Sofia is bustling with life and creative ideas. One surefire way to see this for yourself is to take a tour around the independent stores scattered around the city. From natural ice cream to indie bookshops and Bulgarian wines, here are the best local businesses.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Vino Orenda Wine Shop
Wine Bar, Bulgarian
If you want to delve into the tastes and aromas of Bulgarian wine, Vino Orenda Wine Shop is the place to go. It was the first shop in Sofia selling only Bulgarian wine. The small store on the corner of Makedonia Boulevard has accommodated more than 300 wines from 60 Bulgarian wineries. The knowledgeable shopkeeper will help you find the best bottle for you.
This indie bookstore will satiate your thirst for rare finds, whether that’s books, authentic signed memorabilia, comics or creative gifts. The special selection of second-hand English books will keep you enthralled for hours, but you can also find English books from local authors, like “203 Travel Challenges”. If you are in search of a special gift, at Elephant Bookstore you can find a magazine from anyone’s month and year of birth!
If you want to get to know Bulgarian fashion, the Sofia-based label Sassa Björg is the perfect starting point. The limited ready-to-wear outfits hanging in the store might be your best souvenir from Bulgaria. If you have more time in the city, you can order custom-made clothes, too. Look for the bright red door on Solunska Street.
Gelateria Naturale was the first ice cream parlor in Bulgaria to offer a 100% natural ice cream containing no refined sugar, no palm oil, no colorants or preservatives. There are options for vegans and lactose-intolerant people, and they are all delectable.
Soul Elements takes the elements of nature (water, earth, fire and air) as ingredients of their products meant to soothe your body and soul – candles, handmade chocolates, tea, scarves, high-quality woolen blankets, yoga leggings, and decorative objects. Everything has been made with special attention to detail, and with care for your well-being.
This is a place made by beer fans, for beer fans. At 100 Beers you will be spoiled by the huge choice of quality beer brands and styles from all over the world. This is also a good place to gain some knowledge about Bulgarian craft beers.
Take a Cake
If you wish to treat yourself to a freshly baked cupcake with a fluffy, rich frosting, head to Take a Cake. This was the first cupcake bakery in Bulgaria. Tucked away on a quiet side street in the center of Sofia, you won’t see hundreds of sweets behind a glass, but you will have every cupcake decorated in front of your eyes. Don’t forget to ask for the season’s special tastes.
If hunting for second-hand treasures is your passion, you are not alone. Trash Clothing is where you will find carefully selected shoes, coats, dressing gowns, purses and more, from international brands. Shopping here is like trying clothes on in a friend’s bedroom – it’s just as cozy and friendly.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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