1. Military Academy Park, bul. Evlogi Georgiev 82. Open from 07:30-20:30 every day this is one of the few guarded parks in Sofia. Dense foliage and well kept grounds make it an oasis in the city but bear in mind that no bikes, dogs, alcohol or smoking are allowed!
2. Villa Spaggo pool in Bistritsa village. From 09:00-19:00 every day, large pool and kiddies pool with a fantastic view up in the mountain, 20 km from Sofia.
3. Montecito Hotel's outdoor pool on Tsarigradsko Shosse, just beyond the ringroad offers a welcome respite from the heat without having to travel too far. A large children's play area and restaurant terrace make the offering even more enticing.
4. Raffy Bar & Pool just over the ringroad on Simeonovsko Shosse. For the beautiful party people only, this is a restaurant/bar with a pool and not the other way round.
5. Vitosha mountain - avoid the bare plateau in the summer and seek out the dense shade of the level path running from Zheleznitsa-Bistritsa-Simeonovo-Dragalevtsi or make your way from the centre of Boyana to the Boyana waterfall or lake. A rope park at the Dendrarium -
6. Borissova Gradina. Few people realise that the large park that starts at Orlov Most stretches all the way up to the Iztok district. Once you are well away from the busy boulevards there are plenty of woodland paths to wander around and pretend you are miles away from city life. The Kokolandia rope park in the woods behind Park Hotel Moskva provides some challenging fun for young and old alike.
7. Vrana Park Museum. Just before the ringroad in the direction of Plovdiv * combine with a visit to the pool at Montecito Hotel.
With an entrance fee of 5 leva the park is relatively void of visitors. Try to catch a guided tour - on the hour. German and Austrian landscape architects were hired to create the palace grounds after Tsar Ferdinand bought the land 1889 and the park continued to develop over the next 40 odd years until the state repossessed it. The palace fell into the hands of the state after Tsar Simeon was exiled in 1945 and was returned to him a few years ago. Simeon Saxe Coburg Gotha handed the grounds back to the municipality with the condition that it be opened to the public. He and his family still use the palace building itself.