You are currently viewing Two Days in Sofia Without Spending A Cent (The best free things to do in Sofia)

Two Days in Sofia Without Spending A Cent (The best free things to do in Sofia)

Strapped for cash? Bank account looking bleak? Fear not! Whether you’re a globe-trotting tourist, a penny-pinching backpacker, or a savvy local, Sofia has a wealth of free experiences waiting to be explored. From awe-inspiring landmarks to hidden gems, forget budget-friendly fillers – this is a curated two day itinerary for you to experience all of the best free activities that Sofia has to offer!

And here’s the best part: I’ve curated this list with your convenience in mind, pairing up activities within easy reach of each other. So, get ready to embark on a wallet-friendly adventure through the heart of Sofia!

Experience the Sofia Central Mineral Baths

You’d be quite surprised to hear that Sofia owes its very existence to their natural thermal water. From the original Thracian tribes to the bath-obsessed Romans, to King Ferdinand – Everyone who has ever owned, or occupied Sofia, has utilised these warm, mineral-rich pools.

The beautiful ornate baths of Sofia Central had been sadly neglected during communist times, but a team of dedicated people have been slowly working on restoring this dilapidated area back to its former glory. The baths are not currently functional, but hopefully they will be in the near future. For now, you can admire the beautiful architecture of these historic buildings for free. Located inside, is the Sofia history Museum, which is actually the next free activity on our list!

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Explore the Sofia History Museum

As mentioned previously, the Sofia History Museum (also known as the regional history museum) is located in the former Central Mineral Baths building. Spread over two floors, this museums showcases Sofia’s rich history from ancient times to the present day.

Here you can see everything from old-timey bicycles to ornate carriages that wouldn’t look out of place in a Disney movie! The most fascinating display for many people is the wedding exhibit, showcasing wedding attire and traditions of Sofia spanning the centuries.

My Top Tip for history buffs: If you find the history of Sofia fascinating, then be sure to visit the nearby Banya Bashi Mosque. It is only a two minute walk away. Being the only functioning mosque left in Sofia, it is a remnant of the centuries-long Ottoman rule of Bulgaria. You may enter the mosque for free, but you need to dress appropriately and be respectful.

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

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See the Famous Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is the most iconic building in Sofia, you can see its golden domes peeking out of the Sofia skyline for miles.

This massive Orthodox Cathedral (it can hold a whopping 5,000 people) was built to honour the Russian soldiers who died in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. This was pre-communism, back when Bulgaria was grateful for Russian interference.

Wander through the vast Nevsky Cathedral to witness its stunning interior. They truly spared no expense, with its Italian marble interior, gold-plated domes, to custom-made chandeliers from Germany, the central chandelier alone weighs 2500kg!

This iconic symbol of Sofia is free to enter.

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Admire the architecture of Ivan Vazov National Theater

Named after one of Bulgaria’s greatest writers Ivan Vazov, this theatre is not only a cultural landmark but also an architectural masterpiece. Designed in the opulent neoclassical style by renowned Austrian architects Hermann Helmer and Ferdinand Fellner.

Founded in 1904, and officially opened in 1907, this grandiose building has stood the test of time. Despite a fire in 1923 and extensive damage from the bombings of World War 2, the National Theatre has prevailed with only minor reconstruction neded. You’d be crazy to skip Bulgaria’s National Theatre, conveniently located in the heart of Sofia.

While tickets are required for performances, you can still appreciate the building’s exterior for free. 

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Chill out at Sofia City Garden

End your evening by kicking up your feet and relaxing in Sofia City garden. This central park is located next to the National Theatre Ivan Vazov. Enjoy a peaceful stroll or sit and people-watch.

Sofia City Garden is located in the beating-heart of the city. This charming garden offers a temporary retreat with its trickling fountains, array of sculptures, and lush landscapes.

Chilling out at City Garden si one of the most popular free things to do in Sofia for locals. People show up on warm summer evenings for stimulating conversations with friends, over bottles of cold beers.

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Hike Lozen Mountain to see the 13th Century Monastery

Put on your boots to hike up to Polovrak peak. Feel free to take a break at the natural terrace for stunning views of the Sofia valley.

Thankfully, most tourists haven’t even heard of the Lozen Monastery of the Holy Saviour, meaning you’ll have the area to yourself to enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

As with most of the spectacular scenic hikes you can take near Sofia, the best time for hiking is from May to early October, excluding peak heat days in July and August.

Insider Advice: Even if it is a scorching hot day in Sofia, be sure to pack extra layers as the weather in the mountains can get quite chilly!