144. Adventures in Melnik

by | Aug 18, 2017 | Bulgarian life, Travel & trips | 2 comments


I hate to be a ‘Look at my holiday pictures’ bore, but that’s essentially what this post is. Just think yourself lucky I haven’t invited you round for a full-length slideshow accompanied by cheese and pineapple on cocktail sticks. That’s how we still do it in Britain, right?

We don’t often do much for my birthday because I’m pretty happy with a day off soaking up the sunshine or going on a picnic. But this year, as part of our ‘get out and see more of Bulgaria’ quest, we decided to pop on down to Melnik for a couple of days. Melnik is famous for a) being Bulgaria’s smallest town (honestly, it’s half the size of our village), b) Melnik wine (delicious and dangerously moreish), and c) the Melnik Pyramids (amazing sand pyramids that rise out of the landscape around Melnik).

Because Melnik is in the far south of Bulgaria, it was 38°C while we were there and we’d been warned not to go into the pyramids after midday because of the heat. So we set off for my birthday hike at 6am, heading out of the silent ‘town’ (seriously, half the size of our village) and up towards the pyramids in the dawn light.

It takes about 90 minutes to walk from Melnik up through the pyramids, over a crest and to Rozhen Monastery, and we arrived at the top just after the sun came up. It was an incredible start to the day, and we had the whole place to ourselves – we didn’t see a single person until we walked down from the monastery into Rozhen village. Then we walked the long way back to Melnik, through a couple of villages, and got back to the hotel in time for breakfast. I can’t tell you how smug we felt, tucking into breakfast after walking for 3.5 hours. We’d earned it.

Then, to undo such an energetic start to the day, we went to Melnik Winery for a tour and LOTS of wine tasting. From then on, the rest of the day revolved around eating and drinking. Despite all the wine, we managed to stay awake to catch some of the meteor shower that night, and we were lucky enough to see a few shooting stars before the sky clouded over. It was the perfect end to a brilliant day.

And now, get ready for the (condensed) slideshow. Pass the vol-au-vents, Margo…

Melnik Pyramids:







You can’t see it from this picture, but just beyond the rickety-ass handrail was a rickety-ass
bridge (as in, a few planks of wood) hastily erected where a part of the path
had fallen away. I was a Very Brave Soldier about it all.


Rozhen Monastery and the long route back to Melnik:




We made a friend on the way back.



Wine country. Bulgaria style.


Melnik Winery:








  1. the hippopotamus

    This is a great post as usual, Claire!

    Yes, Melnik (and a lot of wine) are on our Bulgarian "to do" list. The bad news is that we are still here in China. Well, we are going to the Philippines for some warm sunshine at the end of next week (just thought I'd make you jealous) and then we will be back in Kalotina at the end of June. My blog, http://www.bulgariawithnoodles.blogspot.com, has had nearly 7,000 "hits", which is not bad when you remember that it has only been going since November.

  2. Auntie Bulgaria

    Simon, in the early days, the only people who read my blog were my mum, my mother-in-law and my best mate. I'd have made a pact with the devil himself for 7,000 early visitors!


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