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Forums Other Destination advice What to do in Sofia, Bulgaria?

  • K_3891 6 posts

    Excellent thread, thanks all. I have a day in Sofia for meeting, makes me wish was more time so could explore. Do I need currency or can I get by with a card, thinking using recommended Metro from airport to IC? Once got caught out in Denmark of all places with only accepted for the airport transfer from Billund. Thanks

    I just used my revolut – didn’t have any cash. The revolut worked at the metro entry gates fine. Some restaurants were cash only so I made sure I asked if they took card payment on entry.

    alig4th 322 posts

    Finding this thread quite useful, thanks. Will be overnighting in a couple of weeks (staying at Intercon). Landing 7pm-ish and departing 6pm-ish, so will probably just “wander round” a bit for the morning and early afternoon, unless anyone has any specific suggestions of ideas (or good lunch recommendations).

    I assume the lounge at SOF won’t really provide a full dinner so hopefully the options on the plane will be good.

    Also really appreciate the comments about card acceptance on here… Save me changing up £50 at a rubbish rate before I travel given its only one day

    HampshireHog 120 posts

    Finding this thread quite useful, thanks. Will be overnighting in a couple of weeks (staying at Intercon). Landing 7pm-ish and departing 6pm-ish, so will probably just “wander round” a bit for the morning and early afternoon, unless anyone has any specific suggestions of ideas (or good lunch recommendations).

    I assume the lounge at SOF won’t really provide a full dinner so hopefully the options on the plane will be good.

    Also really appreciate the comments about card acceptance on here… Save me changing up £50 at a rubbish rate before I travel given its only one day

    Definitely recommend the walking tour in the morning for a couple of hours

    The Original Nick 115 posts

    The Red Flat is worth a visit. Even my Mum enjoyed it and she’s totally right wing.

    The Original Nick 115 posts

    I will let you know of a traditional Bulgarian restaurant we visited when I remember the name.

    qc 214 posts

    We’ve just come back from Sofia having stayed at the IC for 5 nights and a night at the Kempinski in Bansko. We had a car as part of a BA holiday. Valet parking at the IC is €20 a day and worth it if you’re staying there.

    Highlights of the trip were the churches particularly st Sofia and Boyana and Rila Monastery which is amazing.

    Bulgarian restaurants we tried were Izbata, Staria Chinar, Under the Linden Tree and Manastirska Magernitsa as well Egur Egur recommended above. We had lunch at The School near Boyana Church. Soups there are delicious.

    NorthernLass 7,932 posts

    I priced up both SOF and ATH yesterday and ended up going with ATH because the SOF flight times are a bit odd and didn’t work with domestic connections. I’ll keep it on the list for when we have more flexibility and could split the sectors over a couple of days.

    The Original Nick 115 posts

    I will let you know of a traditional Bulgarian restaurant we visited when I remember the name.

    I found the Restaurant https://www.kashtite.com/en

    Frankie 28 posts

    Hello
    I have three Sofia questions. Thanks in advance for any responses.
    1. Can anyone recommend a walking tour for the first morning in Sofia. Folk have recommended a free walking tour but is there a particular one?
    2. What is the best way to get to Plovdiv? Could I go and back in a day for my 8pm BA flight home?
    3. Can I add a tip on a credit card or do they only allow tapping the card for the meal price and I need cash for restaurant tip?

    freckles 176 posts

    1. I used Free Sofia Tour (put those words together with a dot com and you have their web site). They do one around the city, a Jewish themed one and a Plovdiv one as well if you can get to there yourself)
    2. I did a full day to Plovdiv with coach – but from memory we didn’t return back to Sofia till around 5 or 6pm, so that might be a bit tight for you. Others have been independently so am sure they can comment. It’s around 2 hours travel by road each way.
    3. I seem to remember tipping by cash.

    supergraeme 137 posts

    Another vote for Happy Bar & Grill, particularly on Sveta Nedelya Blvd. Been lots of times. Not posh, but great grub and well-priced.

