As the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia is known as the political and cultural hub of the country. The modern vibes of the city and the welcoming atmosphere are so well-blended with the neoclassical buildings that everyone who visits wants to return, I know I did!
But if you are wondering where to stay in Sofia, I can safely confirm that the best place to stay in Sofia is Centrum. Other popular areas include Oborishte, Lozenets, Boulevard Vitosha, Vitosha District and Studentski Grad – I will talk about them all in this post.
The best part is that most of them are so close to one another so you needn’t waste time on transport. In terms of hotels, the nicest rooms get sold out quickly, so I advise you to book in advance!
The earlier you book, the more time you’ll have to prepare your list of things to do, right? And we have some great suggestions for that, too! So stick around for more!
- If you are in a hurry:
- 1. Centrum – where to stay in Sofia for the first time
- 2. Oborishte – near Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
- 3. Lozenets – the coolest place to stay in Sofia for foodies
- 4. Boulevard Vitosha and NDK area – for culture & shopping
- 5. Vitosha district – best area to stay if you love nature
- 6. Studentski Grad – where to stay in Sofia for nightlife
- FAQs about hotels in Sofia
If you are in a hurry:
Here is a list of the top 4 hotels to stay in the very center of Sofia where most of the major tourist attractions are located.
Grand Hotel Sofia
Best luxury hotel
Sunshine Sofia XL
An Airbnb with amazing reviews
Design Hotel 36
Best value for money
Best affordable accommodation
To get a better idea of how close the neighborhoods I will be talking about are connected to Sofia Centrum (Center), I prepared a map:
near Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
for culture & shopping
for nature lovers
1. Centrum – where to stay in Sofia for the first time
Known by locals as “Centrum”, Sofia’s city center is the starting point for first-timers and for 2 core reasons… It has a central location and the most significant Sofia attractions are located here, so everything is within walking distance!
Think small narrow streets, museums, churches, theaters, hotels, parks, local stores, coffee shops and urban chaos to picture the center of the Bulgarian capital. But don’t get overwhelmed, because just like the hustle and bustle culture of New York City, downtown Sofia is enchanting!
You can take a walking tour to make sure you don’t miss anything and soak in the peculiarities of each place as your guide narrates. But if you are a wine and cheese lover like myself, I highly recommend taking this tour. It is not exactly like wine tasting in Bordeaux, but I assure you will enjoy it!
The choice of hotels in Sofia’s city centre is huge but the top ones get sold out quickly due to their convenient location and the fantastic amenities, so I advise you to book early!
Grand Hotel Sofia, Sofia Centrum
Looking to stay in Sofia and feel like royalty? The spacious rooms of Grand Hotel Sofia breathe luxury and elegance like no other hotel in Sofia and their stylish restaurant just builds up the atmosphere. If skylines are your cup of tea, then the panoramic rooftop bar and cafѐ overlooking the major tourist sights is bound to amaze you.
Other accommodation options in Sofia Centrum
This unique architectural masterpiece of a hotel has a central location and a cozy atmosphere
This one is a gem among the budget hotels in Sofia. Clean, conveniently located and with free Wi-Fi
An affordable apartment for up to 5 people looking to stay in Sofia at one comfy and cozy place
Things to do in Sofia Center
- Take a Private Sofia Walking Tour
- Watch a play at Ivan Vazov National Theatre
- Discover Bulgaria with Dance
- Explore a new dimension at the Museum of Illusions
- Admire local artworks at the National Art Gallery
- Feel the vibrant local feel at the Women’s Bazaar (Zhenski Pazar)
- Get familiar with Bulgarian history at the Regional History Museum
2. Oborishte – near Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
This picturesque residential district boasts a prime location (about 10 minutes walk from the city center) and many historic buildings like the mesmerizing cathedral Saint Alexander Nevski.
In my opinion, this is the most significant sight in the capital city, built in honor of the Russian troops who died in the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878 defending Bulgaria. For this reason, it is also named after a Russian saint.
Once you snap a picture at this iconical monument, you can take a walk around the area which is rich with parks, local restaurants, and many great hotels.
So if you are wondering where to stay in Sofia that is not in the city center but still close enough, then explore the options I gave below. Whether you are looking for modern rooms, free WiFi access, free private parking, or a wellness centre – this area has it all!
NOTE: I should also mention that Oborishte is a 30 minutes walk from Sofia central railway station but this is not far considering how big the city is.
Nevertheless, everything in Oborishte is easily accessible and below you can find some of the best hotels in Sofia.
Relax and enjoy at Hyatt Regency spa and wellness center after touring around the city. Prefer soaking in the sun and relish at the beauty of Vitosha Mountain with a cocktail in your hand – no problem! This luxury hotel has everything you can think of and is particularly loved by couples.
