Sofia, the bulgarian capital city, is one of the oldest cities in Europe with ruins spread across the city center. It has a unique combination of ancient remains, European and Communist-style architecture, together with many beautiful orthodox churches. The city claims to be one of the few European capitals with a very close and developed ski-resort (Vitosha mountain).
Below are listed my budget tips:
Where to sleep? Hostel Mostel is my favorite option, friendly staff, international environment, nice and tidy rooms, breakfast and dinner included in the price, good location.
The big common area is ideal to meet other backpackers and travellers. Every night a pub crawl is organized, free of charged, you pay what you drink, no rip-off and fake tour.
Enjoy the free walking tour of the city, is free, only small tips are welcome at the end of the tour.
Starting point is at the corner of the Palace of Justice, everyday at 11.
You will be driven through 6000 years of history by passionate young guides.
Funny thing when I was there a turkish tv chanel was filming the tour.
Bulgarian food is available in many restaurants at very convenient prices. Try tarator, a cold soup made of yogurt and cucumber and salads (Shopska is one of the most famous salad in the balkans, made from tomatoes, cucumbers, onion/scallions, raw or roasted peppers, white brine cheese and parsley). Avoid tourist traps in the centre. Usually when the menu is in english is not a good sign…You can get tasty and very cheap bulgarian fast food in bakeries, offering banitsa and other kinds of pastry. This food is often consumed with ayran or boza, drinks that contain yogurt. Another possibility is to get a katma, which is a big pancake filled with cheese, ham, jelly or chocolate.
In the city alone there are 7 independent mineral water springs.
One of the springs is in the central area of the city and is accessible for everybody, nearby the intersection of Iskar and Ekzarh Yosif streets, where the biggest mosquee is
Join the Balkan Bites Food Tours, a free food taste tour ( 100% vegetarian!) in some of the more interesting and trendy family owned restaurants that Sofia has to offer and enjoy some traditional Bulgarian cuisine, while hearing about the some of the history and customs that helped make them become staple foods in Bulgaria, by our trained guides. The tour itself is a walking tour that starts at 2pm everyday (excluding national holidays) at Park Crystal in front of the big head statue of Stefan Stambolov. The duration is about 2 hours and the food that is presented to the participants is free of charge.
What to visit? Ivan Vazov National Theatre; St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral; Orthodox churches; down town. You can visit the city and do things like a local would do, thanks to this project.
Guess my next destination… 🙂