The villas of Horlog in the beautiful nature of Trigrad, Bulgaria
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For a long time I could not book a stay at the Horlog Castle Hotel in Trigrad, there were still no places, because the hotel was small and many people wanted to go to the village and admire the beautiful nature and sights in its vicinity.
The hotel is named after the area in which it is located.
When I called in June, I was lucky, mainly because it turned out that right at that time they were putting into operation the brand new villas they had built in addition to the hotel. As these were brand new facilities open to guests in a pandemic year, my principles of encouraging Bulgarian tourism do not allow me to make an assessment so soon after their commissioning. Rather, I would like to tell you about the way I think that if you want to visit Trigrad and the region, you can have a good time.
We were in a maisonette in villa number 4, which included another double bedroom. The room had a separate entrance from the maisonette and had its own bathroom with toilet. The maisonette had on the first level a living room with a fireplace and a terrace, and a small toilet, and on the second level two double rooms with two bathrooms, each of which has its own bathroom with toilet and the possibility to lock it separately from the rest of the apartment. However, I recommend that if the maisonette will be used by 2 families, they should feel close.
I learned from the owner Radost that all rooms had their own bathrooms. Also, the double rooms turn into triple, because an additional third bed is pulled out from the existing ones, but this is only recommended as a last option, because in this way the rooms become quite cramped.
…. Very nice interior design, good natural materials, including only lightly treated wood branches as a decoration or railing of the staircase, wooden tables and cabinets with rough wood, stone and brick, tiles imitating wood, trimmer joists and slightly sloping ceiling on the upper level;
…. Nice view from the terrace of each villa to the river Trigradska with a neat round table and 2 chairs;
…. The hotel and the villas are on the very road to Trigrad, so the walk on foot must be careful, despite the low traffic;
…. The villa is still new, the refrigerator has not been put into operation, which was a problem for us, but not very big, there are no plates and utensils yet, but there are glasses, a kettle, thanks to which you can make tea with freshly purchased or harvested herbs in the area. We were left as compliments 3 in 1 coffee and sugar. There are 2 shampoos and soaps in each bathroom, but don’t expect them to reload you if you run out. You have to ask. The same goes for toilet paper. Cleaning should also by request, as well as disposing of trash bins;
…. There is no WiFi. Mobile data is loose, but don’t think you’ll do a lot of work there remotely. Don’t forget to bring cash, including to pay for the hotel, because the only POS terminal I saw around was in it and it never made a connection;
…. Instead of trying to work, you can visit unique natural landmarks around such as the Devil’s Throat Cave and the Jagodina Cave. You can climb Eagle’s Eye or Wolf’s Stone and look down on the beautiful hills of the Rhodopes. On Eagle’s Eye there is a small overpass protruding above the precipice, from which you can see the road howling like a thin snake in the abyss below it. It is very high and scary, but thus you can cure fear of heights.
Of course, it is preferable to go up on foot, as the locals do – for wellness and to overcome yourself. But if you’re not walking, at the risk of upsetting various people, there are SUVs that for a small amount of money can pick up a group of enthusiasts up and bring them back. The off-road journey itself is also extreme, because of the steep here and there, which, I personally thought, they can be climbed only on foot or with animal traction.
…. The hotel is at a pleasant walking distance from the village, so if you want to jump to it, be prepared for a short stroll along the road, with caution, because there is no sidewalk.
It is worth going to Trigrad to buy herbs or just to chat. There is a purchase/selling point in the center. In addition to herbs, you can get beans from Kurtovo Konare and Smilen. These varieties of bean are considered the most delicious in Bulgaria. You can also buy dried mushrooms, natural honey and more. Be sure to take mursalki tea, it is very good for the respiratory tract.
In no case do not expect to find in the village any bars, restaurants and others. The shops are mixed groceries, there are no supermarkets. However, there are very responsive people, smiling, warm-hearted, ready to talk to you, to invite you to a Muslim or Christian holiday, regardless of your religion. Trigrad has both a mosque and a church, people co-live together, despite the differences in their faith.
I really want to tell you about the following occasion.
We were looking for some medicine for heartburn and went into the grocery store to ask about a pharmacy. Here is the dialogue that followed.
“Hello, can you tell us where can we find a pharmacy here?”
“We do not have a pharmacy, we do not get sick here.”
“Not at all?”
“Please, share the recipe of your good health?”
“We have been drinking Mursalski tea since we were little. My grandmother taught me when we used to have a wood stove and I remember there was always a kettle on it, in which we brewed Mursalski tea and a few rose hips in it. I have been used to drinking it all my life and I do not have serious health problems.”
