Outdoor hot mineral pools in Bulgaria – where to go in the cold seasons?

Тази статия може да я прочетете и на: bgБългарски

Here is a list of resorts in Bulgaria with hot mineral pools for the winter season

When the weather gets cold, my family and I immediately start thinking about going to a SPA hotel with a hot outdoor pool. We love snowflakes falling on us in the hot mineral water or just feeling the refreshing cold air in the autumn while bathing in the hot pool. Finding new places is not always easy so we decided to share our experience with spa resorts in Bulgaria and hot mineral pools in Bulgaria and update the list constantly.

The best SPA resorts in Bulgaria with thermal waters

Bulgaria is rich in mineral springs – we have over 700 across the country. So this kind of pleasure is quite accessible to the people. We are happy to live in this SPA paradise and never miss a chance to enjoy it. It’s like Iceland, but in the summer you can go to the beach, too. So there are plenty of places and hotels with hot mineral pools in Bulgaria.

Velingrad – the SPA capital of Bulgaria

At the heart of Rhodope mountains is the beautiful town Velingrad. It is famous across the country with its numerous hot springs (over 70) and the many hotels offering SPA services and thermal pools. The town fully deserves to be called SPA capital.

Velingrad at night
Velingrad at night

You can travel to Velingrad with the exotic Narrow Gauge Railway – the last of its kind in Bulgaria. Take it from Septemvri train station and enjoy the beautiful mountain views during the journey.

Velingrad is our favorite SPA resort in Bulgaria and we can recommend several places to stay there.

Our №1 – Villa Vuchev

5-star villa, not budget at all but still good value for money. Featuring an outdoor hot pool and an indoor jacuzzy, together with sauna. It’s an incredible pleasure to jump in the pool when it’s -15 degrees outside. The best thing about Villa Vuchev is that you will be left unbothered by any unknown people. No matter whether you are booking just one room or you are arriving with a company of several people, the villa is all yours. And there is no working time of the SPA centre – you can enjoy the Jacuzzi at midnight, if you wish. It is a totally wonderful place.

Location Site

How to book:

Booking.com

Villa Vuchev in Velingrad, Bulgaria

Villa Vuchev ***** – the best place to stay with friends in Velingrad, Bulgaria

March 10th, 2018 Мария Андреева Welcome to our favourite luxury SPA villa in the SPA capital of Bulgaria Velingrad is a place where we would go anytime, any day, any moment. We just adore this town, known as the SPA capital of Bulgaria, and without a reason. We go there every few months and we adore it especially in the…

Vella Hills hotel

A very nice, new and again, not budget 4-star spa hotel. Very good SPA centre with warm pools, including an outside pool, saunas, steam baths, etc. Good value for money, if you are not on a budget.

Location Prices

Aura hotel

A good budget option for Velingrad. You will need to book at least 1 week in advance and maybe even 2 weeks in the busy season. The outside pool is small and often crowded, but there is also a big covered pool and a small SPA centre. The restaurant is nice. Last visit – 2013 or 2014.

Location Prices

Hisarya – the Roman style near Plovdiv

Hisarya is a nice town in Central Bulgaria known for its many mineral springs – one of the places with highest density of hot springs in Bulgaria. So it is also one of the most popular spa resorts in Bulgaria. It is also very nice for walks and there is a fortress in the town centre.

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Хисаря 42.506097, 24.709857

There are plenty of hotels there but we have only been to the 4-star Hissar hotel. The outside pool is not very small but it gets really crowded in busy times (weekends) because the hotel is really big. There are also two spa centres and an indoor pool.

The roman ruins - Hisarya
The roman ruins – Hisarya

Hotels

Ognyanovo village – near town of Gotse Delchev – Southwest Bulgaria

Ognyanovo is located at the foot of the Rhodopean ridge Dabrash. From the village you can see the marvelous silhouette of Pirin mountains. Ognyanovo has been known for its mineral springs for centuries. Until recently, every house in the village was supplied by mineral water. We enjoyed this natural treasure for the first time on a cold night a few years ago. We jumped in the hot basin Miroto, which is built just above one of the mineral springs. We spent hours there, resting in the hot waters and cooling in the icy river just nearby. is a rare view in Ognyanovo. However, you can enjoy in in the nearby mountainous villages.

