The city of backpackers in Bulgaria
On the edge of Europe and closer to Asia than to Brussels, but still an EU capitol city, Sofia (Bulgaria) is always open to visitors and backpackers from all over the world. Witness the fusion between East and West with layers of history – from Roman Empire age, Orthodox churches and Ottoman mosques with a pinch of Communism with it’s concrete buildings and monuments. Although you might be cursing the bumpy roads and sidewalks, where locals have troubles pushing the baby-strollers, it is a city with many faces that reveals contrasts between old cracky buildings and fancy new ones, offers many parks and greenery, art galleries or alternative nightlife with cool bars etc. Plus we have the mountain for ski or hiking just an hour away.
As one walks the city centre on his own or in a free walking tour it’s impossible to miss the cultural and religious variety – there is for example a spot from which one can see a church, a mosque and a synagogue in close proximity.
Mineral water springs are allover the city – you can try the hot mineral water in the heart of the city. The beautiful old buildings of the former public baths, each one an architectural masterpiece, are unfortunately sealed and nonoperational since decades, except for the Main Public Bath, which was recently turned into museum and a gallery.
In the southern outskirts of Sofia stands the Vitosha mountain with it’s highest peak at 2290 m. Getting to the mountain is possible by public transport and the cable car or even easier if you have a vehicle or a bike. It offers great panoramic view above the city, even at night if you get to the right viewpoint. For outdoor loving people there are many hiking trails, fields and forests, steep or flat areas around Bulgaria – a little something for every backpackers.
With it’s multi-culti vibe and many subcultures the city has always something going on. Especially in spring and summer constant events shape the daily routine. Art galleries, exhibitions, music performances or international book or film festivals etc are here to satisfy the needs.
Locals might worry about covering the monthly rate, but they’ll be out partying every week, so when it comes to nightlife there’s plenty of choice, depending on different tastes. Alternative hidden bars, fancy clubs or live music are only some of the options.
Food lovers can choose between lots of traditional local restaurants with authentic interiors, or also european, turkish or chinese cuisine for example. Despite the fact that meat dominates our dishes, vegetarians won’t suffer – there are few unique vegetarian places too!
Last but not least – more and more people cycle bikes daily. Although local traffic could be hectic and cars dominate, many new cycle lanes were built and exploring Sofia by bicycle could be another memorable experience in Bulgaria for the backpackers you are!