48 HOURS IN SOFIA, BULGARIA
- Published:04 Şubat 2011, Cuma
- Updated:04 Şubat 2011, Cuma
Got 48 hours to explore Sofia? Local correspondents help you get the most out of a stay in Bulgaria's capital - famous for its cheap prices, good food, thriving night life and post-communist chic.
7 p.m. Start your visit at the heart of the city in the Independence Square, surrounded by the presidential, government and parliament buildings, nicely lit at night. The central building once hosted the headquarters of the much-feared Communist party.
Take the yellow-cobbled road, check out the former royal palace, which now hosts the national gallery and is worth returning to over the weekend for a taste of Bulgarian contemporary art.
Further down the road, right before the plenary hall of the parliament, turn left to see the gold-plated domes of St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral, one of the biggest East Orthodox churches in the Balkans and Sofia's prime ecclesiastical monument.
8 p.m. After a refreshing walk, you may try the national cuisine at Manastirska Magernitsa, (67, Khan Asparuh St. www.magernitsa.com), a lively spot where you can enjoy traditional Bulgarian cooking and settings, or Pod Lipite (1, Elin Pelin St., www. podlipitebg.com) or Chevermeto (1, Bulgaria Blvd, www.chevermeto-bg.com) where you can also see some folk entertainment.
Try the famous Shopska salad and the local brandy - rakya. If you are into wine-tasting, opt for Mavrud, a native red grape variety which dates back to ancient times.
11 p.m. If your batteries are still charged, plunge into Sofia's dazzling night-life and experience the joy of "chalga", Bulgaria's eclectic blend of folk and pop music, combining live dance tunes with oriental and gypsy motifs.
Nightclubs like BIAD (www.biad.bg) and Sin City (www.sincity-bg.com) offer live music as well as DJ sets. You can also check the clubs in Studentski suburb.
Parties can go on to the wee hours and sometimes involve dancing on the tables. Beware black-clad men with dark glasses and heavy gold chains as well as voluptuous and provocatively clad beauties.
9 a.m. Go for a Bulgarian breakfast including Oriental drink boza (a brown-colored beverage made of fermented wheat or millet) and banitsa (a flaky pastry filled with cheese) at any of the numerous patisseries throughout the capital.
In winter go skiing or in more seasonal weather take a walk at Vitosha mountain just 12 km south of the city center. Grab a taxi or seek public transportation to the mountain lifts in the nearby villages of Simeonovo or Dragalevtsi. Scramble around the huge boulders of the stone rivers near Aleko site or Zlatnite Mostove site, or try to climb Cherni Vrah (Black Peak), Vitosha's pride at 2,290 meters elevation and enjoy the view.
1 p.m. You can have a snack in some of Vitosha's huts or head down to the city. Good lunch stops include Dani's (18A, Angel Kanchev St. www.bistrodanis.com) or the numerous restaurants along Vitosha.
3 p.m. Vitosha Street starts near the pride of the communist era - the National Palace of Culture where fairs and concerts are held -- and ends at St. Nedelya Church. More than 150 people were killed here in a bombing carried out by communists in 1925.
If you are keen on shopping you can try one of the city's burgeoning shopping malls. Try The Mall (www.themall.bg) or Mall of Sofia (mallofsofia.com) but mind they are usually packed during the weekends.
Walk around the city center to get a drink or snack at expat hub J.J. Murphy (6, Karnigradska St. www.jjmurpheys.com) or a dinner at Motto (16, Aksakov St, www.motto-bg.com) or Cactus (at the crossroads of Solunska and Hristo Belchev St, www.restaurant-cactus.com).
8 p.m. If you are up for a retro party on a Saturday night, visit some of the lively piano bars, which actually offer a lot of rock and pop. Try Sinatra (5, Arsenalski Blvd) or Camino (70, Neofit Rilski St.).
9 a.m. Kick off your day with a visit to the National History Museum (www.historymuseum.org). Situated at the foot of Vitosha mountain it hosts hundreds of artifacts of the ancient Thracian tribes, who populated the Bulgarian lands. It is home to the famous Panagyuriste golden treasure, which dates back to 4-3 century B.C. See the adjacent Boyana Church (www.boyanachurch.org), which is about 900 years old and has preserved its Mediaeval frescos.
1 p.m. Go to lunch in Boyana village (Chepishev restaurant, 27 Ivanitsa Danchev St.) or any other restaurant in the area.
Visit Sofia's famous Women's Market, close to the capital's Lion's Bridge - where you can find everything from fresh food to Chinese cheap goods to antiques. Beware of pickpockets.
- Istanbul is breaking tourist records
District Culture and Tourism Director Bilgili: "In May, Istanbul broke a historical record by hosting over one million foreign visitors in a single month.
- Israeli tourists interest in Antalya peaks
The number of Israeli tourists to visit Antalya has increased by 133.3 percent. Tourists from the United States have also increased by 119 percent, while the number of tourists from Iran dropped by 63 percent.
- Turkeys tourism industry is hoping to reel in Arab tourists
While European tourists spend approximately 800 dollars a week in our country, Arab tourists spend four times that amount. The biggest issue in terms of drawing in tourists to the nations Eastern Black Sea region is the lack in accommodation.
- The Brits are coming to Dalaman
With the landing of the first flight to arrive to the ATM Dalaman Airport from Blackpool, England passengers were greeted with carnations and Turkish delight upon their arrival.
- Two million 451 thousand tourists in Turkey reported in April
The total sum of visiting tourists in Turkey reached 6 million 665 thousand 379 in the first four months of the year.
- Turkey becomes third in the world for most Blue Flag beaches
With 383 beaches, 21 marinas and 13 yachts accredited with Blue Flags, Turkey has now bumped France from its throne to become the third country, following Spain and Greece, to have the highest number of Blue Flags.
- Russians celebrate Victory Day in Alanya
Russians residing and vacationing in Antalya's Alanya district commemorated the 68th anniversary of May 9th Victory Day, which marks the Soviet Unions (USSR) victory over Nazi Germany, in a celebration held at the Goldcity Tourism Complex.
- Miniatürk hosted 6.5 million tourists
Miniatürk, a miniature park located on the shore of the Golden Horn in Istanbul which hosts 1/25th scale models of significant structures located throughout the Turkish and Ottoman geography from the past 3,000 years, is seeing an increase in interest every year since it was first opened a decade ago.
- We have spent 16.7 billion liras on trips
The number of trips taken in Turkey in 2012, decreased by 1.4 percent to reach a total 64,922,000.
- Turkey selected as Europes favorite spa destination
One of Indias most popular magazines, AsiaSpa India has awarded Turkey for being the most favorite spa destination in Europe.
- The air of early spring in tourism
The Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) President Ulusoy: "It is speculated that in 2013 the number of tourists will reach 33 million and tourism revenue will be approximately 31.5 billion dollars.
- A visa-free era with Kuwait
The Presidential Çankaya Palace hosted a signing ceremony for eight agreements with Kuwait on Monday.
- 250,000 foreign patients chose Turkey for treatment
The incentives implemented by the government have allowed the nations health tourism industry to soar: 250,000 patients from 107 different countries have chosen to receive treatment in Turkey.
- Turkey switches to e-Visas
Foreign nationals planning to visit Turkey will now be able to obtain their visas online through an electronic visa application system (e-Visa) launched by the Republic of Turkey on April 17.