Named after the mountains that bound Sofia to the south, Vitosha Boulevard is the Romanian capital city’s most prestigious shopping street, snaking through the center of the city. Here visitors will discover all the top-end international designer stores, a massive bookshop, quality restaurants and cool bars, plus a backdrop of imposing civic buildings dating from Sofia’s expansion between the two world wars. As well as the National Palace of Culture, which marks the northern end of Vitosha, the former Communist Party HQ and the Central Department Store (TSUM) stand just off the boulevard and form part of tours of Sofia’s Soviet heritage.
Fully pedestrianized from Boulevard Evtimiy in the south to Alabin Street in the north, Vitosha’s recent facelift has included pretty floral beds, benches to chill on, Art Nouveau kiosks, street cafés and wrought-iron lampstands. The corner of Vitosha and Evtimiy is Sofia’s most popular meeting spot and it’s also worth diving into the side streets off the main drag for more retail opportunities in independent boutiques. Come evening, there’s a whole world of cuisine on tap, with restaurants offering everything from traditional Bulgarian byurek (stuffed filos) to Irish pints.
Vitosha Boulevard, Sofia. Open 24/7, free admission. Metro to NDK.