Did you know that every second you spend on this article, around 5000 litres of mineral water comes out of the Earth in Bulgaria? That’s the output of the hundreds of springs around the country (according to this brochure of the Ministry of tourism there are over 700). Actually, the healing springs are one of the main reasons for the ancient settlements in Bulgaria lands.
Romans, for example, definitely knew their business, with emperors settling in certain areas to heal their wounds or illnesses. Bulgarians followed suit, although there are stories that we did not like to bathe that much back then. We all know about Ottomans and their hammams. Whoever’s been to Istanbul, has been tempted to try the many Turkish baths, even though most are turned into pricey tourist attractions. Same thing in Budapest, where I visited both the Gellért and the Széchenyi baths.
Just like many other treasures that Bulgaria has, mineral waters are not that popular. However, almost anywhere in the country, you would have some spring nearby, be it cold or hot. I have already written about the springs in Sofia and Dobrinishte. As you may have realized, I love hot springs, especially in cold weather (remember Iceland?).
So, in the coming months I will try to share more about some of the hot springs I have visited in Bulgaria. I know, mineral water is also good for drinking and has many healing properties. However, I will focus mainly on places I have used for relaxation. If you want to know more about healing, I suggest you contact a local physician.
I realize I have actually visited quite a few springs – Banya, Kostenets, Narechen, Sapareva Banya, Simitli, Kyustendil, Velingrad, Sandanski, Devin, Bankya, Belchin, etc. Nowadays, most of the hotels like to add a “spa” or “wellness” to their name, but some of the best experiences I have had, have been in simple local bathhouses.