The cult for the curative power of mineral water in the Bulgarian lands exists since the times of the ancient Thracians, who founded some of their settlements near mineral springs at places which later become cities like Sofia and Hisarya. The ancient Greeks and Romans enriched the tradition, creating public baths which were not only a place for a dip, but centres of social life. Later, in the Ottoman period, the mineral waters again fed a number of public baths.
Today, the development of Bulgaria as a spa destination is more than natural. The reasons are not only historical. The country has 225 mineral springs with medium to high mineralisation. The springs in the north are colder, and the ones in the south are warmer. The average temperature of the mineral springs in Bulgaria is 37-50ºС, with the hottest of them situated along the Mesta and Struma rivers, and in the north slopes of the Western Rhodope.
To this, should be added factors like the good climate, the clean air outside the big cities, the mountains and the sea. In the past few years a number of serious and well-thought investments in development of spa infrastructure by hotel owners brought yet another detail into the re-imagining of Bulgaria as a spa destination. The clients of the good-quality sanatoria, hotels and spa centres today enjoy qualified medical care, a variety of massages and therapies, of baths and saunas.
In the greatest part of Europe the specialised spa treatments are expensive. In Bulgaria, this is not the case – and precisely the good value for money is the country's strongest point.
On the following pages we present a selection of some of the best hotels in Bulgaria, where to immerse yourself in spa pleasures.
Strimon Spa Club: Health, tradition, luxury and pleasure
Kyustendil's hot mineral springs made the city a popular location for spa pleasures and balneology as early as the Roman times. Today, the five-star Strimon Spa Club hotel (Kyustendil, 24 Tsar Simeon I St, phone: 0879 353 649; www.strimon-spaclub.com) attracts guests from all over Bulgaria and abroad as a centre of healthcare combined with spa in an exclusive atmosphere. Only 86 kms from Sofia, Strimon Spa Club is in Kyustendil's central park area and has a 1,100 sq.m spa centre and 18 offices for different procedures and therapies. The hotel's guests are pampered with classical, healing and alternative massages, Roman bath with three pools, and indoor mineral water swimming pool with children's section. The different procedures, the saunas, the fitness, the solarium, the spa capsule, the mud treatment, the lymphatic drainage, the paraffin, the Cleopatra bath and the organic cosmetics offered by Strimon Spa Club guarantee that you will have an unforgettable stay. If you need health treatment or want to escape from the stress, you can try the special programmes and therapies under the control of a medical doctor. Besides its wholesome health effect, the Kyustendil mineral water has proven beneficial effect in treatment of sterility and chronic gynaecological inflammations.
Atlantis Resort & SPA: Relax in sea style
You want to chill out after a tiresome day at work? You look for a place to recharge? Atlantis Resort & SPA (Burgas, Sarafovo, 58 Angel Dimitrov St, phone: 0888 641 001, www.atlantisresort-bg.com) offers complete relaxation and repose in absolute serenity. The guests immerse in the cosiness of the spacious rooms and apartments, and enjoy the exceptional sea view towards the Burgas Bay. There is an easy access to the beach, too. The ones who prefer to stay inside the complex have at their disposal a spa and wellness centre, fitness, bowling centre, and a magnificent restaurant. Other conveniences are the diet office, the Russian and Turkish baths, the thermal zone with indoor heated pool, plus the Jacuzzi, Finish and aroma-bio saunas with Himalayan salt, steam bath and a shock-pool. With its conference halls, Atlantis Resort & SPA is also a great destination for business tourism.
Interhotel Sandanski: Future in traditions
Apart from its favourable climate, clean air, splendid nature and rich history, Sandanski is also known for the legendary 4-star Interhotel Sandanski (Sandanski, Park zone, phone: 0882 611 031; www.interhotelsandanski.bg). Situated at the very beginning of the beautiful city park, Interhotel Sandanski is an opportunity for having a holiday amid rare trees and plants. Due to its air, known with the lowest content of allergens in Bulgaria, the region is also an established centre for treatment of allergies and asthma. This is why the spa profile of Interhotel Sandanski is not a coincidence. The hotel boasts an outdoors and indoors swimming pool, sectors for hydrotherapy, electrotherapy and light treatment, and inhalations, as well as sauna, solarium, tennis court, and gymnastics hall. Procedures for treatment of asthma, osteoporosis, arthro-rheumatism are also offered, and so are programmes for weight loss, anti-stress therapy, different kinds of baths, water treatment, kinesitherapy, phytotherapyphytotherapy, and many others. The visitors choose between a variety of rooms: 181 standard and 82 luxurious, and 23 suites.
