If you’re up for a laidback family trip, a SPA holiday, or just a comfortable starting position for exploring Bulgarian nature and culture, you’re in the right place. Pirin Mountain is waiting for you, and it has plenty of mesmerizing little mountain towns you can visit.
Although Bansko is the most popular and the most developed winter resort around here, it is far from the only one. In fact, many tourists are booking their hotel in Bansko as a base camp in their mission to explore the broader Pirin region of the country.
This journey would be absolutely wasted if you didn’t take your time to visit Razlog – a local gem that stands out with a peaceful location, rich history, and stunning natural setting.
The good news is we will gladly be your guide!
Where Is Razlog Located and What Is It Famous For?
The town of Razlog is an exquisite destination situated in the Blagoevgrad province of Bulgaria. The province itself is found in the south-western part of the country, well-known for its spectacular mountain reliefs and developed winter resort tourism.
A unique thing about Razlog is its setting in the Razlog Valley. It is carefully guarded by three of the most beautiful and picturesque mountains in the country. These are Rila Mountain to the north, the Rhodope Mountains to the east, and Pirin Mountain to the south. Razlog is also close to the Mesta river – the eastern boundary of the Razlog valley.
In addition to its century-long history, the natural outlook makes Razlog quite popular among visitors who search for beautiful views, historical sights, and first-rate hospitality.
You haven’t visited the small but pretty alive town of Razlog yet? Then, it is time to fill this gap because around here, there is plenty worth seeing!
From Meo Mia, Mahi Mia, Meomia, and Mehomia to Razlog
First of all, you’d probably want to know more about the history and origins of the town. So, here it comes.
Many years ago, during the time of the Thracians, a settlement was formed on the territory of today’s town of Razlog called Mehomia.
According to some historians, the settlement’s name comes from „meh” (a bag made of animal skin). It was also called this way because of the skins, in which the tar that was harvested in the area was transferred.
According to other theories, its name has nothing to do with the tan and the skins used to carry it. Instead, it is associated with a legend in which a great Thracian commander won a great victory over the enemy troops.
Then, a settlement was formed in honor of this victory, and initially, it was called Meo Mia. (Meo Mia or Mahi Mia in translation from Greek means „my victory”). After a while, the name was changed from Mahi Mia to Mehomia because it was easier to pronounce.
For the first time, the name of the settlement was mentioned in a document signed by Basil II Bulgar Slayer in 1019. This document noted that the settlement was a part of the Velbazhd diocese.
Mehomia was also mentioned in the Rila charter from 1378. There, tsar Ivan Shishman listed the settlements subordinated to the Rila Monastery, and he mentioned the „popes of Razlog”.
During the Ottoman Rule, the settlement was mentioned in a document from 1576 under the name „Mehomia village”. According to this document, the village belonged to the Razlog district in the Ottoman Empire, where lived mainly dzhelepkeshanski families (sheep breeders).
Over the years, the settlement has grown, crafts have developed, and Mehomia has become a well-developed and thriving settlement.
At the end of the XVIII century, the first church school was created in Razlog. Along this, churches were built, shops were opened, and the Sunday market in the town became one of the most visited trading places in the region.
The town was liberated from Ottoman Rule in 1912, and since 1925 it has been named Razlog (in the name of the valley where it is located).
Interesting Facts About Razlog
Before we move on to the things you can see and do in Razlog, we will list some intriguing facts about the beautiful town near the Pirin and Rodopi mountains.
From accurate information to legends and folk art, Razlog reveals a world of fascination:
- The coldest month in Razlog is January, with average temperatures of 2 °C, and the warmest month is July, with average temperatures of 19 °C.
- As of 2021, Razlog has 12,333 inhabitants, over 90% of which are Bulgarians.
- Tourism and hospitality are among the primary sources of income for the locals, followed by the manufacture of magnetic heads and radars, the furniture industry, and the dairy and meat processing industry.
- The only narrow gauge railway in Bulgaria goes through Razlog on its way to connect the town of Septemvri with the town of Dobrinishte. The town is also a huge transport center.
- Razlog is situated only 6 kilometers away from the Bansko ski resort and is of great interest to people seeking the best ski slopes and mountain tracks in the area.
- In recent years, the town turns into a widely preferred SPA resort that provides good standard and an excellent money-to-quality ratio.
Last but not least – Razlog hosts some of the most significant folklore events in southwestern Bulgaria, and local people will have a lot to tell you about the traditional customs of our ancestors.
What Is There To See in Razlog?
As we already clarified above, the town is a widely renowned and loved destination for all looking for a peaceful and beautiful place filled with precious landmarks.
So, let’s dive straight into the world of sights in Razlog and its environs that impress…
The „Holy Annunciation” Church
The Christian temple is located in the heart of Razlog and is one of the first places recommended to visit.
