Archive for the ‘village houses with family hosts’ 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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Village of Trigrad – Amazing Travel

November 2, 2009

Trigrad Gorge – amazing beauty! Words cannot describe. Pictures cannot capture. You need to feel it.

Geographical area: Trigrad is a small village in the Western Rhodope Mountains, very close to the Bulgarian-Greek border. The journey from Sofia takes about 3 hours – driving directions Sofia-Trigrad. It is a beautiful drive! You should make this journey as soon as possible because in 1-2 years there will be a new a dam – Tsankov Kamak – on the road and a big part of it will be submerged under deep water.

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Just a small fraction of the gorge

Trigrad is set in the most beautiful region of the Rhodope Mountains. Travelers who come to Trigrad enjoy the amazing scenery of the mighty gorge, beautiful nature, great caves, crystal clear mountain air, hospitable people… unforgettable experience!

Where to stay: Many local people would be glad to welcome you in their house. They are known for being very hospitable and hardworking folks. We have stayed in different houses, but we felt most at home at the Kaldarama house. The hosts names are Vessela and Yakim.

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The view from our balcony

The house is in the very beginning of the village. Once you enter the village you take the first left, over a small wooden bridge. Then you drive about 200 metres and you will see the yellow house on your left. The house offers 4 double rooms, each with a private bathroom with a WC. There is a nice yard, where guests usually prefer to sit when the weather is fine.

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Room with one queen and one twin bed

The rooms provide the basic comfort – they are clean, and warm. Each room has a small TV. Our room had a small balcony with a nice view to the village. Each room has a private bathroom with WC.

The WC: the basic comfort – private WC, sink and shower

The food: that’s the best part:) You choose what you want to eat and the host will cook it for you. The food is simple, but everything is home made from scratch. The milk comes directly from their cow and is buttery and delicious. They make their own yogurt. You should try it! The jams are all fruit and they are wonderful. For breakfast I recommend you try mekitsi with their home-made jams or pine honey or their special banitsa. For dinner try the patatnik or pan-fried trout. You should also try their famous herbal tea, they call it mursalski tea, which grows only in the Rhodope region. It has a refreshing and regenerative effect and they  playfully call it the local Viagra:) They do not serve spirits, but you can bring your own.

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One third of my breakfast - mekitsa and real cow's milk

The service: the hosts, Vessela and Yakim were great and made us feel at home!

Price: 20 leva per person per night; you pay separately for the food.

Pros: delicious food, great hosts, clean and warm rooms, nice view from balcony, pleasant yard

Cons: our room and bathroom were quite tiny, the ventilation in the bathroom is not  very good and once you take a shower it takes a long time for the bathroom to dry out

Contact: the phone numbers for the house: (+359) 03040 225 and mobile (+359) 0886  104 201. If you have additional questions use the contact form or simply write me an e-mail to: truebulgaria@gmail.com .

Things to do / see

Caves: There numerous known and unknown caves in the region – paradise for cave lovers and climbers. If you decide to visit the caves, please, do not make pictures, step carefully and do not touch anything! The light not only disturbs the bats, but also increases the natural temperature and spoils the cave formations, which take veeeery loooong to form. If we want our kids to be able to see this beauty we really need to be careful. That is a major problem of the local people, who want to promote and preserve at the same time – an extremely hard task.

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View from Haramiiska cave

Yagodinska Cave is the longest cave in the Rhodope Mountains. The cave is very pretty with its numerous cave  formations. No wander a lot of young couples have chosen to get married in the very cave – in something like a ritual hall.  Here are some quick facts about the cave:

– 10500 metres long (1100 are available for the visitors)

– 275 000 years old

–  6ºС annual temperature

– open all year-long – first entry 9 am.; last entry 4:15 pm

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You can boat in the very gorge

Dyavolsko Garlo (Devil’s Throat) cave is an amazing cave right in the Trigrad Gorge.  The natural entrance of the cave resembles the shape of a devil’s head – hence the name. The main part of the cave represents a huge hall where you will see the highest underwater waterfall on the Balkan Peninsula. By the waterfall there are 301 steps, which will take you back on Earth:) According to the ancient Thracian legends  it is from here that Orpheus descends into the underground kingdom of Hades to save his beloved wife Eurydice. Here are some quick facts about the cave:

Dyavolsko Garlo (Devil's Throat) Cave

– 110 metres long

– 40 metres wide

– 35 metres high

– 8ºС annual temperature

– open during the Summer season 8am-6pm; during the Winter season you need to call in advance

Listen to a pipe player at the entrance of Dyavolsko Garlo cave.