Delta Complex: Sinking in Rhodope bliss
Huddled in the pristine nature of the mighty mountain, Delta Complex (Ognyanovo village, Garmen municipality, phone: +359 7523 2005; www.hoteldelta-bg.com) gives you everything you need for a wholesome and energising spa vacation. Delta uses mineral water with 40ºC temperature, which feeds two large swimming pools and runs from the showers in the hotel rooms. It heals conditions of the bone joints and the peripheral nervous system, as well as gynaecological, kidney, urological and bile diseases. The Sani luxury spa centre is the pearl of Delta Complex. Among its sophisticated interior you enjoy sauna, a Jacuzzi, steam bath, pearl bath, and a variety of massages. The complex is open all year round and is located within a majestic nature with centuries old plane trees, pine and oak forests. The hotel's vicinities abound with interesting sites, like the ruins if the Roman city of Nicopolis ad Nestum, and the traditional villages of Kovachevitsa, Leshten and Dolen.
The charm of Piry Complex
Bansko is renowned as a ski resort, but Piry Complex (Bansko, 2nd km on the Banya road, phone: 0895 551 577; www.piry.bg) offers all amenities for an unforgettable vacation and will show you that travelling to the region is worth. Piry Complex is linked to the hot mineral waters that spring in the Banya village, and besides in the swimming pools, the guest can have running mineral water in the hotel rooms. The spa centre has an indoor swimming pool, sauna and steam bath. In the summer, there are outdoor pool, cocktail bar and barbecue. The Cult Restaurant and the Cheverme Tavern offer excellent cuisine and pleasant ambience, and the two lobby bars are great for having a drink with friends. The complex also has a volleyball and two football fields preferred as summer training ground for football teams, as well as fitness centre. The hotel’s youngest guest can have fun in the special children’s corner.
Balneohotel Therma Palace: Spa magic from the North
A spa vacation in а five star hotel in one of the wonderful parts of the northern Bulgarian Black Sea coast will satisfy even the most demanding taste. The best hotel fitting into this description is balneohotel Therma Palace (Kranevo, 25 Primorska St, phone: 0886 698 944; www.thermapalace.com), which opened in 2014. Therma Palace's guests relax in a quiet nature, just 300 meters from the beach, within a beautiful park, close to the Baltata reserve and a thermal source. The healing qualities of the mineral water in the hotel, the mud therapy, the various massages, therapies and spa treatments applied by experienced professionals, turn balneohotel Thermal Palace into one of Bulgaria's most energising locations. The hotel offers 42 luxurious rooms, all with a sea view, outdoor and indoor swimming pools with mineral water, Finnish sauna, aroma-herbal sauna, salt room, steam bath and many other conveniences that turn the stay here into a feast for the senses and the health.
Thermo Spa Hotel Rimska Bania: Mountain paradise
Only 2 hours drive from Sofia and 5 kms from the Bansko resort a real spa treasure exists – 75 hot mineral springs flow in and around the village of Banya. Thermo Spa Hotel Rimska Bania (Banya, Razlog municipality, phone: 0889 005 566; www.rimskabania.com) gives you the best of this wealth. The hotel has all the advantages and amenities of being close to Bansko, but is quiet and far from the resort's overdevelopment. Thermo Spa Hotel Rimska Bania offers 90 luxuriously furnished rooms and apartments with a bath and mineral water, a modern Spa & Wellness centre, restaurant, sport facilities, and two excellently equipped conference halls. The mineral pools are two, and the list of therapies and spa pleasures include the use of Jacuzzi, sauna, steam bath, Turkish bath, ice room, relax zone and different massages. The place is exceptionally good for holiday the whole year round. For the children, there are playing ground, kid's corner and sports’ field for tennis, volleyball, basketball and football.