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I'll be travelling through south-eastern Europe (former Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania) in 2 months on motorbike. I've heard there are hot springs / spas in Bulgaria, and it might be nice to visit (especially after a few days in the saddle). Natural hot springs would be nice (I can get a sauna anywhere), and open air, big pools would be cool. It doesn't even have to be Bulgaria, we're travelling around.

Where can I go to get this sort of thing?

Update: Things that would be cool: Outdoor communal swimming pool type hot spring. Natural (not artificial) heated water.Historic setting / 'something with some history to it'. Price is not too much of an issue, but gold plated towel rungs would be OTT :P Places in nice towns/cities would be nice, rather than somewhere in the middle of no-where. It would be nice to ride into a town, stay in a decent hotel, go for a decent sauna, go for a nice meal in a restaurant, etc. would be nicer than some excellent hot spring in the middle of nowhere. We'll be there in the first 2 weeks of September this year.

Recommendations of specific places (not just towns) would be appreciated. How do this places operate? Is each spring/pool/etc. a separate business? Attached to a hotel? etc.?

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1 Answer 1

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To say that there are mineral water springs in Bulgaria is somewhat of an understatement. According to Wikipedia, there are 225 sites with flow rate of more than 5000 l/s.

Most hot springs are in Southern Bulgaria, south of Stara Planina, particularly in west Rodopi mountain, as well as Struma and Mesta valleys. Note that these are somewhat difficult to access in the winter (a few hours drive, on roads with varying quality which might not be suitable for motorcyclists). A famous site there is Sapareva Banya which also sports the hottest spring -- superheated at more than 100 degrees Celsius. Velingrad and Kjustendil are also popular -- somewhat larger towns, with spa resorts and facilities. These both have hot water springs (50 to 90 C).

A more accessible site in the Thrace is Hisarya. Also quite famous, and the water is drinkable (one of the most common bottled water brands in Bulgaria). Historical sites are just the icing of the cake.

These are just a few of the most popular options. If you list some other requirements (price, drinkability and chemical content of the water, accessibility by road etc.), I'd be able to narrow down the possibilities to a more manageable list.

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Thanks that's quite informative. I've updated the question with details. with roads, motorbikes can usually go to more places than cars. :) –  Rory Aug 3 '12 at 22:52

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