The church is not among the oldest churches in the region (it was built in the first half of the XX century), but it is pretty impressive in architecture. It is one of the biggest and most beautiful churches in the Nevrokop diocese.
The temple impresses with fascinating frescoes, a beautiful altar, neat yard space, and its 26-meter bell tower that reveals incredible views of the mountains around.
The „Saint George” Church
The „Saint George” church was built in 1834 and is the oldest (and the smallest) church in Razlog. It is a three-nave pseudo basilica, in which you can see, apart from the painted by an unknown master iconostasis, also the icons created by Toma Vishanov.
The temple is located in the old cemetery park of Razlog and is a monument of culture.
The „Nikola Parapunov” Historical Museum
In Razlog, you can see over 40 houses with architecture from the Bulgarian Revival period. But if you don’t have enough time, we recommend you find time to visit at least the Historical museum in the town, which is located in the house of Nikola Parapunov.
The house is declared a monument of culture and will give you an idea of the type of houses that were built during the Bulgarian Revival Period in Razlog.
The Historical Museum of the town has been located in the house of Nikola Parapunov since 1957. If you decide to visit it, you will be able to enjoy over 5000 exhibits that tell the story and lifestyle of the people from Razlog and the region from antiquity to the present day.
The Solar Calendar
The Solar calendar is one of the biggest attractions in Razlog, so we advise you to visit it (especially if you are with children). The calendar consists of 12 marble slabs with carved animal figures. The slabs are arranged in a circle and form an ancient solar calendar.
Such a calendar was actually found on the territory of the municipality of Razlog in the 70s of the XX century. According to historians, it served our ancestors to orient themselves in space and time for centuries.
The Solar calendar, which today is located in the park of the town, is a full copy of the ancient calendar. Using it, you can find out how the years are calculated and what your birth years mean.
„The Steps” Panoramic Walkway
„The steps” is the newest attraction in Razlog but has already become one of the most visited sights in the town. The walkway is built on a European project and leads to the top of Golak hill. And there, the main attraction of the walkway is located at the top of the hill – a twelve–meter tower called “The Steps”.
The walkway is called “The steps” in the name of one of the most beautiful and interesting natural phenomena in Pirin Mountain – “The steps”, which you can see if you climb to the top of the tower.
The Painted Church
„The painted church” is one of the sights near Razlog, which attracts more and more tourists every year.
The daily temple was established a few years ago when, while exploring the terrain in search of the perfect place to build an information center, the workers found the remains of a monastery complex.
Thus, the remains of two temples – an early Christian basilica from the V – VI century and a medieval temple from the XII – XIII century appeared in the world.
Very close to the „Painted (Written) Church” are located the remains of two other churches – „The white church” and the „Saint Nicholas” church.
Around them are found many foundations of buildings, ceramics, coins, and other artifacts. They led the archeologists to the idea that the Krushe area, where the churches are located, was once situated near a significant medieval settlement.
„The painted (written) church” is about 7 km away from Razlog to the southwest.
The „Saint Nicholas” Medieval Church
3 km from Razlog, on the way between the towns of Razlog and Bansko, are the ruins of the medieval church „Saint Nicholas” . There is no accurate information about when the temple was built. According to the specialists, this likely happened in the XIII century, and the temple was later destroyed during Ottoman rule.
From the church’s research carried out over the years, it is clear that it is a three-conch cross-domed building built of river and quarry rocks.
The „Murtina Bath” (Turkish Bath) in Banya Village
Famous for its mineral springs, the Banya village is located only 7 km away from the town of Razlog. So, it will not take long to take a trip and explore one of the most exciting sights of the village – the Turkish bath.
The bath was built in the XVII century and had typical Oriental architecture. The building has two entrances, as the Turks believed that they must enter the building from the left entrance when they go to the bath and leave the bath from the right door when they are already clean.
The legend tells that the bath in the Banya village was built by the Turkish family Murtazovi with money earned dishonestly. During the Venetian – Turkish war, two brothers of the family were assigned to the army and took part in the war.
Once, they sent a gift to their father that had to be delivered to him by one of their friends – a cannonball from the front. But the father was offended by this gift and threw it away.
The two brothers returned after the war and asked their father where the gift was. The father, still offended, told them that he had thrown it away. So the brothers went to the dunghill and found the cannonball, and when they opened it, they found golden coins.
The father knew that the gold coins weren’t honestly earned, and to appraise Allah to have mercy on his boys, he decided to build a public bath with the golden coins. His sons agreed, and so the Banya village got a modern bath for that time.
The „Saint Ekaterina” Church
Did you know that only three churches in the country have the name “Saint Ekaterina”? And do you know that the oldest of them is located 7 km from the town of Razlog in the „Katarino” area?
