Complex Kosovo Houses

Have you ever been to Kosovo? And no, I’m not talking about the state in the Balkans. The Kosovo I’m talking about is a tiny and picturesque Bulgarian village nestled in the Rhodope Mountains about an hour from Plovdiv and two hours from Sofia. 

Image may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor and nature


Home to only eight permanent residents, Kosovo, Bulgaria is a beautiful but very sleepy place. However, new life is springing back into this lovely hill town thanks to the Kosovo Houses, an affordable guesthouse that offers a relaxing stay well off the beaten path. It’s also the perfect gateway to Rhodope Mountains — a region stretching from southern Bulgaria into Greece that’s filled with natural wonders, ancient fortresses, and regional cuisine.
During a recent three-day stay, in between hikes and sightseeing trips, I was able to soak in the atmosphere of this scenic mountain guesthouse. Featuring rooms with warm traditional Bulgarian design, lovely views of the surrounding hills, and breakfast at the cozy tavern, the prices (starting at about $50 per night for a double room) make the Kosovo Houses a very cheapo getaway for those looking to explore territories off the standard European circuit. 

Image may contain: plant, flower, sky, nature and outdoor




Accommodations
The Kosovo Houses are actually spread around several restored houses in the village, all located within easy walking distance of each other. I stayed in the main guesthouse, The Hadjiyska House, that was named after architect Hadji Georgi Stanchovski, who built the original structure in 1853 as his home. Each of the eight cozy rooms offers little touches like wooden chairs and bedside tables with antique-style lamps.
The Wi-Fi worked well in my room and in the tavern, and there’s also satellite TV in each room. But other than my curiosity to watch a few local Bulgarian channels, I had no interest in staring at screens. Getting away from your regular routine is what Kosovo Houses is all about. At night, I opened my window to look out over the hills at the moon and stars. I quickly fell asleep to the sounds of crickets chirping and a few dogs barking in the distance. 
The modern bathroom has a glass shower cabin with a handheld shower head and a wide sink. My bathroom in Room 8 even had a peek-a-boo view out over the hills (although one night I left the window open and found a giant grasshopper greeting me in the morning!).

Image may contain: house, plant, tree, sky, grass, outdoor and nature


A Focus on traditional design
The friendly Bulgarian owners and hosts, Svetlana and Christo, spent many years living in Venezuela before deciding to come back to their homeland. They searched the Rhodope Mountains looking for a special village to open a guesthouse. They discovered Kosovo and started to restore abandoned houses in a traditional style.
Using the original foundations, they hired expert craftsmen from the surrounding area to reconstruct several homes using their knowledge of intricate stone roofs and Bulgarian design. From the handmade wooden ceilings to the colorful carpets, these rustic details offer a warm and comfortable experience in every room.
Food: Local and authentic cuisine
I didn’t have to go far to find traditional Bulgarian food. The menu at the Kosovo Houses tavern features many local specialties that you can only find in the Rhodope Mountains. From my room in The Hadjiyska House, it was just a 30-second walk across the yard to the tavern.
I started my first morning off with a traditional pancake served with a slab of feta cheese and seasonal berry jam. Breakfast is included in your stay, and the view from the porch is a relaxing way to start your day. The tavern is open throughout the day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 
And speaking of dinner, the first night I was there, I saw that Christo had been out foraging mushrooms, so I ordered a pork steak with wild mushroom sauce ($6). It tasted as good as it sounds. Other delicacies include a delicious pan-fried trout ($6) that is sourced from nearby local fisheries and classic Bulgarian grilled meats like spiced hamburgers (kyufte) and kebabs (kebapche) for $1 each.
If it’s hot like it was during my visit, order a cold bowl of tarator ($1.50), a refreshing soup that’s like liquid tzatziki with cucumbers, yogurt, and garlic. No matter what you order, start your meal with a classic shopska salad (a mix of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and peppers topped with feta cheese; $2.75), and save room for the “Light Cake” ($1.75), a delicious homemade dessert. 
To drink, you can choose from a wide selection of local Bulgarian wines (with bottles starting at $7) or sip an ice cold Bulgarian beer like Kamenitza or Zagorka ($1.40). Or if you’re lucky, like during my second dinner, you can sip homemade rakia, the ouzo of Bulgaria. It was brought by a fellow Bulgarian guest whose father had recently made a fresh batch. Don’t worry if you’re not so lucky, you can still buy a glass of rakia from the bar for less than $1. 
I quickly realized the tavern patio is a wonderful spot to spend an evening. Not only do you get to dine with an incredible view of the Rhodopean landscape, you will also meet a wide array of people. During my three-night stay, I met families taking a city break from Sofia, a Bulgarian/Canadian couple who are restoring an old house up the road, a photographer traveling around the country for a sightseeing guide, and two small walking groups — one from Ireland and the other from Belgium.
The lively discussion about everything from Bulgarian history to US politics flowed well into the night — especially after a few more glasses of rakia. 
Activities: Hiking, history, and ancient architecture
When you’re not relaxing in your room or sipping a beer in the tavern, there are several activities and attractions that you can enjoy as a guest. Nearby, you can visit spectacular waterfalls on long hikes or visit famous sights like Bachkovo Monastery, the Wonderful Bridges, and Asen’s Fortress.
But you don’t have to leave the village to get a taste of the true beauty of the Rhodopes. I spent my first evening after dinner wandering around the stone paths of the village taking in the view and marveling at the peace and quiet of the place. I didn’t see a soul, except for one barking dog and a cute kitty cat. 
On my first morning, I set out on a hike through the countryside. You can connect to a hiking trail right outside the main entrance of Kosovo Houses that takes you into the hills on a marked path. I wasn’t always able to keep track of the trail, but that just made the hike even more fun. After all, isn’t travel all about getting a little lost sometimes?
Getting there
From Sofia: You can fly into Sofia International Airport and rent a car for a 2-hour drive to Kosovo.
From Plovdiv: You can take a bus from Plovdiv to the nearby town of Narechenski Bani. From there, the Kosovo Houses will arrange to pick you up.
Booking a room
Kosovo Houses is open year round and it’s a popular destination for weekend getaways and family trips during the holidays. They just opened a new conference center, so sometimes the whole complex can be booked by an entire group. Weekdays are a lot slower in the high season, but it’s still best to plan ahead to secure a room.
Book a room at the Kosovo Houses
Editor’s Note: Accommodations and transportation were provided by the Kosovo Houses.

 

 

GPS coordinates 41°54’42.0″N 24°42’00.5″E
Please contact us at:
Reception: +359 (0)3342 2333 Fax: +359 (0)3342 233
Hotel Manager – Svetlana Raleva:+359 (0)888 150352
Sales Manager: +359 (0)888 205702
E-mail: [email protected] 

Travel to Bulgaria

Nearby attractions:
Chapel "Holy Spirit"
Chapel "St. Peter"
Chapel "Saint Nedelya"
Belogradchik monastery "St. Peter and Paul"
Bachkovo Monastery "St. Bogoroditsa"
Slyodolsko fell
Asen's fortress