Archive for the ‘2. Location’ Category

Unspoiled Beaches in Bulgaria

July 25, 2010

If you see a beautiful lonely sand beach in Europe you are either there way out of season or you are dreaming. However, Bulgaria still has a couple of unspoiled, non-commercialized, beautiful, lonely beaches by its Black Sea. I am going to disclose one of them to you here. This info is only for nature lovers, enjoyers and keepers. All greedy investors keep out, because these places are National Parks and we don’t want anybody building anything there.

Karadere is the name of the beach and it is on the north seaside. Miles of sand beaches and nothing but, vines, trees and bushes around them. There are no showers, no WC, no food stores – I mean nothing! Just sand, billions of round pebbles by the sea and emerald waters.

My soul was so happy there - and it shows..

And because people feel so far from civilization on this lonely, unspoiled beach, it is only natural for them to bathe naked.

The beach of Karadere

How to get there: the closest village where you can stay is Goritsa. It is a sweet, quiet village. From Goritsa you need a car to get to Karadere beach. The drive is about 25 minutes in the direction of the town of Byala. One thing you need to know is there are hairy pigs grazing along the way to the beach. They are not wild animals but I personally prefer not to be walking in their company.

Pigs along the way to Karadere beach

Where to stay: There are many village houses in Goritsa where you can rent a room. The prices are very low – 15-25 leva per person per night. We stayed at “Pri Pancho” (meaning Pancho’s). It was nice and clean – all you need – no more no less. Write me an e-mail if you need help with reservation.

Where to eat: Again at Pancho’s. The food is delicious and natural. The fish soup is a must. We were lucky to have tried turbot fish there. The prices are one of the lowest you will find at the sea.


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Koprivshtitsa – 1030m Above Seal Level

July 20, 2010

Narrow cobbled streets, coulourful houses with unique architecture in Bulgarian Revival Period style, numerous small museums, craft shops, cool mountain fresh air – that’s Koprivshtitsa for me and it’s always worth a visit.

Souvenir Shop in Koprivshtitsa

How to get there: If you are driving from Sofia you have to take Botevgradsko Shosse which eventually becomes E79 and E871. At the intersection where these two split, you need to take Е871 road (also known as the Under-Balkan Road) on your right just after Lukoil gas station. Koprivshisa is only about 110 km from Sofia but for the last 15 kilometres you should be prepared for a winding road so the whole journey takes almost 2 hours. See google map.
You can get to Koprivshtitsa by bus or by train. The buses stop right in the centre of the town. Note that the train station is far from the town’s centre – about 8 kilometres. Although there are shuttles and taxis they are not 100% reliable.

The house of Dimcho Debelyanov - famous Bulgarian poet

What to see: Just take your camera and one of the narrow cobbled streets… All the houses are built in this specific architectural style of the National Revival Period. Thanks to the local construction law all new or renovated buildings are designed in the same style. Whether it’s a private house, the tourist information centre, or a souvenir shop… they all look like they’ve been built in the  1850s.

You’ll run into different museum houses – all of them unique but at the same time very much alike. The taxes for visitors are quite low.

You have to see the Oslekov’s House – a beautiful, original house which will give you a good idea of how a well-off Bulgarian family lived in 1850’s – 1900’s.  The house was built by a rich local merchant Nencho Oslekov. In his tailor shop were made the uniforms of the participants in the Uprising of April 1876.

Oslekov's House

Guest room in Oslekov's House

Room for handiwork

I am not going to get deep into history here. It is much better to get a local tell you the stories of Koprivshtitsa. Ask about how the town got its name, about the 3 times Koprivshtitsa has been burnt down, about the first gun shot of the April Uprising, about Kokon mahala (the Dame neighborhood)… I don’t know another Bulgarian town with so many stories to tell.

The Old Church - the Assumption (Uspenie Bogorodichno)

The New Church - St Nikolai Church

Where to stay: We’ve stayed at two different hotels (Kozlekov Hotel and Todorini Kashti) and they both have the same problem – thin walls. Hotel Kozlekov has one big advantage – a great terrace with a wonderful view of the unique town of Koprivshtitsa.

