Sofia-Spa

Best Sofia Spa: Where can I take a plunge into thermal water pools?

Read this post to find out everything about Sofia Spa and other spa resorts around Sofia, Bulgaria.

Bulgaria is not yet well known as a holiday destination, especially among foreign tourists outside the Balkans. Until recently, low costs airlines such as Wizz Air and Ryan Air fly to and from Sofia. This has an impact on the rapidly growing tourist industry. Moreover, traveling around Bulgaria is affordable makes it worth a destination for considering to visit.

 

If you are a traveler who likes to relax in mineral water pools and do nothing from time to time, you must consider visiting Bulgaria, starting from the Sofia region.  There are more than 200 mineral springs in Bulgaria. Up to now, some of the water springs sources are used for medical tourism,  recreational bathing & washing. There are a lot of public baths, Spa & Balneology resorts around the country.

 

You probably visited Sofia for only two or three days because you found a very cheap ticket to Sofia or you pass Sofia on your Balkan trip. In this short period, you still want to experience Sofia spa with mineral water pools.  

What you can expect from this article ...

1. Are there mineral baths in Sofia?

 

When you searched mineral baths or Sofia spa or spa hotel in Sofia,  the chance is huge that you will find information about Sofia Central Mineral Baths on the first page of google. You will be unfortunately disappointed as this is not a spa center or a hotel with a spa complex, but a landmark of Sofia city.

 

This historical site was built in the early 20th century and used as the city’s public baths until 1986. This building is now the Sofia history museum.  On the other side of the building, just crossing the street, you could find mineral water sources where you can fill your bottle. This water is warm and drinkable. You would see the locals collect the warm mineral water at the tapped springs there. Every time I pass this colorful ceramic mosaics facades, I always imagine how wonderful it would be to spend a few days per week, a few hours a day in this historical central mineral baths.

 

There are no thermal baths/Mineral Baths in Sofia. Still, you can go to the villages or cities around Sofia to enjoy hot springs. You can go to  Sapareva Banya, which is good to combine with a hike to seven Rila lakes. If you have more time to spend, you can go to Velingrad, which is my favorite city for Wellness and Spa experience. Read my review about the Velingrad spa, specifically about the hotel Royal Spa Velingrad.

 

2. Sofia spa

You free a few hours from your itinerary to experience Sofia day spa and wellness. If you don’t care whether they use hot springs in their pools, and you just want suitable spa treatments, a few Sofia hotels offer this treatment to relax your body and mind. Hotels such as Victoria Spa Ramada, Sense Spa hotel, Crystal palace hotel, or another boutique hotel could be your choice. You could make the booking in advance before entering their spas.

If you still want to enjoy mineral water pools and have not much time to go to Velingrad or Sapareva Banya, going to Koraling swimming pool or Sanatorium zdrave might be your option.  Pancharevo and Bankya are near Sofia (about 30 minutes journey). It is convenient and cheap to reach the place by bus or taxi.

 

2.1 Korali swimming pool, Pancharevo

Korali-pool-Sofiaspa

 

 

 

 

Korali swimming pool, Pancharevo, has two outdoor swimming pools  (for children and adults). 

Sofia-Spa-Near-Pancharevo-Lake

The temperature of the spring is 49ºС. From the swimming pools, you have a view of Pancharevo lake. It makes your experience even better.

water-chemical-content-korali-pool

 

There are rented sunbeds in two categories: VIP & standard sunbeds. I rented the VIP sunbed with a small locker, including (only in VIP sunbeds). There are two pool bars where you can order alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, snacks and foods. You could order your drinks from the very cool wet bar. It’s also possible to lay on the grass around the pools.

VIP-Sunbeds-Korali-Pancharevo
Image courtesy of Korali complex

Korali also has a spa center and offers spa procedures such as massages. In the spa center, there are aromatherapy, hydromassage, hot tubs, Sauna, whirlpool baths, and a Turkish bath. Book in advance to make sure of the availability of the service.

 

I visited the complex in August 2019, and it was a hectic day. The changing rooms were wet and not clean, the toilets were smelly, and barely with toilet paper, the swimming pools were packed with visitors who made it difficult to swim. Despite it, the bar services were excellent, and the staff was friendly. Avoid the visit on the weekend for less busy days and better relaxing moments.

 

The entrance fee for the swimming pool Korali is 13 BGN (6.7 EUR). If you work or live in Bulgaria and have a multisport card, you can use it only during weekdays.

