from my trip: Melons, anyone?(Bulgaria)
In this post I will cover:
– the cheapest and best value for money accomodation in Sofia
– the cheapest and tastiest food in Sofia
– the cheapest taxis/transport means in Sofia
The first thing you should know about Sofia is that its beauty is not immediately apparent. When you first get here, it is likely that amongst the first things you will notice are the ugly footpaths and pilling rubbish on the street.
Don’t worry, it gets much better.
Starting with your accomodation.
I’ve been to 3 of the hostels here, including Art Hostel, Vitosha Hostel, and Hostel Mostel.
Without a doubt Hostel Mostel was the best value and most comfortable.
Let me break down into further detail:
Very groovy, artistic hub, with awesome breakfast and excellent location. Unfortunately their prices are a bit steep.
Don’t expect any atmosphere here or to meet people. This place is more of a guest house. Good to stay here if you just want a bed for 1 night on your way to another city.
My favourite for the following reasons – free internet with 3 terminals (includes wifi etc), heated dorms (except for the attic, dont stay up there!!)very clean toilets and bathrooms, friendly knowledgable staff who know how to show you around, free buffet breakfast – AND – free dinner – spaghetti with tomato sauce, chilli falvouring and a beer. Not to mention the hostel itself used to be an art gallery so looks pretty groovy on inside as well! It also had a heap of other stuff but you should look at their website for that info.
Cheap and tasty food:
For cheap and tasty food you can’t beat the local Chinese place (after you’ve tried Bulgarian food obviously), which is down a street called Stambolijski blvd (refer to free map from Hostel Mostel). You can get vegetarian noodle stir fry for like 4 leva (2 euros – bargain!) which is enough to feed two very hungry people.
There are also very filling pizza slice stands – which you can pick up for about 1-1.7 leva, don’t pay more than that!
Also if you plan on cooking, you should consider buying your vegetables from the “lady’s market” on the corner of Tsar Samuel and Tsar Simeon roads. Cheaper than your supermarket.
For your general needs like cheap booze, etc etc, visit the biggest super market in the center – which is in the basement of the grand Mall of Sofia (corner of Stambolijski and Opalchenska roads) – much cheaper than the corner stores and the other supermarkets in the centre.
Although bad for the earth due to emissions, taxis are sometimes nearly the same price as catching a bus/train in Sofia. If you know the right ones to catch!
Buses/trains/trams all cost 1 leva per ride, every ride, regardless of where you are going. Problem is, if you have a big backpack on a tram, you have to buy it a ticket as well! so you end up paying 2 leva.
Don’t try and ride without a ticket, the inspectors are around all the time!! If you get busted its 10 leva fine which is nothing, but its the embarrasment you may want to avoid!!
You can get a ticket froma stand near the bus stop (ticket = billet) or from the driver on the bus. Be sure you have exact amoutn if you want to do this. Trams have machines at front of tram.
There are only two taxi companies you should consider using whilst in Sofia – the rest have rigged meters!!