Nightingale Hostel Sofia | Найтингейл хостел София

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As I concluded that I would need a place to sleep in Sofia for not too much money I googled ‘hostel Sofia’. I ended up on the website of hostelworld.com and saw that Nightingale was cheap and close to the place where I would go that night. After seeing the pictures and checking the rates I booked 2 beds for that same night in the biggest dorm they had.

When we arrived we had to pass a door and ring a bell. The second door unlocked and we walked up the stairs. After a second of feeling lost we found the ‘reception’. An awesome guy welcomed us. Since we made the booking 2 hours before arrival he had some trouble finding the reservation. We ended up just paying for 2 beds and got a little upgrade because of loud roommates in the biggest dorm. He showed us the room and we picked a bed after which we got a key for the locker and one for the front door.

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We slept in a mixed dormitary with 10 beds and had our own locker. There’s a living room, a kitchen, a toilet and 2 showers with those rain showerheads. Nice! There’s breakfast in the morning, a washing machine and more. Next to the hostel is a restaurant with a nice terrace where you can have a good Bulgarian diner. It’s close to the cultural center of Sofia, with the Ethnographic museum, the Alexandar Nevsky Catherdral and the National Theatre.

This hostel is like sleeping at a friends place. They’ve got rules, but if you ask nicely everything is possible. We had breakfast at 1 in the afternoon and as one of the posts mentioned it was possible to check out after 11 when you asked. The guy that owns the hostel loves to talk about anything with anyone. He seemed like a guy who is always busy arranging things, which can get a little difficult for him. He wants the best for everyone but sometimes gets in trouble doing so. You might end up in another room than you booked for example. You can book a bed in the 16 beds dormitary for 12 leva. A private single room will cost you 36 leva.

Address: Budapeshta street 8, Sofia | улица будапеща 8, София
Coordinates: 42.698200, 23.327950

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howtogettonightingaleHow to get there?
From the central bus/railway station
Take the metro. You can find an entrance next to the bus station, it’s next to the lever for the busses (where the busses enter the bus station). Take the metro until the stop called Serdika (сердика). A ticket costs 1 leva and you can buy them at the entrance, there’s a desk and machines as well. When you get out of the metro walk into the direction of the buildings you see on this picture. Take the street between those 2 buildings. The hostel will be on the 4th street on your left. They’ve got a ‘Nightingale’ sign on their balkony on the corner.

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HostelMostel Veliko Tarnovo | ХостелМостел Велико Търново

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After multiple great experiences at HostelMostel Sofia I decided to try out the one in Veliko Tarnovo during my stay there. And it was good. It’s different from Sofia, but it’s an amazing place. I went there in October and it wasn’t too crowded, which was nice because I stayed there with my family. It’s situated close to Tsarevets, the (remains of the) castle that once ruled Bulgaria. The hostel is not in the center though, and as we drove there we were wondering whether we were going in the right direction. But there it was, exactly as the TomTom told us!

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It’s a traditional Bulgarian house with on the first floor the reception, some computers and as you walk in to the room there’s a chill-out-place. Pillows on the floor, some cute little wooden stools and a little table. The dorms, bathrooms and toilets are all linked to the central living room.

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The dorms have bunk beds with next to them closets where you can keep your valuable stuff when you want to. They’ve got keys at the reception.

hostel-mostel veliko tarnovo dining roomDownstairs there’s a room with picknick tables, a little bar and a kitchen. They serve breakfast in the morning and have milk, tea and coffee prepared. In the evening they serve diner as well (we haven’t tried it, went out to eat in the center). It’s also possible to enjoy the sun, there’s a corner outside the first floor, after the stairs outside where you can sit and enjoy the weather, and there’s a garden!

Prices are between 20 leva for a bed in a 10-bed dormitory and 46 leva for a single private room. It’s also possible to camp there, a tent space will cost you 18 leva. It’s easy to make a reservation, you can do this on their website.

