When I first visited Sofia in 2016, it didn’t immediately seem like a street art destination.
I’d just spent a month in Athens, where street art is literally everywhere, and Sofia appeared far barer. However, there are several street art initiatives and active artists here, and three years later the city looks far colorful. Every time I go to the city center I find new Sofia street art to admire.
How to See Street Art in Sofia
Some of the places on this list are easily accessible by foot from the center. Others are farther out and better reached using a taxi or public transit. This is a great way to see street art if you’re primarily interested in seeing a few pieces in between you’re other sightseeing.
For those who are interested in getting a deeper understanding of the art their seeing, you can go on the Sofia Graffiti Tour. The tour is run by local street artists and people involved in the community. They also go to some places that are inaccessible to regular pedestrians.
The Best Sofia Street Art
Here are our picks for the best Sofia street art and graffiti and where to find them.
Maria Luiza Boulevard Above Serdika Metro Station
The parking lot above Serdika Station is one of the most famous spots for street art in the city. Here you can find a parking lot full of different pieces. The Chup Chups mural is an advertisement (now pealing), but it has its own interesting artistic cred. It’s the logo for a Spanish candy company, but the logo was designed by Salvador Dali. So while the painting wasn’t painted by Dali, you could say Sofia has it’s own Dali in the center of town.
Under the Chupa Chups mural and on the other wall are more pieces. Highlights include this mural of Saint Sofia after the Saint Sofia statue down the block. These murals, while a highlight, are sometimes hard to get to. I’ve been by trying to grab photos and the parking lot guards have told me I wasn’t allowed inside. At other times, the guards don’t care but there might be too many cars to be able to see the pieces you want.
If you’re set on seeing these pieces up close (as opposed to across the street) it helps to go early before the parking lot is full. If you run into a guard who won’t let you in, you can still take photos from across the street or down the sidewalk. In this situation, it’s helpful to have a zoom lens.
Location: bulevard “Knyaginya Maria Luiza” 9, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia
A vestige of street art from the Communist days, this sgraffito (monumental fresco) by Stoyan Iliev advertizes Bulgarplod, the communist ‘company’ that mass-produced fruit. I was having a hard time finding any information about it, but Viktor Topalov from the Feel of Sofia pointed me in the right direction.
Location: ul. “Slavyanska” 8, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia
The neighborhood of Hadzhi Dimitar is somewhat of a mecca for Sofia street art fans. The Urban Creatures festival brought street artists to the neighborhood of socialist housing blocks, painting building-size murals on the sides of many of the buildings.
This one, called Nineties, is by Bozko. It’s a little ways away from the rest of the Hadzhi Dimitar pieces, but it just might be the most iconic.
Another Bozko piece that’s located closer to the epicenter of the Hadzhi Dimitar works.
This next one is called Surprise is by the Polish team Etam Cru.
The next two pieces are by the street artist Nasimo.
I’m not sure who painted this mural that looks like it’s targeted more for children, but it’s hard to look at it and not immediately be filled with a child-like sense of wonder and the desire to play make-believe again.
Here’s behind the scenes footage from 2013 of Urban Creatures working on some of the murals. It’s in Bulgarian, but the shots of the murals and the painting are awesome.
Location: Hadzi Dimitar neighborhood with murals in no particular order at addresses:
- ul. “Spas Ginev”, 1510 Hadzhi Dimitar
- ul. “Ostrovo” 10-12, 1510 Hadzhi Dimitar
- ul. “Filip Totyu” 57, 1510 Hadzhi Dimitar
- ul. “Macgahan” 42, 1510 Hadzhi Dimitar
- ul. “Filip Totyu” 118
- ul. “Macgahan”, 1510 Hadzhi Dimitar
Addresses from Urban Kultur Blog.
Sofia’s Utility Boxes
A public art initiative began in 2011, many of Sofia’s utility boxes and electrical boxes are painted by some of the city’s most prominent artists. This one by Ventislav Dikov is my favorite in the city. You can see more examples of his more traditional work here.
While there are far too many in the city to show all of them, here are two more of my favorites:
You can see more examples of utility box art from Sofia at Kathmandu & Beyond.
Location: all over the city, but many are on Tsar Shishman and Rakovski
The Snail House
Currently undergoing a restoration project, the Snail House on the outskirts of Sofia is a residential apartment building built and painted to look like a psychedelic snail.
Built with eco-friendly materials, its more than just a funky house. It’s a statement about protecting the planet and a bold project where public art meets commerce.
Location: Boulevard “Simeonovsko Shose 187, 1434 Simeonovo, Sofia
The Underground is an underground art gallery connected to the Five High skating rink in Hadzhi Dimitar.
While it’s technically a gallery, I love the mural out front (which is also in the middle of an industrial park). They reclaimed an industrial space that literally no one would use. There is also a mural across the street on the river bed. Their mission:
Gallery/Studio “Underground” is a project of “Four elements” (4LMNTZ) company. It is an art platform for free and independent art; a space that provides room for artists to express themselves in all visual and stage arts in all of their expressive forms in modern society. Our focus is to unite and preserve the spirit of art and to let it talk for us.
