Street markets take place all over Sofia, selling everything from food to antiques.
Depending on your interests you can spend some time browsing and shopping at one of Sofia’s street markets.
Ok! The correct translation of this market’s name from Bulgarian to English is “women market” or Zenski pazar. For obvious reasons we will stay away from the direct translation and call it Ladies Market though there isn’t much lady-like about it.
Anything from fresh food and vegetables, to cheap socks and underwear, to tourist souvenirs and contraband cigarettes is on sale at Ladies Market.
Rough-handed fruit and vegetable vendors scream haggle and hustle here like they do in the Arab world, adding only a pinch of the distinctive Bulgarian grouchiness.
The area has become the area of choice of recent immigrants from the Arab world, so Iraqi bakeries, Syrian grocery stores and Kurdish restaurants, as well as internet clubs and call home cheap phone establishments are never too far away.
A 2014 renovation took away some of the market’s authentic feel. Gone are the grilled meat stalls with stray dogs lurking around and the potholes filled with last week’s rain water.
Still, even under its new disguise the spirit of the place has not changed and is always ready to offer a kick of culture shock to the unaccustomed.
CENTRAL MARKET HALL
The oldest Sofia covered market is a great place to get familiar with Bulgarian staple foods and to shop for some souvenirs.
Ask for Centralni hali or simply Halite.
SLAVEYKOV SQUARE BOOK MARKET
In the early 90’s one of Sofia’s main squares almost overnight turned into an open book market and has remained such ever since.
Old and new books in all languages imaginable can be bought or ordered from the book sellers. If you are looking for anything specific just ask and it will be delivered.
Several large chain bookstores with a Slaveykov Square address have come and gone, but the open air market, it looks like, is here to stay.
THE ANTIQUE MERKET IN FRONT OF NEVSKY CATHEDRAL
The antique market in front of the Nevsky cathedral caters primarily to tourists and sells antiques of all shapes and forms.
English is the language of business here, though many of the vendors speak German, French and Russian.
Look around for Nazi or Soviet military trinkets, old coins or jewelry.
Don’t expect to see fixed prices, if you like anything do not hesitate to bargain, it is part of the fun.
Read more about antique shopping in Sofia.
THE ANCIENT WALL MARKET
The unofficial name of this small neighborhood market is “The Roman Wall Market” after the remains of an old fortification wall that sits in the middle of it. The “Roman” part of the name however is a misnomer, the wall was built by the Ottomans.
From the Ancient Wall Market walk to Journalist square and grab a bite in one of the nice neighborhood bakeries there or walk to Borissova Garden.
One of our favorite traditional Bulgarian restaurant Pod Lipite is also nearby.