Once called in its motto a city which ‘grows up but doesn’t grow old’, today Sofia has sensibly grown in measure but still looks young due to the fresh greenery of its parks and gardens.
Here one can sense that, missing in other capitals, opportunity in no time to change the populated city zones for some of the numerous spaces for relaxation in moments of tiredness; or, to re-charge himself with silence and fresh mountain air in the cool embrace of Mount Vitosha just a couple of steps away from the strenuous metropolis.
The largest park in the central part of Sofia is the Boris’s Garden Park named so in honor of Tsar Boris III (1918–1943). In the park Ariana pond is located where one can go boating or water wheeling from spring to late autumn. In winter the pond turns to the biggest open-air skating-rink in the city, of 1,200 sq. m. area. In the park you will find tennis-courts, swimming pools, bicycle racing tracks, the Bulgarian Army Stadium and Vasil Levski National Stadium. The water lilies pond is Sofia citizens’ favorite place of romantic walks.
There are dozens of gardens and greeneries more in Sofia but the most popular among them, situated in the wider downtown, are the City Garden Park, the garden at the Doctors’ Monument, the gardens surrounding the former Royal Palace, and the churches of St Sophia, St Paraskevi the New, Sveti Sedmochislenitsi, St George the Victorious on Patriarch Euthimius Blvd., St St Cyril and Methodius, the park around the church of St Nicholas of Sofia.
In the years following the Second World War the vast green areas of the Southern [Yuzhen] and the Northern [Severen] Parks were designed and planted and the older Western [Zapaden] Park and Vitosha National Park were provided will all utilities. The vicinities of Sofia offer a variety of opportunities for sport and relaxation to its citizens and guests during weekends and vacations. At the first place these are the mountains surrounding the Sofia Plain: Vitosha, Lyulin, Plana and the south-western slopes of the Balkan Mountain.