You are currently viewing 12 Free things to do in Sofia

12 Free things to do in Sofia

Have a Free Cup of Tea at the Sofia Central Mineral Baths

A popular spot since the original Thracian tribes of Sofia, everyone from the ancient Romans to King Ferdinand enjoyed relaxing in these naturally-occuring warm pools. Though not currently operational as baths, the building itself is definitely worth seeing.

Don’t forget to bring a teabag because they have taps outside where you can pour yourself some of the hot water.

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Learn about ancient Bulgaria in The Sofia History Museum

The Sofia History Museum is located inside the Sofia Central Mineral Baths building. With various exhibitions spread across two floors, this museum depicts Sofia’s rich history from ancient times to the present day.

Entry to the museum is free on the last Thursday of each month from 5:30pm to 8:00pm.

People watch in Slaveykov Square

Named after the famous Bulgarian poet who lived on this street – Petko Slaveykov. This is one of the best spots in the city for people watching. There is a tangible buzz in the air here, making Slaveykov square feel effortlessly cool.

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Smell old books at the Book Market

The Slaveykov Square Book Market became insanely popular after the fall of communism when Bulgarians could finally read whatever they wanted! Soak up the smell of old paper in this locally-loved book market. Stroll through this charming book market, taking your time to browse through a wide selection of new and used books, magazines, and comics available in multiple languages.

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Oogle at the golden domes of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

The iconic symbol of Sofia is a must-see! Despite the opulent golden domes, you can actually enter Alexander Nevsky Cathedral for free, and it is every bit as over-the-top on the inside.

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Soak up some Street Art

One of my favourite free activities to do in any city is to check out the street art, and Sofia has some seriously talented artists! Explore the city’s vibrant street art scene on your own or take a free walking tour to discover colourful murals and graffiti scattered throughout Sofia.

For a free printable map of Sofia’s best street art click here.

Weird fact: The divisive giant Chupa Chup mural located above Serdika Metro Station was originally an advertisement. However, the Chupa Chups logo was designed by surrealist painter Salvador Dali – So I’m counting this bad boy as street art.

Check out the National Palace of Culture

This iconic building is one of the largest congress centres in Southeastern Europe and hosts numerous free cultural events, exhibitions and even concerts throughout the year.

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Hike Vitosha Mountain

Sofia is nestled at the foot of the stunning Vitosha mountain. There are plenty of free things to do from hiking to enjoying beautiful views of the city and Sofia valley.

While getting to the mountain will require public transport, hiking trails on Vitosha Mountain are free to explore and offer breathtaking views of Sofia. The most popular trail know as the “Panaramic Path” offers an absolute feast for the eyes.

Another popular route starts around Boyana Church and winds past the Boyana waterfall, although this route is a little bit  trickier.

Explore Saint Sofia Church

Dating back to the 6th century, this quaint church gave the city its name and remains one of Sofia’s oldest and most significant landmarks. 

During the Ottoman rule the church was converted into a mosque and the original 12th century frescoes inside were destroyed. It was eventually converted back into a Christian Church.

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Enjoy the architecture at Ivan Vazov National Theatre

Ivan Vazov National Theatre, also known as Bulgaria’s National Theatre, this building is an architectural marvel. It was designed by famous Austrian architects Hermann Helmer and Ferdinand Fellner. You will need to purchase event tickets to enter, but it is absolutely worth stopping outside (for free) to admire the neoclassical design.

Explore the National Art Gallery and Ethnology Museum

Showcasing art, history, and Bulgarian folklore from the middle ages to the modern era, this double whammy is a must-visit in Sofia. Conveniently for you, both the National Art Gallery and the Ethnography Museum are housed together in the former Royal Palace. In case you were curious, Bulgaria abolished the Monarchy in 1946 through a referendum.

Entrance to the main building of the National Art Gallery and the Ethnographic Museum is free on the first Thursday of every month.

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Embrace the hustle and bustle of the Womens Market

Zhenski Pazar translates to “Women’s Market” in English, and it got its name because historically, it was mainly run by women. This is one of the oldest and largest open-air markets in Sofia.

Zhenski Pazar is a colorful maze of stalls selling fresh produce, spices, clothing, and household items. Wander through the lanes, soak in the lively ambiance, and interact with local vendors for a truly authentic experience. If you happen to have a few leva to spare, then try your hand at haggling with the vendors. The Womens Market is located near the Palace of Culture.