Summers in Sofia are warm and sunny with temperatures usually in the low-20s and low humidity. The months of July and August, however, can experience temperatures around the high-20s. The city becomes busy during the summer months, with lots of visitors on their way to the Black Sea resorts or hiking along the many nature trails. As a result hotel rates may be higher and cheap flights to Sofia are harder to come by. In May/June the city hosts the popular Sofia Music Weeks International Festival. This remarkable music event showcases both Bulgarian and international concerts, operas and ballet performances, as well as a whole host of other activities, including exhibitions and singing master classes.
Winters are cold with below freezing temperatures and snow from December through February. Winter is when you are less likely to find tourists lingering in the city, although it can also be busy with people passing through to the various ski slopes. The Vitosha Mountain is located only 6 miles (10 km) from Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia. This is the highest ski resort in Bulgaria and offers wonderful conditions for snow sports. If you do not mind the cold and snow, this can also be a great time to take advantage of Sofia’s wealth of indoor activities including museums, galleries, and cultural entertainment. You may want to pack an umbrella whatever month you take a flight to Sofia as rain is typical throughout the year, but especially in April and May.
The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn can be a great time to visit as there are less tourists and it is more likely you’ll find a cheap flight to Sofia and hotel. The climate is fairly mild, but may suit those who prefer to explore the city when it is a little cooler.
Find a cheap flight to Sofia and see a city with Turkish and Russian influences (Bulgaria was a contented Soviet state for 50 years) and a dash of European Union “connectedness” (since 2007), Sofia is a fascinating place to visit.
At about 7,000 years old, it is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Long before there were flights to Sofia, the Thracians, Greeks, Romans, Macedonians and Turks all flocked there for its life-giving mineral springs – there are seven independent springs in the city. It’s no exaggeration to say that this stylish city is one of the jewels of Eastern Europe.
One of the most important landmarks is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. This enormous neo-Byzantine church (it is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world), all green and gold domes, was built in memory of the Russian soldiers who died wresting Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1878.
The Church of St. Sophia dates from the 4th and 6th centuries, making it a significant example of early Christian architecture in the Balkans. The city received its name from the church, which means “holy wisdom,” in the 14th century. The church became a mosque during Turkish rule, but one of the minarets was destroyed in an earthquake 30 years later and it was then converted back into a church. The church holds a lot of value for the city’s residents who attribute their survival during occupations and natural disasters to the church’s powers.
Sofia’s public transport network of buses, trolleys and trams reaches all corners of the city from early morning to late evening. Buy tickets from street kiosks. Fares are cheap, but one-day and multiple-day tickets will save you even more money. Be prepared and travel with a map, and don’t be afraid to ask locals for help. Despite public transit system’s extensive coverage, stops aren’t well-marked and contain little, if any, information. For a bit more money, you can travel in a private minibus, which is faster than a regular bus. Don’t worry about buying tickets ahead of time, just pay the driver when you board. Calling for a taxi can get lost in translation. Make sure the meter is running and know where you’re going. Drivers expect you to know where you’re going and often need you to give directions.
Don’t drive in Sofia. With public transport and taxis available, battling the traffic isn’t worth the hassle.
Most tourists who take a flight to Sofia will arrive at Sofia International Airport (SOF) which is situated 6 miles (10km) east of the city. Regular bus service runs on a frequent schedule day and night from the bus station close to Arrivals. Taxis are available, and passengers are advised to use O.K. Supertrans taxis from outside the arrivals hall; its enquiries desk is located inside the arrivals hall. Most hotels and tourist resorts run their own airport shuttles.