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Огняново 41.620183, 23.799541

Hotels in Ognyanovo village

Royal Valentina Castle

Ognyanovo is a popular SPA destination with many hotels and guest houses. We enjoyed a wonderful weekend in Royal Valentina Castle hotel and we strongly recommend it if you plan a holiday in the area. In the cold seasons the outdoor pool is cold and you can enjoy the indoor swimming pool and kids’ pool, as well as a Jacuzzi. In the summer you can also enjoy the outdoor infinity pool featuring stunning views to the nearby mountains. Both pools are filled with mineral water.

Location Website

“Miroto” in Ognyanovo – the mineral water spring

Miroto is entrance-free and accessible anytime, even at night. We bathed there for hours in a hot January night, taking sporadic jumps in the neighbouring ice-cold river when we got too hot.

Miroto is entrance-free and accessible anytime, even at night.
Miroto is entrance-free and accessible anytime, even at night.

If you are looking for a budget option, you can stay in a small hotel or guest house and enjoy Miroto for free. However, we lately prefer more comfortable options with some additional SPA facilities. So if you have a suggestion for a nice hotel in Ognyanovo – feel free to share.

Location of Miroto

Sandanski – fresh air in the sunniest town in Bulgaria

Sandanski is also among our favourite destination – it is the warmest place in the whole country. It is sunny almost year-round and the town is also known with its fresh and even healing air. In the city there are also many thermal springs. But we have never stayed in a SPA hotel there. The area around is also known for its wine production – you may have heard of Melnik wine.

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Сандански 41.568871, 23.284149

Hotels

Chiflik – at the heart of Balkan Mountains

We had heard a lot about Chiflik resort, near the town of Troyan. However, we just recently went there for the first time. And it totally deserves its reputation. Chiflik is a small village with many SPA hotel, almost all of them having outdoor hot pools.

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Чифлика 42.827670, 24.552984

Balkan hotel

There are many hotels in Chiflik resort. Balkan hotel is a good choice, 3-star, average price. There are several outdoor pools with different temperature, as well as a SPA centre. We really enjoyed the pools and also the Turkish bath.

You can visit the pools of Balkan hotel even if you are not staying in the hotel. The entrance fee is 10 lv per adult and 5 lv per child. 
The outdoor pools with different temperature
The outdoor pools with different temperature

My daughter Anna loved the pool and in the morning woke me up with the words “Come on, Dad, sun is here, let’s go to the pool!”

Location

How to book?

Booking.com

For the mountain lovers, nearby is the Natural reserve Kozya Stena. However, before you go, check carefully your routes and their hardness. 

Sapareva Banya – the home of the hottest geyser in continental Europe

In Sapareva Banya you can see one of the few hot geysers on continental Europe. The water is more than 100 degrees hot and there is a smell of spoiled eggs. In the town there are many places where you can enjoy the healing thermal water – both hotels with own pools and a public SPA complex with pools.

Sapareva Banya – the home of the hottest geyser in continental Europe
Sapareva Banya – the home of the hottest geyser in continental Europe

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Сапарева Баня 42.287818, 23.259430
Booking.com

The easiest weekend destinations around Sofia

Kostenets villages

It is Friday and a snow disaster has captured the most part of Bulgaria. Extremely low temperatures with strong winds make the situation really bad in the eastern parts of the country and a difficult weekend is ahead. However, we are lucky to live in western Bulgaria and decide to find a SPA hotel with an outdoor pool near Sofia. We pick Kostenets – an hour drive from Sofia. It is not among the most popular spa resorts in Bulgaria, but it is a nice place, calm and close to Sofia. In the spring we visited the beautiful Kostenski waterfalls and just next to it there is a nice hotel with a lake – Ezeroto

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Сапарева Баня 42.287818, 23.259430
The pool with hot mineral water
The pool with hot mineral water of Ezeroto hotel, Kostenets – one of the many hot pools in Bulgaria

There we enjoyed one of our most relaxed days for a long time. It is a budget hotel with nice restaurant and if you are not a 5-star addict, I think you will like it. Despite the hard road situation, the road to the hotel was clean so we had no problems reaching there. The hotel is supplied with hot mineral water everywhere because they are using a local hot spring and it was very warm despite the -15 degrees outside. The water in the pools and showers is mineral as well. Besides the main hotel building, there is a second one, more luxurious, but also colder.

