Blagoevgrad region has many atractions and unforgetable sights. Around the town there are many places to visit: Here are some of the more popular places to visit in our area:
Rila Monastery is one of the symbols of Bulgaria and is also a popular tourist destination. The monastery lies in the recesses of Rila Mountain, between Rilska and Drushlyavitsa Rivers, at 1147 m above mean sea level. It is located about 120 km away from Sofia and 41 km away from Blagoevgrad.
Rila holy cloister was founded in the first half of the 10th century. Its history is directly related to St. Ivan of Rila, the first Bulgarian hermit, who settled in the region and devoted his life to fasting and prayers. The monastery was initially situated near the cave where the saint dwelled. After he passed away in 946, St. Ivan of Rila was buried in the cave in which he found solitude. Tsar Peter (who reigned in the period 927 – 969) brought the relics of the wonderworker from Rila to Sredets (Sofia). It was probably then when he was canonized as a saint. The relics were returned to Rila holy cloister in 1469.
One hour drive from Blagoevgrad the smallest town in Bulgaria (208 residents), Melnik, is nested in the south slopes of Pirin, among sand pyramids with queer forms. It is situated in the Sandanski Municipality, Blagoevgrad county, 175 km north from Sofia, and it is only 30 km from the borderline with Greece. The finds from the antiquity discovered upon the archaeological diggings testify for its centuries-old history.
The first written evidences for the Melnik Fortress refer to the beginning of the 11th century. The first settlers on the territory of contemporary Melnik were the Thracians, and more particularly the Thracian tribe Maedi, of which the legendary rebel Spartacus originated. A few centuries later the Romans lived on this ground. This proves the ancient Roman bridge, which is still preserved in the town of Melnik. The Slavs, who were consequently residing on this territory, had called their settlement Melnik, because of the surrounding sand pyramids. The name comes from the Slavonic word “mel”, which means white clay, crayon.
BODROST SKI CENTER
Situated in Rila mountain just half hour from Blagoevgrad is the ski resort Bodrsot. The ski slope is 2 klometres long and has 375 metres altitude difference between its beginning and end. There is new ski lift that serves the ski slope. From Bodrost you can reach several mountain huts in Rila like Macedonia hut and Chakalica hut. Here is situated the natural reserve “Parangalitsa” and park “Rila” with multiple hiking tracks. Please don't hike or walk within “Parangalitsa” natural park because it is specially guarded teritory of many local species – you can even come to unexpected encounter with a bear. From the peaks over Blagoevgrad some about 2300 metres high you can see Pirin mounatin and beautiful nature around.
STOB VILLAGE ROCK PYRAMIDES
The pyramides nearby Stob village are interesting formation of rock cliffs. On the way to Rila monastery you can vists these weird nature creatures some looking like frozen people from the past. Blown by the wind and washed by the water these centuries old giants show the genius of nature. Getting to them is half hour walk from the church of Stob village. The village itself is situted only 10 kilometres away from Blagoevgrad.
THE SEVEN RILA LAKES
The Seven Rila Lakes are without a doubt one of the most notable natural attractions on the Balkan Peninsula, a dream destination not to be missed. Their beauty touches the thousands of Bulgarian and international visitors who visit them.
The Seven Rila Lakes, located in the Dangskiya region of the northwestern Rila Mountains, are glacial lakes. They are scattered at the foot of a massive cirque that includes the peaks Suhi Chal (Dry Peak), Otovishki, and Haramiya. The lakes have been named for their shapes and qualities. The highest of them is Tear Lake, which gained its name for its crystal-clear water. It is 2,535 meters high, directly beneath the Otovishki Peak. Next is Eye Lake, the deepest of the seven at 37.5 meters. It is oval and
An intense blue when the weather is good. Divers have explored this lake to gain further information about it. Somewhat lower than Eye Lake is Kidney Lake, named for its kidney shape, which has a surface area of 85 hectares and steep rocky banks. Next comes the Twins. Wide at both ends and narrow in the middle the lake resembles an hourglass. During dry years, the lake becomes two smaller lakes, and this is the source of its name. Farther down the trail are Three-leafed Lake and Fish Lake. The Seven Lakes Shelter is on the banks of Fish Lake. The lowest lake is appropriately called Lower Lake, which feeds the Dzherman River. The lakes are all connected by narrow streams.
Fish live in some of the lakes – minnows and trout – but in general these high mountain lakes are an unsuitable habitat for marine life because of their frigid water temperature, fed by rain and snowmelt.
Every year on August 19, there is a large gathering of the White Brotherhood or Danovites, who congregate to celebrate their New Year. The celebration takes place near Kidney Lake and consists of ritual rhythmic unison dancing in a large circle. For the Danovites, the Rila Mountains are a holy place where thousands of devotees gather every year to greet the dawn.
Located at the feet of the Pirin mountain the town of Bansko developed to a beloved tourist destination over the last 10 years. Offering all season relaxation and entertainment opportunities Bansko became a worthy place to visit all year long.
The contemporary town of Bansko is a unique mixture of old traditions and modern style, where new-built hotels and apartment houses are separated from more than 100 years old ethnographic houses by just a tiny, stone-paved street. The town centre is a listed World Heritage Site. The clock tower measures the time for over 150 years now.
After an adventurous day on the slopes, Bansko guests enjoy the local restaurants called the “Mehanas,” serving from traditional Bulgarian cuisine and drinks to international delights.
The people of Bansko are famous with their hospitality and friendliness and make their guests remember the time spent here.