Vrana Palace (Park-Museum Vrana)
Built on land acquired by Tsar Ferdinand I in the late 19th century, Vrana Palace (Park-Museum Vrana) was the preferred residence of the Bulgarian royal family until their exile in 1946. Previously home to a working farm and a zoo, the grounds of the 247-acre (100-hectare) estate now make for an ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of Sofia’s urban center.
Though the palace is closed to the public, the grounds open to visitors every weekend, with guided tours departing every hour. Considered a national monument of landscape architecture, the suburban park is known for its lakes, meandering pathways, and gardens featuring more than 400 floral species. Look for exotic plants as you wander along shady groves, or admire the palace’s facade, with its blend of Byzantine Revival, Art Nouveau, and Neo-Baroque features.
Things to Know Before You Go
Vrana Palace park is a must-visit for garden lovers or architectural enthusiasts.
Wear clothing appropriate for the season, as the grounds are mostly uncovered.
The entry fee includes a guided tour.
Bring your own snacks, as there are no shops or cafés inside the park.
How to Get There
Located about a half-hour drive southeast of the Sofia city center, Vrana Palace is easily reached by bus (number 505) or vehicle. There’s a small fee to park on-site.
When to Get There
Vrana Palace is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays. As there’s no indoor shelter, it’s best to avoid visiting on rainy days. The lilies on the lily lake are in full bloom during mid- to late summer.
A Day Away from the City
Continue your suburban exploration and take a day trip to Lake Pancharevo, an artificial reservoir known for mineral springs and watersports. Sample freshly caught fish in one of the local eateries, and admire sweeping vistas from one of the scenic picnic spots. Or, immerse yourself in nature on a lakeside hike, then cool off with a swim or boat ride.
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- Museum of Socialist Art
- Bulgarian National Museum of Military History
- Monument to the Soviet Army
- Sofia National Gallery (Kvadrat 500)
- Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
- Ivan Vazov National Theatre
- St. Sofia Church
- Amphitheater of Serdica
- Sofia National Gallery
- Vitosha Boulevard (Vitoshka)
- Sofia National Archaeological Museum
- Sofia Church of St. George (St. George Rotunda)
- Central Sofia Market Hall (Halite)
- Sofia Synagogue
- Sofia National History Museum