Pavel Banya is a small town in central Bulgaria located between Kalofer and Kazanlak and around 200kms from Sofia.
Every year, Kazanlak and the surrounding towns hold rose festivals, so I decided it was the perfect opportunity to spend a weekend exploring this region and visiting the festivals. Pavel Banya is also famous for its mineral baths, in fact, the word banya translates to bath in English. Believe it or not, I have never before been to a mineral water pool so my primary reason to visit Pavel Banya was to experience this!
Pavel Banya has a nice public swimming pool in the centre of town. This pool is not a hot mineral bath though, it’s mixed with cold water so it really is more like a regular outdoor swimming pool. The entrance is 4 leva and the complex is quite a nice place to spend an afternoon, with a bar, restaurant and sun loungers around the pool. While we were there we were also lucky enough to see the Pavel Banya Queen of Roses and watched the ceremony of the crowning of the Pavel Banya King of the Mineral Water!
If you are looking for a hot mineral bath then you should go to visit one of the hotels. Most of the large hotels in Pavel Banya have their own mineral pools and spa areas. Even if you’re not staying in the hotel you can go and pay for a day. The prices range from 5 leva per person to 20 leva per person so it’s really very reasonable! I had been recommended a small guest house for our short stay and although we had to pay to use the hotel mineral pools, I was still very happy with our choice. Guest House Kalina was simple, clean and very pretty. If you’re looking for a low-cost choice in the area, for 30 leva per night, I highly recommend it.
If you’ve tried a hot mineral bath before you will know how amazing it makes you feel, if you haven’t, you’re missing out on something very special! There is no comparison to a regular pool, or even to a hot bath at home. This water is magical! It’s above 30 degrees and after just 30 minutes in the water your whole body feels so relaxed. It’s very good for your muscles and has many medical benefits.
After enjoying the relaxing mineral treatment we went to join the festivities of the rose parade in the centre of Pavel Banya. This year it was on the weekend of the 5th and 6th June, we will of course update our events calendar so you know when it’s happening next!
There was a food festival where people from surrounding towns and villages brought along homemade treats for people to try, this was great however you need to be fast if you want to try something. It gets a little crowded!!
After this there was a carnival style parade through the centre of town which lasted for about an hour and then the street party began! There were singers and dancers on stage and, after a few glasses of rakia I’m sure, all of the visitors joined in to dance Horo in the streets. The atmosphere was incredible and it felt like one big happy Bulgarian family!