We are Underground.
Finding the place is a bit hard. The address takes you to the front of the industrial complex, but you need to keep walking straight back, and you will see it on your left.
Location: ul. “Vladayska Reka” 4, 1510 NPZ Hadzhi Dimitar, Sofia
There are three murals within two blocks on Bacho Kiro. You can see all three in about ten minutes (stopping for photography included.
Location: ul. “Bacho Kiro”, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia across from 18, across from 26, and next to 35
Another piece by Nasimo, this beautiful mural of a Bulgarian bride highlights the beauty of local traditions. Pic coming soon.
Location: ul. “Sandor Petofi” 55, 1463 Pette Kyosheta, Sofia
In the stairwell on Malko Tarnovo is this little one-eye graffiti. While not as magnificent as some of the other pieces on this list, I love the playful way it interacts with the passersby (and any parked motorcycles).
Location: near ul. “Malko Tarnovo” 3, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia
There are some great political murals in the city. The mural below is a painting based on an actual historical photo of Vasil Levski. He was a revolutionary and freedom fighter who fought against the Turks. The quote on the utility box is by him as well.
Below is a mural of Dimitar Spisarevski. He fought in World War II, and he is famous for taking down an American pilot when the Americans were bombing Sofia. He achieved this by ramming his plane into the American plane, sacrificing his own life to protect the city.
There are more great examples of political murals around the city.
There are also some pretty terrible (and hopefully temporary) pro-Nazi graffiti (as there is in most of Europe, unfortunately).
Location: 23 бул. „Тодор Александров“, Sofia, Sofia City Province
I walked by this gate on one of my first days in the city. I can’t find any information about it, but it’s beautiful. I always love when you find hidden bursts of color in the city.
It’s a little plain to photograph on its own, but in the hands of the right photographer (or the right Sofia Instagrammer), it could really be something special. Maxi dress not included.
Location: ul. “Georgi Benkovski” 32, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia
While not the most cutting edge mural, this “Happy Birthday” mural in Iztok always brings a smile to my face. Would be great for sending a birthday message to someone special in your life.
I can’t find any info about its origin (like who exactly is the only one?), but it’s easy to find. It’s across the street from the UPI Salon (which is my favorite hair and nail salon in the city).
Location: across from 2, ul. “Nikolay Haytov”, 1113 g.k. Iztok, Sofia
Sofia Travel Resources
We want you to have the best trip to Sofia possible. To help you, we’ve created a number of resources that will be helpful.
If this will be your first time in Bulgaria, check out our Bulgaria Trip Planning guide.
Next, check out our gigantic list of 101 Things to Do in Sofia. We also have Sofia restaurant and bar recommendations. We also have articles for popular day trips from Sofia like Plovdiv and Buzludzha.
Where to Stay in Sofia
Accommodations in Sofia offer great value compared to other cities in Europe. Here is a general range of what we mean by each budget category:
- Budget: A room in a hostel, usually $5-12 USD per night for a dorm bed or under $40 for a double.
- Mid-range: Around $40-80
- Luxury: Around $100 per night or more
Budget: For a hostel, we always recommend Hostel Mostel. I have never stayed at the Sofia location but several of my friends have and have always spoken highly of it. I stayed at the one in Veliko Tarnovo and it was excellent. Perks include a free vegetarian dinner in addition to breakfast included in your stay! Check rates and availability here. If you are traveling in peak season, be sure to book online, as Hostel Mostel is popular and tends to get booked up.
Mid-range: For a trendy new boutique hotel that is shockingly affordable, we recommend R34 Boutique Hotel. The location is fantastic, near the Ivan Vazov National Theater in central Sofia. It has gorgeous, loft-inspired details like exposed brick, giant windows, and streamlined but modern décor. It’s a great bargain, too – check rates, reviews, photos, and availability here.
Luxury: As far as we see it, there’s only one option for the best hotel in town: Sense Hotel. We go to their upscale, beautiful rooftop bar all the time when we have guests in town – it has one of the best views in the entire city and they make fantastic cocktails. With beautiful views over Alexander Nevsky, Sofia’s most iconic landmark, the hotel couldn’t be in a better location. Sense Hotel also boasts a state-of-the-art fitness center, an art gallery in the lobby, an excellent spa with luxe treatments, and an indoor pool. It’s truly the best choice in town. Check rates, reviews, photos, and availability here.
Looking for more hotel options in Sofia? Check out our full Sofia Hotel and Hostel Guide.
Planning a Trip to Bulgaria? Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!
Make sure you always travel to Bulgaria with a valid travel insurance policy. Travel here includes outdoor activities and travel to highly touristed sites. You need to be covered in case you have an accident or fall victim to theft. This is especially true if you’ll be doing any urban exploration looking for street art. Should something happen, travel insurance will help you recover your expenses and continue to enjoy your trip.
For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.
Pin this Sofia Street Art Guide for Your Trip
Stephanie has been living in and traveling around the Balkans for the past three years. She’s written for National Geographic Online, appeared on CNN Arabic and in the New York Times, and ridden more Balkan buses than is good for a person.