Welcome to Sofia!
Whether you’ve already been around for some time, whether you’re just arriving or still planning a journey to the Bulgarian capital, in the bellow lines you’ll find some useful information for getting around and most importantly – which are the coolest spots to work from.
Sofia is changing a lot in the last few years and is becoming more and more attractive for digital nomads, creatives and freelancers. The relatively easy and not so costly start up procedure is also an attractive point for entrepreneurs from other countries. The city’s convenience, diversity and relatively low prices, combined with its modern look and atmosphere are making it a preferred destination comparing to other European capitals. The most attractive point, of course is the incredibly close proximity to Vitosha Mountain – just a 20 minute drive can transfer you to well-maintained slopes for ski, snowboard or kite, picturesque trekking routes, luscious forests and fresh springs.
The co-working and shared spaces in Sofia are very popular with the great event calendar which basically each of them offers – from seminars and workshops to exhibitions, degustation, parties and whatever else the minds of their managers can come up with. The co-working culture is quickly infecting a lot of people and the crowds inhabiting them are often not only from the digital or start up sphere but also marketers, finance consultants, artists, etc. The co-working spots in Sofia can be divided generally into two groups based on the jobs of their inhabitants and the ambience of each space – we call them roughly Arty and Geeky.
Starting with the Arty spots we can’t skip one of the first co-workings in town – SOHO or Sofia Holistic Co-working Company is not a simple working place, it’s more like a social club and a cosy home. The “green house” as people usually call it is very often a venue for live concerts, bazars and regular exhibitions. Despite the necessary amenities, SOHO also offers yoga and classical ballet classes. The team managing the space is great and very charming – especially the two ginger pals – the Golden retrievers Roya and Indie.
Another co-working space occupying a whole house is Cosmos Co-working Camp. The three-story house located in the very centre of the city is actually a cultural monument and as such it shines with incredible architecture and very beautiful interior. What is special about Cosmos is first – the bar in the basement and second the theatre performances that are taking place there once in a while. In terms of renting conditions Cosmos is offering flexible options for “hot desk” hourly fees, as well as the standard fixed single or team desks which could be rented on a monthly basis.
The newest addition in the Arty category is CoShare Hive – as the name suggests the philosophy and inspiration behind the Hive comes from the bees and the intricate structure they maintain in their hives. The vision of the CoShare’s founders is to not only run a regular co-working space and community but to create a “functioning ecosystem of interconnected elements” in the face of likeminded people and professionals. As the majority of co-working spots around the city, CoShare functions as a shared office space and an event venue, but they don’t finish here. In house there are also the Little Habana – a coffee and lunch (they offer three types of lunch menu by the way) area during the day to a buzzing networking centre in the evening – that loft is a hot spot for making new contacts under the rhythm of live music and the support of “bottomless drinks” as the founders explain; A peer to peer platform supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups with preparation for their pitch; A virtual office for foreign companies providing multilingual secretary and concierge services; and finally an art venue, providing young artists with the opportunity to exhibit and present their works for free, without any commission or rental charges. CoShare has one little disadvantage though (or may be not really) – it’s situated a bit far from the city, but…. right in the foot of Vitosha Mountain, offering a quiet atmosphere and a splendid view.
The last stop in the Arty co-working scene of Sofia is Malkite 5 or “The Little 5” in English – named after one of the most famous junctions in town. Again a high ceiling house that is a cultural monument, Malkite 5 distinguishes itself with its spirit and attitude towards work, life and sharing. The inhabitants of Malkite 5 are mainly creatives dedicated to the many forms of design. The space is really cosy and convenient, offering 25 working spots, meeting and conference room and fully furnished kitchen – even though there are plenty of nice little restaurants and bakeries around. Of course Malkite 5 has its event program as all the rest, but the gatherings which occur here are quite different in style – from renown guest speakers of the art and design world to a thematic soirees and seasonal meet ups. Malkite 5 is a charming little pearl, cuddled between the small streets of central Sofia.
The first signs we’ve shifted to the Geeky quarter are the industrial interiors, the spacious shared areas and the huge amount of IT geeks.
Our tour will start at the pioneer of co-working in Bulgaria – Beta house. After several renovations and reshuffling of the spaces, Beta house is now even more functional and suitable for different purposes co-working zone – 2 open spaces, a Lab, 2 conference rooms, event hall and of course the famous beta café. They recently announced a changed pricing policy as well, developed by taking into consideration what best works for their inhabitants and guests. Old but definitely gold, Beta house continues to shine with high rank events and their diverse community.
What could geeks do without gaming – luckily this isn’t missing in Sofia as well. If you and your team are into gaming – 1 Hub is definitely your place. Functioning as an idea incubator and a meeting point of IT specialists, entrepreneurs and creatives 1 Hub offers its unique atmosphere and hype. Open co-working space, 6 team rooms, 2 conference rooms – one for 200 and one for 150 people, a kitchen and all that topped up with a game bar + transfer services and a shared company vehicle . 1 Hub is a home for professionals from various fields of the IT industry, as well as for the biggest Bulgarian IT academy.
A witty, colourful and super high tech – that is CowOrKing by Puzl. Situated in a whole floor of an old fridge factory, furnished really comfortably in a contemporary industrial style, CowOrKing is offering spacious shared co-working spaces, dedicated offices and event room, as well as chill-out area and kitchen. The surroundings provide a supermarket, gym and yoga studio, parking lot, restaurants and even a recording studio in case you suddenly feel like singing. The team of CowOrKing is very dedicated to make its inhabitants feel special, that’s why they are running a partnership program, aiming to provide preferences and benefits to its community, which by the way consists not only of IT companies and start-ups, but also of investors, accelerators and venture capitalists.
The last and freshest of the emblematic co-working spaces in Sofia is Work & Share. State of the art interior, ultra-modern and comfortable, equipped with 6 conference rooms, several phone booths for peaceful calls, printing area, chill out and entertainment area, showers, kitchens, bike storage and other benefits make Work & Share suitable for freelancers and start-ups but also for corporate teams. As Work & Share is very very new, it hosted one event only so far – part of the Innovation Explorer programme, so it will be interesting to see how their event calendar will further develop.
Our co-working compilation will be incomplete without the S*Bar – not a typical co-working space but a must try if you are in the IT sector. S*Bar functions as a meeting hub for IT professionals, entrepreneurs and digital creators and is also a home for the Singularity University in Bulgaria. “S* is for Social, Special and Standing out” as its founder Cyril Simon states. Despite being mainly a bar S* offers meeting room, phone booths and chill out area which makes it a pretty comfortable coffice.
In case you get ‘lost’ at any stage of the search for the perfect working spot and need to check some features and details do refer to Apt.19 or Coworker – both platforms are offering up to date information for each co-working in Sofia and other Bulgarian cities, so you could easily compare, check where exactly your preferred space is on the map and make the right decision.
Vibrant spirit, unique atmosphere, amazing night life, huge diversity of entertainment and outdoor activities – Sofia is definitely one of the top notch cities of Europe. So look no further, Sofia offers everything necessary for a world class innovations, career development, meeting interesting people and most importantly having fun – all this at affordable price.
For other co-working spaces across Bulgaria, please visit http://www.nataliyanedkova.com/co-working-spaces-across-bulgaria/