Sandanski & Melnik

We left Rila early in the morning and headed back to the motorway and south towards Sandanski and Melnik. It was around a 2 hour pleasant drive and the scenery is stunning when you drive through the gorge, although if you get stuck behind a lorry or another slow moving vehicle, you can be there for quite a while. We have only ever stayed in a motel on the edge of Sandanski so were keen to explore the town a bit more.
SandanskiWe were not quite sure where to go so followed signs for the park and managed to find a quiet street to leave the car on. It was just up from Archaeological museum, where you could see the remains of an old Basilica in the grounds. The museum was not open when we were there. There were loads of cafes and bars lining the pedestrian walk way to the park and it had a lovely lively but relaxed feel to the place. The park was perfect for an hour or so’s amble around with the dogs. There fountains and play areas for the kids, the odd restaurant and at one end a lake and at the other the municipality mineral spa pool and a hotel. We will definitely return to Sandanski for a couple of nights in the future.

Sandanski

Sandanski town park

Sandanski

Sandanski Basicila at the Archaeological museum

Then we headed on to Melnik, famed for its wine and sandy rock formations. Its many years since I last visited Melnik but it had not lost any of its charm. The actual town is the smallest in Bulgaria and an architectural reserve with 96 of its buildings designated as cultural monuments. We had lovely lunch in a restaurant at the bottom of the main street, next to a very large and old tree and then wandered up the streets, of course bought some of the local strong wine and then drove on further towards the village of Rozhen (and where there is another small monastery). This gave us the best view of some of the weather sculpted rock formations sticking out of the tree line.
Melnik

Sandstone pryamids at Melnik

Melnik

Melnik town

Melnik

Sandstone pryamids at Melnik

Melnik

Melnik town

We turned around at Rozhen (marking it for a possible further visit another time) and headed back down the road and cross country, through vine yards and rolling hills to the village of Kromidovo, where we were going to camp for the night. For the website for campsite click here.
Kamping Kromidovo

Kamping Kromidovo

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