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sand peaks of Melnik

Melnik[dead link] is a city in Pirin Macedonia, in Bulgaria.

Get in[edit]

typical restaurant

Once a day there is bus to Sofia. Many Greeks from the area of Thessaloniki, Serres, Drama and Kavala visit Melnik on a day trip in combination with close by Sandanski and its good shopping facilities.

There are three bus daily from Sandanski. The 2023 schedule is 7:40, 11:40, 15:30, heading to Rozhen. Reverse itinerary is 1:20 hours after. You can catch bus at Melnik, visit monastery and come back to Melnik by trail (2 hours walk).

Get around[edit]

Probably the smallest town in Bulgaria. You can cross it in 15 minutes on foot.


The Rozhen Monastery is 6km out of the town. The easiest way to reach the monastery is to drive or walk to the Rozhen village using the asphalted road. Although a bit harder to find and use, the direct track through the sand peaks offers very interesting views. Note that the track is not marked, you should better ask for guidance.

The clay ('mel') peaks that surround the town give it its name.

The town has strictly kept the local architecture (unlike other provincial towns, such as Bansko).


Walk along the creek watching the nice traditional buildings and take a tour into some wine cellars.


Wine, and see of you can discover why it was one of Winston Churchill's favourites. Consider that the cheap wine sold on the streets is not of a great quality.

The only ATM in Melnik is located at an expensive hotel, close to the end of town before the dirt road splits (the end of town meaning if you walk uphill through the centre). You can see it from the road, as its on the outside of the hotel. It didn't work in August 2009, though.


Melnik has many nice romantic taverns serving traditional Bulgarian meals. These traditional style restaurants are hard to find anywhere else in Bulgaria and together with the nice landscape its a pleasure to enjoy a meal there.


Melnik wine is intended to be drunk while young, so try to find a tavern with a house wine.

There are plenty 'hole-in-the-wall' cellars that are literally holes in the Melnik clay, which acts to keep the temperature constant to aid in the wine making process. Here, you can taste the wine as it comes out the barrels.


Many of the traditional houses now double as accommodation, run by locals.

Go next[edit]

  • Sadanski: good shopping facilities
  • Bansko: centre of winter sports but also nice to visit in summer due to alpine like landscape
  • Rhodope Mountains
  • Pirin National Park: UNESCO World Heritage National Park with over 27,000 ha, altitude between 1008 and 2914 m, mountain landscapes with glacial lakes, waterfalls, caves and coniferous forests.
  • Greece, Thessaloniki, Kavala

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