Great Things to Do in Sofia, Bulgaria

National Palace Of Culture

Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, is one of the great places to visit on your next trip with many things to see. It has a lot of stories to tell, and each historic attraction will give you a new perspective on Sofia’s complicated past. Read on to explore great things to do in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Great Things to Do in Sofia

1. Visit Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

great things to do in Sofia: Alexander Nevsky Cathedral


You won’t find a post on Sofia tourist attractions that don’t mention the city’s most popular building, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Built between 1882 and 1912 to honor Russian participation in Bulgaria’s independence, this fascinating cathedral is one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world!

The interior may not be as impressive as the exterior with its golden domes, but there’s no doubt that Alexander Nevsky Cathedral tops anyone’s list of things to see in Sofia. It certainly is one of the most instagrammable places in the whole city.

Underneath the cathedral itself, you will find the crypt which has been turned into a museum for Orthodox icons. If you’re interested in the history of Orthodox Christianity this might be worth a visit.

2. Go to the National Palace Of Culture

great things to do in Sofia: National Palace Of Culture

Established in 1981 as part of the state of Bulgaria’s 1300th birthday celebrations, the National Palace of Culture in the heart of the city center is a striking sight to behold in itself. The sprawling hexagonal building is made primarily of grass and concrete and was designed by eminent Bulgarian architect Alexander Georgiev Barov, an artist whose work was prolific during communist-era Bulgaria.
Nowadays the building and the surrounding gardens act as an interesting example of the socialist architecture of the past, with its sleek and minimalistic aesthetic, harsh geometric lines, and imposing size all contributing to its historical-artistic significance. As Europe’s largest conference center the palace plays host to a number of compelling events, from art exhibitions to musical concerts, meaning that visitors can be sure to catch something interesting during their visit. Thousands of exhibitions and shows are showcased here all year round.

3. Visit St. George Rotunda

great things to do in Sofia: St. George Rotunda


The heart of ancient Serdica and the oldest building in modern Sofia, this red brick church was built all the way back in the 300s.

It’s a wonder that this building has survived unscathed for such an amount of time, and all-around are interesting little details that hit home the great age of the site and civilizations that have passed through.

Step inside to view the detailed medieval frescoes that had been painted over by the Ottomans when the church was converted to a mosque in the 1600s.

These were only rediscovered and restored in the 1990s. Outside you can see the flagstones of a Roman street and other remnants of Ancient Serdica.

4. Spend time at the Borislova Gradina Park

Borislova Gradina Park

The bright lights, tall buildings, and bustling streets of Sofia can occasionally make it seem like a concrete jungle; take a trip to Borislova Gradina Park for some fresh air and tranquility in the city center. Constructed in 1884 and named after Boris III of Bulgaria, the park is divided into three parts. Each section was designed by a different successful and accomplished gardener: Joseph Frei, Georgi Duhtev, and Daniel Neff. Including a number of peaceful green spaces and tree nurseries, as well as its famously alluring water lily lake, a park is a charming place in which to experience Bulgaria’s natural beauty.
For history and architecture lovers, the park is also home to the Borisova Gradina TV Tower, an impressive 14 story building that served as the headquarters for the first Bulgarian National Television broadcasts in 1959.

5. Marvel at Banya Bashi Mosque

Banya Bashi Mosque


Banya Bashi Mosque was designed by Ottoman architect Sinan, considered to be one of the best architects in history. The Ottoman-era mosque is sadly the only mosque still standing in Sofia today.

While its exterior may not be very impressive, the interior is absolutely gorgeous making the mosque well worth a visit. The tiles are an excellent example of Islamic art.

The 16th-century place of worship is free for visitors, and even if you’re not dressed appropriately coverings are provided at the entrance.

6. Take a trip to the Vitosha Mountain

Vitosha Mountain


Climbing to more than 2,200 meters behind Sofia’s southwestern suburbs is Vitosha, a monumental peak in a nature park, promising more adventure than you could ever cram into one trip.

The easiest way to access Vitosha is via Aleko, the mountain’s ski resort, which is where the Simeonovo gondola lift will drop you off.

From there the walk to Vitosha’s Black Peak is surprisingly light when the weather’s good in spring or autumn, as the peak is part of a large plateau that seems to go on forever thanks to its shallow gradient.

Of course, you don’t need to go that far for an incredible, vertiginous view of Sofia.