Where to eat: the best meals are prepared in 20 April Restaurant right on the main square.  I can’t say that the place is too cozy but the food is excellent. They have the best Shkembe Chorba and Lamb Soup! It is not by chance that locals dine there – they know best where they can have good food in town. And if you can get the owner, George, to tell you some Koprivshtitsa history you can’t ask for more from your Koprivshtitsa visit.

20 April Restaurant


Interesting Events: About once every four years the National Folklore Fest takes place in Koprivshtitsa. Performers from all over the world come to Koprivshtitsa to participate. If you are planning to be there you need to reserve a place to sleep way in advance. This year I’ll be there to feature the event. 10th National Folklore Fest – Koprivshtitsa 2010 coming soon…

The Village of Leshten – Somewhere in Space and Time

May 25, 2010

Where: another alternative destination in Bulgaria – the village of Leshten. It is situated in the SouthWest end of the Rhodope Mountains – about 220 km from Sofia. The road is windy and uneven but it is absolutely worth the trouble. Our first impression – a magnificent view towards Pirin Mount!

The village of Leshten, according to different sources, is an ancient village and many traces of old life, culture and architecture have been found in the region. It used to be a municipal and trade centre in the past. I find it hard to believe this, looking at a small stony village of 30 houses – about 300 years old – and a single permanent resident.

That’s right, “stony village”, everything is made out of stone – the roads, the houses, the fences. No wander this specific technique of building was the core means of living here back in the Bulgarian Revival. It’s a great thing that the authentic look of the village is preserved. Even the 15 renovated houses, which host tourists, have kept their old style – stone plinths, roofs covered with hand cut tile-stones, high stone fences, small windows and wooden flooring. So solid and so great!

Where to stay: in one of the 15 renovated houses. They are supplied with all the modern comforts, a fireplace and a kitchen. Below is the house where we stayed at. If you need help with reservation write me an e-mail to truebulgaria@gmail.com or use the contact form.

the house we stayed at

Where to eat. There is one single place to eat in the village. I find it relaxing not to have a choice for once. The restaurant is in the building of the old monastery school. I haven’t eaten there yet but most people say the food is local, authentic and very delicious and… it is not cheap.

Things to see: the village of Leshten is a historical monument by itself. The ancient architecture and the great natural location is a winning combination. The spirit of the once lively municipal centre is asleep but it’s still there.

The village church – St Paraskeva – had its last service in 1957 but you can still enter the church and light a candle. The wall paintings are quite bright, kind of modern and curious.

The clay house – this one is a favourite tourist destination not because it is ancient or has any historical value but because it is one of a kind. It is made entirely out of clay. There are no sharp square shapes – the whole house is soft and oval. Even thought it looks simple and primitive the clay house actually offers luxury accommodation, which combined with location and view is probably worth the price – around 60 euro per night.

the Clay House

the clay house's porch

The gallery – one of the houses functions as a classy gallery from where you can buy sophisticated pricey art-icles.

The village of Kovachevitsa – nearby village, also an architecture monument – post about the village of Kovachevitsa coming soon

a street in Kovachevitsa village

Koziat kamuk (the Goat’s Stone) and Chernata skala (the Black Rock) – ancient sanctuaries of Thracian times (or so they say)

Fossil Deposit Site near the Village of Garment

Natural sights:

The Blue Pool – a beautiful pool of Kanina river

The Dark Forest – a forest reserve

Manoilova Dupka Cave- with various cave formations, underground river and waterfalls. It is the home of globally protected bat species. Entrance to the cave is limited.

Rizova Dupka Cave – a rare type of cave formed not by erosion but by vertical slicing in a gneiss rock, caused by its won weight

The Zagrade Plane trees: these are two incredible sycamores (plane trees) over 600 years old; they can be seen on the right side on the road from Gotse Delchev town to the village of Marchevo. In the Tertiary (or so the sources say) there used to be a huge forest of such trees along the valley of Mesta river.

If you need any help with reservation or a tourist guide to show you around write me an e-mail to truebulgaria@gmail.com or use the contact form.