If you’re wondering where to stay in Sofia, don’t worry – we’ve got your back! We’re both expats who have made Sofia our home, so we know this city well.
As we have a lot of people visiting us over the years, we have done our research on the best hotels in Sofia to recommend to our friends. We’ve also been asked a lot about what hostels in Sofia are the best, so we’ve provided some recommendations on those for travelers on a budget.
Luckily, there’s pretty much only good news when it comes to accommodations in Sofia! As Sofia is a relatively small city with a compact center, it is quite easy to find a centrally-located hotel in Sofia without breaking the bank. This city is relatively under-touristed, and hotel vacancy is rather high compared to other cities in Europe, which means there are plenty of hotels in Sofia vying for your tourist dollar. As a result, there are plenty of deals to be found when looking up where to stay in Sofia!
For ease of use, we’ve broken up this guide into three general price ranges. As of the time of writing this post, the hotels all fit into these categories. However, as demand fluctuates, peak travel times come and go, and hotels adjust their prices. You may find that the hostel, hotel, or guesthouse you’ve clicked on may not quite fall into that range. So let this be a general guide and always check prices before booking.
For starters, here is a general range of what we mean by each budget category, converted to USD for ease of understanding.
- 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
Where to Stay in Sofia (Budget): Best Hostels in Sofia
#1 Pick: Hostel Mostel
When asked by budget travelers for a hostel in Sofia to recommend, we always choose Hostel Mostel. Located near Vitosha Boulevard, the main pedestrian street in Sofia, it is pretty much as central as it gets! 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!
If you are traveling in peak season (May through September), be sure to book online in advance, as Hostel Mostel is popular and tends to get booked up. Check rates and availability here.
Runner Up: Hostel 123
I’ve never stayed here but I have spent time chilling in their lovely garden area and drinking in the summer with a friend who was staying there.
The vibe is really friendly and social, plus it’s located in one of my favorite areas of Sofia, the area around G.S. Rakovski Street but north of Alexander Nevsky, where many of my favorite bars and restaurants are located within a short distance. Check rates and availability here.
Where to Stay in Sofia (Mid-Range): Best Affordable Hotels in Sofia
#1 Pick: R34 Boutique Hotel
For a trendy new boutique hotel that is surprisingly affordable for how beautifully deisgned, it is, we highly recommend R34 Boutique Hotel. The location is fantastic, near the Ivan Vazov National Theater in central Sofia, which is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. This hotel has gorgeous, loft-inspired details like exposed brick, giant windows, and streamlined but modern décor.
Imagine a Brooklyn loft but with Eastern European prices, and you’ve got a good idea of this hotel. It’s a great bargain, too – check rates, reviews, photos, and availability here.
Runner Up: Art’Otel
Located on William Gladstone street, one of my favorite streets in Sofia, a short walk from Vitosha Boulevard, Art’Otel is an excellent choice that won’t break the bank. With 4 stars, this hotel offers great perks like a delicious breakfast, a sun terrace with views of the beautiful Mount Vitosha, a sauna, a fitness center, and other wonderful amenities.
For a 4-star hotel in a great location, this is a great choice for visiting Sofia. Check out rates, reviews, photos, and availability here.
Where to Stay in Sofia (Luxury): Top 5 Star Hotels in Sofia
#1 Pick: Sense Hotel
As far as we see it, there’s only one option for the best hotel in Sofia’s city center: Sense Hotel. We go to their upscale, beautiful rooftop bar pretty much every single time that 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, from the rooftop bar and many of its hotel rooms, Sense Hotel couldn’t have a better location. In addition, 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. Also, the lobby smells freaking magical.
It’s truly the best choice in town if you have the money to spend (and it costs less than you might think). Check rates, reviews, photos, and availability here.
