintage place that I found in Sofia was also my favorite building in town: the Central Mineral Baths; hopefully when you will be there they will be finally re-open and you can fully enjoy this wonderful place.
As for eating Bulgarian food was really delicious: there are many things that you should try from the parsley balls to the traditional salad with goat cheese, from traditional yogurt to spiced bread, from soups to French fries with goat cheese. I had the chance to eat in some incredible typical Bulgarian restaurants and they were all great (and not expensive at all). First on my list was Raketa, a post-communist restaurant that I loved so much for the food and the décor; second on top was Moma, a typical Bulgarian restaurant, very stylish and with a traditional local decoration that I loved so much. A bit more modern but still very nice places to eat were Made in Home (a little vintage style) and The Little Things a two-floor house where every room was painted and decorated in a different color and with a lovely garden outside.