Markets in Sofia
Browsing through a market when you’re travelling is one of the most inspiring ways to get an insight into local culture and the markets in Sofia are no exception with its contrasting bazaars where you can have a rummage around or buy some great seasonal food and get to immerse yourself in local life.
1. Zhenski Pazar (Women’s Market)
This outdoor market has an abundance of fresh, homemade produce which has mostly been harvested from the vendors’ gardens and sold either from the newly constructed stalls, or, quite often, from impromptu blankets laid out with seasonal fruit, vegetables or pickles. Originally a women-only market, it’s broad range of goods are also inspired by Arab and Chinese influences too and even if you don’t fancy buying anything, you can sit at one of the street food kiosks or cafes and watch the life of the market unfold.
What you can buy: fruit, veg, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, cheeses, meats, wine, honey, (fake designer) clothes, and a host of other random products!
Where: Bul. “Stefan Stambolov”, Sofia
2. Flea Market
Situated in the Alexander Nevski Square is the small, yet abundant collection of Russian, German and Bulgarian memorabilia, antiques and bits of rubbish! As a tourist, you’ll find that some things are over-priced so haggling is essential if you want to grab yourself a good deal. Mostly run by older generational Bulgarians, so if you can converse with them, then you can listen to their stories of bygone days and tales of Sofia city and pick up a piece of history along the way.
What you can buy: art, antiques, weapons, instruments, jewellery, coins, medals, cameras, icons and embroidered or knitted materials.
Where: Alexander Nevski Square
3. Tsentralni Hali, Central Market Hall
Walking passed this well-preserved, Neo-Renaissance building, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s interior possibly holds something of a historical museum. However, once you step inside, you realise it’s a very grand indoor market where many locals pick up their food supplies. Set over three floors, this bazaar also has ancient remnants of the city of Serdica on the ground floor so once you’ve perused the food and wine stalls, or taken a bite to eat in the food area, you can wander around some very interesting architectural relics.
What you can buy: rose products, cosmetics, souvenirs, wine, liqueur, cheese, meats, bread and other Turkish and Bulgarian inspired food
Where: Maria Louiza Blv 28
4. The Book Market
If you’re a lover of books, then this open-air market for you to visit as it’s not only just Bulgarian books on sale here but you can also find a range of English, Russian and German language books too. Even if you don’t find the book you want, just ask one of the stallholders as I’ve heard they’re very good at tracking a copy down from one of the other merchants. Whilst at the market, look out for the statues of Petko and Pencho Slaveikovi, the father and son poets who have their own bench where you can join them for your own photo shoot!
What you can buy: books!
Where: Slaveikovi Square
Know of any other great markets in Sofia? Let us all know and send them in using the comment box below: