Easily accessible parks in Sofia - part 2
Green areas close to metro stations
Written by Anna Kerezsi, edited by Scott Green, photos by Anna Kerezsi
This is part two of our articles about beautiful parks to visit in Sofia.
If you would like, and we recommend you to, here is the first article to read.
North Park (Северен Парк)
In the northern part of Sofia, around a 5-minute walk from Beli Dunav metro station, you can find the North Park of Sofia. I arrived here with hopes because people recommended this park as well. I apologize in advance for the things I will write: for me this park is a little bit disappointing.
Maybe because I visited in February, but the whole area seems neglected. The lake is quite nice at the beginning, and the playgrounds for children are really cool but then on the middle of the bridge, I noticed the first graffiti tags, and later on a monument and on different surfaces. Many holes were open in the ground in the middle of the forest paths which can be very dangerous with little children! I hope they’ve closed them and it was just a bad coincidence.
I took a long walk around to see as much as possible but this park is not really my type. I promise I will go back in the late spring when everything is blooming and flourishing, I might change my opinion. I actually ask you as well, go there and prove me wrong. This park has great potential with a little more care.
Airport Park (Парк Аерогара)
“Wait, what? I visited the airport many times, how is it possible I never noticed there is a park next to the airport? Well, let me take the metro and travel to the final station!” So I did. At the final metro station, Sofia Airport, a metallic staircase leads to a gigantic park, financed by the European Union.
I visited on a sunny Thursday and it was totally empty. I love it! Absolutely no people around, only the sound of birds, the rustling of the reeds, and no car noise! The level of the park is lower than the original surface which means it is protected from all directions. The walking path leads around a big lake. I feel really peaceful here, I can even see Vitosha clearly if I go back towards the airport. The park itself looks abandoned. I see it was probably built for daily usage, giving a place for outdoor theater and concert events.
Some staircases and benches are fully covered with dirt and leaves from autumn past. There are no apartments around this park. What could have been the intention to build a giant and well constructed, “family and bicycle-friendly” looking park far from the city center?
West Park (Западен Парк)
Surprisingly, West Park or better known as Zapaden Park starts at the Zapaden Park metro station. Being a resident of Mladost, this part of the city is “the other side” for me. I didn’t regret coming here and discovering this huge park, which can be divided into two parts: a forest-like, natural place with mountain bikers and happy little picnic spots, and a paved, park-like walking area with mothers pushing strollers and elderly people walking their dogs.
Everyone can find what they are looking for here. At some places, you can hear the noise of traffic because the Liulin tunnel is situated under the park. In the forest part, I found some fallen trees, I am a bit concerned if it is safe to walk on that path. In the middle part, there is quite a new playground for children, I could even smell the rubber. I’m quite jealous of children in Sofia! These types of giant playgrounds didn’t exist when I was a kid. This park really impressed me.
I will suggest to my friends to come together for a picnic, looks like the fireplaces are allowed to be used here too. Definitely a more diverse place than Borisova.
Druzhba Park (Парк Дружба)
I left my personal favorite park to the end. Last but not least, I want to mention a hidden jewel in the middle of the concrete jungle. Almost nobody can recall any memories about this park when I say the name. It is very far from the city center, 2 metro stops earlier than Airport Park (between Iskarsko shose and Druzhba metro station). Originally it was a quarry but water came up and filled the hole, creating the biggest lake in Sofia. (We have a similar one in Budapest, the so-called Bottomless Lake which was a clay mine before the water surfaced.) Druzhba park is a perfect place for a walk, for fishing, eating something in the surrounding restaurants, or sunbathing on the special benches.
In the summer it looks like a beach, people come here in swimsuits (but swimming is forbidden as far as I know). Two small Orthodox Churches can be found here, a big playground, a fitness park, and the Iskar Cultural Center (which has a cinema hall and a library). I come here a lot to charge my batteries. The area is calm, always sunny, I can watch the fountain in the middle of the lake for hours and hours. In my opinion, this is the best park in Sofia.
Here is the first article to read.