Sofia boasts a number of great attractions. In addition, the unique mixture of different historic eras that influence the city’s architecture and ambiance make it an extremely interesting place to spend time on your East European holiday. Another thing that Sofia has going for it as a tourist destination is its location. There are many options for day trips from Sofia. Whether you want to ski, immerse yourself in history, or explore the beautiful countryside, there are multiple options for day trips from Sofia.

Sofia boasts a number of great attractions. In addition, the unique mixture of different historic eras that influence the city’s architecture and ambiance make it an extremely interesting place to spend time on your East European holiday. Another thing that Sofia has going for it as a tourist destination is its location. There are many options for day trips from Sofia. Whether you want to ski, immerse yourself in history, or explore the beautiful countryside, there are multiple options for day trips from Sofia.

Here are the highlights:

Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery
Photo: Dennis Jarvis / Flickr

This is one of the oldest monasteries in Europe. This holy site is hidden deep in its namesake mountain range. First established in the 10th Century, the monastery is more than 1,000 years old. An onsite museum and chapel provide a glimpse into this long history. The natural beauty and panoramic views of the Rila Mountains add to the attractiveness of this day-trip from Sofia. A full trip to the monastery and back, with sufficient time to explore, will take between 8 and 10 hours, though it could take even longer depending upon how long you choose to stay there.

Plovdiv

Roman Theatre of Philippopolis, Plovdiv
Photo: Dennis Jarvis / Flickr

The historic town of Plovdiv sits about 2 hours away from Sofia by car. This is actually the second largest city in Bulgaria. You can explore the Old Town on foot in 3-4 hours. The different eras in which Plovdiv thrived can be seen in its architecture and felt in its atmosphere.  For example, the town’s ancient fortified wall is fronted by beautiful 19th Century homes. If you want to make a full 14-hour day trip, you can head 30 minutes outside of Plovdiv to the Bachkovo Monastery, which was first established in the 11th Century, before returning to Sofia in the evening.

Vitosha Mountain

Vitosha Mountain
Photo: Mihail Kozuharov / Flickr

Located only about 10 kilometers outside of the city, Vitosha Mountain is home to the highest ski resort in Bulgaria. It is easy to base yourself in Sofia and take day trips to the slopes during the wintertime. If you are in the city during the summertime, you can take a day-trip from Sofia to hike or mountain bike on Vitosha’s slopes. The ski resort here caters to all sorts of skiing abilities. There are gentle runs for younger skiers and challenging runs for intermediate and advanced skiers. The ski season generally lasts from December through March, though conditions can vary from year to year. The best chance for great skiing is during the height of the winter.

Koprivshtitsa

Koprivshtitsa
Photo: Kevin Walsh / Flickr

This is a living history town about two hours from Sofia by car. There are hundreds of historic homes in Koprivshtitsa that sit along cobblestone streets. The houses are known for their colorful courtyards. Most of the buildings date back to the 19th Century, when Bulgaria experienced a kind of renaissance. Some of these structures have been converted into museum-like exhibits, with artifacts and furnishings dating back to the time when they were inhabited. This kind of “living history” experience makes Koprivshtitsa a popular option for a day-trip from Sofia.

Caves

Saeva Dupka
Photo: Ненко Лазаров / Wikipedia

There are a number of spectacular caves in the areas around Sofia. Two of the most popular caves, Saeva Dupka and Ledenika, are located about an hour and a half away from Sofia by car. Saeva Dupka features amazing rock formations and large chambers. There have even been choral music performances held here in the past. Ledenika also has large halls and features towering stalactites and stalagmites that have been formed over the centuries. A legendary underground lake (thought to give good luck to those who touch its waters) is a popular stop inside this cave.

Have you used this exciting Bulgarian city as your base for traveling around the country?  Use the comments section to let us know what day trips from Sofia you would recommend to our readers.

Categories: Sofia

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