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I had heard how beautiful the Rhodope mountains in the region of Smilyan was and I decided this summer to visit the area. In booking.com I found a good offer from Rodpksi Rai Complex and I booked 2 nights. It turned out to be insufficient. Read below why.
…. A little neat hotel for max. 38 people, with large outdoor area of the tavern and a swimming pool;
…. Our apartment was for 4 people, cozy but quite undersized– the kids bed was too tight for 2 persons. I advise you, if you have big children and you do not have a problem with the price, but you want two bathrooms and space, get two double rooms, a double room costs EUR 60 per night;
…. Nice view of the sunset over the Rhodope Mountains from the small terrace of our apartment;
…. There are no hotel slippers, you should bring yours, because in the bathroom there are reusable flip flops, which I am sure that for purely hygienic reasons you wouldn’t dare to put on;
…. Numerous household decorations, wooden tables and benches in the tavern.
…. The feeling of cramped space in the apartment – the wardrobe was small and there was almost no place for clothes. For this reason, I recommend not to bring a lot of clothes there, it makes no sense. Get sportswear, outerwear and long trousers;
…. Both bedrooms were with only one duvet, shared for 2 persons. I asked for extra, but they gave me bed covers, not something with a sheet;
…. For the two nights we spent in Rodopski rai the room wasn’t cleaned up. I went on my own to ask for finished consumables.
…. During the day the most up-to-date Latino and reggaeton (I know them well from my Zumba classes, they wer really the most hot sounds 😊), traditional Bulgarian folk music in the evening.
Movie watching time: 2:30 min.
…. The pleasant smell of butter and cheese in Sindermio, which is served in the tavern;
Syndermio is a kind of polenta, cooked with cheese. I recommend it to you at all costs;
…. Boletus in butter- very fragrant and very tasty.
…. I recommend you to try all the dishes listed as Rhodope specialties- Patatnik, something like a pita from potatoes, Clin- something like a pastry in which there are rice, eggs and cheese, covered with a pastry sheet, Sarma wrapped in cabbage leaves- in some places they call them Stanimashki, very tiny, like jewellery craftwork and and delicious, Rododpski rai sack – we called it Rhodopane calzone because it resembles it, dough stuffed with chicken or cheese, mixed with other things, the above-mentioned Syndermyo is also in the mandatory tasting list;
…. Tripe with mushrooms and vegies in a pot- there is a picture in the video, it was big time tasty;
…. Smilyan beans in any kind of dish- this variety of beans from Bulgaria is large with rich taste;
…. At breakfast there were crispy roasted bread slices, covered with a mixture of cheese and eggs.
I advise you, if you go to Rodopski rai not to spend your entire days only at the pool. In the region there are many caves, eco trails, a historical monument, which tells about an epic and very important battle victory in the area by Colonel Serafimov named Rodovska Shipka. As a token of appreciation, the local population named a village after his name, where the monument is located.
We visited Uhlovitsa Cave, which is on the road to the village of Mogilitsa. If you like walking and hiking and observing white limestone cave formations, I recommend you to see it. The track is not entirely without challenges, but it is short and very pleasant for hiking.
You can walk from Gorna Arda up to Geranitsa Park. There’s a little eco-bistro and guest house in the woods named Villa Geranitsa. There is a soup, patatnik, polenta, BBQ and several kinds of lovely homemade lemonade. The owner was a little stiff but the food was delicious. The walking to the place is less challenging and very pleasant, in the shade, with a very slight elevation.
In Smilyan village we went to the Milky House (Mlechen dom) of Rodopa milk which was supported by the Swiss government. You can taste and buy there wonderful cheese made in Bulgarian and Swiss technology. Its tavern offers all kinds of specialties based on milk products, even Swiss fondue. We tried cream of strained yogurt and homemade jam of wild strawberries. Yummy, it was delicious! And the cheese was absolutely divine. We also bought gyubek, which is local fresh cheese. It is not to be refrigerated, so as not to ripen. But you have to eat it in two days time frame, otherwise it gets sour.
If you travel back on Sunday and you are not in a hurry, stop by the planetarium in Smolyan. It has more than 50 star shows – popular, educational, for children, musical, including in English, German, French, Greek, Russian and Turkish languages. The projector dates back to 1973, but it does its job perfectly. Probably because it’s Carl-Zeiss. The presentation was interesting, suitable for children and adults. It lasted about 45 minutes, so for very young children it would not work, because the audience sat in the dark all the time and phones usage was forbidden.
There are still a lot of things to see at in the region, but there was no time. A weekend is not enough to see all interesting places around, so we have to come back again. If you have planned more time for your stay, take your international passports and make a small journey to Kavala in Greece. The border is just around the corner.
If you are planning already your trip to Smilyan and around, I would recommend you to book your stay here. For your convenience, I added a booking.com box, which refers directly to their site. I guarantee you’re going to use all your genius discounts and privileges they would offer to you. Just enter the dates of your trip, then hit the Search button and voila. In addition, booking.com are doing their best to make sure that your expectations as a customer are fulfilled. I’ve described an example about the latter in my story about our stay in Shangri-La hotel in Singapore .
Don’t worry about getting to Rodopski Rai in Smilyn Village. Just use the Google map here by clicking on the red pin of its location and then select directions:
А: 25 “Peyo Yavorov” str, Smilyan village, Smolyan
T: + 359 877 62 31 39
If you need a rent-a-car, you can book it here in the box of the largest booking platform.
Are you looking for info on good restaurants, hotels and any nice places around the world and in our country? Then dig into the categories of placescases.com to find something just for you.