Address: Street Iordan Indzheto 10, Veliko Tarnovo | Улица Йордан Инджето 10
Coordinates: 43.079751, 25.645270

How to get there
Whether you’re driving from the E85 or the E772, drive until the junction. From there take the 5/E85 going north, where you’ll have to follow the sign ‘Center’. This road, the 514, will be on your left, after about 500 m depending where in the junction you’re coming from. When you arrive at the T junction go right to stay on the 514 for another 1,2 km. Then take a slight right to the street Chitalishtna (улица Читалищна). After 210 m take another right to Street Iordan Indzheto (Улица Йордан Инджето). The hostel will be on your right after about 100 m.

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Piano bar limited | Пиано бар ‘limited’

Piano Bar interior

Piano bar impression2I love this place! It has this nice vibe, great music and awesome people. It’s situated in the center of Blagoevgrad, in a small street next to the big shopping street. All you can see from the outside is the entrance with above ‘Piano bar limited’. Right after the entrance there are stairs, going down to the bar itself. I’ve seen this in every bar I’ve been to in this city. All the bars and clubs are underground. Smart, because you won’t have other people complaining about noise (in the Netherlands we don’t have this as much).

So, downstairs there’s a guarded coat stand, with on your left the toilets (with chill out couch in the girls bathroom, watch out guys! ‘Going to the toilet’ will never mean the same again). On the right is the bar, with 3 bars and barstools and tables with seats. It’s really cozy, with tea lights everywhere. There’s also a piano and they often have a band performing (awesome!). For those who like performing themselves, every thursday there’s karaoke night. They often organize evenings with Rock (and Roll) and once a month there’s a Bulgarian evening on friday.

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The people who come here are between 23ish and 35ish years old. Of course there are exceptions! If you want to go on a saturday night and would like a place to sit, you can make a reservation (on the number 0898 828 828). It’s not required though. The idea is to have conversations while listening to the music, though the music gets louder as the night continues. A good excuse for some dancing or a more intimate conversation (read: yelling in each others ears). A great place for an amazing night out.

An impression:

Address according to their FB page:
Street Todor Alexandrov 23, Blagoevgrad | Улица Тодор Александров 23
Where the entrance is:
Street Petko. D. Petkov 2, Blagoevgrad | Улица Петко. Д. Петков 2
Coordinates: 42.019304, 23.099606

How to get there?
howtogettopianobarWhen you’re walking on the big shopping street between BILLA (orange) and the big mall LARGO (green) it’s the fourth street from BILLA on your right, and the third street from LARGO on your left. When you stand in front of the street you’ve got a kiosk and a clothing store called ALEXANDRA on your left, and the Shamrock restaurant and an oldskool phone on the wall next to it on your right. It’s halfway down this street on your right!

Amphi theater | античен театър

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The amphi theater was build in the second century a.C. It has place for 7000 people and it’s amazing. Interesting fact: In the fifth century it got destroyed during an attack led by Attila the Hun. After that the theater was forgotten and abandoned and got covered with earth. It got rediscovered around 1970, when part of the theater was revealed after an earth quack. It got rebuild and reconstructed and is now open in the summer for concerts and performances. You can also visit and take a look around.

The view is amazing. When you sit down on one of the marble stone seats you can enjoy a performance with the best background ever. It’s really amazing.

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Want to go to a performance there? There are performances in the sumer and you can buy tickets in the city center, on the square with the fountain, close to McDonalds. There’s a Costa Coffee there, and across there’s a little white cottage with posters on the walls. They sell tickets for different performances, also the ones in amphi theater. It’s a little bit old style ticket selling and I don’t think they speak English, so here’s the Bulgarian phrase to buy tickets:

Mozhe li dve (2) bileti za … molja? Can I have 2 tickets for … please?

There’s an international folklore festival every summer with performances in the amphi theater. It’s the best and you can go for free! Probably around the end of July / beginning of August.

