If you are visiting Bulgaria and looking for things to do in Sofia with kids, this post is for you! Here are the top tourist attractions in Sofia, plus a few great parks and even a museum specifically for kids. Children will have fun while parents get a chance to do some sightseeing and the whole family will enjoy these things to do in Sofia.

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Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria. While a capital city is usually not the most kid-friendly of places, Sofia has a large historic area and city center that is great to explore with kids.

There are numerous – and fantastic! – parks for young kids to burn off some energy, along with climbing nets and other activities for slightly older children.

Even throughout the city center, there are lots of opportunities for kids to have a bit of fun, as a break from exploring the tourist attractions with the family.

Explore the Historic City Center

Sofia’s city center area is compact and easily walkable. Here you will find many of the popular tourist and historic sights, plus plenty of things to do in Sofia with kids. There is lots to see and do, more so for adults than kids, but kids will still enjoy it as well!
*Note – kids are not allowed to climb on some of the ruins or monuments – just keep an eye out for the signs which are in English.

Borisova Gradina

Borisova Gradina is Sofia’s oldest, largest and best-known park in the city. It’s a large park, with pathways, flowerbeds, a lake and plenty of statues, but best of all it has a GREAT playground for kids!

This park was by far the boys’ favourite place to go in Sofia! It was a bit of a walk from our hotel (about 4km), or you could take the metro from the M1 from Serdika station. However you choose to get there, it’s worth it! You could easily spend a few hours there (and we did, even on a rainy day).

If you’re walking from the city center, when you first enter the park, you will see the exercise area. While not exactly made for kids, the exercise park was a big hit with my boys. They would try out different pieces of equipment and ‘working out’.

Walking through the park, there are many different stone sculptures to look for, climb on and pose for pictures with.

But the highlight of Borisova Gradina was the huge play area.

We made the mistake of going on a weekend and it was pretty busy, with lots of local families there (which was fine! But there were too many other children to get a good photo that I could post).

Stone slides, wooden climbing and play structures kept the boys busy for awhile. There was also a large climbing net that was meant for older kids, but the boys could still try out their balance on the first level.

Honestly, it’s one of the BEST playground that we’ve been to (and we’ve seen quite a few play areas in different places….). Definitely #1 of our top things to do in Sofia with kids!

Sofia City Garden

We were fortunate to stay at a hotel right around the corner from the Sofia City Garden. When I booked the Rila Hotel, I didn’t realize that this park was literally right around the corner. (I’d recommend the Rila Hotel either way, but the proximity to the park made it even nicer!)

Sofia City Garden occupies the entire/a large city block and has a path, a few benches, and a small play area for kids. We stopped by or crossed through several times a day, and would take a few minutes to stop and play before continuing on.

The gorgeous National Theatre and several other grand buildings line the street opposite the City Garden.

Watch the Changing of the Guard

The National Guard performs a ceremonial changing of the guards every hour at the Presidency Building. It starts 5 minutes before the hour and it’s a lot of fun for the kids to see!

a great things to do in sofia with kids is to watch the changing of the guard at the Presidency building.
The Changing of the Guards at the Presidency Building

Taste the Mineral Water

Like many other Balkan countries, Sofia used to have thermal baths. The building that now houses the Sofia History Museum was originally a mineral baths building.

The baths are no longer in operation, but there are public fountains outside where you will see locals filling large jugs with warm mineral water.

It’s free for anyone to use, so fill up your water bottle here for an interesting drink!

Kids will love to try the warm mineral water right from the public taps in Sofia,
Tasting the mineral water in Sofia Bulgaria

Visit the Muzeiko

This fantastic children’s science center and museum is a recent addition to Sofia and well worth a visit. With over 130 Interactive games and plenty of hands-on activities, children of any age will have an excellent time.

You can find more information here. Located just behind the G.M.Dimitrov metro station, it’s easy to access.

Walk down Vitosha Boulevard

Vitosha Boulevard is a large pedestrian only street, running from the historic city down to South Park. There are lots of shopping opportunities for parents with high-end stores and cafes lining the street.

As a pedestrian street, it’s a great place to walk with kids and it’s very stroller friendly.

At the end of the street is the National Palace of Culture and the “Sofia” sign. Just to the side is a great space for kids to run and get out some energy, as well as some more stone slides running down the side of a hill!

Look for Lions

I love taking free walking tours, and Sofia was no exception. The tours range anywhere from 2 – 4 hours and that can be a long time for little kids.

