Winter is not the best time for travelling. You know, it’s freezing cold, it’s uncomfortable, it’s dull and grey. But one of the benefits to travel during this time of the year is to see things the other way. Last week my friends from ASTOM and I went on a weekend trip in the southern Rhodope mountains in Bulgaria. We stayed in Chepelare, close to Pamporovo – one of the biggest Bulgarian ski resorts. We travelled a lot, took photos, ate local food and had fun. Below are some of the best things about visiting this part of Bulgaria.
The quietness of Chepelare
Pamporovo is an incredibly beautiful place, especially when the weather is sunny and clear but if you want to avoid the crowds and to experience something authentic, stay in Chepelare. Chepelare ski center is a quiet small village. There is also a ski slope called Mechi chal that is 3km long. Our mornings started with this view…
The effect of working in the mountains
Ever thought of changing the office view a bit? The mountain is the perfect place not only for hiking or skiing but also for finding inspiration. Fresh mountain air, quietness, and beautiful views make you more concentrated and productive. The CoWorkation camp is all packed up with fast internet, separate offices, but also an open space, conference halls, relax zone, kitchen and all the things needed for a real office setting. Just like a city office, but in the mountains.
The views from Snezhanka tower
Our trip included visiting the popular ski resort Pamporovo and the television tower. We were probably the only one on the line for the lift not carrying ski but our cameras and smiles instead. We went up to Snezhanka peak, where the ski slopes begin. The tv tower is 156 meters long and it was built in 1973. The cost for the entrance is 5 BGN and a lift takes you to the top. There is a restaurant with a panoramic view and also a balcony.
Situated in the central Rhodopes mountain, Smolyan is one of the longest Bulgarian towns. There is an old part of the city where authentic old houses from the Revival period could be seen. Another attraction in Smolyan is the planetarium A visit to Smolyan definitely has to be accompanied by local food. We tried ‘sudzhuk’, patatnik and Rhodopian klin which is similar to banitsa, but with different ingredients. The typical klin is prepared with rice, eggs and white cheese.
Patatnik | Пататник
Rhodopian „klin“ | Родопски клин
The experience of sleeping in an igloo
Back in Pamporovo, we drank wine in an igloo. Yes, you heard right, an igloo, but made of wood. You can also sleep under the stars in one of them. This igloo is warm and suited for sleeping and it is definitely an interesting experience.
The giant „mekitzas“
Leaving Smolyan and Pamporovo, we stopped at „Narechenski bani“ for breakfast. We had giant „mekitzas“ at “Solenoto izvorche” restaurant. „Mekitza“ is a traditional Bulgarian food made of dough. It can be combined with white cheese or jam and it is a favourite breakfast for adults and kids.
The homemade production
Every trip ends with something you take home. Driving from Chepelare, on the way we noticed locals who were selling honey and jam, homemade yoghurt, “sudzhuk”, mountain herbs and souvenirs from the region. Don’t hesitate to stop and buy a jar of honey directly from the producer.
These are some of the cool things typical for this part of Bulgaria. Winter is just a season and you shouldn’t be afraid to plan a trip when it’s cold. The Rhodopes will fascinate you, so enjoy their beauty and don’t forget to come back in the summer.
Source: Sun and Sany