Melnik is the smallest town in Bulgaria and, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful places in Bulgaria. It combines the touch of the typical Bulgarian architecture, delicious local cuisine and amazing views over the sand pyramids in the region. In addition, it is a famous spot for wine lovers!
How to get there?
Melnik is located in Southwest Bulgaria at the foot of Pirin Mountains. It is around 30 minutes (20 km) away from Sandanski, a nice town in the region, and the E79 highway that connects Sofia and Greece (border point: Kulata). Hence, you can easily reach Melnik by car or by bus (it is a famous tourist destination so sometimes there are organized bus trips to Melnik).
What to see or do?
The main street in Melnik will take you around the most beautiful houses built in the Bulgarian Revival Style. A must-visit is Kordopulova house (built in 1754). Also, I recommend tasting the local wine (and why not visit the wine museum too?). My personal favourite spot is definitely “Sveta Zona” view point (a small monastery) which is located on top of one of the sand pyramids. There is a short eco trail from the main town street that will take you up the sand pyramids. At some point the eco trail splits in two (if you go to the left, you will reach Sveta Zona in about 10 minutes) and if you go right, you will visit ruins of an old fortress (do that, too!). Good sports shoes are definitely recommended although the hike takes max. 20 minutes!
Of course, make sure to visit one of the lovely restaurants in town and ask the staff to recommend you something from the menu – Bulgarian cuisine is so tasty!
Hotels in the area also offer interesting activities, such as horse riding.
Outside the town make sure you visit Lyubovishte tunnel. It is a tunnel in a sand pyramid and it looks amazing! It is around 5 km away from Melnik direction Rozhen monastery. Just about a kilometer before you reach Rozhen monastery, turn left to Lyubovishte tunnel and you will see the spot in a few minutes. After you take some cool photos there, make sure you visit Rozhen monastery. From what I know, there is no organized transport between Melnik and Lyubovishte tunnel or Rozhen monastery, so you won’t regret it if you travel by car. An interesting fact is that there is annual festival in the village of Rozhen!
On the way to Melnik you can also visit Sandanski, Blagoevgrad, Rila Monastery and Stob Pyramids as well as Rupite.
In general, the town is quite small, so a day or two in Melnik should be enough to explore the main sightseeing places.