BULGARIA'S SPA PLEASURES

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This country is blessed with a wealth of mineral springs and opportunities for spa and relaxation

Vacation in the mountains in winter and at the seaside in summer is no longer the only way in which people in Bulgaria relax. In this country, spa tourism is becoming increasingly popular.

The holiday at a hotel or resort with a rich selection of spa and balneological procedures and therapies charges with energy and benefits physical and psychological health. You don't need to coordinate your trip with the season – whenever you visit a spa place, the moment is always a good one. Besides, Bulgaria is blessed with significant and still not completely developed conditions for spa and balneological tourism.

About 200 sources and over 520 springs with mineral water have been identified in the country. Their waters have low mineral content, while the springs' temperature vary between 37°С and 100°С. All of these mean a variety of options for spa and balneological tourism depending on what benefits you want from your vacation: relaxation, healthcare, or both.

Contemporary people are not the first ones to recognise the value of Bulgarian lands' mineral wealth. A number of cities, like Sofia for example, appeared as early as prehistory near hot mineral springs. The interest in and the veneration of springs continued into Antiquity, too. The Romans – those connoisseurs of water – turned some of the towns on the Bulgarian lands into true balneological resorts and built large public baths. The tradition remained alive in the following centuries, and developed further in the 20th century.

Today, however, for the first time Bulgaria begins to exploit its spa potential to its full capacity. In the country have appeared high-class hotels and resorts that offer a variety of procedures, therapies, options for relaxation and care for the body and the soul at a world's level.

Velingrad, in the Rhodope mountains, is among the oldest and best established balneological centres in Bulgaria. Its traditions stretch back in time at least to Roman times, while its springs are famed for their hot water. Today in Velingrad you will find some of the best hotels that specialise in this type of experience.

Arte Spa&Park Hotel: Complete relaxation in an elegant style

When you look for some of the best mineral springs in the Balkans, you should go to Velingrad. And when you are in Velingrad, you should choose Arte Spa&Park Hotel (phone: 0879 066 660, www.artehotel.bg).
This five-star hotel is a true gem not only because of its category. Arte Spa&Park stands out with its authentically artistic ambiance in Alpine style and modern details; each of its apartments and rooms offers an individualised experience in accordance to your desires. For its youngest guests, Arte Spa&Park has an outdoor and indoor children centre and animation, and for guests who want to take care of their health and harmony there are special healthy retreats. These include a special menu and activities such as riding, yoga, walks. To make everything even better, Arte Spa&Park is located among clean and pristine nature: the ideal place to recharge and to enjoy the spa wealth of Velingrad.

Bulgaria's mineral wealth is not distributed evenly. The sources in the country's southern part are about twice as much as the ones in the north. Springs in south Bulgaria are also mainly natural, instead of the result of drilling.

The Bansko region is one of the most alluring locations rich in mineral sources in southern Bulgaria. The place's attractiveness is only increased by the fact that Bansko is Bulgaria's largest ski resort and the proximity of the Pirin mountains, which with their pristine nature are UNESCO-listed. You should add to this the detail that at Bansko are to be found excellent hotels that offer great options for spa and relaxation.

Grand Hotel Bansko: Bansko the year round

Bansko is famed mainly as a winter and ski resort, but the pleasures and comfort of Grand Hotel Bansko (Bansko, 5 Glazne St, www.grandhotelbansko.bg) make your travel to the town at the feet of the Pirin into a year-round occurrence. The luxury hotel offers the largest spa centre in Bansko with a variety of therapies, massages and healing procedures, and with outdoor and indoor swimming pools. The quality of the experience is guaranteed – the hotel has been awarded the best spa hotel of the year and the best luxury hotel in Bulgaria. When you are not enjoying a Finnish panoramic or Himalayan salt sauna, a steam and aroma bath, the gorgeous VIP spa apartment or the stunning Pulse Fitness in the hotel, Grand Hotel Bansko provides you with even more options for relaxation and having fun. Whether it will be skiing, a trek in the mountain, some of the Pulse Camp sport activities, an elegant dinner at the Italian restaurant or a relaxing drink in some of the bars, it is entirely up to your desires and mood.

Whatever vacation you prefer – an active or leisurely one, filled with new experiences or dedicated to tried and tested pleasures – choosing a hotel with options for spa joys is your best shot. In the end, life is too short to say no to the bliss of a relaxing procedure, an exotic massage, sauna or a soak at a hot mineral pool.

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