Converging city

Vitosha boulevard, София

Travelling to Bulgaria for most people means to go to beaches at the Black Sea in the East. The beaches there are at least in Germany marketed with special names like Goldstrand (golden beach, Варна) or Sonnenstrand (sun beach, Несебър). As the prices are significantly lower than in Western Europe, many people book cheap travel packages. But in those beach areas you won’t find out much about the country, its past and its culture. Even though the capital city София is not a typical tourist destination it was worth very much to be explored.

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Зоологическа градина

Zoo, София

The zoological garden of София is located near the city center and shall obviously be accessible without barriers. They charge you the small amount of four Leva which is wonderful on the one hand, but on the other hand they should really gather funds for a serious makeover. Ferdinand I of Bulgaria was interested in natural history and supported science. As part of his work the zoo was opened in 1888.

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National Museum of History, София

When you arrive at София you can’t overlook the mountains next to the city, the Vitosha. It is surprisingly steep and the highest mountain is the Tscherni Wrach (black peak) with around 2,290 meters in height. The mountains dominate the skyline of the city and are an important recreation zone – for hiking, but also for skiing as the snow stays for a long time even after the winter.

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Presidential residence

National Museum of History, София

When you walk through the city quarter Boyana of София you will probably come across a vast park protected by a strong metal fence. It is easy to guess whom this place was created for: Todor Zhivkov, the last Communist dictator of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria. Within you’ll find his residence, a giant palace with fantastic views on the capital city on one side of the building and a terrace facing the beautiful Vitosha mountains on the other side.

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Boyana church

Boyana church, София

Boyana is a city quarter in the Southwest of София at the foot of the Vitosha mountains. It is the region where the rich people and the leaders of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria created their homes – even the presidential palace and the assembly of ministers can be found here. Most tourists come to this remote part for a small but important beauty: the Boyana church, a UNESCO world heritage site.

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Socialist art

Socialist Art Museum, София

When the Soviet Union broke apart and the Iron Curtain fell, when Bulgaria became a fully independent country and capitalism made its way east – then the wind of change blew away many remains of the past. Symbols where removed, old heroes like Lenin and Che Guevara had to take their hats and classic Socialist art was unwanted on the streets and places. That’s quite understandable, but it is also a loss. Socialist artists had a unique style and a special way to depict people.

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Kambanite, София

If you visit the bell park of София at the wrong point in time, it might be really loud there. It is a bell tower surrounded by seventy bells from different countries, also some that don’t exist anymore. Children are allowed to try them all out. Why only children? The monument called Kambanite (meaning ‘The bells‘) was created when in 1979 Bulgaria hosted the international children’s festival of UNESCO. Delegations from all over the world brought bells from their countries to complete the monument.

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Traditional food

The Hadjidragana Tavern, София

At the city center of София, Bulgaria you’ll find restaurants serving food from all different countries. If you’re looking for traditional Bulgarian dishes the Hadjidragana Tavern is an excellent choice. There they let you choose from all the typical meals and you can enjoy them with a lokal beer and a rakia; inside or on a terrace in the backyard.

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Long distances

Metro, София

София has about 1.3 million inhabitants and is with 492 sq km the 10th largest city in Europe. That might be a surprise but you can really feel it while travelling through the city. Fortunately there are many different means of public transport available, from the metro to buses, trolleybuses and tramways. But for sure there are also taxis (you can order via app), motorized scooters from different providers and rental bikes.

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100 Grama Sladki

100 Grama Sladki, София

Sladki, that’s the Bulgarian word for sweets. And the best sladki you can get at one of the branches of 100 Grama Sladki (100g of sweets). The pâtisserie has different locations across София and at each of them you can buy delicious cake, pastries and other sweets. These places are also coffee bars and you can enjoy your sladki with a coffee directly at the source.

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