• Photo: Svilen Georgiev / Shutterstock

Sofia

With a population around 1.4 million, Sofia is both the capital and largest city in Bulgaria. Having thrown off the shackles of Communism, it has woken up and is now a young, dynamic, fast-moving Eastern European metropolis, with a unique blend of East-meets-West-meets-ex-Soviet architecture, as well as many beautiful orthodox churches. Often unfairly overlooked in favor of destinations like Budapest or Prague, Sofia is truly something special and worth a visit. After all, how many other world capitals can lay claim to having a developed ski resort—Vitosha Mountain—within sight of their downtown?

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