Last week Thomas Enser sent us his great travel report of his one day trip to the city Sofia. But the Bulgarian capital has a lot to offer, so he summarized his tips and what he has experienced in Sofia!
Once again, Servus from me, and a very warm welcome! I was really pleased to see how many people had read through my Red report. As critical feedback is also very important to me – just like Austrian Airlines – I’m always happy to take that on board too. For me as an aircraft fan, of course, the main focus in my first report was on my flights into and out of Sofia – and now I’d like to tell you a bit more about what the Bulgarian capital itself has to offer!
After touching down, I found myself standing at the terminal. Sofia Airport (Terminal 2) is friendly and highly modern; there’s also no chance of getting lost, because all the signposting is in English as well as Cyrillic. The moment I went out of the airport, I could see the cupolas of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, my first destination.
The no. 84 bus leaves from directly outside the airport, and takes you straight into the town centre. The bus driver didn’t speak any English at all, unfortunately, but I still managed to get a ticket somehow! After a bus ride lasting around 30 minutes, I got off next to a park (just keep an eye out for the Memorial to the Red Army). I didn’t have the faintest idea where I was, to be honest, but when everybody else on the bus got out, I thought this must be about right. And sure enough, when I saw the golden cupolas of the Cathedral a few moments later, I immediately knew where I was, my map of the city started to make sense, and I could get around the city centre.
After a few minutes’ walk, I found myself standing in front of the Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. You just have to see this from the inside to believe it: I can only recommend it to anyone who visits Sofia. My travel guide suggested that I take a walk between the city’s most important attractions. So as I didn’t have a huge amount of time, and wanted to gain a lasting first impression of Sofia, I took the advice and did the main sights.
I started off at the Cathedral to the Russian Church, wandering through a small art market on the way there. I then continued past the National Art Gallery and House of the Party, finishing at the Presidential Palace, where you can see the changing of the guard ceremony on the hour, every hour. The rear court there is also home to the Sveti Georgi Rotunda.
One thing I particularly liked about Sofia were its dozens of parks of every shape and size. In the part of the city I visited, there seemed to be beautifully kept parkland around every corner.
I then moved on past the Archaeological Museum, the National Theatre, the Crystal Park (named after the cafe on its southern edge) and the National Collection, before heading back to the Cathedral again.
Since I still had some time on my hands, I visited the small Botanical Garden nearby the Cathedral. I’m sure you’re probably also wondering what I ate while I was in the city, and where I ate it. Yes, they even have the Billa supermarket chain in Sofia and I went to Mc Donalds for a quick snack. I could tell what was what with the help of the pictures. The next time I’m in Sofia, I definitely want to visit the Central Market Hall. Somehow I managed to miss that during my visit to the city this time.
After a warm but cloudy day in the city, I caught the bus back to Terminal 2. The journey took an hour this time, however, as we had to contend with the evening rush hour. Despite this, I still had some time to kill at the airport, and discovered a park at the foot of the multi-storey car park, where I took a nice stroll. If you look across at the end of the park, you can watch the aircraft landing. After watching a few aircraft touch down, I made my way back to the Terminal again and headed for home.
In summary, the people I met were all very friendly, and above all, I never had reason to feel unsafe at any time during my stay. You sometimes hear negative rumours about the east, but I don’t hold with them myself, and can confirm they are little more than make-believe. The entrance prices – prices in general, in fact – are also very cheap.
So it wasn’t just the flights that I enjoyed, but also the Bulgarian capital. Sofia will always be worth a visit.
And on that note, thanks for reading the report – and “Servus and Goodbye!”
We also want to say thank you, for the great city report! Do you also have experiences or stories about trips you wanna share? Let us know! Here or on the Austrian Airlines Facebook Page.