15 Best Sofia Tours

Sofia is the capital and most populous city of Bulgaria.

It is located near the center of the Balkans, with an almost equal distance between the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea.

A stunning old world city, it has made huge leaps in modernization in recent years. Sofia is full of impressive churches, remnants of Soviet-era buildings, and plenty of historical sites worth visiting.

Sofia also has a rich art history and a budding food culture that blends multiple international influences into a truly unique and vibrant cuisine.

Here are the 15 best travel itineraries in Sofia, Bulgaria.

1. 3-hour Food and Heritage Tour

Sofia, Bulgaria

Three hours might not sound like a lot of time to experience the essence of Sofia, but previous participants claim to have done so.

This value-for-money 3-hour tour includes some of the city’s most revered historic sights, such as the National Theatre and the King’s Palace – but the fun doesn’t stop there.

Along the way, guests will learn about the fascinating history and culture of the city, and visit some off-the-beaten-track restaurants and cafés to sample traditional Bulgarian food and drinks.

Sure, baklava is one of the perennial favorites, but you can also sample local wine, cheese and a popular yogurt drink whose name is barely pronounceable.

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2. Private Guided Walking Tour of Historic Sofia

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia is a very walkable city. Many of its main attractions are in close proximity for the energetic visitor to see them all.

This private city walking tour is a huge hit with the international crowd, as it’s available in over two dozen languages.

The tour focuses on downtown attractions such as St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Presidential Palace.

Witnessing the Changing of the Guard at the main entrance of the palace is a truly unforgettable experience, and most visitors are surprised to see so many churches of different faiths coexisting peacefully in such close proximity.

At the end of the tour, you will also have time to shop on Vitosha Street.

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3. 4 Hour Hidden Bar and Pub Crawl

Sofia's Hidden Bar Tour

Pub crawls are a great way to rub shoulders with the locals, get to know the land, and get yourself a hangover.

This 4-hour pub crawl explores drinking establishments slightly off the beaten track. This is great for singles and small groups as it is common to meet other travelers from all over the world.

Under the care of a knowledgeable guide, you’ll travel to parts of the city that don’t normally attract many tourists, so this will be a more unique and memorable experience than any other way.

Includes admission, if applicable, and free drinks at each stop.

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4. Communism Walking Tour

National Palace of Culture, Sofia

Comrades all over the world unite…

At least, temporarily, for this quirky and fascinating 3-hour tour of Bulgaria’s communist-era hotspot.

Not a communist, a Marxist, a socialist?

Fear not; political preferences aside, you’ll have the chance to visit some of the city’s most unique attractions, such as the headquarters of the Bulgarian Communist Party, the National Palace of Culture, and the horrific facility where police investigators used to interrogate citizens they suspected of subversion.

You’ll learn interesting tidbits of local lore and history at each location, and may compile a list of things you’ll want to examine more thoroughly in the future.

Food, beverages and gratuities are not included.

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5. Afternoon Food and Wine Walking Tour

National Theatre, Sofia

There is no better way to spend an afternoon in Sofia than to explore the city on foot.

For foodies and self-proclaimed wine lovers, it’s a great way to learn about the city’s cuisine without taking a lot of time or spending an entire day.

Guests will follow their guide to various cafés and enjoy many traditional Bulgarian dishes including soups, salads, sausages and baklava.

Avid foodies will learn about the places they are visiting and the food and wine they are enjoying. Along the way, they will see many historical sights such as St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Sofia Synagogue and the Central Market.

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6. Explore Bulgaria with dance

Explore Bulgaria with dance

It is said that if you eat what the locals eat and dance the way they dance, then you have successfully integrated into their culture.

If these words sound sensible, then signing up for the Exploring Bulgaria with Dance tour would be a great way to spend an hour in Sofia.

Guests will learn about the country’s music and dance traditions, and have the opportunity to use what they’ve learned and, if the spirit moves them, swagger.

The tour includes a traditional meal and the opportunity to take a few pictures in authentic Bulgarian dance costumes.

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7. Sofia Alternative Tour

Sofia Alternative Tour

Love escape rooms? Treasure hunt?

Snatch your nose at a bus tour packed with dozens of tourists wanting to see the city’s last overcrowded attraction?

If so, read on, as this alternative 4-hour tour might just be the antidote.

It is perfect for young active travelers and adventurous people.