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Address: ulitsa Hemus | улица Хемус
Coordinates: 42.147490, 24.751233

How to get there?
Somewhere in the middle of the shopping street you find the mosque (pink), part of the ancient stadium and a little park(green). Walk between the mosque and the park and take the street to the right of the church, going uphill. You will see a big yellow building, which is the academy of music and dance. Keep this building on your right. After the building there’s a little staircase, go there, and you will see a big gate and a terrace. Go to the gate and amaze yourself. The entrance for sightseeing is on the left.

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HostelMostel Sofia | ХостелМостел София

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I’ve been to this hostel a couple times, unfortunately because it’s also my got-to-catch-an-early-flight-at-like-6:30-hostel. It’s a great place, for many reasons. I never expected to find such a cozy hostel close to this big square in the center of Sofia. The entrance is a garage-alike door that leads you to a big open space used as a parking lot and a beautiful traditional Bulgarian house.

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It’s really easy to make a reservation. You can book a 6- or 8-bed dormitary, there’s a big sleeping loft with many beds, and it’s also possible to book a single, 2-, 3- or 4-bed private room. Personally I prefer the 6- or 8-bed dormitary, however I made I friend in the big sleeping loft as soon as I woke up one morning haha. I guess it depends on the reason you’re staying there. Want to meet lots of new people and have amazing adventures? Go for the loft, for sure. Want a bigger chance at a good night sleep (in case you’ve got to catch a flight, for example), then I recommend the 6- or 8-bed dormitary. Prices are from 20 leva for a bed in the loft to 50 leva for a single private room and you can make the reservation on their website (they need to confirm though!).

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There’s a big livingroom with the reception, a pool table, some computers, a ‘relaxcorner’, tables and chairs and a kitchen. Got dirty laundry? No problem, there’s a washmachine and dryer! Diner, pasta and beer, is included in the booking and you can eat this together with others every evening. The vibe is always good, there’s music and it looks artistic. A perfect place to get to know others.

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They’ve got their own citymap with all the nice things to do in Sofia, and where to go for a cup of coffee or diner. It’s a great map and I was really glad when I got it because I couldn’t find any when I arrived at the bus station. If you’re looking for specific places or things the employees will be more than happy to help you. They also organize adventurous activities!

Adress: 2A Makedonia Boulevard | Бул. Македония 2А
Coordinates: 42.694708, 23.314885

142763466570431How to get there?
From the central bus/railway station
Buy two tickets – 1.00 lev each (one for you and one for your backpack) from the nearest newspaper kiosk or from the driver. There’s a big street in front of the bus/train station, when standing in front of the station walk to the big T-cross at the right with bus- and tramstops. Go there. Take tram 1, 6 or 7 direction to Makedonia sqr and immediately punch the two tickets. Get off at the fourth stop and walk a little bit back to the big square. Cross the street and walk to the left a little bit. You will see the little red HM sign on your right.

Bachkovo monastery | Бачковски манастир

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When we drove to the Bachkovo monastery, we saw the signs on our way there. The last one led us to the parking lot. After we parked the car we followed the street which went up hill to the monastery. Along the street were many souvenir shops and food stands. They sell pottery, candy, herbs, bracelets and more. I bought myself some herbs once. You will pass a gate and a little fountain and before you know it you will stand in front of the monastery, with on your right some beautiful trees.

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Next to the entrance is also a small fountain. The beautiful gate will lead you to the courtyard, with in the middle an orthodox church, a big tree with a gutter around it, a patch of grass with a fountain on it, chickens and a rooster walking around and the beautiful 3 stories of monk cells (and probably others things, this makes me curious!) surrounding this all.

Also good to know, on the left side of the monastery, opposite the entrance of the church, there’s a door. You should definitely check if it’s open, because there’s another little courtyard behind it with another little church. You can’t enter the church, but the view from outside is amazing already. When you’re not sure about whether it’s okay to go there, ask someone ‘Mozhe li da pogledam kakwo e tam?’ May I see what’s there?

