One Day in Melnik, Bulgaria

One day itinerary for Melnik, Bulgaria including wine, the Rozhen Monastery, Melnik Pyramids, and the best view of the town!
[Want to see this view? Read on!]
I’m mainly writing this post out of my own frustration. It was SO HARD to find much information on what to do in Melnik, Bulgaria! Maybe because it’s also the smallest town in Bulgaria?

Melnik is a really cute little town located in southern Bulgaria. Known for its wine, Melnik is a fantastic stop for any lover of fermented grapes. We also saw so many signs for different flavors of wine – I really wanted to try them all, but we were driving, so I had to make do with just the raspberry…

View of houses near Melnik, Bulgaria.
[Random view of houses while driving to Melnik]
Our drive to Melnik was a little, um, interesting. There were signs saying the roads were closed, but people were just…Driving around them? So, we followed suit since we’d already driven over an hour from Bansko and our only other option would be to drive back.

There was a little bit of construction in one section, but other than that the roads were totally fine. I don’t know, maybe they weren’t really closed?

The road closure in Melnik, Bulgaria
[The weird road closure thing]
So, I don’t know, I’m not telling you to ignore the signs, but I guess – just use your best judgement?

The town itself pretty much consists of one main street lined with pretty shops, hotels, and restaurants. Although small, it’s gorgeous!

A light blue building on the main street in Melnik, Bulgaria that sells various goods.
[Pretty store – it was closed by the time we were done walking to the viewpoint, which was a bummer]
We really wanted to go to the wine museum, but even though the sign said it was open, it was locked and pitch black. We also wanted to go to one of the wine shops, but they were also all closed even though Google said they were open! It was very confusing.

I think this is because it was on a Sunday in January, but still. I’m not sure what the deal was!

ROZHEN MONASTERY & MELNIK PYRAMIDS

Inside the Rozhen Monastery in Melnik, Bulgaria.
[Inside the monastery walls]
Outside the Rozhen Monastery in Melnik, Bulgaria.
[The exterior of the monastery]
Inside the Rozhen Monastery in Melnik, Bulgaria.

Regardless, we were able to explore the outdoors since lots of things were closed! LOL. First we drove to the Rozhen Monastery and explored the beautiful grounds. We also wanted to see the Melnik Pyramids, but we had no idea where they were. We pretty much just took a path that went upwards, and turned out that was the right one!

Just look for the sign for Rozhen Pyramids in Cyrillic (Роженски пирамиди).

Trail from Melnik to the Rozhen Monastery in Melnik, Bulgaria
[Parts of the trail were a little nerve racking, I do admit]
I do admit that parts of the trail were a littttle sketchy. Like pretty narrow with steep drop offs below, or a bunch of wood tied together to make a platform.

So this might not be the BEST thing for you to do if you’re afraid of heights. It wasn’t terrible, just a little nerve racking. Good to live a little on the edge, right?

The Melnik Pyramids near the Rozhen Monastery in Melnik, Bulgaria.
[The Melnik Pyramids – ain’t they pretty?]
The Melnik Pyramids near the Rozhen Monastery in Melnik, Bulgaria
[If you walk a little further, you’ll come to this area]
The Rozhen Monastery on the way back from the Melnik Pyramids in Melnik, Bulgaria
[The Monastery seen on our way back from the pyramids]
The Melnik Pyramids in Melnik, Bulgaria
[More pyramid things]
You can even walk all the way from the town of Melnik to the monastery if you’d like! I wish we’d had time to do that, because the short section that we did walk was BEAUTIFUL.

It’s about 3km, or 2 miles, from Melnik to the Rozhen Monastery if you hike the trail. DON’T take the road if you want to walk – it’s much longer! It will take about `1.5-3 hours each way. If you do decide to walk, here’s a detailed post about the hike.

We just drove to the Monastery, which is about a 12 minute drive from Melnik.

VIEW FROM MONASTERY VIRGIN BOGORODITSA SPILEOTISA

View of the town Melnik from the Monastery "Virgin Bogoroditsa Spileotisa" in Bulgaria.
[That view tho. Wish I’d gotten to see it during the day!]
View of Melnik from the Monastery "Virgin Bogoroditsa Spileotisa" in Bulgaria.
[Anotha one]
To see a really pretty viewpoint of Melnik itself, route your GPS to Monastery “Virgin Bogoroditsa Spileotisa”. Park at the bottom of the hill (we accidentally went too far the first time and drove to Saint Petka Church instead. Also beautiful, but doesn’t have the viewpoint!).

Then, walk up the steps for about 10-15 minutes. Turn left at the top, and you’ll see the monastery.

