Sofia Travel Guide

by John Smith - Date: 2006-12-04 - Word Count: 512 Share This!

Bulgaria's capital city of Sofia has been around for quite a while. Depending upon who you believe, it was established anywhere between 7,000 and 3,000 years ago by ancient Thracians. What is agreed is that it was the thermal springs that proved the big attraction and led to the development of a thriving metropolis. At 1804ft above sea level the climate tends to moderately hot summers and cold, snowy winters providing great summer sun, pleasurable city breaks and numerable ski opportunities depending upon when you visit. As you would expect from such an ancient city there is a plethora of old buildings and cultural points of interest smattered around Sofia. Whether it is the architecture, museums or the pleasures offered by a modern city that you are after, you'll find them all in abundance in sparkling Sofia.

Vibrant nightlife is alive and well in Sofia. Although the majority of Sofians don't boast massive incomes they still love to party! As a result there are a number of great pubs and cafes dotted throughout the city catering to a wide range of tastes and interests. For example, find yourself in Sofia at the time your favourite football team is playing an important game and you needn't miss it, head for Murphy's Irish Bar and catch all the action! And the handful of 24 hour restaurants that operate in the city centre provide respite if you are out between 1.00 and 5.00 a.m. and find that the great public transport system has closed down for the evening! While in Sofia, do as the Sofians do, and drink in the bars until midnight, then head off to the nightclub; there are plenty about that offer a wide range of dance and music styles.

Churches and other religious buildings proliferate in the city, particularly ancient and neo-Byzantine Orthodox churches, despite the fact that the majority of buildings are built post 1945, due to the battering the city took during World War 2. At the end of that conflict Bulgaria came under the control of the communist bloc and Stalinist style utilitarian apartments and factories were built at such a pace that the city expanded into new suburbs and attracted many workers from rural areas. But, don't be put off, in the city centre itself you will still find tree-lined avenues with charming little side streets that feature cafes and vast bazaars. There is a relaxed ambience and you'll often find the charming sight of Bulgarian gypsies playing their fiddles on street corners.

Lying in the shadow of Mount Vistosha, there are plenty of winter ski and other summer recreational opportunities throughout the year, such as hiking, around Sofia. The city itself has undergone a transformation over the last ten years as it moves away from the communist influence and tries to establish itself as a modern European capital. You'll find prices very reasonable in just about all aspects; from drinks to hotel rooms and including shopping! With over 300 bars, clubs, cafes and restaurants to choose from you'll find Sofia a vibrant and lively city to visit.

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