With the pound approaching parity with the euro, canny city break enthusiasts are looking beyond the eurozone for their next getaway. Eastern Europe has a rich variety of fascinating and romantic cities and the Bulgarian capital Sofia is one of the most beguiling and laid-back.
Greeks, Romans and Ottoman Turks have left their mark on the city, not to mention the distinctive traces of Cold War Soviet domination. It’s a capital that offers history, culture and a relaxed café and bar scene.
Today’s Big Deal offers an opportunity to discover the city in style, with a three-night city break including flights and luxury five star accommodation in this atmospheric and distinctive capital.
Today’s Big Deal, exclusive to 5pm customers, flies you to Sofia, the elegant and cosmopolitan Bulgarian capital.
The Big Deal offers direct return flights with Ryanair from Glasgow International, with cabin luggage allowance, and three nights room only accommodation, based on two sharing a double or twin standard room in the 5 star Radisson Blu Grand Hotel.
The city breaks are for three nights. Flights are with Ryanair from Glasgow International, departing on Sundays, with return flights from Sofia on Wednesdays. Departures are on the following dates:
19th, 26th March
23rd, 30th April
7th, 14th May
Airy, elegant and filled with artworks, the five star Radisson Blu Grand is located right in the heart of Sofia with views over the golden domes of the Alexander Nevski cathedral. The Ivan Vazov national theatre and all the main central tourist sites are within easy walking distance.
Standard rooms are air-conditioned and feature a king-sized bed or twin beds and a smart marble bathroom with separate bathtub and walk-in shower. Amenities include free high-speed WiFi, flat-screen LCD TV with satellite channels, coffee and tea provisions, a mini bar and an in-room safe.
The hotel offers a choice of dining venues, including the Studio, located on the mezzanine level, offering simple modern cuisine in arty, stylish surroundings.
The hotel facilities also include an indoor pool, gym and sauna.
Since classical antiquity, this part of Europe has been known for its mineral waters and spa springs. The nearby hot springs at Bankya are a popular sport for locals, but there are also ten spa centres within Sofia, perfect for wellness enthusiasts or for those in need of a relaxing dip after a spot of sightseeing.
The hub of modern Sofia is Vitosha Boulevard, the pedestrianised main shopping avenue, but bargain hunters will find a growing number of craft shops and boutiques in every corner of the city. Foodies should head for the elegant, century-old Central Hali mall, where they will find local cheeses and delicious Turkish pastries.
Bulgaria is outside the eurozone so British visitors will find that the exchange rate is favourable compared to the major cities of Western Europe.
The Radisson Blu Grand Hotel is a Sofia landmark, with plenty of appreciative feedback from impressed guests on TripAdvisor:
‘The room was very spacious, clean and the bathrooms are huge. The hotel is located very centrally and the view from our room was beautiful.’
‘This hotel is my default choice when visiting Sofia due to the very attentive and consistently exceeding my expectations level of service provided by the staff and management and due to the hotel’s central location which allows walking access to most of the downtown Sofia.’
Colourful city break
A Sofia city break offers the perfect introduction to a unique and fascinating city that combines history, culture and a lively bar and club scene. It is a chance to discover one of Eastern Europe’s less well-known capitals before the hipsters claim it as the new Prague.
Today’s Big Deal provides direct flights and luxurious central accommodation. With a wide range of departures, there’s plenty of chance to get some Eastern European flavour.