When December came around, I realized I have no clue how we are going to be spending New Year’s Eve. My social calendar was getting crazier and crazier as 2015 progressed and by the end of it, I found myself craving some peace and quiet. Turns out my s/o shared my feelings so we got online and found a charming villa in a small village (population 431) up in the southern Bulgarian mountains.
Yagodina, Bulgaria is a gorgeous little village, hidden up in the Rodopi mountains, right by the border with Greece. it’s about 2h with a car from Sofia. The scenery on the way alone is absolutely worth taking the extreme one lane road for the last 20 minutes going up with your ears popping. There are plenty of beautiful towns that offer guest rooms and houses throughout the year but the history and the Mother Nature’s tourist attractions in the area made us choose this one.
The village of Yagodina dates back to 5th century and it burned down 3 times throughout it’s existence. It’s best known for the two impressive caves located near by: “The devil’s throat”- because it’s so deep (but we couldn’t visit because it was closed due to extremely icy floors) and the Yagodinska cave that was opened. It’s a very unique travel spot, even for a cave! Permanent temperature is 6º С, all year-round, 10 km long, consistent of 3 levels with the remains of a “village”on the first floor that was inhabited by humans around 4000 B.C. Scientists found quite a few clay and ceramic dishes, dating back from the same time frame. The cave is also the home of 11 different types of bats, 6 of which are endangered from extinction across Europe. I was lucky enough to capture the little guy below! Without a flash or sound of course!!
The Yagodinska cave has naturally forming pearls, unique rock formations and a naturally formed lake inside the cave! Below are some more pictures:
The cave is located right by Byunovska river, revealing a breathtaking view
Our villa was gorgeous, 2 minutes from the town square where there is a huge celebration, with fireworks, music and traditional dances to celebrate the new year.
It’s like renting your own apartment and you can cook but I also recommend you let the host make you some traditional for the region dishes with homegrown organic ingredients. It’s peaceful and the perfect place to reconnect with nature and recharge from the “big city life”.
This 3 day trip turned out to be the perfect start to a new year! I’m refreshed, recharged and ready for a fabulous 2016!
Xo, Silvia Mèlange