Other accommodation options in Oborishte
A clean hotel with pretty rooms overlooking the beautiful Lion Bridge, and close distance to Sofia’s central train station
Things to do in Oborishte
- Admire the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
- Watch a performance at the Sofia Opera and Ballet
- Try traditional Bulgarian dishes at Raketa Rakia Bar
- Enjoy the peace at Doctor’s Garden
- Laugh yourself into stitches at Little City Theatre “Off the Channel”
- Take a walk at park Zaimov
3. Lozenets – the coolest place to stay in Sofia for foodies
This area is particularly famous for the expensive real estate and although some of the best Sofia hotels are located here, it is still considered mainly a residential area.
If you are a foodie like myself, then you will absolutely love the diversity of restaurants and bars. Whether you want to explore the traditional Bulgarian kitchen or stick with your classic choice of dishes, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
In terms of accessibility, Lozenets is around 40 minutes walk from the Sofia city center but you will still have easy access because it is well connected to central Sofia via the European Union metro station. This is especially helpful since parking here is scarce so don’t go into the trouble of renting a car.
Alternatively, you can rent a car for your travels but in that case, I advise you to book a hotel with free parking.
Apart from free private parking, the Impresamente Art Hotel has everything that you and your family need to rest after a good day of touring. This modern building has a fantastic location, as well as a great hotel restaurant and even room service!
Other accommodation options in Lozenets
The unique interior design perfectly complements the park next door. Gym and WiFi are complimentary
At walking distance to metro station and bus stops, with spacious rooms, free WiFi and tasty food
A fully equipped, reasonably priced Sofia accommodation perfect for vacation or business trips
Things to do in Lozenets
- Visit the Earth and Man National Museum
- Feel like a local at the bar Maimunarnika
- Watch a game of local sport at Vasil Levski Stadium
- Enjoy the diversity of nature at Boris’ Garden (Borisova Gradina)
- Get some action at Maleeva Tennis Club
- Have a drink with a view at The Corner Bar and Dinner
4. Boulevard Vitosha and NDK area – for culture & shopping
Boulevard Vitosha is like the Upper East Side of Sofia since it is considered a higher-end neighborhood, and it is located next to the South Park (Yuzhen Park). In terms of city center proximity, it is within walking distance (approximately 15 minutes away).
As there are many posh boutiques it is also known as Vitosha shopping boulevard. However, I think that it is also great for families with children because there are a lot of parks and kids playgrounds around, plus all that luxury guarantees maximum security of the nearby stores and buildings.
This area is also known as NDK which in Bulgarian is abbreviated from National Palace of Culture (also known as The Congress Center) and represents the cultural hub of Sofia. As quite a few of the events hosted there are international, this area is also in part a business district. Therefore, you can expect to find hotels within mid – to high range prices.
When in Sofia, I highly suggest you spoil yourself and stay at this hotel. Its exceptional wellness center has a hydromassage hot tub, aroma and infrared sauna, marine salt steam bath, as well as Finland bath and a swimming pool with panoramic views!
Other accommodation options in Boulevard Vitosha
With a unique floral design, this boutique hotel is a great stay in Sofia Bulgaria for all architecture lovers
A reasonably priced, clean, comfy and spacious 1 bedroom apartment
This luxuriously decorated apartment is a rare find for the location, terrace, view and value for money
Things to do in Boulevard Vitosha
- Take a walk on the boulevard
- Attend a performance at the National Palace of Culture (NDK)
- Have a drink at the literature club Peroto
- Get a tattoo from a famous local professional tattoo artist at Mastilnica
5. Vitosha district – best area to stay if you love nature
Vitosha district is a natural sight located at the foothills of Vitosha Mountain, full of lush greenery and peaceful nature. The renowned UNESCO protected Boyana Church is a must-see among the tourist sights here as well as the National History Museum.
Vitosha district is the only area in our list that is located a bit further from the crowded city center of Sofia which means that you’ll probably need to rent a car or take a day trip. The tour is especially worth it in my opinion because you will get to see the Rila Monastery as well, and you won’t need to worry about directions.
In general, there isn’t as much choice in terms of accommodation in this part, but the idyllic, typically Bulgarian Airbnbs may be the ideal choice for the most adventurous among you. For all the rest, I definitely suggest you go down the beaten path and take your pick from my list.
The on site restaurant of the All Seasons hotel has splendid garden views where you can take a break and enjoy the tasty local cuisine. The stylish lobby bar, in addition, offers a variety of drinks to wrap up your evening perfectly!
