If you want to experience true local hospitality in Bulgaria, you need to head to the faraway, almost hidden from the world places. Big cities tend to be hectic and lacking personality but this is not the case when you visit the far more amiable villages. Here’s our guide to 10 of the Bulgarian villages where you can expect the warmest reception.
Ribaritsa is the longest Bulgarian village. It stretches for more than 14 km along a river valley at the foot of Stara Planina mountain range. Ribaritsa is perfect for hikers as there are many mountain paths available and there are lots of cozy guesthouses.
This village in Pirin mountain has preserved its old time atmosphere. The houses are built of wood and stone and the friendly locals (mainly elderly people) always greet you with “God bless you” instead of “Hello”. As Delchevo is perched on a mountain ridge, you can expect a fantastic view down to the valley. The best panorama (and the best food) is from the restaurant in the center of the village
Leshten is only accessible by car. It is a protected area so no new houses are allowed to built. This means that all the neat black and white wood and stone buildings you see stick to the architectural style of 19th century. Most of them are guesthouses these days. There is only one restaurant in the village center which serves local cuisine.
Ognyanovo is in a region famous for its thermal mineral water. The village itself is not really scenic but there are comfortable hotels and guesthouse with spa centers (your body will thank you after a day in a pool of hot mineral water). There is a small natural outdoor pool close to the forest, where everyone is welcome to soak in the water for free. Visit in the winter and when you are sitting outside, up to your chin in lovely warm water, the cold just doesn’t matter.
Beli Plast is a tiny village tucked away in the Rhodope Mountains. The only reason visitors come here are the rock mushroom formations at the end of the village. Being well aware of that, the locals are always welcoming and ready to give you helpful advice. There is only one shop in the center of the village, which is a cafe and a tavern at the same time.
Balgari is famous all over Bulgaria for being the last village where the ancient ritual of firewalking is held. Plan your visit for June 3 when in the evening fire walkers, or nestinari, perform a special dance over hot coals, holding the image of St. Constantine and St. Helen. Balgari village is about an hour away from the seaside city of Burgas.
At first glance, you might think this is just an ordinary village. But it is home to one of the natural wonders of Bulgaria, the Stob Pyramids. These bizarre earth formations are thousands of years old and are a variety of shapes. Some of them are cone shaped, while others look more like mushrooms with stone caps on top.
To reach Yagodina, you need to drive along a narrow winding mountain road. Its scary but it’s worth it. The air is fresh and clean, the mornings are misty and the people are friendly and warm. Yagodina’s major attraction is the beautiful Yagodinska Cave, situated close by.
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