Recently, I shared a post about our 3-day trip in the heart of Bulgaria – the Central Balkan National Park. We did this trip back in September for one of the last long holiday weekends that we have in Bulgaria. I hope that you have already read this article but if not, give it a read so that you can catch up with me.
Today, I am sharing more details about the accommodation of our choice plus a few options of where to eat in the area. While we were searching for a hotel, we found a few places that also deserve a mention so you will see them here as well even though we have not visited them just yet.
Please note that my list is not exhaustive; by no means. The Central Balkan National Park comprises of more than 700 km2 of area so it is really difficult to mention all the places that are worth visiting. I am talking out of my personal experience only so keep that in mind while reading the next few paragraphs.
We have had the chance to travel across the Central Balkan National Park a few times before, mainly in the Troyan area where we stayed in some cute guest houses like this one and this one. However, this time we decided to book a hotel room mainly because we stayed only 2 nights in the area and many of the guest houses actually required a longer period of booking or were booked well in advance for the long holiday weekend. So after an extensive search (very last minute) we decided to book an apartment in the Maragidik Hotel in Apriltsi.
We first found about the Maragidik Hotel back in the summer. What really caught our attention was the hotel’s location – it is located in a wonderful area, very close to the mountains on top of a hill with a very nice view to the mountains. The surrounding area of the hotel is very clean and green with nice grass and trees – it was like a huge yard where you could spend your relaxing afternoons with a cup of coffee. The apartment itself was also nice even though it was not something super special – a clean spacious room for you to spend the night after a long day of exploring. It was okay for us since we didn’t really spend so much time at the hotel itself as we preferred to spend our time exploring as much as possible.
What we didn’t like about the hotel was the food. It was on an average level which was kind of disappointing given the fact that they promote their food options a lot over on their Facebook page. We tried the traditional Chicken and Pork with Vegetables Sach (a very thick and heavy dish made from a special type of clay that enables it to be used both on direct heat (hob) and in the oven) which, however, was not prepared in the traditional way and hence the quality of the dish was compromised. On the other hand, their lunch menu (with discounted prices!) was divine – we tried the traditional moussaka (mince meat and potatoes) which was very delicious.
If you are looking for a great traditional Bulgarian cousine in the area, I cannot recommend Raiski Zaliv enough. This is a complex right next to the Sopot dam near the small village of Golyama Zhelyazna which we have visited a few times because some relatives of Kaloyan live in the area. We have also stayed in the small hotel, part of the complex, and can definitely recommend it for a quick weekend getaway. However, their food is truly what has made a huge impression on us! Every time we eat in the restaurant of the complex, we get into a food coma because we simply cannot resist of trying as many dishes as possible. We were never disappointed. And of course, I forgot to take pictures of the food – I guess this is a good sign; we were too busy enjoying our food!
Apart from the food, the Raiski Zaliv complex also offers a great scenic view over the dam and the forest that surrounds it. As it is tucked inside the forest, it is very quiet and peaceful place where you can relax and spend your time either by the newly built pool, or the jacuzzi over the dam, or just hanging out in one of the many green areas in the complex. Give it a look and thank me later.
While we were looking for an accommodation for our trip, we found a few more places that deserve a mention in the post. Although, we have not visited many of them ourselves, I wanted to include them here.
- Family Hotel Balkanci – just look at that view! As the hotel is located on a cliff in the mountain, its best feature is by far the magnificent mountain view that can be seen from each room.
- Valevtsi Guest House – a true representation of what the Bulgarian eco tourism can offer not only to the people coming from abroad but also to the Bulgarians that have forgotten what it’s like to spend your days outside of the big cities.
- Bedouin Forest Residence – I have known about this forest residence for quite some time now and still haven’t had the chance to visit it mainly because it gets booked really quickly! It is definitely on my wish list and I hope that someday I will be able to share a personal opinion on it.
- Chateau Copsa – this was one of the key venues that we discussed for our wedding but eventually decided against it as it was quite small for our guest list. What is really remarkable about this place is the wonderful wine selection that they are producing at the site.
- Azareiya Eco Village – another representative of the Bulgarian eco tourism that impresses me the most with its remarkable architecture.
- Svatovete – we had a chance to try their food a few years ago and as far as I remember it was a nice cousine back then.
Have you ever visited any of the places I mentioned in this post? Do you have any other suggestions that I must include in this list? Let me know in the comments.