A foreign student's guide to a Bulgarian summer on a budget

Pocket-friendly summer activities in Sofia

Written by Atinuke Ajayi, edited by Scott Green, photos by Unsplash

First off, a disclaimer… I may be a bit partial to international students in the article as I am one myself and let's be honest, nobody understands budgeting and fun like we do.

Did you know that as an international student in Bulgaria you are entitled to several discounts that can make your stay and specifically your summer within Bulgaria pocket-friendly? No, right then! Let's get into it.

First things first.
Summer is outdoorsy, the weather is great, the days are longer and you want to go out a lot to enjoy the sun and catch up with friends later for an evening drink or maybe you love to party and visit bars like me. 

Well, I’ve got great news for you. All forms of public transportation are discounted for international students in Bulgaria! So, take the metro to that carnival at NDK or the tram to the city center! You can go wherever and whenever you want to without dipping into your savings.

Summer activities in Sofia
Perhaps you are intrigued by history and would love to learn about Bulgaria’s past. Well, lucky you. Tickets to the Regional Historical Museum of Arts and Culture in Sofia Bulgaria, are heavily discounted for students with up to 50% off. You can also read our article about some key building of Sofia's history.

Maybe you are a nature lover like me, then take a trip to the Sofia Zoo, though not discounted, it is pretty cheap with tickets for adults going at just 4BGN, 2 BGN for those aged 3 to 18 years, 1 BGN for senior citizens and the disabled and free for children below 3 years old. It is the perfect place to have a day with friends and family and to see the many exotic animals, over two thousand actually!

If you prefer a quiet time with nature, there are several beautiful parks in Sofia where you can have an excellent and inexpensive time alone, or relax with family and friends. My favorite is South Park which boasts lush greenery, bicycle trails, a beautiful river, and some nice restaurants to wine and dine at after a long trek. Undoubtedly one of my best summer memories.

Another pretty inexpensive way to get around Bulgaria is to register for one of the many free tours available in the country. I joined a free walking Sofia tour that lasted almost an hour and showcased many of the city's amazing sites, from the Palace of Justice to the Sofia synagogue and the beautiful St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral. Your next tour is just a Google search away!

Finally, visit the open markets not just because of the fresh produce but for the unique feeling of being around locals.

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