This was told to us by a young, blonde, blue-eyed and very cheerful woman, who also informed us what herbs we can gather around, how on the way to the depopulated village of Vodni Pad we can find in the meadows many mullein, Maral root, St. John’s wort and much more.
She smiled kindly at us all the time, without arrogance, with a lot of meekness and sincere attention to us as interlocutors. Everyone in the store asked us exactly what medicine we were looking for to help us if they could. Someone even started calling on the phone to ask a relative who came from Devin town if he could bring it to us from there. Amazing people.
You will not find many people speaking English there but at the main attractions you will.
…. The murmur of the Trigradska River, the noise of a car, from time to time on the road. Otherwise it is very quiet and peaceful;
…. In the bistro Mechkite, there is a sign with the text of the Rhodope dialect. Ask someone to read it to you, to hear its melodious sound, which is very different from the normal Bulgarian speech. You can see and hear it in the movie.
Movie watching time: 6:21 min.
…. Smells of freshly picked herbs, if you gather in the meadows around. If you don’t know them, you can install an app that tells you which plant is what on your phone.
If you are not much into walks and you want to sit on the terrace of the room, with a view of the green forest and hearing enchanted by the bubbling river, in the center of Trigrad there is a point that buys and sells herbs. You can buy ready-mixed tea from any stall near the local attractions. Also, don’t miss to buy natural honey. If you are a fan of semi-precious stones and quartz, the abundance of them is great;
…. Elderberry aroma in the homemade juice offered in the hotel restaurant.
…. Mandatory Rhodope klin, patatnik and kachamak, which are offered everywhere in the Rhodopes.
Rhodopean klin is a local pastry filled with cheese and rice. Patatnik is a pie made of potato and cheese. Kachamak is the local variety of polenta.
Here the polenta was smelled of overburnt and noone from our group liked it. The klin and the patatnik, however, were nice. The restaurant advertised that there was fresh carp, but the one they brought me was frozen and was not as good as I expected;
… At breakfast there is always something traditional for the Bulgarian table such as banitska (cheese pie), mekitsa (fried dough) or battered bread slices. The other things from the breakfast are white cheese and yellow cheese, ham and salami, cereals, lightly aged apples, yogurt, fresh, water, black coffee, but if you want espresso you pay for it;
The white cheese and yellow cheese were not from the local dairy, which disappointed me. I wanted to eat quality local products, but I suspect that the owners stick to low prices rather than high prices for authentic locally produced products. What disappointed me the most was that local natural honey was not offered for breakfast, but some imitation in boxes;
… You can eat decently in the neighboring bistro Mechkite which means The Bears, where there is a so-called museum of bears, which is not something special, but inside walks a wonderful big reddish and hairy cat named Max. Also reddish and beautiful is the owner’s Labrador, also named Max, who is very happy with children, but is super careful. The owners are colloquial jokers and rockers, but we managed to contact them only in the evening. On the first day of the traditional holiday, Eid al-Adha the place was full of people. We wanted to have a lemonade, but none of the staff or owners we talked to so friendly in the evening even noticed we were there. Everyone was tempted to carry out orders quickly, and they didn’t care about our lemonades.
… The most delicious can be eaten 2-3 km by car in the bistro Melnitsata, which means the Mill. There is a very good fried trout there, the polenta is not bad, the salads are delicious, the choice of beer is greater than in the previous establishments. The waiter was a little stern and unfriendly at first, but then he talked, smiled and told us a lot of interesting things. It is difficult to breed trout around and it is difficult to protect them because there were otters which feed with them. They were seen swimming in a nearby river. The latter are a protected species and the owners do not dare to push them away. They have their own fishpond, to which otters do not have access and there, in perfectly clean water, they grow the trout they serve. Be sure to keep caramel cream for dessert – it is very tasty. We were ready to fight each other for it.
Last recommendation, when you go to the caves- get warm dressed, because it’s 10° celsium inside.
There are about 300 steps to climb in Devil’s Throat cave, but it’s not as scary and tiring as it may sound. Walk slowly, evenly and there is no way to faint from fatigue. There are also small stair stops for a short breathtaking.
Buy something from local vendors, these people rely on these modest purchases from tourists to feed themselves anyway. Their products are natural, clean and high quality, so it is worth every lev.
We had a great time in Trigrad, and the villas of Horlog Castle in my opinion are the best place, as long as you are not looking for a completely budget accommodation.
How to get to the villas of Horlog Castle in Trigrad?
Don’t worry about getting to the villas of Horlog Castle in Trigrad. Just use the Google map here by clicking on the red pin of its location and then select directions:
A: Horlog Castle, Trigrad Village, 4825 Trigrad
Check-in time: 14:00
Check-out time: 11:00
If you need to rent a car, you can book it here in the box of the largest booking platform further at the end of the current post.
Where to stay?
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