Blagoevgrad, the city

Blagoevgrad
What to see and where to be when visiting Blagoevgrad.

thesquareWhen you google ‘Blagoevgrad’ pictures of this square pop up most of the time. Although it’s a nice square this city has got more to offer. Let me tell you about where to go and what to do when staying in Blagoevgrad.

What to see?

oldtownI would recommend the old town, known as Vitosha. It’s small, but beautiful. Typical Bulgarian houses, the orthodox church and English information signs next to the historical houses.
Location: Street Bistritsa, coordinates: 42.020905, 23.103846

thecrossIf you like a wide view over town go to the cross, which you can find on top of one of the mountains. You can go there by car (or taxi), but it’s also possible to walk there.
Location: ‘Krusta’, coordinates: 42.022648, 23.110600

 

Blagoevgrad has a park aswell, called Bachinovo. It’s situated on the north west side of the city and you can either walk there (a side walk next to the street, not recommended for big groups/families) or go there by car. It has a lake with swans and ducks, surrounded by a pedestrian, grass and trees. There’s a climbing parcour for kids, some restaurants, open air train sets, a kid’s zoo and a playground (next to restaurant ‘Vodenitsata’).
Location: ‘Park Bachinovo’, coordinates: 42.033928, 23.128031

The square from all the pictures is situated next to the old American University and the Drama Theater ‘Nikola Vaptsarov’. It has different fountains and benches and you can see the cross from there.
Location: square Georgi Izmirliev-Makedoncheto, coordinates: 42.021394, 23.096009

Regional museum of history, Blagoevgrad

Blagoevgrad has a Regional museum of History. A big, old building from communist times which has aged but with a big collection of pottery, jewelry, handcrafts, paintings, costumes, and also a 20th century collection, pictures and books.
Address: street Bistritsa 2, Varosha (Old town), coordinates: 42.020383, 23.102929

Where to eat?

mehana starata kushtaFor Bulgarian cuisine go to this restaurant in the center called ‘Mehana starata kushta‘ (restaurant ‘the old house’). Inside there are different corners and levels with tables and outside there’s a big terrace. They’ve got live music on friday and saturday night.

Address: Ivan Vazov street 7
coordinates: 42.022042, 23.102104

mehana vodenicataThere’s also a great restaurant next to the park Bachinovo, which is called ‘Mehana vodenitsata‘ (restaurant ‘the water mill’). This place is amazing, all in Bulgarian style, with a big terrace, a kid’s zoo and even a playground. They’ve got live music on friday and saturday night as well.

Address: http://wp.me/p5Pffi-bv
coordinates: 42.035296, 23.132712

raffyFor international cuisine go to Raffy, where they have pasta, sushi, ice cream and more. The prices are compared to other places a bit higher, but the food is delicious. Good to know: this place turns into a bar on friday and saturday night, playing louder music and serving cocktails.

Address: street Trakia 1
coordinates: 42.020546, 23.100677

largeAnother place with an international menu is Large. This is a small restaurant on the second floor where you can have pizza, meat, salad and much more. This is a place for the colder seasons, where you can warm up and have a good diner in a cozy environment.

Address: Hristo Tatarchev street 1
coordinates: 42.021159, 23.099641

Where to have a drink?

polcaFor a nice cup of coffee go to PolCa. This cute coffeebar was opened by a woman from Poland and one from Canada. Together they speak a lot of languages and make your coffee on the spot. They also have soup, sandwiches and sweets.

Address: street Krali Marko 10
coordinates: 42.016803, 23.097352

Also for drinks I can recommend Raffy. They’ve got coffee, soft drinks and cocktails. Go there when you want to have a break from shopping or before you go out.
Address: street Trakia 1, coordinates: 42.020546, 23.100677

For those who like going out, here are some of the places to go to:

cluboverzicht

What to do?

cinemaxThere’s a small cinema ‘Cinemax’ with one hall. You can watch English movies with Bulgarian subtitles there. Just make sure you don’t pick a Bulgarian or children’s movie, they might be in Bulgarian and hard to understand. Address: square Georgi Izmirliev – Makedoncheto 9, coordinates: 42.021198, 23.096955

bowlingFor those who like bowling; lucky you! There’s a bowling center called ‘Corona’ where you can bowl, play pool, have a drink or diner and let your kids play in the playground (inside and outside!). Address: square Georgi Izmirliev-Makedoncheto 1, coordinates: 42.020956, 23.096269

aquaparkIn the summer you can enjoy the outdoor swimming pool known as Aqua park. One big pool, one wave pool and multiple water slides. You can buy drinks, ice cream and fast food while enjoying the sun.
Address: street Katina i Nikola Haydukovi 74, coordinates: 42.027563, 23.108058

massagebaliYou can get a massage or go the sauna at Spa Center Bali. They’ve got classic, relax, oil and more massages, a fitness room, small indoor pool and different aroma therapies. Everything you need for a day of relaxing.
Address: boulevard Sveti Dimitar Solunski 20, coordinates: 42.015395, 23.082879

shoppingWhen you like shopping go the center of the city. The 2 biggest shopping streets meet at the mall with a big H&M. Street Todor Aleksandrov and street Dimitar Talev have a lot of clothing and shoe stores.
Address mall: street Todor Aleksandrov 2, coordinates: 42.020642, 23.100137

Where to sleep?

hotelfeniksHotel Fenix, a small hotel between the bus/train station and the center. On the first floor you can have your breakfast, diner and a drink, on the other floors are the rooms. The owner and some of the staff speak English and they can help you when needed.
Address: street Todor Alexandrov 78, coordinates: 42.015392, 23.090786

hotelkartalaAnother hotel, called hotel Kartala, is also an option. This is also a small hotel run by a family with narrow staircases to nice rooms. They are very welcoming but most of the staff only speak Bulgarian. Bring yourself a dictionary when staying here!
Address: street Vasil Aprilov 22, coordinates: 42.023710, 23.097852

The city of Blagoevgrad is close to the known Rila monastery. Read here how to get there and have the most out of it!

Howtohavethebestrilaexperience

 

Advertenties

Nightingale Hostel Sofia | Найтингейл хостел София

009210-1429308188

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.

Deze slideshow heeft JavaScript nodig.

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

howtogettonightingalehostel

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.

Art Hostel Sofia | Арт Хостел София

arthostelsofia

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

saperevabanyaaa

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.

howtogettoakvaclubfromsofia

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.

howtogettoakvaclubfromdupnica

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.

howtogettoakvaclubfromsamokov

HostelMostel Veliko Tarnovo | ХостелМостел Велико Търново

2093637

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!

DSCN5706 pb142928-1024x577

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.

hostel-mostel 4114465_w

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.

howtogettohostelmostelvelikotarnovo

HostelMostel Sofia | ХостелМостел София

142763466570431

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.

IMG_4822 Sofia-5884-600x400

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!).

5683686000_3f12b87889 3098442

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.

 1566588 20170_291537543989_991499_n

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.

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.

hostel-old-plovdiv     4

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.