Looking for a City break that’s a bit different? Why not try Bulgaria’s beautiful capital Sofia, set at the foot of the Vitosha mountain.We found prices to be very reasonable despite the recent devaluation of the pound.
We stayed at the Crystal Palace Boutique Hotel near to the main places of interest just a short walk from the famous Alexander Nevski Cathedral at one end of the city’s Yellow Brick Road, which runs from one end of the central area to the other, passing most of the noteworthy sites.
The free walking tour gave us a good overview of the city taking us back to Roman times when the city was called Serdica. We visited the city’s oldest building, the St Georgi Rotunda which dates back to the 4th century and became a church in the 6th century.
We saw the Banya Bashi Mosque dating from the 500 years when the country was “under the Turkish Yoke” and walked past elegant early 20th century buildings and imposing Government buildings. The recently renovated old central food market, the Halite, was a fun place to sample Bulgarian banitsa (a light filo-type pastry filled with curd cheese).
Plovdiv, designated the European Capital of Culture in 2019 is easily visited on a day trip. It is famous for its Roman amphitheatre, ruined castle and Old Town with its narrow cobbled streets, jettied houses and Apoteka Hipokrat or Apothecary Museum.
By chance we were in Sofia for the opening night of the National Ballet’s performances of Petrushka and The Firebird by Stravinsky and managed to get the last two seats in the stalls. It was amazing.
Another day we went by taxi to the 11th century Boyana Church (a UNESCO World Heritage site) famous for its Medieval frescos. Feeling brave and armed with our map we took a local bus from there to the National History Museum and made our way back to the centre by tram.
We felt very comfortable in Sofia and were made very welcome there. Although English is widely spoken we found that a few words of Bulgarian certainly helped – good morning is dobro utro, good afternoon is dobar dan and good evening is dobar vecher. Please is molya and thank you is mersi.
Note from Hallmark Travel: Thank you for your lovely account of your City Break to Sofia, we loved booking your trip…and now we’ve enjoyed your adventure, just as if we were there!
If you’d like to follow Brenda’s footsteps to Sofia… please give us a call!