The European city break where beer costs 80p & summer hits 28C

IF YOU ARE looking for a European city break with warm weather, great culture and cheap food and drink, we’ve found the pocket-friendly holiday destination just a few hours from the UK.

And with cheap flights and hotels, it won’t break the bank this summer either.

Sofia in Bulgaria is an affordable European city break


Sofia in Bulgaria is an affordable European city breakPhoto credit: Getty
Sofia lies at the foot of the Vitosha Mountains


Sofia lies at the foot of the Vitosha MountainsPhoto credit: Getty
Direct flights from the UK take just over three hours


Direct flights from the UK take just over three hoursPhoto credit: Getty

Why Sofia?

While most Brits flock to Hungary for a short city break in Budapest or Prague in the Czech Republic, another European city promises to be an affordable and vibrant alternative.

According to the latest Love Holidays study, Bulgaria has been named as one of the cheapest holiday destinations for Brits.

And the capital Sofia is no exception.

Located in western Bulgaria at the foot of the Vitosha Mountains, Sofia is surrounded by stunning views with direct flights from the UK.

Both Wizz Air and Ryanair offer direct flights from London to Sofia for just £20 each way.

Ryanair also offers direct flights from Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh and Liverpool – although they are much more expensive.

With a flight time of three hours and 10 minutes, holidaymakers can get to the capital faster than Athens in Greece and Antalya in Turkey.

The country does not use the euro, so you get a lot more bang for your buck when booking trips and vacations.

Eating and drinking is cheap too, with a bottle of beer costing just 80p while a meal in a mid-range restaurant costs £12.

If you book a trip, summer is the best time to go, with maximum temperatures of 28 ° C in the capital.

Hotels are also extremely affordable, with a night at the Sofia Balkan Palace, a five star hotel, costing just £65 per person per night.

Despite these cheap luxury stays, holidaymakers can also book a stay at the Easyhotel for as little as £14 per night per person.

What to do in Sofia

There is also plenty to do in the Bulgarian capital.

To immerse yourself in the country’s history, visit the Church of St. Sofia, which gave the city its name.

There’s also St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and St. George’s Rotunda – a red-brick building that’s among the oldest in modern Sofia.

For some shopping, head to Vitosha Boulevard, the city’s main shopping street, where you’ll find designer shops and household names.

Sofia is also known for its springs, so be sure to visit the central mineral baths.

While this landmark is no longer open to the public, Bulgaria is home to more than 700 mineral springs.

The small town of Velingrad in the Rhodope Mountains has over 70 hot springs and is less than a two-hour drive from the capital.

As well as daytime activities, Sofia also has a vibrant nightlife which includes Once Upon A Time Biblioteka – a nightclub inside the National Library.

What else is there to do in Bulgaria?

Bulgaria is also known for its beach resorts, but these are on the east side of the country – a five-hour drive from the capital.

Holidaymakers who just want some of Bulgaria’s sun, sea and sand can fly direct from London to Burgas Airport.

While most Brits flock to Bulgaria’s Sunny Beach, Kavarna, which is 40 miles north of Varna, is another seaside resort with gorgeous beaches but no crowds.

Tourists who don’t want to drive five hours for a day at the beach will be relieved to know that there are several lakes near Sofia where swimming is allowed.

Just outside Kardzali, a three-hour drive from the capital, are several lakes where both swimming and sunbathing are allowed.

Closer to Sofia is Lake Pancharevo, just a short bus ride from the Bulgarian capital.

Although swimming is prohibited, it’s an ideal place to try water sports like rowing or kayaking.

What else do I need to know about Sofia?

The national language in Kavarna is Bulgarian, although people in the beach resorts speak English.

Bulgaria is currently three hours ahead of Great Britain.

The local currency is the Bulgarian lev, where 10 pounds equals about 22 lev.

There are currently no Covid restrictions and Brits can stay in Bulgaria for up to 90 days without a visa.

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However, your passport must be valid for at least three months after the date of your intended departure.

Sofia has a vibrant nightlife


Sofia has a vibrant nightlifePhoto credit: Getty
Eating, drinking and hotels are also very affordable


Eating, drinking and hotels are also very affordableCredit: Alamy
One of the beaches in Kavarna in Bulgaria


One of the beaches in Kavarna in BulgariaPhoto credit: Getty The European city break where beer costs 80p & summer hits 28C

Emma James

Emma James is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma James joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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