The Best Day Trips from Sofia, Bulgaria
Though I always travel into Sofia by plane, I often visit other destinations by car once there. During my first visits (back in time!), I drove to Varna and Burgas at the Black Sea. These are very popular summer destinations. Perhaps the most famous one is Sunny Beach, with its many all-inclusive hotels. (It’s not my thing personally, but if it’s yours, I highly recommend stopping over!)
One of the things I do love most about visiting Sofia is its proximity to Greece! Sofia is about 180 km from the Greek border and less than 300 km from Thessaloniki. If you can stretch the time you have for your Sofia trip, I highly recommend the scenic road trip over the Balkan Mountains to Greece. The panoramic landscape views are breathtaking.
If you can rent a car or take a car service, the beautiful Monastery Rila in the Rila Mountains, which is about 120 km from Sofia, is a must see. Founded in the 10th Century, this Monastery is the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. It has been designated a UNESCO world heritage site.
Head to Plovdiv for another great day trip. The first traces of settlement in the area date back to the 6th Millennium B.C. It’s the second largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia. Ancient Plovdiv is a UNESCO world heritage site, so you know it’s filled with history and charm.
Solo Travel Advice for Sofia, Bulgaria
If you’ve been on the fence about your next solo trip, Sofia should definitely be on your list. It’s an easy and calm city (besides the typical rush-hour traffic). When I compare Sofia to the other European capitals I’ve spent time in, I am always amazed at how chilled and dignified the pace is. The people you’ll meet are authentic and easy-going. Everyone is kind and calm. Throughout all these years, I have never encountered an unpleasant approach or rude behavior.
There is one thing I do want to mention for solo travelers to be aware of that does bring me a certain level of stress – the taxis! Taxis are by far the best way to get around Sofia, but English is still not widely spoken in cabs. (English is spoken in mostly all restaurants, bars, and hotels, though!) Sometimes the language barrier makes me feel uncomfortable. What works best for me is showing the address on the mobile phone map so the driver can see exactly where to take me. Always make sure the taximeter is switched on! Taxis are inexpensive, and it is the only mode of transportation I have ever taken when being by myself. (Although there is a new, modern metro system that travels throughout the city and to the airport as well!)
If Sofia hasn’t been on your radar as a top solo travel destination, I highly recommend you add it! It’s such a beautiful, historic city with a calm and authentic feel. It is actually somewhere I can see myself moving in 10-15 years from now!
What do you think? Would you love to explore Sofia? Let me know in the comments or on my latest Instagram post!
Before you head out on your next solo travel adventure, be sure to check out my post about what to pack.