The little village of Ichera is a haven away from the mass tourism along the coast in summer and the ski resorts in winter. Not far from Sliven, this small destination is little known and is ideal for a 'get-away-from-it-all' break. Offering complete serenity and quiet, houses are dotted up the narrow streets which lead uphill from the Luda Kamchiya river. Those seeking a spot away from the hordes will delight. In winter you can jump in your car and within less than an hour ski all winter long; in summer this is a wonderful place to be away from the scorching heat on the beach, in a beautiful mountain area perfect for days out strolling, in the car or cycling.
It is a rural, cultural and ecological area, lovely at any time of year and always a place which offers an opportunity for relaxing with a warm welcome.
Despite the size of the village, with only some 250 inhabitants, there is a cosy three star bed and breakfast with swimming pool at the end of the village. A good place to stay, the Hotel Ichera has only five double rooms and the restaurant seeets just twenty, offering traditional Bulgarian cuisine and a selection of wines. For summer, there is the pool, a pretty terrace and bbq. In winter, do ask for a room with one of the romantic fireplaces. This is the only establishment in the area to receive the 'Authentic Bulgaria' award, together with a 'rose award' for outstanding design and atmosphere. www.ichera.com
The village has a long history and strong traditions. Most of the houses along the little lanes date from the 19th Century and show typical Revival architecture. Wooden houses with huge eaves flying out and private gardens hidden by stone walls. It is a popular village with many Bulgarians who have bought and renovated holiday homes there. The village itself does not amount to much for cultural sights - the main asset is the wonderful and beautiful surrounding nature and countryside. This is certainly a step back into the past - even the local village shop doesn't keep regular hours, so you never know whether it will be open or not.
There are some great walks from the village through the surrounding park and forests, information boards can be found throughout the village. Birdwatchers will be thrilled by the sight of Egyptian Vultures and the King Eagle. Further afield are some authentic, traditional Bulgarian villages, including the famous Zheravna.
Trips from Ichera include:
Zheravna : an architectural reserve with wonderful houses. Take a trip round the village by horse and cart or simply wander round the little cobble stone lanes.
Kotel : This was the location where the first spark of the Bulgarian National Revival appeared. Pleny of the Revolutionary leaders were born here. A delightful old quarter where the greatness of old Bulgaria can still be keenly felt.
Sliven : Apart from being a very lovely, clean town with plenty of pavement cafes and restaurants, you can also take a trip up the cable car in Sinite Park, with the blue rock mountains. A breathtaking vista awaits those who are not of a nervous disposition!