Do you know that Bulgaria is ranked second in Europe after Iceland in terms of hot springs’ existence? The geothermal springs in this country vary in their chemicaland physical composition and are suitable for stress relief as well as for prevention and rehabilitation of a series of diseases. Still, Bulgaria lacks an adequate advertising campaign, aimed at turning it into a recognizable tourist destination among the leading EU countries. That is also the opinion of Siyka Katsarova , Deputy Chair of the Bulgarian Spa Tourism Union and member of the board of the European Spa Association. In her words: “Bulgaria has all the conditions necessary for the development of round the year spa tourism. We have had traditions since the Roman era. We have the natural resource – warm mineral waters, wonderful climate and modern spa hotels and centers with skilled personnel.”
There is nothing better than some relaxation in a hot spring after a long and busy week. There are many advantages: unlike the common pools the hot ones don’t contain any harmful chemicals for cleaning the water; the minerals penetrate the skin naturally, in order to restore cell balance and have their positive effect on a series of organs and systems within the body.
Here are some of the most popular hot springs around Sofia:
The Korali complex is situated 12 km to the South-East of the capital, at the end of the Iskar River’s Pancharevo Canyon. It has a small and a big pool, a water cave and cold pools too. The mineral water of the spring is 47C hot, cooled down to some 30C in the pool. It has its positive impact on the nervous system, while contrast cold/hot baths improve blood circulation and strengthen the immunity.
The Pchelinski Hot Springs are situated a bit further, 70 km away from Sofia, near the town of Kostenets. There was an outdoor pool with a beach there years ago due to the healing springs. Now the entire complex has been rearranged into a spa hotel with two mineral pools. Their water heals conditions, related to the locomotor apparatus, the periphery nervous system, also gynecological and skin diseases. The temperature of the spring is 72.8C, which makes it one of the hottest in Bulgaria.
The Dolna Banya mineral complex can be found in the same area, 72 km away from Sofia. No matter the temperatures outside you can relax with your family or friends in any of the three outdoor pools: a swimming one, a children’s pool and a Jacuzzi with water temperatures varying from 28C to 43C. The mineral water from the spring is 67.8C hot and treats rheumatic and skin diseases. It is also considered to be good for the cardio-vascular, respiratory, digestive, locomotive, nervous and reproductive systems.
Then if you want to spend several days of rest amidst the beautiful nature of the Balkan Mountain you may opt for the hot springs near the town of Troyan, next to the villages of Shipkovo and Chiflik. There are three mineral springs in the resort with temperatures varying between 18C and 35C, healing liver, kidney, digestive, neurological and ophthalmologic cases. The village of Chiflik is situated in the picturesque valley of Beli Osam River. The outdoors mineral pool along the upper segment of the river has water temperature of more than 30C and is open throughout the whole year. The hot Jacuzzi is situated next to it and one can relax inside in case of lower temperatures of the air. Guest may also take a walk to the Kozya Stena Reserve, one of the few spots in Europe where the beautiful edelweiss flower can be still seen.
Winter sports fans could opt for the outdoor mineral pools near the villages of Ognyanovo and Dobrinishte, not far away from Bansko and also for Sapareva Banya’s hot springs near the Borovets winter resort, where you can dive after you’ve had enough skiing.
One should bear in mind though that if you suffer from some cardio-vascular disease it’s good to know that the hot water may not be appropriate for you.
English version: Zhivko Stanchev