Regions, places and experiences to fall in love with in 2020
Exotic experiences are a good thing, but for people of today, local tourism is one of the most rewarding forms of travelling. There is no need to fly and waste our energy and the precious time of our vacation at airports, waiting for connecting flights. Instead, only a couple of hours by car among picturesque landscapes bring us to places with specific charm and atmosphere, history and tastes. This gives us more time for the so-called slow travel that focuses on the quality of the experience, not on overloading the senses with new things until becoming inured.
Bulgaria is a blessed destination for slow travelling. It gathers marvellous nature landscapes and impressive historic landmarks, traditional towns and villages with their friendly inhabitants, and scores of opportunities to discover local stories, foods, drinks. And all these – at a distance that is covered easily, leisurely and pleasantly.
The Southwest is the region in Bulgaria that inevitably lures us with its options for short or long vacation. And rightfully so. The soft winters and the Mediterranean summers pass among the splendid landscape of the Rila, the Pirin and the Western Rhodope mountains, crossed by the valleys of the Struma and the Mesta. Locals have the warmth typical for the south, and the ways to spend our time are more than rich – mountain hikes and walks among traditional villages and monasteries, spa pleasures by the abundant mineral springs, discovering the wines of one of the most fascinating wine regions of Bulgaria. Here is also Bansko, the most popular ski destination in Bulgaria.
The elite chooses Premier Luxury Mountain Resort
Premier Luxury Mountain Resort in Bansko offers a cozy and elegant winter experience and intriguing holiday packages. Active, leisure or a combination of both: your stay is entirely up to you. Guests of PREMIER may benefit from the special VIP Ski Pass that allows them to make the best of Bansko's pistes, avoiding the queues. Those who opt to stay at the hotel enjoy the coziness of the lit fireplaces and the elegant premises, and all the treats of the modern spa centre with refreshing therapies and therapeutical massages. Whatever you choose, the quality of the experience is guaranteed: Premier Luxury Mountain Resort (www.premiermountainresort.com) is part of Ermia Hotels & Resorts and a proud member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
Murite Club Hotel: The luxury that you deserve
Razlog is blessed with a mild climate, the proximity of the Pirin, the Rila and the Rhodope mountains, and with the presence of one of Bulgaria's best mountain hotels: Murite Club Hotel (phone: +359 088 429 9996, www.murite.bg). The complex offers exclusive experience in each detail and is a true heaven for those in the search for a place for relaxation far from the noise of the daily routine. The luxury rooms and apartments are located in three separate buildings and several houses with all the modern amenities. In the spacious spa centre you will find high-end cosmetic products and selected procedures and therapies, while the classical restaurant and the enoteca offer you the best of the Bulgarian and international cuisine accompanied by excellent wines. Children enjoy special treatment with a variety of entertainment options and organisers of corporate events have at their disposal excellent conditions for conferences and teambuildings in three rooms with 30, 80, 100 seats. Since quality vacation includes not only care for the body, but also for the soul, don't miss the opportunity to enjoy with a special drink the stylish atmosphere and the gentle music in the piano bar.
Park Hotel Pirin: The wealth of Bulgaria's Southwest are yours
Sandanski is the pearl of Southwestern Bulgaria because of its unique combination of mild climate, impressive nature and mineral springs. For 11 years now the five-star Park Hotel Pirin (Sandanski, 27 Hidrostroy St, phone: +359 893 300 300, www.parkhotelpirin.com) turns the region's features into an exquisite experience. Luxury rooms and apartments, lush greenery, tranquility: this is only the beginning of the pleasures that Park Hotel Pirin provides so generously. The spa centre spreads over 2,600 sq.m and besides a variety of relaxing and beautifying procedures also offers physiotherapy and rehabilitation. You want something different? Then try the exotic massages, the gourmet therapies or the DIBI techno rituals for face and body. And why not the exclusive experience at the VIP zone for couples? Park Hotel Pirin is a member of the Sharlopov Group. In 2018, it was declared The Best Wellness Hotel on the Balkans during the Balkan Awards for Tourism Industry.
Family Boutique Hotel Campanella: A wonderful place in Bansko
Bansko is a great solution for a holiday the year round, especially when you stay at Family Boutique Hotel Campanella (www.campanellahotel.com). Located at the heart of the Old Town, at a walking distance from the cabin lift, Campanella is a dream come true for everyone who values elegant cosiness, friendly atmosphere, modern comfort, delicious food – and vistas towards the mountains from their room. The boutique hotel focuses on quality of service. The rooms, apartments and studios are comfortable and the food at the romantic restaurant is made of quality products from a biofarm and after author's recipes. Hotel guests have at their disposal free transfer to the lift the year round, and for their comfort Campanella offers both ski wardrobe and the option to buy a ski lift card on the spot. For an even more pleasant stay, the hotel provides opportunities for massages, trips in the region, horse riding and many more.
Bulgaria would be a rich country with the Southwest only, but the country has much, much more for discovering. Sofia, for example, is constantly changing, ceaselessly offering interesting, new and impressive experiences to its inhabitants and guests.
Grand Hotel Millennium Sofia: Are you ready for upscale experience?
