A thing you may haven’t thought of about Sofia is it’s quite an ‘aqueous’ city. There are a few rivers crossing through, lots of underground waters, and as much as 75 mineral springs around the region.
And having that said, now you expect a city beach. Well, you are rather wrong. Although there are a few lakes in the suburbs, e.g. Lake Druzhba, Lake Kazichane, they are certainly not suitable for swimming.
Nevertheless, you can enjoy various other activities, especially at Lake Pancharevo. It is located out of town, but it’s only some 10km away and there’s public transportation (buses 3, 4). The bus has about 5 stops by the lake shore, and where to get off depends on what you feel like doing.
Pancharevo lake is oblong and surrounded by wooded hills, and while its western side is rather urbanized, the eastern one offers a wonderful walking path, stretching along the north-to-southernmost lake ends. It’s a 40-something-minute walk and has a panoramic view point.
Other than that, you can rent (or bring your own) kayak, boat or pedalo at the Rowing base /’Grebna baza’ stop/. Looking for something more relaxing? Here you get the Korali swimming pool with warm mineral water /’Banyata’ stop/. Or you could just go for a barbecue at the lawns on the South bank /’Plazha’ stop/. There are also quite a few restaurants in Pancharevo village which are in fact not bad at all.
Just go and have a nice weekend by the Lake Pancharevo!