Varna (beach town) — located 5 hours east of Sofia (443 km) via car, Varna is the largest city and seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is third in population after Sofia and Plovdiv and the second largest city in Bulgaria. Varna is a major tourist destination, a starting point for all resorts in the northern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, business and university center, seaport, and headquarters of the Bulgarian Navy and merchant marine. The urban area features 20 km of sand beaches and abounds in thermal mineral water sources. The central sea baths and the beach are situated below the Sea Garden.
The Gym (111 Haidushka Gora, Sofia) – a.k.a. “the red gym”, this is a fitness complex where visitors can work out (using its weights and exercise machines). There are also aerobics and Zumba classes, a spa center, and massage rooms. There is even a car wash for drivers needing such services. There is a nice cafe on the second floor with a summer balcony where you could rest after your workout. Apart from the usual energy drinks and juices the cafe can also prepare energy shakes and drinks for you. For more info on visiting this facility, go to: www.theredgym.bg
Sunny Beach – located 4 hours east of Sofia (414 km) via car, this is the largest and most popular beach resort in Bulgaria. It is a Blue Flag winning resort, located in a picturesque and ecologically clean gulf on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, close to the town of Nesebar, the yacht port of St. Vlas resort and the international airport of Varna (30 km). Sunny Beach is situated along the widest beach strip. With its hundreds of bars and restaurants, multiple entertainment and shops and its developed infrastructure, the resort attracts thousands of tourists from around the world.
St. Sofia Golf Club & Spa (Village of Pavino Pole, Elin Pelin Municipality) – opened in 2004, this golf course (located 30 minutes east of Sofia) caters to players of all skill levels. It’s particularly great for the novice who’s looking to make their first steps to play the game and those who have not yet accumulated enough skills to enjoy the challenges of the course, a golf academy is available with a driving range, training simulators, a training course with two holes, and video systems for computer analysis. The Academy is suitable for all – from absolute beginners to experienced golfers. The head teacher is a Professional Golfer supported by an experienced team. See the golf course website for more info: www.stsofiagolf.com
Spartak Swimming Complex (4 Arsenalski Blvd., Sofia) – opened in 1968 (during the height of the country’s Communist period), this is a fitness complex (this one evolving around swimming). Apart from its indoor swimming pool there is also an outdoor swimming pool where you could lie in the sun in summer. There are many training halls for practicing all kinds of recreational sports, such as: athletics, tae bo, aerobics, callanetics, pilates, yoga, spinning, aqua aerobics, weight lifting, running, cycling, swimming, karate, boxing, water jumps, etc. There are also tennis courts at the back of the complex and a football field. For more info on visiting this facility, go to: www.sclevski.bg
Sofia Zoo (1, Srebarna Street, Sofia) – this is the oldest and largest Zoo on the Balkan Peninsula. It was established in 1888 by Prince Ferdinand, and initially it was situated near the former royal palace. Over the years the zoo quickly became popular and became a place for recreation, entertainment and education, with its worldwide renowned specialists and the breeding of valuable and rare animal species. It is divided into several sections – herbivores, primates, carnivores, birds, aquarium and terrarium. Admission: 2 BGN (adult), 1 BGN (students/seniors/children ages 7-18), free for children up to 7 years. Hours: 9:30 am – 6:00 pm (March-September), 8:00 am – 4:30 pm (October – February).
Sofia Puppet Theatre (14 General Gurko Street, Sofia) – this theatre, which organizes puppet productions, has more than 20 titles in its repertoire, performs on stage more than 500 times and prepares up to 6 new performances every season, showing high quality theatre for children and adults with more than 50 000 spectators annually. Such titles include works by Charles Perrault, Wilhelm Hauff, Hans Christian Andersen, Exupery, Pushkin, Boccaccio, Tostoy, Shakespeare, the Grimm Brothers, Goldoni, Moliere, as well as Bulgarian authors who have long been part of the child dramaturgy treasure like Valery Petrov, Yordan Radichkov, Rada Moskova, Boris Aprilov, Ivan Teofilov etc. See its website for info on upcoming productions and schedules: www.sofiapuppet.com
Nessebar (beach town) – located 4 hours east of Sofia (412 km) via car, Nessebar is in close proximity to Sunny Beach resort. Nessebar consists of an old town and a new district. The ancient town is situated on a romantic rocky peninsula, connected to the mainland via a narrow isthmus. The new part of Nessebar offers various accommodation opportunities – hotels, guest house. The old town features a romantic atmosphere: narrow cobblestone lanes, tiny squares, two-storied houses with stone-built ground levels and wooden upper floors jutting above the streets and external staircases. Nessebar offers two beaches in the new part of the town and a small beach in the Old part. The beaches of Sunny Beach resort are only 2 km away.
Lake Ariana (Bulevard Hristo Georgievi & Bulevard Tsarigradsko shoese, Sofia) — Ariana lake a medium-sized artificial lake in Borisova gradina (Boris’ garden) in Sofia. The lake is “B”-shaped, 175 m long and 75 m wide, with a small island at its narrowest point. It is located at the westernmost corner of the park, between the Eagles’ Bridge and the national stadium.
Ivan Vazov National Theater (5 Dyakon Ignatiy Street, Sofia) – founded in 1904 and named after the prominent Bulgarian writer Ivan Vazov, this is Bulgaria’s largest theatre, as well as the oldest, and is the most imposing one in the country. This theatre is one of the major landmarks in Sofia, due to its prime location and grandiose architecture. It has a well-equipped main stage with 750 seats, a smaller 120-seat stage, and an additional 70-seat one on the fourth floor. The theatre employs some of the country’s best actors and stage directors, many of whom are widely popular. See the theater’s website for info on upcoming productions: http://new.nationaltheatre.bg