Tsari Mali Grad | Цари Мали Град

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I had never heard of Tsari Mali Grad before when a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go there. That wasn’t hard to say no to! The view from the parking lot was already pretty, and that was only halfway the hill. I found out that it was opened in 2013, after archaeological excavations since 2007. Interesting how something like this can be hidden for centuries.

There are 2 ways to get to the fortress. There’s an ecopath and an elevator. We took the ecopath, which was beautiful. I must say, it’s quite a steep walk. We passed a family with a kid in a buggy, and well, I wouldn’t recommend that. After a 10 minute walk through forrest we arrived at the fortress. There’s a long rope bridge above the grass which you can walk to enter the fortress. It’s also possible to walk down the ecopath, for those with the buggy for example. Both will lead you to the entrance.

Once again the view is amazing. You can see far away, different villages and mountains. Beautiful. You can buy a ticket at the entrance, which costs 4 leva for adults and 2 for students and pensioners. Children under 7 are free. There’s a beautfiul clocktower, a church and the fortress itself, with an etnographic collection of coins, pottery  and handcrafts.

Address: Selo (village) Belchin, 2025 Samokov | Село Белчин, 2025 Самоков
Coordinates: 42.354653, 23.382602

howtogettotsarimaligradbetterHow to get there?
Take road 62 between Dupnica and Samokov. When coming from Dupnica take a left after 25 km. When coming from Samokov take a right after 12,5 km. After 2 km you’ll reach the village of Belchin. Take the second street left and follow this road until you’re at the restaurant and elevator. There’s a parking lot on the right.

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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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Yo-ho-Hostel Varna | Йо-Хо-Хостел Варна

normal_100_5049This hostel is awesome. As soon as you enter you will find yourself in an aquarium hallway. The stairs will lead you to the hostel itself, with the reception. It’s really messy, creative, cozy, free minded, international and fun. There’s always someone there to help you, they speak English and are more than willing to help you. They’ve got their own citymaps with places to go and things to do and they will love to tell you their favorite places. And when their day of work is over, you can come along aswell!

normal__MG_0746There are pictures, posters, figurines, paintings and many other stuff around the hostel. There are rooms for 11 and 4 people, but it’s also possible to have a private room for 2 or 1. The cheapest bed will cost you 14 leva and will be in the 11-bed dorm.

There are showers on both floors of the hostel, there’s a livingroom with couches, computers, a table with some chairs and there’s a kitchen where you can find your not-so-amazing breakfast (Tip: toast your bread!). There’s also a backyard, with lots of places to hang out.

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The hostel can help you with activities. It’s possible to go bungeejumping, or to join a boat trip on a ‘Waterbattleship’. And there’s more!

I loved how easy it was to meet new people there. This hostel attracts people who are open to meeting other people, and after hanging out in the living room a little bit, we got ourselves a dinerdate with 3 others. It was also nice to ask whoever was around to join the Free Varna Tour, because that way you will see more of the city and you will also get to know the ones you ‘know’ from the hostel better.

DSCN5495Varna is a coastal town, and I think the best time to go there is in the summer. There are people everywhere, there’s live music, nice beachbars and restaurants, it’s so alive! There’s a creative, free vibe, and there’s a big offer in different music and scenes. It’s a touristic city, but the diversity of the tourists is big.

Adress: ulitsa ‘Ruse’ 23, 9000 Varna (улица ‘Русе’ 23, 9000 Варна)
Coordinates: 43.203645, 27.910240

How to get there?
It’s really close to the cathedral of the assumption of the blessed virgin, the biggest church in Varna. When you’re standing on the side of the church with all the taxis in the front, follow the big street to the right a little bit. There’s an underpass. Then follow the street and take the first left. Yo-ho-hostel is on the right side of the street, with a door post and a sign above it.

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Restaurant Megdana | Ресторант мегдана

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megdanahousesIf you’re curious about Bulgarian culture, this is the place to go. It has it all, a beautiful garden surrounded by balconies where you can have dinner in the summer and when you go inside the restaurant itself you will find many more tables. Everything is decorated with Bulgarian costumes, crafts and behind the ‘stage’ there are cute little Bulgarian houses. The employees all wear costume-inspired clothes and when you open the menu you will need half an hour to decide which of all the Bulgarian meals you will try.

There’s a performance everyday at 21:00. If you want to have diner and watch the performance in the weekend, make a reservation. The performance includes dances, danced by students of the art academy, and songs which are sung live. At the end you can dance with the dancers throughout the restaurant.

If you’re going there with friends or family and want to have conversations I would recommend to go around 20:15/20:30. You will have time to order and to chat before the performance begins. The music gets loud and it will be hard to talk during the performance.

