The city of Sofia is situated near the geographical centre of the Balkans region, in the Sofia Basin, a troughlike valley in the western part of the country. Immediately to the south is the Vitosha National Park and to the north is the Stara Planina mountain range. At 550 m above sea level Sofia is the highest capital in Europe. There are four distinct seasons here, with dry, hot summers and snowy winters. Extreme climatic conditions, however, are very rare. The city has a population of 1.3 million and the average age of the population is 38 years. The motto of the city is “Ever growing, never aging”.
The capital of Bulgaria is one of the oldest settlements in Europe. For over 7,000 years Sofia has been a meeting place of the four directions of the world. Tribes and peoples came and went, civilisations flourished and declined but the city has stayed forever. Today Sofia is a modern and busy capital and a centre of Bulgaria’s political, economic and cultural life. Its central parts have a European character with tree-lined boulevards and balconied buildings by 19th-century Russian and Viennese architects. Sofia combines the atmosphere of a large city with the cozy feeling of a place whose main attraction can be seen on foot.
With its well-developed infrastructure and strategic location, Sofia is an important centre for international railway and automobile routes. All major types of transportation (except water transport) are represented in the city, which is home to 8 railway stations, the Centre for Flight Control and the Sofia Airport. Three Trans-European Transport Corridors cross the city: 4, 8 and 10. Public transit is well-developed, reliable and important to the city’s economy; it is provided by means of underground trains (metro), buses, trams and electric buses. There are over 15,000 licensed taxi cabs operating in the city.
Sofia boasts numerous places of interest, many related to the rich and diverse history of the city. Most notable of these are the landmark Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the St. Nedelya Church, the St. George Rotunda, the Banya Bashi Mosque, the Central Sofia Synagogue and the Women’s market, among others. Scores of museums, theaters, music halls and cinemas complement the impression of a place where one never gets bored. The innumerable restaurants offer cuisines from all over the world that can satisfy even the most capricious of tastes.
If shopping is your priority, Sofia will not disappoint you. The capital offers the full range from large shopping centres to designer boutiques to small street shops. The main shopping street is Vitosha boulevard where one can find almost any designer brand. The main shopping mall is TSUM, but currently The Mall of Sofia project is under way, expected to best TSUM in size and diversity starting. Major European chains like Metro, Praktiker, HIT, Mr. Bricolage and others have opened doors in Sofia with more heavy investments expected in this area.
Sofia is well known for its fantastic nightlife. Bars are popular in the evening hours till midnight after which the crowd moves to the night clubs. While present everywhere, bars and nightclubs are concentrated in the central part of the city which makes it easy to explore several different places in one outing. Recommendable bars include By The Way, Motto, Cargo, The Piano Bar, Buddha Bar, JJ Murphy’s, Select and among the best night clubs are Chervilo, Escape, Mojito, Tequila, Caramba, Brilliantine, Black Box. Some places offer live music. There are also casinos, which require ID, but do not operate a dress code.
Sofia is a city with a lot of green areas. The parks offer peace and tranquility in the heart of the city. All major parks have alleys where one can enjoy several relaxing hours of strolling or biking. The Boris Garden Park hosts two football stadiums, including the National Stadium, and many other sports facilities. A great place for recreation is the Vitosha National Park just south of the capital, where Sofians and tourists enjoy hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. Mount Vitosha also provides some great views to the people in the city.
Sofia has changed notably in the last 5-6 years. Nowhere else in Bulgaria has the recent economic growth been felt more strongly than in the capital. It is a magnet for a growing number of multinational corporations, as well as for qualified labor force from all over the country. As a result, the population has grown steadily, yet unemployment is at record low levels – 1-2%. In the last 2 years thousands of new apartment units are being constructed to meet the growing demand of quality housing. Substantial investments were made especially in infrastructure projects. Standards of business.
Bulgaria will receive 4.6 billion euro from the EU which is the highest amount per capita for any accession country ever. This fact only adds to the already positive prospects for the development of this vibrant city. Factors like qualified labor, competitive operational costs, strategic geographic location, low corporate taxes, low real estate prices and quickly developing capital market, make Sofia not only a great tourist destination, but also an exciting place to invest.