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|Destination Airport IATA Code||SOF|
|Destination City Name||Sofia|
With many of Bulgaria’s visitors heading to the coasts or ski resorts, the capital Sofia is often overlooked. But that means it’s all the better for those travellers who do visit this laid-back and youth-oriented city. Big parks and wide boulevards, museums and top eating options – it’s all waiting for you in Sofia.
The best time to visit Sofia, or any part of Bulgaria, is generally the summer. That’s when the temperatures are high and the days are long. The thermometer pushes past 30˚C on most days and it is reliably sunny. All of which makes it easier to explore the city.
Spring is another good time to go, as it’s less hot but still very mild and pleasant. The same is true for the autumn months of September through to October. After this, much of the country is carpeted in snow.
Flights to Sofia are regularly busy because of the winter ski season and summer beach resorts. But it is still possible to find cheap flights to Sofia at any time of year. You just need to know where, and more importantly how, to look for them.
Sofia Airport is the main international airport in Bulgaria and the main flight option for visitors travelling to Sofia. It handles around six million passengers a year and is a major hub for several low-cost airlines.
It’s located next to the Metro line 1, which connects the terminals with the city centre. There are also free shuttle buses between the terminals and Metro station.
There are three bus routes to the city – the 84, 184 and 384 – which all terminate in different parts of the city. Make sure you find out which is most convenient for you before getting on board.
There is also a main train station about a mile and a half away which connects to other destinations across Bulgaria.
There is a well-developed and efficient public transport system in Sofia, consisting of buses, trolleys, trams and Metro.
It runs every day from five in the morning until midnight, with night services planned for the coming years. Tickets are cheap, costing two lev, and often valid for more than one journey. They can be bought on board buses and at special ticket booths or kiosks in stations.
The city centre is good for walking, with tiled areas and pedestrian crossing points. Cycling is also an option, although the bike lane network is small but growing.
There are also plenty of yellow cabs and rental car options in the city.
As one of the oldest cities in Europe, there are plenty of ancient ruins and monuments to see in Sofia. Recent digs have uncovered large Roman ruins from the time the city was known as Serdica.
Sofia is located on several natural springs, and there are mineral water baths open to the public. In the summer months, there are also lots of outdoor swimming areas where you can go to cool off.
Sofia boasts some superb museums, including the Sofia History Museum and Muzeiko. And there is a booming arts and culture scene, with excellent galleries to visit such as the National Art Gallery and Sofia Art Gallery.