    ClubSmed 181 posts

    As I am currently between jobs (redundency, but have secured a new job starting at the end of April), I thought I would take the opportunity to take a break and bag a few tier points.
    I was sold on the idea of Sofia after reading this thread, and found some pretty cheap business class flights to Sofia (especially considering the last minute nature). So I proceeded to look into using a BA Holiday to double the points value. The flights only gave me 4 nights in Sofia, but as there was a necessary overnight in Heathrow due to it being too late for connecting flight to Glasgow, the Heathrow hotel qualified it for the 5 nights needed. Obviously I could not do a BA Hol using car hire instead of a hotel given these circumstances.
    As I would not be able to use my status for either the Intercontinental or the Hilton as booking through BA, I thought I would save myself £300 by booking into the airport IBIS.
    As it is close to the airport, with a free airport shuttle, and the links from Sofia Airport to the centre being excellent, I thought this would be a reasonable idea.
    Now I expect Ibis to be of a standard somewhere between Travelodge and Premier Inn, which I can cope with when solo travelling.
    What I experienced was worse than any Travelodge I have ever stayed in!
    The walls and doors are paper thin so you can hear every word (even if your can’t understand the language) of the adjoining rooms and the hallway.
    There are no coffee & tea making facilities. Actually, let me clarify this. There is a kettle, but there are no cups, coffee, tea bags, milk or sugar. So not sure really what the point of the kettle is.
    There is no room safe. As a result I carried my passport everywhere and decided to use the “Go Green, Skip the Clean” door knob hanger. I do not need refreshed towels everyday and would rather the added security. Despite me hanging this every day, my room has been cleaned every single day.
    There are only 2 plug sockets for the room, so if you have the fridge and the kettle plugged in, you cannot have anything else plugged in. These plugs are also not on the nightstands.
    The bed is almost impossibly loud! It creaks so badly every time I move that it wakes me up. I cannot understand how it is possibe for a modern bed to creak so much.

    This is not the standards I expect of a room in a hotel with business conference facilities.

    On the plus side, the bar and restaurant are pretty decent and I have enjoyed a few drinks and a decent meal here.

    Sofia itself is absolutley wonderful, I have really enjoyed my time here. I have not managed to do everything mentioned on the thread, so will be back with my other half to explore more (just not using the Ibis as a base).

    So in summary, Sofia is great but if doing a BA Holiday again, I would avoid the Ibis like the plague and pay the extra for a better hotel even if I don’t get the hotel points or use of status.

    NorthernLass 7,932 posts

    That sounds grim – did you ask for coffee, etc? Did you read any reviews beforehand? I’m sure I read recently that in some hotels, the cleaning staff get paid per room they actually clean, so ignore any “Do not Disturb”-type instructions.

    We stayed in an Ibis in Milan some years ago because it was (relatively) cheap but it was pretty decent, as I recall.

    Most importantly though, let us know if the double TPs post!

    ClubSmed 181 posts

    I didn’t ask for coffee as I travel with coffee brewer pouches, but the lack of milk and sugar was an issue. Instead of requesting them at receiption, I decided to treat myself and get a bottle of milk to keep in the room fridge and liberated a few sugar sachets from a cafe I frequented.
    I read reviews, and they did not seem too bad. I guess that the majority will only use it one night for a TP run or just before a flight. For that it would be pretty much OK, it just is not suitable for a stay of any longer IMHO.
    I have not bothered complaining about the room, as I hate moving after being unpacked, but I will complain after checkout so that the issue that can be rectified are done so for future guests.
    I will post if/when the double TPs post, I was assured by the BA reresentative that they would.

    idontfly 44 posts

    The caves – Saeva dupka , Eyes of God cave & Devetashka Cave all amazing. There are some great wine tours as well.

    ClubSmed 181 posts

    I’m sure I read recently that in some hotels, the cleaning staff get paid per room they actually clean, so ignore any “Do not Disturb”-type instructions.

    That would be a bit of an issue if that is the case, as for using the “skip the clean”, the occupant is supposed to receive a number of Accor membership points.
    Another message in the bathroom says to leave your towels on the rail if you don’t need them replaced, anywhere else if you do. Mine were always left on the rail (once I found it), but always refreshed. Even if they were forcing a room clean, there should be no need to force a towel change too.

    It is a good job that Sofia is so amazing that it made up for all of this!

    JDB 4,514 posts

    @ClubSmed if you thought Sofia (and Bulgaria in general) was amazing as I did, next stop Belgrade! It’s very different to Sofia, but was also at the nexus of history having been part of the Roman/Byzantine empire, part of the Ottoman empire but being right on the edge of the Habsburg empire also fell to them from time to time. The city is at a much earlier stage of development than Sofia so a bit more ‘raw’ and fairly few tourists. I went in December, now going for a longer trip next month to see more of the country as well.

    ClubSmed 181 posts

    Thanks for the recommendation JDB, I will certainly look into that as soon as I have managed to come back to Sofia with my family to share the joy with them and do some of the things I missed this trip.

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