Monday, February 8, 2010

Discovering Sofia, Europe's hidden capital

To be honest I don't know too much about Bulgaria. I don't know much more than that the capital is Sofia. I never paid much attention in geography or history class in school. But I am slowly trying to remedy this passed up knowledge while I take imaginary and real trips to places in the Balkans. I am continuously surprised and impressed when I fall upon a new photograph, a new city. This happened to me this weekend. I was waiting in an office and the only reading materials around were Hungarian newspapers and underneath I found a travel magazine. Bingo! I thought. I started browsing through, and through and through... Egypt.. China.. Peru.. yes, yes.. Bulgaria. Wait! I stopped and took a closer look.

Sofia! It is a small and compact city with dynamic architecture and a great vibe. It is one of those cities that if finally waking up after a long sleep and is still yet to be discovered by all of the tourists passing through on their way to ski or to bathe. Even though it is no buzzing metropolis like many other European capitals, Sofia has enough sights, museums, art galleries and parks to keep any tourist occupied for a week or so. With Mount Vitosha on the outskirts of the city, many come to Sofia in search of the ski hills or the hiking trails in the summertime. But many more should think about spending at least a few days in the city itself before heading up into the mountains.

Sofia itself is accessible by plane, train and automobile. But from the UK it is best to grab a cheap flight to Sofia. Flights in June are already discounted in anticipation of a summer full of travellers, you can fly from London to Sofia for £56. I'd say thats not too bad at all!