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Entertainment & Nightlife in Bulgaria


Sofia's music, opera and dance seasons are at their peak during the spring and early summer, but by mid-July most of the city's actors and artists have – like the rest of the population – deserted the sweltering capital and migrated to the coast, taking the city's cultural life with them. This also affects the general nightlife scene, which quiets down considerably in Sofia while taking off on the coast. To find out what's on during your stay, take a look at, pick up one of the free seasonal or monthly guides, or purchase a copy of the English weekly newspaper, Sofia Echo.

Theatre performances are almost always in Bulgarian, so best to stick to music concerts or opera; tickets are extremely affordable relative to what you'd pay in a western European city, and while you don't usually have the very top-end performers there are always foreign imports with impeccable credentials. The monolithic National Palace of Culture (, built in 1981 (ostensibly to mark the year Bulgaria turned 1,300), is the place to be during the Salon Des Arts Sofia, which usually runs mid-May to mid-June; as does the International "Sofia Music Weeks" Festival, hosted in the Bulgaria Hall and Bulgaria Chamber Hall, home to the Bulgarian philharmonic orchestra (1 Aksakov Street).

Described as the jewel in Sofia's cultural crown, the Sofia National Opera (1 Vrabcha Street, off Rakovski Street) is where the city's most talented and guest performers from all over Europe play out the great opera and ballet classics. If you're looking for a more avant-garde experience, check out what's happening at hip and happening Red House Centre for Culture and Debate (

The Sofia nightlife scene is low-key but vibrant, with plenty of nightclubs and trendy bars dotted throughout the city. The following three are personal favourites, but it's worth mentioning that Brilliantine, at 3 Moskovska Street, is hugely popular, attracting a diverse and interesting crowd, as does gay-friendly Chillout Café (6 Baba Nedelya Street, just behind the NDK).




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