Our excellent tour guide in Sofia challenged the boys to look for lions on our tour and to count how many they could find! It kept them entertained while Mom got to listen and enjoy the tour. (At the end, the boys had counted 21 lions!) Even if you’re doing your own walking tour, challenge your kids to look for the lions as parents do some sightseeing.

Other Things to Do in Sofia

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a gorgeous 20th century Bulgarian Orthodox church,  and is one of the largest in the world. It’s gold-plated dome is 45m high and shines even in the dreariest days.

view of aleksander nevsky cathedral in sofia bulgaria
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Sveta Sofia Church

The city of Sofia was named after Sveta Sofia church, so it’s a must-see when you’re exploring the city centre!

Banya Bashi Mosque

An Ottoman mosque constructed in 16th century, this is the only mosque left in Sofia. It’s red minaret makes a good landmark while exploring the city centre.

Banya Bashi Mosque is the only mosque left in Sofia.
Banya Bashi Mosque

Serdica Ruins

While excavating to build the metro in 2010, ruins of the ancient Roman town, Serdica, were found. Exiting the Serdika metro station, you’ll find yourself walking through these ruins. Excavations are still continuing, but you can walk through the area, and both adults and kids will find it interesting. Plenty of the signs are in English too!

Rotunda of St. George

Built by the Romans in the 4th century when city was known as Serdica, the Rotunda of St.George is the oldest building in Sofia. Now hidden inside the courtyard of the Presidency Building, it’s worth a detour from the street (and time it right to see the changing of the Guard in front of the Presidency Building on the hour)

Rotunda of St. George is the oldest building and one of the must-see things to do in sofia.
Rotunda of St.George

Central Market Hall

Across from the Mineral Baths or the Sofia History Museum, the Central Market Hall is a covered market and pleasant to browse through – unlike other Ottoman style bazaars, here the vendors wait behind their stalls instead of pushing goods on you!

Eagles Bridge

Close to Borisova Gradina, this bridge has four large eagles atop the pillars and is a tourist favourite when visiting Sofia. Stop by to see the eagles, but the river and bridge itself are a little unassuming.

Ivan Vazov National Theatre

The National Theatre is the oldest theatre in the country and an important landmark in Sofia. Located alongside the City Garden, the gorgeous building has gold-plate, and of course lions. Admire it from the City Garden while taking a rest (and let the kids play on the play equipment just opposite the National Theatre).

The National Theatre is the oldest theatre in the country and an important landmark in Sofia. It's right next to the City Gardens, which is one of the best things to do in Sofia with kids
National Theatre

Palace of Justice

With its large steps, the Palace of Justice is a popular meeting spot in Sofia. If you are taking a free walking tour, it meets here.

The Palace of Justice is a popular meeting spot and the starting point for the free walking tour, which is one of the best things to do in Sofia
Palace of Justice – Sofia, Bulgaria

Saint Sofia Statue

During the communist era, there was a giant statue of Lenin here but has been replaced with this statue of Sofia. While some say the statue is a symbol of the city, the others say the city is actually named after Sveta Sofia church. Either way, the statue of Sofia watches over the city

Day Trips and Things to Do Outside of Sofia

Plovdiv

If you are only visiting Sofia while in Bulgaria, it’s worth it to take a day trip to Plovdiv!
There are several day trips to Plovdiv, and it’s a great city to explore. But if you have more time in Bulgaria, we recommend you take a few days to fully explore Plovdiv!

Vitosha National Park

The oldest nature park in Bulgaria, as well as on the Balkan Peninsula, Vitosha National Park is just a little over 10 km from Sofia. Popular with hikers in the summer and skiers in the winter, Vitosha mountain is also an excellent place for a picnic on warm summer days. There are a few cafes and restaurants if you don’t want to bring your own picnic. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon, getting away to nature and enjoying the fresh air.

Rila Monastery

Set amidst the Rila Mountains is Bulgaria’s most famous monastery, the Rila Monastery. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the monastery is known for its’ painted striped exterior as well as the many gorgeous frescoes. The Rila Monastery is about 2.5 hours from Sofia by public transport, or there are tour buses such as Rila Monastery Bus that leave from Sofia.

Photo: Pixabay

Hopefully this post has given you plenty of ideas for some fun things to do in Sofia with kids!

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We had a great stay at the Rila Hotel Sofia – they were very helpful and friendly and it’s possible to eat the breakfast buffet out on the patio! There are plenty of hotels in the city center though, and I’d recommend that area to stay in as it’s safe and everything would be in walking distance, or close to the metro.

Booking.com

Check out our Destinations page for more ideas on kid-friendly places to travel!

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