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I really like this monastery. It’s a cozy one and it really feels like you’re back in time (when there aren’t groups of tourists..). I’ve been here 3 times and it has been wonderful every time.

Adress: Plovdiv and the Valley of the Kings | Пловдив и Долината на тракийските царе
Coordinates: 41.943642, 24.855324

How to get there?
When you drive on the 86 between Asenovgrad and Chepelare you will find Bachkovo monastery on the east side of the road. It lies beneath the town of Bachkovo. From Asenovgrad it’s about 10 km, from Chepelare about 43 km. You will see the signs when you get closer, including the one leading to the parking lot next to the road. It’s next to a river, where there’s a walking bridge.

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Regional Museum of History Blagoevgrad | Регионален исторически музей Благоевград

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Yesterday I went to the Regional Museum of History in Blagoevgrad. I must admit, my expectations weren’t too high. Some weeks ago there was a photo exposition of which the advertising poster was the most impressive..

I decided to go anyway and I’m glad I did. I bought a ticket at the entrance and the English speaking woman told me to go downstairs. Well, I didn’t expect the stuffed animals! I immediatly got this ‘Night at the museum’ feeling. There was no one else, only the animals, all staring at me. From butterflies, owls, birds, snakes and gulls to foxes, rabbits, bears and deer.

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I was happy to see other people entering the museum, talking, getting rid of the abandonment. I looked around in the other 2 areas on that floor, with pottery, jewelry, parts of church statues. Here are some pictures to give you an impression.

After I’d seen everything downstairs I went back to first floor. This museum has different departments and it’s hard to say how big it is and how much more is coming. I decided to just see where I would end up. I got to see old Bulgarian song books, a dreary costume exposition, a department with war attributes going from swords to old pictures, propagandist posters and guns. On the second floor was a deparment with old cameras, a sewing machine, furniture and old documents.


20150320_160712 For a moment I thought I was back in my ‘Night at the museum’ again. I swear I heard something! As I carefully looked around the next corner I got tapped on my shoulder. Haha, just kidding. I saw 2 buckets on the floor, catching water dripping from the ceiling. This museum was a giant, proud, dominant building when it was build 60 years ago, but things have aged. Some of the lights don’t work, there are leakage problems, the carpet has different colors.. The collection is amazing, the way it’s preserved and presented needs renovation.

On top of that the power went out. The man who was leading around some students went back to the entrance, which made me think the museum was closing early. I asked him, to be sure, and he told me it was a power cut problem in the city. The museum was still open! As I returned to the second floor he asked me if he could lead me around. He told me about costumes, the Turkish Empire, communist times and his own experiences with that as a 10 year old. After 10 minutes the light went back on, and we walked another round to have a better look.

He told me that there are plans for a big costume exposition this year. I got excited and asked if there was any way I could help with that. We exchanged contact information and hopefully this won’t be the end of the story.

It’s a museum worth visiting and a ticket costed me 2 leva. Look closely and don’t let the way things are preserved ruin it’s beauty.

Adress: street ‘Bistritsa’ 2, Varosha (Old town), Blagoevgrad
улица ‘Бистрица’ 2, Вароша
Coordinates: 42.020383, 23.102929

142693719354623How to get there?
When you’re driving on the E79/1 between Sofia and the border of Greece take a left (or right, if you’re coming from south) at the junction close to ‘Mr. Bricolage’, a big job shop. You will get on boulevard Sveti Dimitar Solunksi (булевард свети димитър солунски), where you will take a right when you’re in front of cemetery next to Kaufland. After a roundabout this will turn into street Aleksander Stamboliiski (улица Александър Стамболийски). The museum is next to old town of Blagoevgrad, which is called Varosha. You will see it on your right side when driving on this street.