During a hot Staurday in September I decided to head with some friends to Melink, the smallest town of Bulgaria. The town is an architectural reserve and has a population of less than 400. It retains the city status because of historical reasons.
Melnik is situated 22 kms away from the Greek border. This also explains the Greek influence in the region. The town is famous for its wine making and for that reason we decided to give it a try.
After a bus ride of about 1 ½ hours we arrived in Melnik at noon. We walked up the main road and stopped about 10 minutes later at the first restaurant where we were offered some free wine to taste. We liked it and decided to have lunch. Of course a bottle of homemade wine accompanied the lunch.
Later we kept walking up the hill and decided to go and see the fortress, a local who tried to impose some rooms to us, told us how to get there. After a hike of 30 minutes we arrived at the ruins of a church. After taking some pictures and rest a little we continued to the fortress. Unfortunately, the fortress is very demolished and only some walls are left but you can clearly see how big it used to be. From up there you have a great view over the wine country of Melnik, the valley and the surrounding sand stone formations.
We stayed up there for quite a while and walked back down. Molly, who was in Melnik before told us of a wine cellar which was built into the mountain a little bit higher. We hiked up there and enjoyed some wine in a cave. There was a sign which said that entrance was 2 leva but we didn’t had to pay anything. The temperature was very nice in the cave and the wine had the perfect temperature. We each had one glass of wine and were surprised when the total cost of 4 glasses of wine was 6 leva (approx. 3 €).
Unfortunately, the bus schedule wasn’t very clearly and therefore we decided to leave at 4 pm again.
Melnik is definitely worth a visit. Go there early and stop at some restaurants and wine cellars. Every wine tastes different and delicious.