Pool & Spa complex “Korali”

Address: 3A Samokovsko shose Street, Pancharevo
Tel.: +359 885 68 53 54
Working hours: Every day from 09:00 to 19:00
Price: 13 BGN (6.6 EUR)

2.2 Sanatorium zdrave, Bankya

I searched a few possibilities of public mineral baths in Bankya before I went there. I found one place which I was interested in visiting: AquaBankya Mineral Pool.

Aquabankya-mineral-pool
Images courtesy of Aqua Bankya

This information shows  on its website:

Aqua Bankya Mineral Pool
Address: 2 Tsar Osvoboditel Str., Bankya
Tel.: +359 877 370 003
Working hours: Every day from 08:00 to 22:00

 

The entrance fee:
Monday to Friday: 15 BGN (7.6 EUR), including deck chair + umbrella.

Saturday to Sunday: 20 BGN ( 10.2 EUR), including deck chair + umbrella.
Free entrance with MultiSport cards during weekdays.
Free admission with MultiSport cards  Saturday and Sunday after 3 pm

 

I went there in November 2019, but it wasn’t open. Unfortunately, It was under renovation, but I couldn’t find this information on its website. It seemed that it was open.

Aquabankya-mineral-outdoor-pool
Images courtesy of Aqua Bankya

I was upset, but I didn’t give up. I asked the locals where I could go for mineral water swimming pools. After asking a few locals and going to pointing directions, I arrived in Sanatorium zdrave, Bankya. Luckily, I speak a little but Bulgarian. It was so strange because it looks more like a hospital than a spa center.

 

I enjoyed the 25-meter long indoor pool and steam bath there. These are part of a complex of Sanatorium zdrave. This complex is specialized in the recreation and treatment of diseases on the Nervous system, Cardiovascular system, Locomotor apparatus, and Metabolism. The water of the indoor pool is mineral water with a temperature of 36.5 ° C – 37 ° C. The water is clear, colorless, and odorless. It also has an outdoor swimming pool, which I would love to try, but it was not open. Maybe it’s only open in the summer.

 

If you are looking for medical tourism Bulgaria, this is maybe the right place.

 

The entrance fee for the Swimming pool and steam bath in Sanatorium Zdrave is 15 BGN (7.6 EUR). If you work and/or live in Bulgaria and have a multisport card or a SODEXO Sports Pass, you can choose to use one activity (swimming pool or steam bath) during weekdays.

Sanatorium Zdrave
Address: 15 G.S. Rakovski Street., 1320 Bankya
Tel.:  +3592 997 72 31;  +3592 997 73 83; +359 898 65 03 40

3. How to go to Pancharevo and Bankya from Sofia

By bus to Pancharevo: Take the bus numbers 1 & 3. I can’t tell you which bus you can take as I don’t know where you need to take the bus. I normally use the mobile app, “Moovit.” I use it to get around the city. One way ticket 1,6 BGN (0,8 EUR).

 

By Metro & bus to Bankya: First, take Metro and travel to Slivinitsa. If you go outside the Metro, there is a bus station to Bankya (bus no. 47, 48, 49). You can buy a day ticket for 4 BGN (2 EUR) to travel with buses, trolley busses, Metro, and tram.

 

By Taxi: Be aware that not all taxi drivers are honest, and the meter is working correctly. I use mobile apps such as Taxime, YELLOW taxi, and Maxim.  The tariff from around the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral to Korali or Bankya should be around 12 – 15 BGN (7 EUR).

 

4. Other Sofia Spa: Infinity Spa Pancharevo

Infinity-Spa-Pancharevo
Images courtesy of Hotel Infinity Spa

 

I have good news for you who are still looking for Sofia Spa and wellness and don’t want to go to a crowded public swimming pool such as Korali swimming pools or Bankya. I still have no chance to visit this new spa in Sofia. I’ll write reviews as soon as I have visited this complex.

 

Infinity SPA Center is a spa center near Sofia. It is next to Pancharevo Lake and offers incredible infinity views of the surrounding landscape. It has an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool, Jacuzzis, a sauna, a steam bath, and relaxation area.

