"Vela's town" Velingrad by Assenczo

Velingrad Travel Guide: 14 reviews and 63 photos

In the tourist brochures Velingrad exists as the mineral baths (shall we call it SPA, to make it more “modern”, baths are for the Romans) capital of Bulgaria. Maybe this is not just a glossy hyperbola considering that the valley boasts more than 70 sources of mineral water. They are well taken care of with new hotels popping along the old glories to satisfy the increased demand for their water’s curative properties. Alongside the hotels come the restaurants which are there to service the more adventurous public who would sacrifice their all-inclusive package on a particular day or two in order to experience something different in the hot spots of the downtown area. This all is a typical tourism business set-up that might be of interest to the prospective visitors of this mountain resort town but between the lines, sort of speak; there are details never to be overlooked for fear of going home without acquiring the gist of all things Bulgarian.
Dvoretza (the Palace) is the old unions’ “summer camp” which could still be part of the same organization if it existed. The guests are “radically” different though judging by the expensive vehicles parked in the courtyard on the way in. To saturate the palate, on the other side of the Palace is a pool of rather significant size that skirts the building, complete with some Disneyland-style grottoes on the side. So far so good – the communism has left for good to let capitalism naturally put things into their place. Walking the corridors though, one suddenly discovers remnants of the “old regime”. Anathema! To the amazement of the incredulous, perfectly politically-correct public, relics of not-such-a-long-forgotten past are hanging on the walls in one of the internal lobbies. The text on one of them goes: “Our friendship with the Soviet Union is as vital as the air and sun for any living creature” Georgy Dimitrov.
Here is the moment to remind or point out to those who might not know, that Georgy Dimitrov was a major communist leader of Bulgaria, hero of the Leipzig court proceedings in the burnt Reichstag case, henchman of Stalin and occupant of the now non-existent mausoleum in the center of Sofia. At the same time one just needs to replace the word “Soviet” with the word “European” in this masterpiece of poetry in order to grasp the contemporary state of affairs in Bulgaria. All the rest is mineral water.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Set in the picturesque Rhodopy Mountains
  • Cons:Old and new do not blend very well
  • In a nutshell:Country life package tourism symbiosis
  • Last visit to Velingrad: Jul 2012
  • Intro Updated Nov 7, 2012
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“Myths Annihilated”

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