The Orthodox temple is a monument of culture and today is one of the most visited sights by tourists, so don’t miss seeing it. The church was probably built in the early XIV century, but according to the experts, the place in which it was built was sacred to the Thracians.
Dedicated to Saint Ekaterina, the church has gathered the Christians for several years, but after the Turkish invasion, it was almost destroyed to the ground. Nevertheless, the local people built the church again, and it looked the same way as before. Today the little Christian temple is restored, and you can see it in its original form.
What Else Can You See in and Around the Town of Razlog?
Razlog is a very attractive center for the guests of Bansko ski resort, and there is a good reason why. Except for the landmarks listed above, Ralog is a very comfortable starting position for different walking tours in the area.
So, here are a few ideas about what you can see and do once you’ve visited Razlog:
- Golf lovers can visit the Pirin Golf & Country Club sports complex in town. There, you can play a casual game of golf or engage in a full-score professional golf course.
- Families can try out the Dvorene horse base for a riding lesson or a real-life horse race.
- The Regnum Banya Thermal pool in Razlog is a recreation center worth visiting if you’re into wellness and SPA.
- You can also visit Razog during some of the significant folklore events, such as the Pirin sings summer festival.
- During Todor’s day, you can visit the village of Bachevo and see the traditional “kushia” – a horse race in which the whole village participates.
- On Yordan’s day, locals celebrate Voditsi – a spectacular tradition of throwing a cross into the water, which is then taken out after an ice-cold dive.
- You can visit one of the numerous craft workshops in town, where artists and knitters turn general life customs into art suitable for decorating your entire home.
- If you stop by the commercial center, you’ll find the full cultural calendar of Razlog and many other villages in the area. In addition, you can choose a concert, an exhibition, or just some of the regularly performing local ensembles.
Finally, just aimlessly strolling around the residential zone of the town will give you the calmest delight itself. You will feel the one-of-a-kind rural atmosphere, surrounded by Revival architectural style and friendly people enjoying life. There is a convenient car park nearby, and you can use the regular bus lines to continue your journey.
So – from joining a Pirin golf course to hunting photos among the mountain peaks, Razlog will give you precisely what you’re looking for. And probably some extra.
How To Get From the Lucky Bansko Hotel to the Town of Razlog?
If you are one of the guests of Lucky Bansko Hotel and you decide to spend a day exploring the sights of the town of Razlog, it will not take long to reach the town, which is only about 6 km away.
There are enough signs on the road, and you cannot possibly lose the right way.
All you need to do is take your time and enjoy Bulgaria at its finest!
„Murtina bath” (Turkish bath) in Banya village
The famous for its mineral springs Banya village is located only 7 km away from the town of Razlog, so it will not take you long time to take a trip and explore one of the most interesting sights of the village – the Turkish bath.
The bath was built in XVII century and it has the typical for the time Oriental architecture. The building has two entrances, as the Turks had the belief that they must enter the building from the left entrance when they go to the bath and must leave the bath from the right door when they are already clean.
The legend tells that the bath was built by the Turkish family Murtazovi with money that are earned in a dishonest way… During the Venetian – Turkish war, two brothers of the family were assigned to the army and took part in the war. Once they sent a gift to their father that had to be delivered to him by one of their friends – a cannon-ball from the front. But the father was offended by this gift and threw it away.
The two brothers returned after the war and asked their father where the gift was. The father, still offended, told them that he had thrown it away. The brothers went to the dunghill and they found the cannon-ball, and when they opened it they found golden coins in it.
The father knew that the golden coins weren’t honestly earned, and to appraise Allah to have mercy on his boys, he decided to build a public bath with the golden coins. His sons agreed, and so the Banya village got a modern bath for that time.
„Saint Ekaterina” church
Did you know that there are only three churches in the country, which have the name “Saint Ekaterina”? And do you know that the oldest of them is located 7 km away from the town of Razlog in the „Katarino” area?
The Orthodox temple is a monument of culture and today is one of the most visited sights by the tourists, so don’t miss to see it. The church was built most probably in the early XIV century, but according to the experts, the place on which it was built was sacred to the Thracians.
Dedicated to Saint Ekaterina, the church has gathered the Christians for several years but after the Turkish invasion it was destroyed almost to the ground. Nevertheless, the local people built the church again and it looked the same way as before. Today the little Christian temple is restored and you can see it in its original form as it was when it was built.
How to get from the Lucky Bansko Hotel to the town of Razlog?
If you are one of the guests of Lucky Bansko Hotel and you decide to spend a day exploring the sights of the town of Razlog, it will not take you long to reach the town, which is only about 6 km away. There are enough signs on the road and you cannot lose the right way.