Set to debut in early 2020, Grand Hotel Millennium Sofia (89B Vitosha Blvd, phone: 02 444 20 70, www.gmhs.bg) will embody an elegant combination of gilded brilliance, innovation, and service. The striking 32-story building will include bright, spacious and gracefully furnished 400 rooms. Surrounding the spectacular 6-story atrium, the Millennium Milestone Convention Centre will encompass memorable private gatherings and thought-provoking conferences in its 14 fully equipped multifunctional rooms capable to accommodate 2,000 people. The 4,000 sq.m Spa and Wellness centre will welcome with a complete range of treatments, therapies, and a cutting edge Fitness Centre. The hotel will present 10 restaurants and lounges which will be remarkable for their location, view, interior and the various culinary experiences they will offer. Among the various dining outlets are fine dining restaurant and conceptual Mediterranean restaurant, а moon kissed rooftop bar with opening roofs and a lounge on the 32nd floor with 360º view.
Plovdiv is another obligatory stop for every traveller for its millennia-old history and cosmopolitain mosaic of Roman ruins, colourful Revival Period houses, elegant early 20th century architecture and lively art scene, plus great hotels and restaurants.
Residence City Garden Hotel: Immerse in the charm of Plovdiv
Located by King Simeon Garden, in the heart of Plovdiv, Residence City Garden Hotel (19 Veliko Tarnovo St, phone: 032 333 840, www.residencecitygarden.com) is an excellent choice regardless of the season and the reason for your visit in the city. Stylish and with architecture that has preserved the spirit of time, the hotel offers comfort, cosiness and luxury ambience, and amenities such as a lobby bar with a fireplace and a conference room. At the Nobel boutique restaurant with a garden food is not just food, but an art, a pleasure and a high-quality experience – after author's recipes by the young and ambitious team. The location of Residence City Garden is more than marvellous – close to the Singing Fountain and Plovdiv's oldest park, a walking distance from all sites of interest of this incredible city and its artistic atmosphere.
Few European countries can compete with Bulgaria in healing mineral spring wealth, and one of the best places to enjoy these is Hisarya. The town is blessed with 22 sources of hot, low-mineralised water good for treatment of a number of diseases and with excellent hotels that offer us the most current international therapies and spa experiences.
Hissar Spa Hotel: Relaxation, health and beauty
Discover the healing and calming power of mineral water at the 4-star Hissar Spa Hotel (Hisarya, 1 General Gurko St, reception: +359 337 6 27 81, www.hotelhissar.com). There you will find everything you need for a relaxing and healing vacation. The guests of Hissar choose from a variety of cosmetic and healing massages, therapies for face and body, medical services, hyperbaric therapy. At the Delux Spa Centre you enjoy infrared sauna, Roman bath, ice room, Kneipp path, adventure and shock showers, and at the Relax Center await a Finnish sauna, a steam bath and a small pool with warm mineral water. The comfortable accommodation will charge you additionally with energy and the feel of tranquility, and Hissar's restaurants and bars are an excellent place to end a day full with pleasant experiences.
Organising our trip by ourselves is a good thing, but when we want to discover something really new, the help of professionals can hardly be overestimated.
The Struma Valley Wine and Food experience
An inspiring trip alongside the impressive Rila and Pirin mountain ranges. A visit of the UNESCO-listed Rila Monastery or of the medieval churches in nearby Boboshevo, and Rozhen Monastery. Wine tastings at distinguished wine cellars in the lower Struma Valley offering a unique selection of indigenous and international varieties, paired with traditional appetisers and savouring typical dishes of the Bulgarian Southwest. The tour, organised by Odysseia-In (Sofia, 20 В Aleksandar Stamboliyski Blvd, phones: +359 2 989 05 38, +359 886 880 100, www.hiking-bulgaria.com) includes also a series of short hikes and cultural interaction with local people that will touch you deeply leaving lasting memories. Prices from 310 euro p.p. in a group of 6 participants or respectively 370 euro p.p. in a group of 4 includes full board, two overnight stays in an authentic small hotel in the area of Melnik, all meals, tastings and transportation, and a wine expert as a guide.
Wherever we travel or spend our holiday, the hotel we stay plays a central role in the experience – especially when the management has put special care in the tiniest details of our comfort.
Cosmetics by LA BOTTEGA: The sign of good hotels
There are many ways to recognise the good luxury hotel but the easiest one is the cosmetics we find carefully and beautifully arranged in the room or apartment bathroom. When the shampoos, balsams and soaps in their exquisite bottles are from established international names, the message cannot be clearer – the hotel management is really invested in their guests' comfort. Stylish Bulgarian hotels already have an excellent opportunity to provide their guests with elegant cosmetics of established brands. The Bulgarian company LAREN cosmetics (Sofia, 34 Bulgaria Blvd, Bokar Compound, www.laren.bg) won the trust of La Bottega cosmetics giant as an exclusive distributor for Bulgaria of brands for hotel cosmetics and guest amenities such as Bottega Veneta, ETRO, Roberto Cavalli, Acqua Dell'Elba, Natura Bissé, Trussardi, Diptyque, Fragonard. Thus, the presence of such names in the Bulgarian luxury hotels is yet another definitive step in the aim to offer world-level quality on the local market.