Although it’s the tiniest town in Bulgaria, Melnik is nothing short of impressive. It’s located in the Pirrin Mountains, and it’s a place with a rich history and a bright future. Melnik was under more than four different rulers throughout its history, which is pretty significant considering its small size. Clearly, the town had a lot to offer, as evident in the well-maintained historical structures that remain from each ruler’s reign. Melnik has not changed since in that sense. Today, it’s a popular tourist destination for those who love wine and nature.
Melnik is a bus and a shuttle away from Blagoevgrad, so it’s an excellent destination for a day trip. Molly, Sebastian, Gabriel and I made the trek one weekend so we could taste the infamous wines available. The town is very quaint. It’s filled with shops, hotels, and eateries, each of which has wine available to sample.
We ended up sampling wine from only one restaurant before settling down and eating. The people at the restaurant were very friendly, as were the other locals. The food was delicious and so was the wine. I believe Melnik might be more well-known for their red wines. I prefer white, but this wine held true to its reputation.
After lunch, we hiked for half an hour to see the slowly crumbling St. Nicholas Church and the Despot-Slavova Fortress. It was a little brutal seeing as all I’ve been doing is eating and not exercising… The wine didn’t help either! But it was totally worth the unexpected sweatiness. Once we reached the top, we saw the sand pyramids, which really make for a great landscape. They are so naturally beautiful and the view of Melnik from the top of the trail was spectacular. From there, we saw the church and the fortress, and proceeded to start individual photo shoots.
After that exhausting hike, we engaged in another! This time, there was a physical reward at the top: the best wine in the coolest atmosphere. At the top of this hike, there was a cave where we were served really inexpensive red, rose, and white wines. I liked the white the best!
Anyways, even though we spent a couple hours in Melnik, it would have been nice to have more time there. I would have liked to go into some of the monumental churches and houses that have been maintained throughout the years. I highly recommend going to Melnik! Only in warm weather if you like to hike though. There’s a lot to take in!