You’ll trek through the city following the trail, seeing stunning views, stepping out of the escape room, and having an all-around great time.

Expect to see aspects of the city that most visitors have never been to and gain interesting insights into the city’s extraordinary past.

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8. Sofia Full Day Tour

Sofia, Bulgaria

With so much to see and do, most visitors to Sofia spend days exploring the city before moving on to the rest of the country.

This full-day tour includes pickup at your hotel and the services of a professional guide for up to 20 guests.

Because of its length, it’s a deeper experience than you’ll get on a short trip, so it’s perfect for serious history buffs and culture buffs.

Most of the trips are in air-conditioned minivans, but there are also opportunities to get out, stretch your legs, snap a few photos, and recharge the batteries with food and drinks.

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9. Sofia Photo Tour

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia

Both amateur and professional photographers seem to love Sofia because its rich historical sights, impressive architecture, and blend of old and new worlds make it truly unique.

The 3 ½ hours are led by local guides with extensive photography experience dedicated to making every trip an unforgettable one.

Not only will you see the city’s sights at the right time to perfectly capture the moment, but you’ll get helpful directions and tips you can use long after the tour is officially over.

You need to bring your own camera.

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10. Hiking Day Trip to Vitosha Mountain Nature Park

Vitosha Mountain Nature Park

Although Vitosha Mountain Nature Park is technically outside Sofia city limits, it is only a 30-minute drive from the city center and is one of the oldest nature reserves in the country.

This makes it the perfect escape destination for those who need a change of pace from the chaotic urban environment of the city.

The summit of Mount Vitosha is over a mile high and overlooks the Bulgarian countryside, but if you’re not an experienced climber, don’t hold back; there are many trails, many suitable for beginners.

The tour lasts six hours and starts and ends in Sofia.

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11. Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Full-Day Tour

Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery and Boyana Church are two Bulgarian icons that recently celebrated their 1000th birthday.

Yes, they are that old, and they are part of a sprawling complex tucked away in a particularly beautiful rural area outside the city.

It’s a two-hour drive each way, but on the way, you’ll receive engaging and educational commentary from your guide, and the scenery will be breathtaking.

On site, guests will have plenty of time to explore on their own and learn about the country’s fascinating religious history.

Transportation to and from Sofia is included in the tour fee.

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12. 3-hour Cultural Guided Tour

Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia is a relatively easy city to explore on your own, but to make the most of your limited travel time, it might be a good idea to experience it with a guide.

This 3-hour interactive tour is a world apart from most tours, mainly because the vendors strive to make it a wonder for the senses.

In addition to the historical sights, the city is full of unique sights, sounds and smells that all add to the overall experience.

You’ll learn about Bulgarian customs and festivals, taste traditional food, and even experience local dances and converse in your native language.

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13. Traditional Food and Wine Tour

Traditional Food and Wine Tour

Created by foodies and wine lovers for foodies and wine lovers, this traditional combo tour is perfect for those who love a feeling of satiety and the warm, full-body buzz that only wine can provide.

You will start your tour with a traditional Bulgarian yogurt breakfast and get to know your guide. From there, the tour will head to four exceptional food and wine venues.

Guests will taste several local wines as well as cheeses, meats, fresh vegetables and homemade bread.

It’s perfect for die-hard meat eaters or those who prefer plant-based foods, and there’s plenty of candy on hand too.

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14. Rose Valley and Koprivshtitsa

Valley of Roses

Roses have always played an important role in Bulgarian society, and the Rose Valley is the most productive growing area in the country.

It’s also very pretty, and it’s also relatively close to Sofia.

On this guided tour, you’ll learn more about roses and learn about their natural brilliance.

The tour also includes many historical sights such as the temple built to commemorate the birth of Christ and the centennial tomb of Kazanlak.

Transportation to and from Sofia in an air-conditioned van is included, but this tour is not available for people in wheelchairs.

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15. Sofia Self-Guided Tour

Sofia sightseeing

Self-guided tourists have many simple options when visiting Sofia, and those who choose to take advantage of this self-guided tour can relax because all the hard work has already been done by the tour creators.

The package includes locations, routes, and a brief overview of each of the city’s most famous attractions.

For most people, that’s enough to get started. Once at each stop, participants will be free to spend as much or as little time as they want.

For those who do things strictly by book, tours usually take around half a day.

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