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Climate - Sofia

Temperature, rainfall, prevailing weather conditions, when to go

United States version (°F - inches - feet). See also the metric version (°C - mm - meters)

Flag - Bulgaria

Sofia, where it is
The climate of Sofia, capital of Bulgaria, is continental, with cold winters and warm summers. The relatively low latitude (which is the same as central Italy) is offset by the position in the Balkan Peninsula (which is exposed to cold waves from Russia) as well as by altitude: the city is located at 1,800/2,000 feet above sea level.
Here are the average temperatures.
Sofia average temperatures
Sofia J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 23 27 32 41 50 54 57 57 52 43 36 27
Max (°F) 36 39 48 59 68 75 79 79 73 63 50 39

Precipitation is not abundant, since it amounts to 24 inches per year, but it is well distributed over the seasons, with a relative maximum in May and June, because of afternoon thunderstorms, and a relative minimum in winter.
Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation Sofia
Sofia J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 1.4 1.4 1.6 2.0 3.1 3.1 2.4 2.0 1.6 1.6 2.2 1.8 24.0
Days 7 7 8 10 12 10 8 7 6 6 8 9 98

Winter, from December to February, is cold: the temperature remains below freezing during the day for long periods. In periods of stable weather, fog often forms. Snowfalls are frequent, but they are typically light, though occasionally they may be more abundant. Snow, however, covers the ground for long periods.
During outbreaks of cold air from Russia, the temperatures can fall several degrees below freezing. Here are the lowest temperatures recorded in cold periods over the last decades: January 1985: -15 °F, February 1991: -9.5 °F, January 1993: -11 °F, March 1987: 7 °F, December 1988: -4 °F, December 2001: -4 °F, February 2006: -13 °F, January 2012: -7.5 °F, February 2012: -6 °F.
On the other hand, when the southern wind blows, which sometimes can be strong, the temperature may rise by several degrees, so that there may be mild days, up to about 59 °F, even in winter: the air comes down from the nearby Mount Vitosha, with a down-slope, föhn-like effect. In the warm winter of 2014, the temperature reached 64 °F in January, and 72 °F in February.

Spring, from March to May, is unstable, especially in March and April: the first mild days alternate with sudden returns of cold, with possible snow in March, and sometimes even in April. In May the first warm days occur, with highs close to 85 °F, and also the first afternoon thunderstorms.

Summer, from June to August, is warm and sunny, usually with cool nights, and some afternoon thunderstorms. Generally, daytime temperatures are pleasant, around 77 °F, but there may also be heat waves, which typically do not last long, with highs about 97/100 °F; however, air humidity is not high and nights are still cool. The temperature reached 106 °F in July 2007, and 102 °F in August 1994.

Autumn, from September to November, is mild and sweet in September and often in the first half of October, then quickly becomes colder, gray, and even relatively rainy. In October, at night it gets cold; usually the first snowfalls occur in November, when even fog becomes quite common.

The amount of sunshine in Sofia is good from May to September, when the sun often shines, while it is low from November to February, when the weather is often gray and sometimes foggy.


When to go

The best time to visit Sofia goes from mid-May to late September, keeping in mind that sometimes in July and August, and more rarely in the second half of June, it can be hot, so those who don't like the heat can avoid these periods. You must also take into account some afternoon thunderstorms, besides for the evening it's better to bring a sweatshirt, and maybe even a jacket if you go in May and September.

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