What does it cost?
A shopska salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onion, white cheese) 400 gr costs 5 leva, savoury potatoes 3,40 leva and chicken fillet with mushroom sauce 8,60 leva. A soft drink costs 2,10 leva and half a liter beer around 2,50 leva.

Try the mixed parlenka, it’s delicious!

Adress: ulitsa “Odrin” 11, 4000 Plovdiv
Coordinates: 42.135894, 24.744758

How to get there?
howtogettomegdanaaIt’s next to bus station юг which means south. When you’re in front of the bus station on the side where all the busstops are, cross the big square. It’s behind the fence. The street looks a little bit abandoned and there’s a wall in front in the restaurant with windows and an open door. It will lead you to the lightened garden.

Ski complex Kartala | ски комплекс Картала

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kartalapisteMy family came for a ski vacation and after some searching they found out about Ski complex Kartala. They’ve got a Bulgarian website with some information where I found an e-mailadress and a phone number. With my good behavior I decided to call them. Well, that didn’t go so well. The woman  didn’t understand me and as I tried to rephrase my question I lost connection.

A Bulgarian friend of mine offered to call and got us a reservation. I just had no clue where I made this reservation. My father asked me if I could go there to check if everything was okay and so I went with another friend of mine who’s a taxidriver (saved me some money, sometimes it sucks having no drivers license!)

DSCN6347kartalaAfter driving 30 km uphill through beautiful mountains with trees covered with snow we arrived. There’s a parking lot right in front of the hotel where we parked the car. We walked the stairs and entered the hotel at the cafetaria and found out that the hotel has 4 floors. On the 1st floor you can rent ski supplies. On the 2nd you’ll find the hotelrooms with a little (strange sort of) reception. On the 3rd floor, where we came in, is the cafeteria where you can have breakfast, lunch, diner, a beer and a cup of coffee. The 4rd floor impressed me (I haven’t seen that many skihotels before) because there was the ski lift station!

Everything is connected by a big stairway that circles around an elevator. So, after you had breakfast, you go change in your hotelroom, get your skies at the skirent and take the lift to the 4rd floor where you get in the lift! On top of the hill you get out and ski down, all the way to the lift entrance at the 4rd floor. I must say, for those wh20150223_111735kartalao aren’t that advanced, the skipiste is a little bit hardcore. Thankfully there’s a beginners piste aswell. You’ll find it as you cross the parking lot and walk up a little bit. Accompanied by a cute cottage with a fireplace (only open in the weekends) and a ‘babylift’ where you can learn all the basics and improve your skills.

They don’t speak English, which can be difficult. You might need to use hands and feet to communicate!

Oh, and do NOT order the french fries. They are horrible. I can recommend the sautéed potatoes (картофи соте).

Adress: After ± 30 km on Reka Bistritsa (River Bistritsa).
Coordinates: 42.043269, 23.359774

howtogettokartalaborderHow 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). Keep following this road until you see a sign ‘Ski park Kartala’.

Hostel Old Plovdiv

1359625375677408 This is a beautiful and cozy hostel in the center of the Old Town of Plovdiv. You’re surrounded by an ethnographic museum, the amfi theater, the top of the hill with an amazing view (watch a sunset there!), part of the ancient stadium, church of the holy mother of god, restaurants, shops with handmade products, the dzhumaya mosque and many more. Wander around in the old streets and take time to look around.

The hostel has several rooms, for 2,3 or 4 people. It’s also possible to have a single room, or to ask kindly for a room for 5. Each room has something special, unique bedframes and antique accessories. There’s even a room with an amazing painting on the wall. None of them have a bathroom, you can find those next to the hallway with the reception.

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In the morning there’s a good breakfast, which you can eat outside in the garden. There’s also a ‘livingroom’ with a big baroque-ish couch and chairs. There’s a computer aswell.
The staff is great, they speak English and know a lot about the old town and Plovdiv. The staff I met was also great to hang out with in the garden! There’s always someone at the reception.

Adress: ulitsa ‘Chetvarti yanuari’ 3, 4000 Plovdiv | улица ‘Четвърти януари’ з
Coordinates: 42.149872, 24.752254

How to get there?
Walking from the shoppingstreet
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 de mosque and the park all the way up. Keep the church on your right. When you arrive on a little square go left. You will find the hostel at the left side.

Travelling with bus/taxi142557147495552/car
The busses stop at boulevard Tsar Boris III Obedinitel right after the tunnel. When you get out walk the stairs (red), with the tunnel on your right. Take the second street right, then a left and a right and you will find the hostel at the right side.

From the train/bus station (they’re pretty much next to each other) you can take bus 7, 20, 26 or shuttlebus2. You can buy bustickets in the bus. When with a car or taxi you can either stop at boulevard Tsar Boris III Obedinitel and walk the red route or follow the green line. Taxi’s will bring you halfway up there. There a possibility to park your car when you get on the ‘blue’ street, right before the church.