Sofia, the Bulgarian capital was founded 7000 years ago in the green embrace of the Vitosha Mountain. Today, Sofia is a cosmopolitan city.
Like any other European capital it is the centre of the country's political, business and cultural life as well as a host of various international events.
There are many theatres, an Opera, an Operetta, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries.
Sofia offers an excellent opportunities for international congresses, symposia,meetings,conferences and fairs. Special business centres and luxurious hotels are in the proximity of the bustling city centre. The five, four and three-stars Sofia hotels offer good conditions for business ,rest and entertainment. Tranquillity seekers can choose from among the numerous small private hotels in Sofia's suburbs and enjoy excellent service in addition to home comfort and traditional Bulgarian hospitality.
Shopping in Sofia could be quite exciting. Shining shops windows offer design clothes and shoes, unique pieces of art and traditional Bulgarian goods.
Most restaurants in Sofia serve foreign and Bulgarian cuisine. A visit to a tavern is a must. They entertain with folk music,songs and dances in addition to a menu of delicious typically Bulgarian dishes and choice of drinks.
Each night in Sofia could be a thrilling experience. An option is a concert,opera or a theatre play. Jazz and rock clubs or piano bars are also there.Disco fans will find Sofia discos as good as any in Europe.Night clubs have variety shows in the small hours.Casinos in Sofia don't close before dawn.
Most of Sofia' s streets are dominated by the view of Vitosha mountain , a huge granite mass with wooded lower slopes. It is treated by the people of Sofia as part of the capital as it can be reached quickly either by car or public transport. Many people come for a walk in the peace and quietness of the mountain. There are marked trails for walkers, who can admire wild flowers or the unusual natural phenomenon, the moraine, an apparently dry river made up of massive boulders.You ca have a picnic here, but there are also some good hotels and restaurants overlooking the city.
Skiers are well-served by Aleko, Bulgaria's highest ski resort, where the season lasts from December til late spring. The slopes being mainly northfacing retain their snow and rarely become icy. There are some very steep and challenging runs as well as some suitable for beginners. There is a ski school, where most of the instructors speak English.The cabin lifts at Knyazhevo and Simeonovo make it easy to get to the top of the mountain from the heart of the city.
THE NATIONAL PALACE OF CULTURE
The biggest Congress Centre in the Balkans. It is located in the centre of the city and faces the Vitosha Mountain. Itis the largest multifunctional complex in Southeastern Europe, member of ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association), AIPC (International Association of Congress Palace), BCB (Bulgarian Convention Bureau). Located in the very heart of the capital in a beautiful park, it is surrounded by museums, historical and cultural sites of interest, financial institutions and the best hotels and restaurants. The 16 halls, with seating capacity ranging from 50 to 4 000, are equipped with modern technology, providing simultaneous interpretation in 14 languages.. A number of cafes, bars, restaurants, night clubs, bowling and shops are facilitating the guests.
The country's most prestigious university.
It was built a decade after Sofia became Bulgaria's capital in 1879 with funds bequeathed by the brothers Evlogi and Christo Georgiev. At the moment the University has over fifteen departments and thousands of students from Bulgaria and abroad.
Sofia Airport (SOF)
Sofia’s principal airport is located ten kilometres (six miles) east of the city centre. Recently renovated, Sofia Airport is now bright, modern and smoke-free (except in designated cafe areas) and has the capacity to serve 2.5 million passengers.
Major airlines: In addition to Bulgaria’s national airline Bulgaria Air, airlines include Aeroflot, Air France, Air Ukraine, Alitalia, AUA Austrian Airlines, British Airways, CSA, Hemus Air, KLM, Lufthansa, Malev, Olympic Airways,etc.
Approximate flight times to Sofia: From London is 3 hours 20 minutes; from New York is 10 hours 10 minutes; from Los Angeles is 14 hours 20 minutes; from Toronto is 11 hours 35 minutes and from Sydney is 26 hours 30 minutes.
Airport facilities: Facilities include several 24-hour change bureaux and an ATM, located in the customs building not far from the main entrance, as well as left-luggage facilities, bars, fast-food outlets and car hire from Avis and Hertz.
Business facilities: Business-class lounges are provided by some airlines.
Transport to the city: The public transport bus 84 runs a frequent service – every ten or 15 minutes, 0500-2400 – from the airport to Orlov Most, close to the city centre (journey time – 20 minutes). Tickets cost 0.40 leva (approx. 15 p.) and can be bought from the kiosk near the bus stop or directly from the driver. Taxis are also available at a charge of 0.45 leva (approx. 17 p.) per km.