Prices

Note: The pool is far from the building

Included in the price is fitness centre, indoor Jacuzzi and outside pool. If you are enthusiastic to try the outside pool, have in mind that it is relatively far from the main building – maybe 100-200 m that you should walk in the snow. So bring your bath robes and suitable slippers for the exotic walk. The outside pool is big and warm and we felt great there. After the walk back to the hotel we took a few minutes in the really hot Jacuzzi, very refreshing.

Ezeroto hotel Kostenets Bulgaria
How far is the hotel from the pool.

TermaKostenets mineral pool complex, Vili Kostenets

There are days when I feel very tired and I really need to relax a bit. Especially when these days are cold and colourful. We had a small escape with little Anna on one such Sunday. We went 80 km from Sofia to the Vili Kostenets resort, where there are mineral springs. Just before the Kostenski waterfalls there is a new complex with hot mineral pools – Terma Kostenets.

The pool
The pool

In Terma Kostenets you can jump in the hot outdoor pool and several indoor pools and Jacuzzis. You will definitely enjoy your time here – it is warm, clean and calm place. At least our Sunday looked like this. There is not a hotel in the complex, the steam room is in construction and there is a restaurant and bar. They also make delicious juices. 

Anna in the pool
Anna in the pool


Me and Anna spent 3 hours in the outdoor pool, she had a lot of fun and then slept in the car on the way back to Sofia.

Pancharevo

Just a few kilometers from Sofia is the Korali complex in Pancharevo village. There you can enjoy the big swimming pool with warm water year-round. But in my opinion, the water is not very warm so I wouldn’t dare to try it if it is less than -10 outside. But I would jump in in a normal sunny winter day or a rainy autumn day. Bring your bath robes because there is some walking from the pool to the dressing rooms.

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Корали - Панчарево 42.602779, 23.403929
Pancharevo pool Korali
Pancharevo pool Korali

Some not so popular destinations with thermal waters

Varvara village

Varvara village is also known for its hot mineral springs. There are 2 hot outside pools there – in Varvara Complex and another one in Aqua Varvara hotel. We have not been to Aqua Varvara but we often visit Varvara Complex in the spring. The hottest pool is small but sometimes the kids’pool is also filled with warm water. However, it is covered with some kind of tent. It is a great place for April and May, we haven’t been there in the winter.

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Варвара 42.154051, 24.141512

Banya village, near Bansko – ski and SPA in one place

Banya village is a popular and interesting place for SPA tourism. It is very close to Bansko ski resort and provides great opportunities for ski lovers. From here you can also enjoy marvellous views to Pirin, Rila and Rhodope mountains.

View of Pirin Mountain and town of Bansko from a hill near Banya
View of Pirin Mountain and town of Bansko from a hill near Banya

In the village there are two old baths that have been restored recently – Bulgarian and Turkish bath. They are now very interesting museums. Banya village has numerous mineral springs and almost every hotel offers mineral water. Together with the beautiful nature around, these make Banya a wonderful destination for a holiday. Hot mineral water is also pouring from several fountains around the village.

Here we have stayed in one of the budget SPA hotels – Seven Seasons, but if you are looking for more luxury, there are many other options. This hotel also has mineral water pools, although not very hot. The outdoor pool is open only in the summer. Banya village is 5 km from Bansko which makes is als a great place for ski lovers.

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Село Баня 41.877582, 23.524261

Hotels

SPA on the seaside – Varna

It is known that in Varna there are at least 28 thermal springs. However, we are not familiar with the opportunities for SPA tourism there. As far as I know, in the nearby resort St. Constantine and Elena there are some hotels with thermal pools. We will be happy if you know something more.

The list of spa resorts in Bulgaria with thermal springs is really long. We tried to include at least the most popular and accessible destinations. There are also resorts where there is mineral water but it is not thermal and they are not a good idea for the winter. If you can add to this list, feel free!

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