I took a €9.98 flight to a country I knew NOTHING about! And honestly, it turned out to be a PERFECT trip… On my wallet and for my soul!!
Have you ever just booked a random flight, to a random country, with complete strangers? NO, Just me? Well, on Saturday January 18th I up and met up with 3 random girls at the airport and we headed on a weekend trip. To my surprise, it would be just the weekend I needed because I ended up meeting my best friend, KELTY.
Why should you pick Sofia for your next trip?
Sofia quickly became one of my MUST VISIT AGAIN cities. “Why? What’s so interesting about Bulgaria?” you might be wondering. Well, not only was the flight to Bulgaria cheap, the metro connected the airport to the city, and I only spent 25€ while I was on the trip. The city was filled with a wide variety of monumental sights from different eras, the people were absolutely lovely, the history was more than interesting, and the bar scene was nice!
Where to stay?
I stayed at H2O Hostel which WASN’T my favorite. The hostel ONLY had volunteer staff and NO regular cleaning staff, which of course, meant that the place wasn’t very clean! HOWEVER, I DO know where I am staying next time I go…. SMART HOSTEL SOFIA and OF COURSE I LEFT YOU THE LINK! (http://www.booking.com/hotel/bg/smarthostelsofia.en-gb.html)
Why will I stay at SMART HOSTEL SOFIA?
I actually had the pleasure of meeting the owner of the Smart Hostel Sofia, Slavyan! During our hour chat about traveling the world, all the hostels I’ve stayed at, and the loves and hates of hostels: I knew THAT was the kind of business I want to support when I visit Bulgaria next! Not only is his hostel newly renovated, with the most spectacular showers and bathrooms (yes, he showed me pictures before the opening!!), the hostel is located next to the main metro stop of the city, AND you can NOT beat the price of €6-€8 a night!!
How to travel within Sofia?
One word, walk! The city is small enough that you can walk almost everywhere! My favorite thing about walking is that you come across little hole in the wall restaurants, stores, and bars! Another great thing when you are walking you are usually surprised by a landmark! If you can’t walk, you can catch a bus or a tram! But if it’s really needed you can take a metro (but they only have 2 lines!). The metro WILL take you straight to the airport which is AMAZING! However, if you have an early morning flight you can catch a taxi for 10€! I used the app TaxiMe!
What to do?
Sofia is a smaller city but the opportunities of things to do and see are endless.
Take a walking tour: My FAVORITE part of my trip was the two walking tours we took with FREE SOFIA TOURS, that’s right, they are FREE! Just leave a donation at the end! Here’s the link for more information about all their different types of tours and their schedule!! (https://freesofiatour.com/free-sofia-tour)
Check out the cafes: Never did I think that Bulgaria would have such “Hangout” cafes (in Italy you get in, drink your espresso while standing, and get out…) but in Bulgaria it is such a different story. The girls and I had a nice “defrost session” at COFFEEBAR cafe!
Sightseeing: This is quiet obvious but make sure to go INSIDE the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and just take a minute to take it all in. Here are my other top 5 places to check out:
- “Ivan Vazov” National Theater: it’s the oldest theater in Bulgaria
- Regional History Museum: This used to be the public bath house of Sofia!
- Sofia Synagogue: The outside of the Synagogue was absolutely stunning but something more interesting about the Synagogue is that it was bombed in WW2 but the bomb NEVER WENT OFF!
- Russian Church: Is a beautiful church that has colorful tiles placed on the outside along with golden domes! Around the church is some nice greenery to walk around and relax! This church is also believed to have a man buried in it that will make all the wishes you ask him come true!
- Graf Ignatiev shopping: If you are ready to take a break from sightseeing and enjoy some food, make sure you head to the Graf Ignatiev area to eat some local Bulgarian food!
Head to Rila Monastery for the day: Rila Monastery is about 70 miles from Sofia however, it gives you the chance to escape the city and head into the mountains! This Monastery is the biggest and most famous in Bulgaria so I would highly recommend changing your view for the day and exploring something different.
Take a day trip to Plovdiv: If you want to take another trip out of the city, Plovdiv is an ancient town that has beautiful mosaic, clay artifacts, and a theater that hosts concerts and operas! They also have free walking tours here!
Why you need to know Bulgaria’s Holocaust History!
When you think of the horrible Holocaust you NEVER think of Bulgaria. Surprisingly enough many Jewish people fled to Bulgaria because they thought of it as a safe place! In the beginning this was all true… all the Jewish people had to do were wear a star to differentiate themselves. But as the war went on the Bulgarian Government turned ProNazi and signed a deal with Hitler as they were worried their trading with Germany would be affected if they didn’t! Little did they know that they would be signing a death sentence for 50,000 people. Thankfully the brave men and women of Bulgaria stepped in when the trains were supposed to leave to the concentration camps. The priest from the Catholic Church even stood in front of the trains to stop them! Luckily, the people were able to change the Pro Nazi thought process and the king kept writing letters to Hilter saying “We’re sorry but we need this Jewish people to finish up some railroads, I will send them in 6 more months,” this continued to happen and surprisely enough WW2 would end before any trains were sent to the camps. Meaning in total 50,000 Bulgarian Jewish people were saved! How amazing is that!?
Now let’s get to the real reason why you are all here!!!! The total cost of my trip!
Flight: €9.98 return
Hostel: €12.40 for two nights
Metro: €0.86 (That’s right)
Weekend Spending: €24.14 (this includes ALL food, drinks, and walking tour donations! And yes I ate out every meal!)
I spent €47.38 for a WHOLE WEEKEND AWAY!