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Hidden Gems Of Bulgaria

Travel across Bulgaria and observe the enchanting, unspoilt regions, which represent the real Bulgaria, continues with a visit to some more Balkan beauties.If you are looking to live in a community untainted by commercialism then read on to discover more of what this wondrous land has to offer.

Lovely Leshten - an ecological experience

The small village of Leshten is one of the most striking and genuine eco resorts in the whole of Bulgaria. It lies tucked away on the southern slopes of the Rhodope Mountains, overlooking the dynamic Pirin range. Only 200 km from the capital it provides a worthy location for a peaceful retreat away from the fast pace of everyday life.

The village is not an easy one in which to find property and hence prices are far ffrom cheap, but still represent good value in comparison to buying a villa on the coast for example. Leshten contains around 30 houses in all, each of which are constructed in the gorgeous, wooden Bulgarian Revival style. Every one of these museum pieces is enormous with large, spacious terraces, old-fashioned inner courtyards. Interiors have been lovingly restored to show off their original character and most contain their own private entertainment cellar known as a mehana. Such mehanas are typical of this region. They were used when families were large and would live under one roof sharing food, drink and good times together. They are still used for entertaining even in those houses, which have been converted into eco friendly hotels. Other unique features of these wood-scented houses are the large fireplaces and the walls adorned with hunting trophies.

The area provides excellent facilities for outdoor pursuits from hunting and fishing to riding and mountain walks, where you can marvel over the splendid landscape. . It is also home to some luxury spas offering a wide variety of relaxing and healing treatments.

Darling Dobrinishte - the home of good things

Nestled at the foot of the majestic Pirin Mountains in southwest Bulgaria just 6 km south of the international ski resort Bansko, Dobrinishte is the terminal station for the scenic narrow-gauge railway from nearby Septemvri. It is also one of Bulgaria's largest villages with a population of over 3,000 people.

The name Dobrinishte actually means "the good things" and local legend has it that God-given luxuries like the warm mineral springs, the pine-scented forests and the fresh mountain streams blessed the people of Dobrinishte. The village is rooted in ancient history dating back to the Stone Age and many local Thracian and Roman pottery has been found in the area, as well as coins from the Emperor Neron who reigned during the first century before Christ.

This charming village offers much in the way of entertainment with 17 hot mineral springs, a large public mineral spa and of course nearby golf courses and ski slopes. The village is easily accessed from the capital as well as the neighbouring towns of Blagoevgrad, Razlog, Bansko and Gotse Delchev. Its stunning alpine nature, dense forests and unique traditional style make it a beautiful abode any time of the year. Houses are not easy to come by here but there is still plenty of regulated building land on the edge of the village.

Super Sinemorets - the place on the blue sea

Remote mountain villages are not everyone's cup of tea and if you are like me, you may yearn to gaze at the tranquil waters of the sea. The delightful village of Sinemorets, whose name literally means "the place on the blue sea," lies 96 km south of Bourgas on the Black Sea coast close to the imposing rock face of the imposing Strandzha Mountain. It features two beautiful, sandy beaches one of which borders the mouth of the Veleka River.

The village is steeped in early history and archaeologists have found ceramic fragments from the 4th century BC as well as anchors and metal casings belonging to old pirate and merchant ships. In days of old, this village was subject to numerous pirate raids and eventually was barely habited because of this danger. During the Communist era, the village used to be part of a restricted border area due to its close proximity to Turkey. The net result of this is that the town is unspoilt by construction and tourism and today appeals to a wealthy clientele. This has forced up the prices of land and property in the area, but if you are looking for a good coastal location then this is it. There are some older houses in need of loving restoration and these would make sound buys for those looking for a more traditional Bulgarian pied-a-terre.

Sinemorets is part of a nature reserve and its shallow, crystal waters make it a popular choice with families of all nationalities and provide a fantastic window onto the local marine life for both amateur and professional divers.

Cool Kalofer - a rebellion of tradition and nature

Kalofer is a pretty town in southern Bulgaria with around 4,000 inhabitants. It lies on the banks of the Tundzha River between the Sredna Gora and Balkan Mountains, 158km east of Sofia. It is a town rich in natural beauty and has won many awards for its rural and eco tourism.

However, the town is best known as the birthplace of the famous poet and revolutionary Hristo Botev. There are museums and monuments in honour of both Botev and his learned father, Botyo Petkov. It is one of the few Bulgarian towns with a large number of active churches, monasteries and chapels. It is also rich in strong traditions and local spirit and many festivals are celebrated throughout the year. Kalofer is also home to many traditional craftsmen and is an ideal place to see woodcarving and lace making. The town also displays some wonderful old stone bridges over the river and an array of Renaissance architecture.

Outside of the town, the 17th century nunnery makes an impressive landmark as does the Southern Dzhendem Canyon, which has been declared a nature reserve, but the most breathtaking sight has to be Bulgaria's highest waterfall, the Raiskoto Pruskalo, whose water gushes down the steep rocky face of Mount Botev, the highest peak in the Balkan Mountains. The environs surrounding quaint Kalofer offer the perfect environment for a range of outdoor pursuits including mountaineering, hiking, bird watching and riding.