With over 700 natural mineral and hot water springs, Bulgaria is a spa paradise famous over Europe ever since Ancient Roman times. In spring, the mountain regions where most spas are located are blossoming and blooming, with the mountain tops still covered by a shining blanket of snow. So what better time to discover one of the continent’s best spa destinations than spring and early summer?
From the site of one of Europe’s only real geysers to the sunniest town in the entire country, kashkaval tourist presents 7 magnificent spa resorts in Bulgaria!
1. Hot water geyser spot: Sapareva Banya
With one of continental Europe’s very few hot water geysers bang in the middle of Sapareva Banya (Сапарева баня), you just know the mineral springs in this sleepy mountain town are something to talk about. The hot waters spring forth at a temperature of 103°C and they have proven healthy properties.
The town lies at the foothills of the awe-inspiring Rila Mountains, the Balkans’ highest; in fact, it’s a starting point for the hike to the mesmerizing Seven Rila Lakes. Besides the geyser and a cute Byzantine-style medieval church, Sapareva Banya offers a variety of accommodation options and a modern spa centre.
2. Spa like an ancient Roman: Hisarya
A modern destination spa town surrounded by unbelievable Ancient Roman ruins? If you want to combine leisure and history in your vacation, think no further than Hisarya (Хисаря)! Just 40 km north of the lovely Plovdiv in the gentle Sredna Gora Mountains, Hisarya was a major Roman metropolis under the name of Diocletianopolis. Several city gates and extensive fortifications still attest to this memorable period of Hisarya’s ancient history.
Hisarya was a spa tourism hub even in Roman times, and with its 16 natural mineral springs, this is hardly a surprise. Today, you can choose from cosy family-run guesthouses to four-star hotels with their own spa centres.
3. Pure mountain pleasure: Devin
Located deep in the lush and mysterious western Rhodope Mountains, Devin (Девин) is a scenic spa town that is well known over Bulgaria because one of the most popular mineral and spring water brands is extracted from its vicinity.
Devin’s quality spa centres, clear mountain air and delicious local cuisine make for a truly relaxing vacation. And if you feel like trying something unique, taste the naturally carbonated mineral water of nearby Mihalkovo, Bulgaria’s answer to the world-famous Borjomi of Georgia.
4. Turn-of-the-century delight: Varshets
Perhaps the most historic spa resort in modern Bulgaria, Varshets’ (Вършец) time as a spa hotspot dates back to 1910, when the first state-run public mineral baths were built in the town under the Balkan Mountains.
Today, the renovated and elegant baths building, the pleasant Sun Garden and the curing properties of the local weakly mineralized water attract tourists to the northern Bulgarian town.
5. Sofia’s own destination spa: Bankya
Even Bulgaria’s bustling capital, Sofia, does not fall behind the rest of the country in terms of spa potential. Bankya (Банкя), a tranquil spa town today part of Greater Sofia, hosts many of Sofia’s 40 mineral springs and has attracted the capital’s elite for over 100 years.
While Bankya’s remarkable public baths opened in 1911 are currently not in use, the town hosts many modern spa centres and family-run small hotels. And what’s best, you can have a memorable spa holiday less than 20 km from central Sofia!
6. Spa capital of the Balkans: Velingrad
With its 80 mineral springs and hundreds of accommodation options (from homely Rhodope guesthouses to five-star all-inclusives), Velingrad (Велинград) is one of Bulgaria’s best and most popular destination spas.
Due to its unrivalled infrastructure and international fame, Velingrad prides itself as the “spa capital of the Balkans”, and deservedly so. Make sure you tour Velingrad’s delightful Kleptuza park with its two lakes, karst source and age-old pine forests.
7. Sunniest place in Bulgaria: Sandanski
Fancy enjoying yourself in Bulgaria’s sunniest town? Then head for the spa and Mediterranean weather paradise that is Sandanski (Сандански), at the foot of the awe-inspiring Pirin Mountains and not far from the Aegean beaches of Greece.
With around 2,650 mean monthly hours of sunshine, Sandanski is as sunny as Spain’s famed Costa Brava and the French Côte d’Azur. Add around 20 thermal water springs and a well-developed range of hotels and spa centres and you have a magical spa holiday destination.