Troyan is known to many as Bulgarian’s “favorite little city.” The town is situated approximately two-and-a-half hours drive east of the country’s capital, Sofia which places it right in the center of Bulgaria itself.
Nestled in the shadows of the Balkan Stara Planina mountain range, the air is clear and the views from Troyan up towards Beklemeto are worthy of post-cards. The Beli Osam River runs right through Troyan and is popular with anglers throughout summer.
Getting Around Troyan
The town itself is relatively small. The most favorable way to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells are by foot and taking a slow meander through the streets.
The main road through town runs from North to South. Starting from the most northerly point, there are a number of hunting and fishing shops on the outskirts of town. Savvy bargain hunters will also notice a large “Levcha” shop as they approach the center. There are a few of these shops dotted around town selling clothes, crockery, tools, toys and a little bit of everything at discount prices.
Further along, where the streets get a little busier (though never bustling), there is the fresh fruit and vegetable market. Open 7 days a week from dawn until dusk. There is also a chicken kiosk selling cooked and raw chicken products next to a fish kiosk which can be recognized from several hundred yards away thanks to the odour.
The road continues past boutique shops, phone shops, gift shops, flower shops and a number of cafes before coming to a large square. This square plays host to a number of ceremonies throughout the year. Here is where the Post Office and Municipality buildings can be found. The building to the right or rear of the square is where marriages are performed. Throughout the summer, especially at weekends, car horns can be heard blaring out around the streets. It is custom to announce the arrival and betrothal of the bride and groom to all, therefore every car in the wedding party will beep their horns all the way to the service. The tradition is upheld everywhere in the country and the whole community involves themselves. Onlookers stop and wave at the cars, whilst oncoming traffic will often pip their horns as a “best wishes” acknowledgement.
Up ahead there are cafes and banks, whilst to the left there is a bridge over the Beli Osam. In the warmer months, anglers can be seen fishing from the bridge. There is also a park for children and a sweet shop.
Things to do in Troyan
After the luggage allowance limit has been reached through shopping (prices can be very reasonable compared to the rest of Europe), explorers may want to try visiting a few sights and attractions:
- Troyan Monastery –The third largest in the Country. Complete with stunning paintings in the chapel and a real sense of serenity. The monastery is located just outside of Troyan in the village of Churni Osam.
- Swimming – There is an outdoor pool at the Chateu Montagne Hotel in Troyan (2 minutes from the centre). Anyone can swim there but there is a fee. The pool is a good size with a baby pool, but it can be bracing first thing in the morning as it is no heated.
- Chiflick – Chiflick is a small village just outside Troyan. There are natural mineral pools there that are always a delightful temperature no matter what the weather. The pools get busy in the summer, but the main pool is more than big enough to survive the peak times. Visitors can lie back and relax in the heated pool, beneath the sun, surrounded by tree lined mountain ridges.
- Beklemeto – At the top of the mountain pass from Troyan to Plovdiv, is Beklemeto where there are a small group of hotels hidden away on a mountainside. This area acts as a playground for children and adults alike throughout the year. Flandria Hotel (for kids) provides archery, paintballing and children’s discos. Further up the hill, there are tree top adventures and then there is the ski slope for winter.
Eating out in Troyan
There are a number of cafes and restaurants dotted around town. For Pizza, try the little place next to the fruit and veg market. It could be difficult to get a table there at times. Or there are a number of Pizza and Kebab shops for takeaways.
Most restaurants serve traditional Bulgarian cuisine and have very similar menus. Dishes to try would be a Satch. Meat and vegetables in various sources cooked and served on a sizzling clay plate. For children, there is cornflake chicken – a different take on chicken dippers. Lovely with a salad or chips.
For something a little different, the Casa Art Hotel in Oreshak (5 minutes drive from town) serves up Bulgarian and international flavors thanks to the guidance of their South African chef who aims to bring a little “Rainbow Cuisine” to Bulgaria. Themed menus and specials must be tried at this trendy restaurant.
This post is brought to you by Richardsons Holiday Parks, a family-run company with over 50 years’ experience in providing fun-filled, value for money holidays. The first two photos of Troyan are courtesy of Nenko Lazarov and www.ImagesFromBulgaria.com