Melnik, Bulgaria is one of the country’s most treasured gems.  The smallest town in Bulgaria is home to some of the best wine in the country and some of the most spectacular sites.  According to the latest census, there are 230 full time residents in the town.  Making it the smallest town registered in the country.  That is not to say there are smaller villages, as you will see driving through Bulgaria there are plenty, but this one is the smallest registered.

The main strip of the town is comprised of a narrow street with shops, cafes, and wineries on each side.  If you want to get close to the wine making process, simply ask any of the restaurants or bars in town and most likely they will be more than happy to give a tour or show you their cellar.   Each of the home made wines taste different so it’s worth your effort to taste as many as possible!

There is much more to Melnik than its fabulous wine however.  A short uphill hike from town will lead you to a spectacular 360 degree view of the surrounding sand pyramids.  The trail leads past Despot Slav’s Fortress and the ruins of St. Nicholas’ Church.

You will see the sign for the trail at the bottom of the hill right off of the main street.  There is no indication as to how long the trail takes but we estimated that it took about 30 minutes to reach the summit and about 20 to return.  When you get to the crossroads of the trail, turn right for the Fortress and Church.

Our Experience

Since it was our first night where we were out by ourselves relieved of our parental duties, we made the most of our brief trip.  We visited a winery off of the main road up towards the end of the main street in town.  There we samples the home made red wine and took a quick tour of the cellar.  Many of the cellars have the option of sitting and drinking within the cellar but we preferred the gorgeous spring weather and sunset outside.

On our way back down through town we stopped at 4 or 5 different cellars, tasting the various flavors of red.  We picked up a liter of our favorite as well before heading back to the hotel.

Our favorite meal while in Bulgaria was called the Chicken Sache which is a chicken and vegetables dish.  Every restaurant has its own version and we found one of the best in Bulgaria at Cihelna Restaurant in the center of town.

The following day we did the hour hike up to Despot Slav’s Fortress and visited the church ruins as well.  It’s the perfect exercise activity after a full night of wine tasting out on the town.  After checking out of the hotel we headed for the Rozhen Monastary for the remainder of the day before heading back home to Bania.

Driving the country roads in and around Melnik can be a fascinating experience as the phenomenal views and local villages provide unique experiences.

Melnik Top 3 Things to do:

Despot Slav Fortress trail and 360 degree view from the top

Wine Cellars – make sure to visit at least one

Rozhen Monastery – One of the most famous in Bulgaria

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One Response

  1. John Cole October 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

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