Enjoy Wine Tasting in the Bulgarian Wine Capital – Melnik
With only 230 inhabitants, Melnik is the smallest town in Bulgaria, located 170km south of the capital Sofia. It is well known as the wine capital of Bulgaria and a must do destination for all wine lovers.
Melnik and the region is famous for the unique sort of vine “melnishka loza” that can grow only here which gives the local wine a unique taste. The city is hidden in a small valley surrounded by stunning sand towers also known as pyramids. If you have a day or two and if you like nature and want to explore small Bulgarian towns with its preserved traditions and culture, then pay Melnik a visit and you won’t regret it!
How to get there:
From Sofia you can take a bus or a train to Sandanski which is 20 km away from Melnik. At the bus station in Sandanski ask for a local minibus that will take you to Melnik for about 30 min or just look for a one with a sign Sandanski – Melnik. The signs are written in English so you will be fine finding it. The whole trip will take you no more than 4 hours in total.
What to do:
Tens of wine cellars and local wine producers are all around the place. You can taste any kind of wine for free and buy it only if you like it. Bottle of local wine will cost you 3 leva ($2). Local wine producers dig caves beneath the ground to build cellars inside, where the wine is aging. You can visit those, try different type of wines served with local homemade appetizers and buy a bottle to bring back home.
These unique white sand formations, over 100 meter high are surrounding the town of Melnik. For millions of years as a result of the wind, water, snow and sun these towers have formed in different shapes as pyramids, mushrooms, needles. The most amazing shapes can be seen near Rozhen monastery few kilometers away from Melnik. Take a walk and enjoy the stunning view.
Rozhen monastery is the biggest one in Pirin Mountain. This sanctuary dates back to 13th century. It is really well preserved with unique architecture decorated with amazing stained glasses and woodcarvings. Rozhen monastery is situated near the village of Rozhen, 7km from Melnik by bus. Better way to get to the monastery is to take the 3km (1-1.5 hour) walk along a marked footpath. This way you will enjoy the unique view of the magnificent Pirin mountain peaks and the entire area of the sand pyramids.
Visit the wine museum
Wine museum is located in one of the hotels on the main street in Melnik. Here you can see a rich collection of over 400 bottles in several halls. Local enologist will provide you with information about vine growing and production in the region. You can trace back centuries of wine producing history here as well as wine tasting at the end of your tour. When you choose the right taste you can buy a personalized bottle right for you.
Where to stay and eat:
Melnik comprises one street with a lot of restaurants, hotels and guest houses. You should not worry about reservations in advance since there is a plenty of accommodation options in the area. Prices for a double room vary between 30-60leva (15-30 euro) per night.
We recently marked the beginning of the spring in Bulgaria by a visit to Melnik and we loved it! If you really want to understand and touch the Bulgarian culture – don’t miss this small gem in South Bulgaria.