20 August 2012

Sofia, Yawn?

Sofia is a beautiful city, full of friendly people, great weather and ridiculously cheap prices! You can survive as a tourist here extremely well. Live the high life; go to the finest bars and restaurants and pay a pittance compared to many capitals in Europe! However, if you aren't a big drinker or eater, like the drunkard fatty I am, then there actually isn't too much to do in Sofia. Other backpackers we met en-route agreed that Sofia can leave you trying to fill time and perhaps visits to Bulgaria are better spent on the Black Sea Coast where there are, apparently, non-stop parties, tourists and sandy beaches. Despite this, Sofia is a nice place and a good stop if you are backpacking, but I wouldn't recommend sticking around more than three days.

What is there to do?

Not a great deal if you’re a typical young backpacker, and even less to do if the weather isn't good. There is a subdued National Museum of Natural History which, as you would expect, contains a lot of stuffed animals with facts and fossils. There is also a Royal Palace which is pretty, but that's about it... Although now I've done a bit of research, obviously a bit too late, I have found a few other apparent highlights but they do all revolve around museums, gardens and religious buildings, which can be good but I find they can also get somewhat repetitive. Accommodation wise, plenty of choice, all cheap and in the centre. We stayed at the Orient Express Hotel. Central, cheap, however no bar as it states on Hostel World...

Eat and drink?

There are plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants with a mix of food. There are also some really nice breakfast places with plenty of air con as the weather was quite hot which was great. Just like the food, drink is also not hard to come by. Cheap cocktails, cheaper beers, cool bars, reasons why I probably liked Sofia so much. Expect to pay £2 for a cocktail and £1 for a beer in the centre of the city in the nicest bars. Can’t complain at that, however don’t expect a huge clubbing scene, maybe that’s more out of the city as I didn't come across any in the centre.

Sofia is a quiet place, and not quite like other European capital cities as its cheap, tranquil and laid back. There is culture but not many backpacking haunts. A nice place, and a good stop off for a backpacking trip but not one that necessarily should be on everyone’s agenda.

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