Haramiiska cave does not have open public access. You need to have a guide if you want to visit it. It is a little bit on the extreme side and I strongly recommend the experience. During the Summer season it won’t be hard to find a guide. The guides usually gather in front of Dyavolsko Garlo cave each morning around 9am.

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Climbing to Haramiiska cave

Horse riding: at the south end of the village there is a horse riding center. They will offer you different routes depending on your preferences. The Rhodope Mountains are the perfect place for horse riding!

There are also walking trails, climbing, offroad motor-biking etc.

You can walk to the old Bulgarian-Greek border through the deserted village of Vodni Pad (Водни Пад). The trail starts from the horse riding centre. It takes about 2 hours in both directions. The only permanent resident of the village of Vodni Pad is a 90 year-old lady. You can visit her and she will make hot tea for you. This is how the journey looks in the first snow in October:

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The walk to Vodni Pad during the first snow - Ocotber 31, 2009

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A sign pointing the direction to Vodni Pad village

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the first snow - October 31, 2009

Zassele Village – Nature Paradise Close to Sofia

August 25, 2009

If you want to get away from Sofia for a day or two Zassele village is probably the  perfect destination – so close to Sofia and yet so far away.

Geographical  area: Northwestern part of Bulgaria, in the recesses of the Western Balkan Range. In this area the Iskar river shapes its gorge through the lofty rocks and the views are more than impressive.

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view from Bojilovo complex

Location: Zassele village is close to Svoge town. Here is a map with directions Sofia-Zassele.

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Bojilovo complex

Where to stay

Bojilovo complex: the house stands on a high slope in the end of Zassele village and provides a wonderful bird’s-eye view to the village and surroundings. There are no other houses close to it, no noise or traffic. The house is new, cozy and clean. It has a large trim garden. There is a small tavern with a fireplace. You can also have your meals or coffee outside and enjoy the sun and the view.

The rooms: Bojilovo complex offers 4 rooms. Two double rooms, one triple room and one double suite. Each of them has a separate bathroom. The rooms are very clean and comfortable, designed in a traditional folk style. Excellent mattress, pillows and linen – the owners did a great job.

The tavern is small and cozy with a fireplace. When the weather is nice everyone eats outside in the garden.

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dining outside in the garden

The food was simple but very delicious. They don’t offer a big menu – u basically have a few options to choose from, but they are all great – I personally think this is the right way. We had typical Bulgarian oven cooked meals and delicious BBQ. They have pretty good wine selection. For breakfast we had a very delicious banitsa (Bulgarian pastry dish with eggs and feta cheese.)

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lunch in the yard of Bojilovo complex

Pros: All the above – great location, close to Sofia, everything is nice and clean and put together with style and taste. The food is excellent – small but great choice.

Cons: in the morning we woke up because of noise in the lobby of the house.  Sometimes we had to wait longer for our meals or drinks, but I can live with that, considering the fact that everything is natural and home-made.

Price: Double room 35 euro, Triple room 40 euro, Double Suite 50 euro, breakfast included.

Contacts: If you have further questions about Bojilovo complex use the contact form or simply write an e-mail to: truebulgaria@gmail.com

Things to do / see

A scenic Еco trail along Iskar river gorge – they call it Vazov’s Eco Trail in honour of the renowned Bulgarian poet and writer Ivan Vazov, who loved to walk along these places and was inspired by the lofty creations of nature.

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view from the eco trail

Skaklia waterfall – a 130-metre high semi-active waterfall, one of the highest waterfalls on the Balkan Peninsula.

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Skaklia waterfall along the eco trail

Caves: the region is a favourite place for cave lovers. The most popular one is Temnata Dupka (The Dark Hollow). Here are some other caves in the region: Elata (a very interesting vertical cave) Dushnika, Kacite, Majanica etc.

Bula: You can see the Bula from Bojilovo complex. It is the top of the highest slope in the area. We walked there – not more than 1-hour walk through the beech forest. We sat on the very top of Bula, our feet dangling in the air – the feeling is unforgettable.

Djuglata – a rock phenomena by Tserovo village