FREE things to do in Sofia: Walking tour

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things to do in sofia: walking tour

I only had a few hours in Sofia and the best thing that I did was to feel the city vibes by taking an impromptu walking tour. Yes! You heard it right. Ours was prepared by my dearest boyfriend a few hours before we left for Sofia. (From Haskovo to Sofia) So if you’re running out of things to do in Sofia, why don’t you go for an impromptu walking tour? Definitely one of the cheapest yet the most valuable things to do as a first timer in the city, I am going to share with you how we did our FREE impromptu walking tour in Sofia.

Bon Bon Hotel, Sofia

Ulitsa “Sv. Sveti Kiril I Metodiy” 46, 1202 Sofia Center, Sofia, Bulgaria

We started our walk from our hotel in Sofia. Few corners away, we reached the main street where you can see trams, trolleys and other means of transportation around Sofia. You’ll also notice that there are more tourists in this part of the country.

In front of Central Mineral Bath Sofia
The instagrammable exterior of the Central Mineral Bath

Central Mineral Bath

Център, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia, Bulgaria

The Central Mineral Bath in Sofia was previously a public bath which opened rooms for locals to enjoy a refreshing afternoon. After Sofia was bombed during the World War II, portions of the Central Mineral Bath were severely damaged and it did not take long before the building was closed to the public. Now, it stands as Sofia’s City Museum where you can unveil the rich history of Sofia.

This old building is painted with an interesting and colorful design that makes you want to strike a pose in front of it.

Ancient Serdica Complex
Remains of the Ancient Serdica and a mosque behind me

Ancient Serdica Complex

I find this as one of the most interesting parts of the walking tour. The Ancient Serdica Complex shows how Sofia looked like during the Roman Empire. It has remains of an old Christian Basilica, 6 large buildings with mosaic floors, sewage system, and water supply, public baths, and courtyards. The excavated city stretches in the heart of Sofia and lies below the street level of the present day Sofia. Tourists can currently walk through the ruins and information can be read in English and Bulgarian.

Sveta Petka

1000 Sofia Center, Sofia, Bulgaria

Located along the TSUM Station and just a few meters from the Ancient Serdica ruins lies the Church of St. Petka of the Saddlers. It has very simple exteriors with a great historical background.

Selfie with the St. George Rotunda Church behind us
Selfie with the St. George Rotunda Church behind us

St. George Rotunda Church

bul. Kniaz Aleksandar Dondukov 2, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia, Bulgaria

St. George Rotunda Church can be found in the courtyard of these popular landmarks– the Presidency and Ministry of Education. It can be accessed using the pathway between the Bulgarian Presidency and the Ministry of Education or from Saborna Street. Outside the church, you can also see parts of the remains of the Ancient Serdica. We also took a quick peek inside and as much as I wanted to take a photo, I couldn’t because picture taking is not allowed.

I don’t know about you but for me, the St. George Rotunda Church looks like a castle.

The Presidency

bul. Kniaz Aleksandar Dondukov 2, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia, Bulgaria

We walked in front of the Bulgarian Presidency building when we exited the St. Geroge Rotunda Church. From the windows, I saw soldiers marching inside and doing their “thing”. (Sorry for the lack of words but I just don’t know what they were doing that time)

The Bulgarian Presidency building and the soldiers

We also took a picture of the soldiers “on duty” while we were in front of the building.

How I wish I was able to witness the changing of guards.

There was also a big fountain in front of the building but since it was winter season when I came, the fountain was not working. My boyfriend said that the fountain usually looks very lovely with the water.

My treasure in the National Archaeological Museum
My treasure in the National Archaeological Museum

National Archaeological Museum

пл. „Атанас Буров“, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia, Bulgaria

We spent 3 hours in the museum and I must say that it was one of the most informative 3 hours of my life! We walked through artifacts excavated not just from the Balkan Peninsula but from all over the world. At that time, there was also the Gold and Bronze exhibit– one of the special exhibits conducted by the National Archaeological Museum which only lasts for a few months. Learning while enjoying these things to do in Sofia is not impossible by visiting this museum.

Sofia City Garden

1000 Sofia Center, Sofia, Bulgaria

Overwhelmed by all the infrastructure that I’ve seen, walking in the Sofia City Garden neutralized my emotions. It was such a breeze walking in the park despite the freezing weather. The lights illuminated the surroundings which gave us a very romantic welcome.

Bulgarian National Theater (Ivan Vazov)

 ul. “Dyakon Ignatiy” 5, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia, Bulgaria

I must say that the Bulgarian National Theater looks very beautiful in the evening. Named after one of the popular Bulgarian writers, the Bulgarian National Theater (Ivan Vazov) holds local and international performances all year round. So if you’re lucky to get a chance to watch a performance in this theater, don’t ever skip it in your list of things to do in Sofia. The Bulgarian National Theater is also one of the most valuable buildings in Sofia since it is the oldest and the largest theater in Bulgaria.

St. Sofia Church

ul. Paris 2, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia, Bulgaria

Saint Sofia Church, among other churches and cathedrals, has also witnessed the rich history of Bulgaria. Tested through time, Saint Sofia Church now stands as the second oldest church in Sofia. The exterior of the church looks very simple with the red brick walls enclosing it.

Selfie with the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
It was a struggle taking this selfie with the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

pl. “Sveti Aleksandar Nevski”, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia, Bulgaria

So far, this is my favorite Orthodox Cathedral. Who wouldn’t get mesmerized with its golden central dome and fancy embellishments? Day or night, the Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral screams for attention and I would love to visit this place over and over again. It is also strategically located at the center of the rotunda making it on top of the things to do in Sofia.

Picture with National Palace of Culture from the park
Picture with the National Palace of Culture from the park

National Palace of Culture

National Culture Palace, Bulevard “Bulgaria”, 1463 Ndk, Sofia, Bulgaria

The National Palace of Culture is the largest in Southeastern Europe where activities like congress, conference, convention, and exhibitions are held. In front of it, is a large park with a beautiful fountain. All throughout the year, except winter, the fountain puts up a spectacular view in front of the National Palace of Culture. Accompanied with colorful lights, the view instantly transforms magically.

Unfortunately, our tour ended here but it was indeed worth our time. These places showed us that we don’t have to spend a lot looking for things to do in Sofia. For my last day in Bulgaria, I am happy and contented that I was able to tick this off my bucket list.

 

If you liked what you’re reading, don’t hesitate to pin my photo below and let others know about this free walking tour as one of the things to do in Sofia. I would also love to hear your experience in Sofia (if any) so leave the on the comments section below.

 

Sofia Free walking tour

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