Other accommodation options in Vitosha district
The rustic style of the hotel blends in perfectly with nature and provides a peaceful stay for guests
Spacious rooms, home-style breakfast, and a fireplace in winter is why families love this hotel
House Floor with a Quiet Garden
Seeking complete peace and quiet? This Airbnb has a private garden, parking and a fully equipped kitchen
Things to do in Vitosha district
- Take a tour of Mt. Vitosha and Boyana Waterfall
- Learn to ski in a day
- Visit the National Museum of History
- Go to the Botanical Garden
- Snap a pic at the Snail House
- Admire the views from lift Simeonovo
6. Studentski Grad – where to stay in Sofia for nightlife
Studentski Grad (Students’ City) is a student campus area that is located about 47 minutes by tram (M1/M4) from Sofia city center.
Regardless of whether you want to meet other fellow students, mingle with peers, or relive your carefree university days – Studentski Grad is the hub for all the partygoers. It is lively, vibrant but most importantly, affordable.
As expected, there are many faculties, sports centers, libraries, parks, local stores, coffee shops, bars and nightclubs, so you’ll never be in want of anything.
Bus stops and metro lines are easily reachable and the hotels are among the reasonably priced Sofia accommodation. Even though this is predominantly a student area, there are also residential complexes around and the area is safe for families with kids. However, I think that backpackers will particularly love it.
Within a 15-minute drive from Sofia international airport terminal, this 4-star hotel has all you need for a comfortable stay. A wellness center, an on site restaurant, free WiFi, fitness center, and parking.
Other accommodation options in Studentski Grad
Perfect for families with kids, this hotel has large rooms and all the necessary amenities
Have a great stay at a convenient location, with spacious rooms, private showers and hospitable staff
Great value for 2 people visiting. The place is clean with free parking, WiFi and a kitchen
Things to do in Studentski Grad
- Party at night club Illusion
- Feel like a local at Sky Lounge
- Have fun at Joy Station
- Explore Muzeiko with your kids
- Go to Winter Palace of Sport
- Pamper yourself at the Aventurine beauty salon
|👑 Luxury price:||€160|
|💵 Mid Range:||€80|
|📍 Best area:||Sofia Centrum|
|🛎️ Best luxury hotel:||Grand Hotel Sofia|
|💵 Best mid-range hotel:||Design Hotel 36|
|👛 Best budget hotel:||Hotel Leda|
FAQs about hotels in Sofia
🚶♀️ Is Sofia a walkable city?
Yes. Most of the major tourist attractions are located in the center or in the nearby areas, so you can either go around by yourself or take a walking tour.
🎯 Does Lozenets have a central location?
Yes, although it is located a bit south from the city center, I think it could still be considered central. Some great hotels to stay in this area are Impresamente Art Hotel and Hotel ZOO.
🛏️ How many days in Sofia is enough?
I suggest 3 days, so that you are able to see the best neighborhoods in Sofia but also take a tour to Pancharevo Lake.
💀 What are the worst neighborhoods in Sofia?
Orlandovtsi (where Sofia central train station is) and Moderno predgradie are considered as places where you can get your wallet stolen, but other than that there isn’t a neighborhood that is particularly bad and you should avoid.
🏞️ Is Business Park Sofia within walking distance of Sofia city centre?
No, it isn’t. Business Park Sofia is in the Mladost area, and closer to Vitosha district. A great hotel to stay here is the Grami Hotel.
🏙️ Is Sofia worth visiting?
Yes, it definitely is. This city with Western European architecture is very similar to Vienna but with a homely spirit. Enjoy a night of folklore and traditional food to see what I am talking about.
🏰 Where is Sofia Old Town?
There is no area officially named “Old Town” in Sofia but sometimes people refer to the center of this Bulgarian capital like this because there are some pretty old historic spots over there.
If you’re planning a trip to Sofia, then you should know that its Western European architecture will astound you with its beauty.
Each of the 6 top areas: Centrum, Oborishte, Lozenets, Boulevard Vitosha with NDK, Vitosha district and Studentski Grad have a character of their own, so I highly recommend staying at least 3 days to get to see them all.
I know I’ve given you tons of options of hotels to stay in Sofia, but before you go I just want to suggest the 2 that I personally find the best:
- Grand Hotel Sofia – a luxury hotel in the heart of Sofia
- Eurostars – a homely hotel, 400m from St. Alexander Nevsky cathedral
If you were wondering where to stay in Sofia, I hope I managed to give you a satisfying answer. Whether you’re visiting for business or leisure, Sofia has something for everyone. Just don’t forget to book a hotel in advance because the great hotels in popular areas are selling fast!
On a last note, you should know that there’s no free airport shuttle so you might want to rent a car in advance, too! And if you have any recommendations of your own about Sofia, let me know below.
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