The city of Sandanski is tucked away in the southwestern corner of Bulgaria, in the Sandasko-Petrichka valley, which is located at the foot of Pirin Mountain. Sandanski is situated at equal distance between Sofia and Thessaloniki and it is an important crossroad on the main international road E79 - only 20 km. away from the border with Greece and 40 km. away from the Macedonian border.


Sandanski is known as the warmest settlement in Bulgaria with an average annual temperature of 14°C, 2506 hours of sunshine, an average of 5 foggy days per year and the lowest content of airborne allergens. Because of all this the city is world-famous as the best natural balneotherapy sanatorium in Europe for chronic lung and upper respiratory tract diseases - bronchial asthma, chronic and asthmatic bronchitis, post-pneumonic conditions, recovery after pulmonary operations, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic rhinitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis (also known as hay fever), respiratory neurosis, etc.

The foundations of contemporary climatotherapy and balneotherapy were laid more than 30 years ago with the construction of Interhotel Sandanski and today the city is well-known as national and international balneological resort. This is not accidental as the mineral springs in the city vary from 33°С to 83°С and are characterized by low mineralization, rich chemical composition and are successfully use for treatment and prevention of a number of respiratory tract diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and diseases of the musculoskeletal, central and peripheral nervous systems, etc.


The history of Sandanski can be traced back to the late Neolithic and the Chalcolithic Ages (VІ-V century B.C.).

The city as we know it today was built upon a number of ancient layers that once were inhabited by the Thracian Maedi tribe whose descendant was Spartacus himself. Thracians are known for their skilled healers who made use of all the healing properties of the local mineral springs. During the Roman Empire these practices continued and the sacred springs of Partikopolis (present-day Sandanski) became famous throughout the empire.

Later the holy healers Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian lay here the foundations of the balneotherapy. They treated selflessly their people using only the power of nature and the Christian fate. Because of them the city got a new name - Saint Vrach which means “The Holy Healers”.

After the First Balkan War of 1912 and the Second Balkan War of 1913 the city turned into a political and administrative center of the region. When the communist came to power they changed the name of the city after the Bulgarian revolutionary and voivode Yane Sandanski - one of the leaders of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) in the Serres revolutionary region. Meanwhile all mineral springs were maintained and used for treating a number of diseases.

All these millennial traditions and amazing natural resources turned Sandanski into one of the biggest centers of contemporary balneotherapy in Bulgaria.

Tourist attractions in Sandanski

Interhotel Sandanski in located at the entrance of the unique city park - one of the biggest in Bulgaria and the only one with sand alleys. There you can enjoy beautiful wooden pavilions, children’s playgrounds, a number of small ponds as well as a huge artificial lake. At the very center of the park are the Summer theatre and the City stadium. The park offers a perfect opportunity for climatotherapy and recreation.

The archeological heritage of Sandanski is one of the wealthiest and most diverse in Bulgaria - there are over 100 cultural monuments on the city territory. Undoubtedly the most impressive and imposing of them is the Archeological park - it is located in close vicinity of Interhotel Sandanski and includes a 4th century Episcopal Basilica, an early Christianity complex, a Bishop John Basilica and an archeological museum.

The historical legend has it that somewhere in the area of present-day Sandanski the brave Thracian leader Spartacus was born and lived. Today this legendary Thracian and his origin of these lands are perpetuated by the memorial complex Spartacus which welcomes and sees off the guests of the city thanks to its location at the very entrance to the city.

Tourist attractions in the region

Melnik is a real fairy-tale city that enchants with the unique atmosphere and romance of its historical architecture, unchanged ever since the Middle Ages and the time of the Bulgarian Renaissance. Due to its many archeological and artistic architectural sights the city was declared an open-air museum and a world cultural and historic reserve. This small city is famous for its great local wine and the fig jam.

Located close to Melnik, the Rozhen Monastery is one of the most interesting and important religious and cultural centers on the territory of Bulgaria. It is the biggest monastery in the Pirin region and one of the few Bulgarian monasteries from the Middle Ages which are relatively well preserved even to this day. It was constructed at the time of Despot Alexius Slav (12-13 century) and today it houses the miraculous protecting icon of Virgin Mary which is an exact replica of the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary - Portarnitsa.

Pirin National Park is a whole different world. It was declared a protected territory because of its unique biodiversity and spectacular natural formations. This piece of nature is a priceless Bulgarian and world treasure and it is a part of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme. The park covers an area of more than 40 000 hectares of centuries-old forests, marble peaks, emerald lakes, clean rivers and white edelweisses, which are a natural landscape and a habitat for many animals. Inside its boundaries is also the picturesque Popina Laka waterfall.

The Saint George Church in the village of Zlatolist is famous mostly because the renowned Reverend Stoyna lived there at the beginning of the 20th century. She is regarded as a predecessor of Vanga and like her helped a lot of people with her prophecies and gifts.

Rupite protected area is well-known for its healing mineral springs with a temperature of 74°C and capacity of up to 35 l/sec. Located at the eastern slopes of Mount Kozhuh this place is wrapped in a shroud of mystery. Rupite is one of those places having nature capable of ravishing, inspiring and appeasing even the greatest of sceptics. The amazing beauty of this place can engender a feeling of harmony and peace in everyone and give them an incredible surge of energy. It is not by any chance that Vanga chose for her home exactly this place and founded here the temple of “St. Petka of Bulgaria”.

The national park-museum Samuil’s Fortress is situated 24 km. away from Sandanski and it is built in memory of tsar Samuil and his blinded soldiers. The archeological studies show that the fortifications run for more than 8 km. The national park-museum is part of the 100 National Tourist Sites of Bulgaria and includes the archeological site Samuil’s Fortress with 13 preserved small dug-outs and the so-called Big Dug-out, as well as the ruins of the lookout tower of the Samuil’s fortress. A panoramic viewpoint was built in the park with a memorial complex and an exhibition hall.

The Rila Monastery is one of the most significant cultural monuments in Bulgaria and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cloister is a complex of religious, residential and farming buildings with a total area of 8800 sq.m. It is remarkable that even though the monastery was destroyed by fire several times, every time the buildings were reconstructed. Preserved to date are the Hrelju's Tower with a chapel devoted to the Transfiguration of Christ, the churches devoted to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, the Presentation of the Virgin Mary, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the Intercession of the Theotokos, Saint Luke, Saints Peter and Paul and the two nunneries “Orlitsa” and “Pchelina”. A curious fact is that a few years ago the Rila Monastery was given the statute of a separate settlement and has as many as 58 permanent inhabitants.