Once touted as Europe's most affordable capital, Sofia is an ideal weekend break for those wishing to explore more of Eastern Europe. While it hasn't completely rid itself of its Soviet past, peel back the brutalist block buildings to reveal golden-domed, Neo-Byzantine architecture, while a surge of independent restaurants and galleries that have recently taken root. Head to the Central Market to try a steaming plate of Bulgaria's national dish, musaka, full of gloriously rich aubergines. For dinner, snag a table at Made in Home, a modern eatery serving up a mix of Middle Eastern, Turkish and vegan fare. After dinner drinks should be taken up on the trendy Sense hotels rooftop with views across Mt. Vitosha. Ask for a shot of rakia; Bulgaria's national drink is an eye-winching 40% fruit liqueur that's often, somewhat oddly, served with salads.