Walk past the monastery, and you’ll find the viewpoint there!

Monastery "Virgin Bogoroditsa Spileotisa" in Melnik, Bulgaria.
[The Monastery itself]
The trail to Monastery "Virgin Bogoroditsa Spileotisa" in Melnik, Bulgaria.
[The trail to the monastery]
Unfortunately, it was already getting dark by the time we arrived so we didn’t have much time to enjoy the view. It was still gorgeous, though!

FOOD & DRINK

Chavkova House, a traditional Bulgarian restaurant in Melnik, Bulgaria.
[The exterior of Chavkova House]
For dinner, we went to Chavkova House and it was pretty good! I wouldn’t say it’s BEST meal I’ve had in my life (but I’m spoiled by all the options for Bulgarian food we have in Bansko, where I am currently) but it was certainly delicious.

Shopski Cheese, a traditional Bulgarian dish at Chavkova House, a traditional Bulgarian restaurant in Melnik, Bulgaria.
[Shopski Cheese in all its glory]
Tarator, a traditional Bulgarian cold soup made of yogurt and cucumber, at Chavkova House in Melnik, Bulgaria.
[Tarator, a traditional Bulgarian cold soup made of yogurt and cucumber. It’s better than it sounds, I promise!]
We ended up buying a bottle of raspberry wine and some yogurt at a random convenience store at the beginning of town, since everything else was closed. The yogurt was amazing (Bulgarian yogurt is SO GOOD) but the wine…Well…Let’s just say we weren’t huge fans.

Bulgarian homemade red wine in a plastic bottle.
[Homemade wine is always sold in plastic bottles]
If I could go back, I would have loved to visit a winery or bought some from the actual wine shop!

WHAT WE MISSED:

The main street in Melnik, Bulgaria is lined with shops and restaurants.
[The upper part of the main street in Melnik, where the Wine Museum is]
  • The Kordopulov House – An 18th century museum house that showcases an old Bulgarian traditional home. It costs 3.50 leva (so cheap – less than $2 USD!) and you’ll also get a free wine tasting in the cellar afterwards.
  • The Wine Museum – This actually sounded really cool, and we were super bummed it was closed. It’s also quite affordable (5 leva, which is less than $3 USD), and includes a tasting of four wines and one rakia.
  • Visit a winery – There are many wineries located in and near Melnik, and it would’ve been fun to check one out.

HOW TO GET TO MELNIK

Road to Melnik, Bulgaria lined with trees.
[The road into Melnik from the Rozhen Monastery]
Driving is clearly the easiest option, albeit the mysterious road closures.

I’m also not telling you to hitchhike if you don’t have a car, BUT – we picked up some hitchhikers on our way from Bansko to Plovdiv. So, people do hitchhike in Bulgaria! Although I’d imagine it might be hard to find someone driving to and from Melnik, unless it’s on a weekend in the summer when it’s a little more busy.

You can also take a bus directly from Sofia but would need to stay overnight if you chose this option. One bus leaves from the Central Bus Station at 2PM and arrives in Melnik at 6PM; the bus from Melnik to Sofia leaves at 6AM. So, you would be kind of stuck!

Main street in Melnik, Bulgaria lined with shops and buildings.
[Another part of the main street in Melnik]
I hope you enjoy your visit to Melnik – it’s must do in Bulgaria!

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One day itinerary for Melnik, Bulgaria including wine, the Rozhen Monastery, Melnik Pyramids, and the best view of the town!

One day itinerary for Melnik, Bulgaria including wine, the Rozhen Monastery, Melnik Pyramids, and the best view of the town!

 One day itinerary for Melnik, Bulgaria including wine, the Rozhen Monastery, Melnik Pyramids, and the best view of the town! Melnik is the smallest town in Bulgaria known for its wineries.

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10 thoughts on “One Day in Melnik, Bulgaria

  1. I know very little about Bulgaria, but it looks charming. I love the cobblestone streets. And the food looks delicious, although I am not generally a fan of cold soups.

    1. Yes, the cobblestone streets are so pretty. Wish we had more of them in the US! And yes, the food is soooo good. I don’t usually like cold soups either, but I like this one a lot for some reason. 🙂

    1. Yes, it was so pretty! I’m glad you like the photos, and yeah the hike was really fun even though parts were a little nerve racking. 🙂 Would love to do the whole trail one day!

  2. Wow Bulgaria looks great and I admit, it’s not somewhere I’ve really considered before. I didn’t realise that they made wine and there is so much history either. Thanks for sharing 😊

    1. Glad you enjoyed and thanks for reading! 🙂 Yes, I think Bulgaria is such an underrated place – hope you visit one day!

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