National Geographic Traveller (UK)
GETTING THERE & AROUND
British Airways, Bulgaria Air, Easyjet, Ryanair and Wizz Air are among the carriers flying non-stop from the UK to Sofia. ba.com air.bg easyjet.com ryanair.com wizzair.com
Average flight time: 3h10m.
Sofia is well-connected to European destinations by rail, with direct routes to Turkey and Romania, and indirect services to cities across the continent. London to Sofia takes two days, via Vienna, Budapest and Bucharest. seat61.com
Most attractions are within walking distance. The metro is clean, cheap and offers contactless card payment in place of traditional tickets. It also connects to the airport. A three-day metro fare offers unlimited travel for 72 hours for BGN10 (£4.50). The Moovit app is helpful in navigating the city’s public transport. metrosofia.com moovitapp.com
WHEN TO GO
Sofia is beautiful in summer, with average daytime temperatures of 25C to 30C. Spring and early autumn are cooler, but still largely sunny. Winter offers skiing on Vitosha mountain and perfect conditions for a dip in one of the city’s outdoor hot springs.
WHERE TO STAY
InterContinental Sofia. From £105, room only. ihg.com
Hostel Mostel Sofia. From £20, room only. hostelmostel.com
Lonely Planet Romania & Bulgaria, £14.99
HOW TO DO IT
Intrepid offers a nine-day tour of Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey inlcuding in Sofia, from £1,028pp, with transport and excursions, including hikes in the Pirin Mountains, a visit to Tsarevets Fortress and a walking tour of Plovdiv’s old town. Excludes flights. intrepidtravel.com