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 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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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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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.

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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.

 

Rila monastery | Рилски манастир

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I love monasteries. They make me curious. To enter you have to pass a gate and the walls don’t tell you what to expect. I’ve seen pictures of Rila, but it’s so big and beautiful! An orthodox church in the middle, with a clocktower next to it, surrounded by more than 300 cells for monks divided over 3 floors. There are many amazing story telling paintings, there’s a little drinking fountain, a tiny post office, a library and a museum. When you go in the church you’ll find yourself in this mysterious, historic, dark surrounding lit by candles.

68884033The largest active religious center in Bulgaria, that’s Rila monastery. It was founded in the 10th century, by Ivan Rilski’s followers after he passed away. He became a saint of the Bulgarian orthodox church and his grave became a pilgrimage for thousands of people. A fire destroyed the monastery in 1833, after which it was rebuild from 1834 until 1862.
The monastery got included to the UNESCO world heritage list in 1982 and is one of the biggest and most visited monasteries in the Balkan.

Rila_Monastery_20110712-110For those who love the peace and quiet that comes with religious places, think about when you will visit. You’re not the only one, and especially in the summer it can be more crowded.

Adress: 2643 Kyustendil
Coordinates: 42.132959, 23.339686

During my second visit I found out there’s a lot more to see! You can climb the clock tower, see some amazing collections (costumes, jewelry) and visit the museum. Click here to read more about how to buy this all-in ticket!

How to get there?
1425461472162422When you drive on the highway E79/1 between Dupnica and Blagoevgrad, take exit 107 to Kocherinovo and Rila. When you get on the 107 drive another 30,6 km. The monastery is much further than the town Rila, don’t get confused about this!

On your way to this monastery you’ll pass
Retromuseum Billy, with a messy but impressive collection antique. From cars to ceramics, sewing machines and horse saddles, they have it all!