Despite fighting with the heavy traffic and pollution, Sofia is a green city full of spacious parks and lush areas inviting for a nap or picnic on a nice summer day. If you want to swap the restaurant table for a patch of grass, here are the best places in Sofia to head for a casual picnic.
Borisova Gradina Park
Borisova Gradina is the biggest park in Sofia where you can find vast meadows, a pond with water lilies, open-air cafes and music clubs, children’s playgrounds, people with hammocks among the trees, and what-not. If you scroll the Instagram images of the park, you will often come across squirrel photos – the furry creatures are curious and may want to join your picnic. In summer evenings and weekends, free concerts, movie screenings and festivals often take place in the park.
The meadow behind the National Library
This green area is where several vintage-style picnics organized by the local swing and rock’n’roll events organizer Smugglers Collective take place every summer. The dress code is retro/vintage and it does feel like time travel has taken you a few decades back. The area is lush and shady, so the picnics start early and continue all day long in the pleasant cool.
St St Cyril and Methodius National Library, Sofia, Bulgaria, +359 2 918 3101
One of the biggest parks in Sofia is a breath of fresh air in the busy south central area of the city. The South Park (Yuzhen Park) is popular with families and also hosts events in summer – open-air bazaars, live music performances, festivals. There are spacious open spaces perfect for a picnic.
South Park, Sofia, Bulgaria, +359 2 805 4152
Kambanite (The Bells)
Kambanite is a communist-era monument to the children from around the world set on the outskirts of the city (but easily accessible by subway) where you will both familiarize yourself with the communist monumental sculpture and find a quiet spot for a picnic.
The park at the National Palace of Culture
The park in front of the National Palace of Culture, or simply known as NDK, is where many young people gather and the density of bicycles and skateboards is higher than usual. Walk a little bit aside to the grassy area and you will be able to find a peaceful spot under the shade of the trees.
Mount Cherni Vrah
Mount Cherni Vrah is the highest peak of Vitosha Mountain, the massive mountain you see from all parts of Sofia. Although it doesn’t sound like a regular picnic area, you will be surprised to see how many people find shelter from the wind behind a rock and enjoy their lunch after the hike. Getting to Cherni Vrah is easily doable for a day by taking the chairlift from Dragalevtsi neighborhood.
Momina Skala Hut
The inhabitants of Sofia often choose to escape the hectic city for the weekend. Vitosha Mountain is a perfect destination with its numerous marked trails, huts, and picnic areas. Momina Skala Hut is one of the most visited spots, accessible by car or by a hiking trail from Boyana neighborhood. If you haven’t brought any food, you can order basic dishes at the hut’s canteen.
Momina Skala Hut, Vitosha Mountain, Bulgaria, +359 88 927 6647