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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How to have the best ‘Rila’ experience

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I’ve been to the Rila monastery twice now. The first time I was amazed by the monastery, the church and the clocktower which are all amazing. But for me, when it comes to these places, I get supercurious about the things behind doors and ‘forbidden’ signs.

”How to buy the ticket that will get you in to the clock tower, the museum, the icon gallery, the guest rooms, the costume collection, the jewelry collection, the blanket/carpet collection and the old monastery kitchen.” Sounds good, right?

So, we went for the second time. After some walking around we saw a sign ‘icon gallery’. It wasn’t that impressive, but there was a lady who told us that we could buy all-in tickets at the museum. While having doubts about these tickets we went to the museum, and after a little Bulgarian chat we decided to buy the tickets for 18 leva p.p.

We went into the museum, which was really nice. It’s not so big, because it’s in a part of the monastery, but they had a beautiful collection with some Bulgarian and English information. After seeing the museum we went outside and somehow figured out that we could climb the clocktower with our tickets! Nice! We went inside and walked several stairs, crossing different floors with some paintings and old ‘hole’ toilets in the walls. From the highest floor you have a nice window view over the monastery from different corners.

When we were back down there was a woman who told us to come with her. We didn’t really know why but followed. She took us to the second floor of the monastery, which I thought was pretty exciting, and unlocked a door. That was the first of 4 or 5 guest rooms in traditional Bulgarian style from several areas in Bulgaria. Seats, carpet, paintings, ovens, a kitchen, closets and much more. Really beautiful.

After showing us these rooms she took us to the third floor (yay!) where she showed us a beautiful Bulgarian costume collection, also from different areas. Since my friend and I really like this and told her about it she started to sing a song for us. So sweet! There was also a jewelry collection and a room filled with carpets and blankets. Amazing.

After that she took us back downstairs and to another corner of the monastery. She told us we could take a look there as well and said goodbye. We were surprised once again, didn’t expect her to leave us. We thanked her and took a look in the old monastery kitchen with a gigantic pizza oven.

After seeing all this we decided to take a break and so we bought ourselves some delicious Mekitsi outside the monastery at the window shop in the building next to it. Mekitsi are typical Bulgarian fried pieces of dough. Jummy!

I had no idea about all these rooms and collections and I’m so glad the woman told us about the ticket! I feel like they’ve got great things, they just don’t know how to sell them.

We weren’t allowed to take pictures from the first and second floor, the rooms and the collections, which was understandable but a bit disappointing. The employees also didn’t speak English, which made it somewhat unclear sometimes. But if you want to see more than the church and the monastery view I can totally recommend this!

Want to know how to get there? Or looking for some more information about the monastery itself? Read more

Art Hostel Sofia | Арт Хостел София

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The name already says it, this is an artistic, free minded, alternative place. It’s located in the center of Sofia, in a side street parallel to the big shopping street.

arthostelbarTo enter the hostel you have to ring a doorbell. After someone at the reception responds (or when you have a key) you can open the gate. You’ll enter a path with on your right the entrance to the reception, some computers and a couch in a living room, a kitchen and a public toilet next to it. After receiving keys, a city map and a free-drink-in-the-bar-coupon they’ll show you where you’ll sleep. To enter the dorms you have to go outside, walk through the garden behind the hostel where is another entrance to a staircase. You need a key to enter the staircase as well, since there’s a bar in the basement of the hostel.

I slept in a 9-bed dorm, with bunk beds containing 3 beds, most of them with cute curtains for both privacy and darkness. There was another dorm next to it, and 2 shared showers, a toilet and a sink. I haven’t seen the other dorms, because I didn’t have the key for them, but this video will give a good impression of the entire hostel:

There are 9- and 5-bed dorms, and there a private single, double and triple rooms. Prices are between 24 leva for a bed in the biggest dorm and 52 leva for the single private room. These prices are for the summer, June to September. Bookings outside this period are a bit cheaper.

Breakfast is included, there are often events in the bar and there are a lot of activities like hiking, rafting and horse riding. Make sure you shower before others do, because their 24/7 hot shower promise didn’t come true.

Address: ulitsa Angel Kanchev 21/A, 1000 Sofia
Coordinates: 42.691168, 23.322053

howtogettoarthostelsofiaHow to get there
From the central bus/railway station
Take the metro until NDK, after 3 stops. You will be on the southern end of the big shopping street, seeing a big park. Walk in the direction of the shopping street and take the fourth street, ulitsa William Gladston, right. Then take the second street right, the hostel will be on your left after 20 m.

Mineral Baths, Sapareva Banya | Минерални бани, Сапарева Баня

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Sapareva Banya, a small town north of the Rila mountains, is known for it’s mineral water with a 103°C geyser in the center. A perfect place for mineral baths. There’s a great place called Aqua Club Kotvata that has it all. In- and outdoor baths with different temperatures up to 40°C, hot and cold. The view outside is amazing, with a mountain background. There’s also a sauna department.

From Oktober to March the place is open everyday from 06:30 to 20:00. From April to September it’s open from 09:00 to 21:30 and is closed on monday. I’m not completely sure about entrance prices, but according to their website it will cost you about 12 leva for an adult and 7 for children from 4-12 years old.

Best time to go there would be from October untill May. Don’t go there in the summer, especially when you don’t like crowded places.

Address: street Germaneya 38, 2650 Sapareva banya | улица Germania 38, 2650 Сапарева баня
Coordinates: 42.287945, 23.254253

How to get there
From Sofia: Drive on the E79 to Dupnica, south of Sofia. When you’re almost there take the exit to road 62, after the town Piperevo and before the town Kavakliya. Keep following road 6204 for 12 km. You will cross 3 other towns before entering Sapareva Banya. It will be on your left, after about 450 m when entering the town.

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From Dupnica (Blagoevgrad/Kyustendil): Drive to Dupnica. When you get on the E79 stay on this road until you see a viaduct. Stay right and take the exit, to the center. Take the second left, after a slight. left Follow this main road for about 2 km. Then take a right at the traffic lights to the 6204, going to Sapareva Banya. You will see a CBA supermarket on your left after about 100m. Keep following road 6204 for 12 km. You will cross 3 other towns before entering Sapareva Banya. It will be on your left, after about 450 m when entering the town.

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From Samokov (Pazardzhik/Plovdiv): Drive to Samokov. From there take road 62 to Dupnica. After 23,2 km take a left to road 6204. Follow this road for 5,6 km. You will find the baths on your right, about 450 m before leaving the town.

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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.

Piano Bar Karaoke Piano Bar impression

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!