Traditional commercial centers in Sofia are the Central Universal Store (more popular with the Bulgarian abbreviation TsUM) on Nezavisimost Square, and the pedestrian Vitosha shopping street. On Vitosha Boulevard mainly boutique shops of world-known designer’s labels of cloths, shoes and cosmetics are located.Some of the traditional shopping areas in the downtown part, such as Pirotska Street, Rakovska Steet and Graf Ignatiev Street along with Slaveykov Square are arranged as pedestrian lanes.
Yet more of those boutiques you will find in the malls built in the recent years: The Mall, Serdika Center, Mall of Sofia, City Center Sofia, and Sky City which quickly turned into favorite places for shopping, entertainment and appointments of Sofia citizens. The shopping centers are open from 10:00 until 22:00 (10 AM to 10 PM) every day.
The Tsentralni Hali (Central Food Halls), on bulvard Maria Louiza, is a spotlessly clean and well-organised bazaar, open daily. Situated on Stefan Stambolov bulvard, Zhenski Pazar (Women’s Market) is a truly down-to-earth market, open daily. There is also a large book market at ploshtad Slavejkov, near the National Theatre.
Souvenirs such as reproduction icons, Russian dolls, jewellery, ceramics, wooden items, embroidered tablecloths and lace are for sale at stalls at Alexander Nevski square at the so called Antiques market. You can find antiques, post stamps, WWII items, communist heritage items, you can even buy russian soldiers hat ot KGB membership card there.
Also worth investigating for souvenirs are the shops in the subway between TZUM and the Balkan Sheraton and the ground-floor shop of the National Ethnographic Museum.
Luxury goods to take home include Bulgarian wines, notably the full-bodied red Melnik and rakiya(fruit brandy). Another national tipple is mastika, an anis-flavoured drink that is similar to Greekouzo. These are available in shops throughout town.
Further, in the more peripheral quarters of Sofia, there are hypermarkets of a number of retail chains as well: two of METRO, four of KAUFLAND, and seven of BILLA. There are some local retail chains like Fantastiko, 345 and Elemag. If you need furniture you can go to IKEA, Aiko, Domko, Domo, Martineli, etc. Most of the furniture store buildings you will find at the South arch of the Sofia Ringroad.
Mr. Brocolage, Praktiker, Baumax also have stores in Sofia.
Shops’ opening hours
Most of the shops in the capital are usually open from 10 am until 8 pm on weekdays, and from 11 am until 7 pm on weekends.
You can enjoy quality shopping experience even in Saturday and Sunday, the the bigger shopping centers, hypermarkets and non-stop foodstuffs shops are opened. Almost all restaurants and bars, and the non-stop fast-foods also work on Sundays.
Shopping centers are usually open from 10 AM to 10 PM daily.
Ways of payment
For the most part of the retail network payment in cash is usual. The larger shops and eating-places also accept payment through credit cards, most often Visa or Mastercard.
VAT in Bulgaria is 20% and visitors who live outside the EU are able to obtain a VAT refund from the airport, next to passport control.