Where to stay in Sofia, Bulgaria – a full guide to the best area and places to stay in Sofia (including recommended hotels and apartments).
I love living in Sofia. It was love at first sight. The city is my home for the last 15 years. It is the perfect base for a traveller – cheap with a lot of history and great nightlife. The city is an awesome destination for a long weekend escape, too.
Choosing where to stay in Sofia, especially if you are visiting the city for the first time can be a little bit confusing. Usually, when I book a hotel for any trip I take care to choose something right in the city centre. However, this rule doesn’t apply to the capital of Bulgaria. There are a few areas in the centre that it’s better to be avoided.
If I’m visiting Sofia for sightseeing I’ll definitely choose accommodation in the city centre. It is not a small city, but the main tourist attractions are packed in an area that you can tour by foot. Bulgaria is a pretty cheap country, so the hotels are not expensive, even the ones right in the heart of the city.
The location is more than perfect, right in the middle of the city centre. Plus, there is an awesome rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city.
Where to stay in Sofia – The best tourist area
The best area to stay in Sofia for sightseeing and nightlife is the city centre. All main landmarks, restaurants and bars will be under your nose. You can walk everywhere and avoid using any public transport at all. Just step outside your hotel and feel the atmosphere of the city. Most of the hotels are also located here.
Yet there is one flaw, this area could be a little noisy at night. It depends on where you are staying exactly.
In any case avoid the central parts around Lavov most (Лъвов мост), the Central station and Pirotska Street. There are a lot of immigrants, the areas look quite shabby and they are not safe. Check out this map to see which central parts are good to stay in.
Choose the Sofia City Centre
If you’re short on time or want to be on a few minutes walk from all attractions, restaurants and bars.
- All the must-see sites are in the city centre and there will be no need to use public transport.
- Just in case if you need to use the underground, the two metro lines M1 and M2 cross here at Serdika station. Thus you can easily reach any part of the city, even the airport.
- Visit St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Russian Church. Learn more about the history of the city in the History Museum. If you are an art lover go to Square 500.
- The area is full of small lovely restaurants: Made in Home, Made in Blue, Skara Bar 2, The Little Things.
- Confetti – the best place for ice-cream.
- Memento – a great spot to start your day with a coffee and finish it with a tasty cocktail while watching the world go by.
The best hotels in Sofia City Centre
Hotels in Sofia City Centre (Best for families)
8.7/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,790+ guest reviews
4-star hotel with modern rooms, tasty breakfast and underground parking. Also, there is a mall only 300m away from the hotel.
8.8/10 Rating – See hotel images and 990+ guest reviews
Boutique hotel with an amazing panoramic rooftop bar. The large floor-to-ceiling windows of the rooms reveal stunning views over St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. It’s one of the best places to stay in Sofia!
Hotels in Sofia City Centre (Best for couples)
8.8/10 Rating – See hotel images and 370+ guest reviews
4-star stylish hotel with an excellent location right in the main shopping area of Sofia.
8.2/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,780+ guest reviews
Luxury hotel with a great location right next to Serdika metro station. The building is a part of the President’s Palace complex. A historical Roman fortress lies beneath its foundation! You can see part of the remains around the hotel.
Apartments in Sofia City Centre
9.1/10 Rating – See apartment images and 350+ guest reviews
Comfy apartments with a perfect location, close to the main shopping street, Vitosha Boulevard.
9.0/10 Rating – See apartment images and 470+ guest reviews
Spacious apartments in an area full of shops and restaurants.
More places to stay in Sofia
If you look for a calmer area, yet still in a walking distance to the main attractions, choose Oborishte district.
Oborishte neighbourhood is a little nice area quite close to the centre of the city. The district is residential and calm, full of cute little restaurants. There is no metro connection to the city centre, only buses. If you prefer to walk you will need 15 minutes on foot to reach the centre. I really love this area, it has some kind of old charm.
Choose Oborishte district
If you are looking for a quiet central place, not far from the tourist sites.
- Two great parks are on hand: Zaimov and the Doctor’s Garden.
- HleBar – try the local delicacy – banitsa.
- Raketa Rakia Bar – the best place to try the local “whisky” called rakia.
- Skara Bar 1 – one of the top places for meatballs.
- Sputnik – my favourite cocktail bar.
The best hotels in Oborishte
8.9/10 Rating – See hotel images and 280+ guest reviews
4-star elegant hotel next to the famous Doctor’s Garden.
9.1/10 Rating – See hotel images and 360+ guest reviews
An exquisite 4-star hotel, close to the city centre on a quiet street with embassies.
9.0/10 Rating – See apartment images and 170+ guest reviews
Nice and cosy apartments with a fully equipped kitchen.
Discover some of the city’s hidden bars in a pub crawl tour.
Take a day trip to Rila Monastery, the most famous monastery in Bulgaria.
Reveal the city’s communist past by taking a walking Communist tour.
How to get from Sofia airport to the city centre
Sofia-Vrazhdebna Airport (Летище София-Враждебна) is located about 10km from the city centre. You can reach it using public transport. There are two terminals, which are not within a walking distance from each other.
Low-cost companies like Wizz Air and Easyjet use Terminal 1, while all others use Terminal 2. There is a free shuttle transfer between the two terminals every 30 minutes.
Find more must-visit places in Bulgaria in DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Bulgaria.
Are you a mountain lover? Then find out why to visit Vitosha National Park.
Visitors often combine Sofia with:
- Plovdiv – one of the ancient cities not only in Bulgaria but in the world. Get the best of the city with Plovdiv itinerary. Also, check out where to stay in Plovdiv.
- Bucharest – the vibrant capital city of Romania. Find out why Bucharest is worth visiting. The cheapest way to get from Sofia to Bucharest is by FlixBus.
If you consider renting a car, compare the car rental prices in Europe.