Runner Up: Grand Hotel Sofia
Overlooking Sofia’s beautiful City Garden with its majestic Ivan Vazov National Theater, you may never want to leave Grand Hotel Sofia. This 5-star hotel in central Sofia has some amazing amenities for guests to enjoy, including an original collection of over 400 oil paintings. The Shades of Red restaurant overlooking the park offers excellent views with even better food. Meanwhile, the Grand Café is an open-air terrace which is a great way to people-watch in City Garden from within a cozy, lushly-green terrace.
In addition to all the usual perks – bathtubs, flatscreen TVs, bathrobes and slippers, etc. – guests can also enjoy a fitness center, a 24-hour lobby bar, room service, and even a complimentary yoga set (DVDs plus mats) brought to their room.
It’s a popular choice, so be sure to book in advance, especially in high season. Check out rates, reviews, photos, and availability here.
Runner Up: All Season Residence
Perhaps you don’t want to stay in the center of Sofia but prefer a luxurious escape at the base of Vitosha, Sofia’s very own 2290-meter mountain that is a haven for hikers in summer and an escape for skiers in the winter. The All Season Residence offers just that at a 5-star hotel in Sofia’s trendy Boyana district. Boyana is the favorite haunt of celebrities who are staying in Sofia while filming movies at the Nu Boyana studio (Gerard Butler recently broke the internet in Sofia when he took a break from filming in Boyana to walk around downtown).
Boyana is home to fantastic restaurants like Cinecitta as well as attractions like the UNESCO-listed Boyana Church and the Boyana Waterfall, so much so that you may not even need to head into Sofia center. While it may seem you’re a world away from the city on a private 5-star retreat, in reality, central Sofia is just a 15-minute, 15 leva (around $8 USD) cab ride away. However, it’s not the most convenient location to get to Sofia center using public transportation, so do keep that in mind when considering this hotel.
5-star luxury at Sofia prices (when I looked, it was under $100 per night), on a mountain while still being a quick ride from the city? We’re sold. Check rates, reviews, photos, and availability here.
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. Don’t miss our post on the most essential Sofia travel tips, which is a great resource for first-time or even repeat visitors.
If this will be your first time in Bulgaria, check out our Bulgaria trip planning guide.
For transportation, check out our guide to avoiding taxi scams in the city. If you’ll be flying into Sofia, you can read our tips for flying in and out of Sofia airport.
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.
For more resources for your trip, check out our pages on traveling in Bulgaria and the Balkans.
Don’t Travel to Sofia without Travel Insurance
Finally, make sure you always travel to Sofia with a valid travel insurance policy. While the city is a very safe place to travel these days, you want to make sure you have your possessions covered if they’re stolen and your medical bills covered if you get sick or injured. This is especially true if you plan on enjoying the city’s nightlife or hiking in Rila or Vitosha.
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.
Do you have any hostels or hotels in Sofia to recommend? What do you think is the answer to the question, where is the best place to stay in Sofia? Let us know in the comments!
Originally from California, Allison has been living in Bulgaria for the last two years and is obsessed with traveling around the Balkans. She has been published in National Geographic, CNN Arabic, Matador Network, and the Huffington Post. She loves befriending dogs, drinking coffee, geeking out about wine, and cooking food from around the world.
Just wondering, do you know anything about hotel Inter Continental Sofia? How does it compare to the other 5-star hotels?
We haven’t stayed there personally… I would check the reviews on Booking.com as they’d be more accurate as they’re from guests who have actually stayed there! Personally, our favorite is Sense Hotel (we haven’t stayed there as we both live in Sofia, but we’ve been in the building a ton of times and up at their rooftop bar and we think it’s an incredible property).
Hi Allison. I will check the online reviews once more. They were very good last time I checked, but things could change. The rooftop bar at the Sense I guess is open to visitors as well.
Sounds like a good plan – and yes, the rooftop bar is open to all!
Nice post, this helped me figure out where to stay in Sofia! Keep up the good work!
It’s great that you posted this info. My daughter and I are planning a trip this summer and I really wanted to know where we can stay! Great review! Thanks!