Infinity-Spa-Sofia
Images courtesy of Infinity Spa

Infinity Spa Pancherevo 
Address: ul. “Samokovsko Shose” 211, 1137 Pancharevo
Tel. : 088 938 7122

Working hours:  Tuesday to Sunday from 09:00 to 20:00 (closed on Monday)

Price: 50 BGN (25.5 EUR). With this entrance fee, you will have a personal locker for clothes, bathrobe, slippers. Also, fruits, coffee, tea, mineral water are including in the price.

Note: 

  • I can’t 100% guarantee you that all information is still up to date. I have also done some researches and contacted hotels to give you the most updated information. 
  • The above reviews are my completely honest, non-sponsored reviews. I had no association with the “Korali” swimming pool and Sanatorium Zdrave whatsoever when writing this review. My opinions are my own, as was the money that paid for my stay. 
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17 Responses

  1. I haven’t been to Sophia. It is too bad the mineral pool in the city center shut down. That would have done well as more people travel to the area. I think I would enjoy the Infinity SPA Center, infinity views are always incredible

    1. Oh dear, I am also disappointed with the fact that they turned this ottoman style thermal bath into the History Museum of Sofia. Luckily, I found a few options near Sofia.

  2. We have never been to Bulgaria. But if we go, we would definitely want to enjoy a spa or two! Good to know that there are no mineral baths inside of Sofia and that we would have to plan a visit to a village. I like that the Pancharevo has a separate pool for kids and adults. And a massage spot too. The Infinity SPA Center looks quite dreamy. I will watch to see if you visit.

    1. I am going to Infinity Spa, Pancharevo, very soon. If you are from the Netherlands, flying to Sofia is quite cheap from Eindhoven. Here, almost everything is affordable for Western European standards. Check my new post about the best 7 cocktail bars in Sofia to complete your vacation in Sofia, Bulgaria.

  3. As a spa and wellness lover, I’m totally keen on this post! I’ve also not yet been to Sofia, so I read this with great interest. I particularly like the sound of Sofia Spa and Infinity Spa, I’m sold!

    1. You will definitely love Sofia and Bulgaria if you are a spa and wellness lover. Moreover, there are a lot of trendy bars and restaurants in Sofia (check my post about the best 7 cocktail bars in Sofia). Thank you for your positive feedback

  4. I love hot springs, hot thermal waters, and swimming pools. So, your article inspired me to visit Sofia, which I haven’t visited yet. I like your spa recommendations. I would happily relax in the Infinity Spa Pancharevo which I like the most or in Sanatorium zdrave.

    1. Sofia is a good starting point to discover Bulgaria. A beautiful country where natures, cultures, and modern bars/restaurants meet together. When you are planning to visit Sofia, don’t forget to check my blog. There will be a lot more posts coming.

  5. I have never visited Sofia. But the spas you listed make me want to go there. I love spa treatments and didn’t know Sophia had so many of them. The Korali swimming pool seems perfect for me. With separate pools for kids and adults my kid will also be happy. Pancharevo lake view must have been amazing.

    1. Here in Bulgaria, Wellness and Spa are for all ages. Take a look at my BEST 7 Bulgaria Spa resorts. Take an example of Velingrad Spa; there are even 3 mineral water swimming pools for kids.

  6. I am always ready for some thermal baths and spa treatments! I did not know you can also find them from Sofia. I have visited Bulgaria, but still never at Sofia. So this was very interesting. I hope to be able to explore the country more someday.

    1. Sofia is a new tourist and ex-pat/digital nomad destination. Sofia offers more than just thermal baths. Laying in the valley under Vitosha mountain, Sofia has a micro-climate, makes the temperature pleasant all year round. Also, there are a lot of trendy bars and restaurants. Check my other post: Best 7 cocktail bars in Sofia and Best 7 Bulgaria Spa resorts and how to get there. Thank you for reading my post and leaving your comment

  7. These are really top of the draw spa destinations. The pictures makes me want to experience and get pampered. Would sure head to one of them when in Bulgaria.

    1. You would like Bulgaria in general, and you can relax your body and mine on one of my favorite spa resorts in Bulgaria

  8. We are fan of SPAs! We have been to this country but we were somewhere in the countryside. Currently we are also thinking of having a relax holiday. Good to know there are a few SPAs near the capital, quite convenient if we opt for the city trip.

    1. I am happy that this post helps you and others. Let me know your experiences after visiting one of the Sofia spas on my recommendation list.

  9. Long time supporter, and thought I’d drop a comment.

    Your wordpress site is very sleek – hope you don’t mind me asking what theme you’re using?
    (and don’t mind if I steal it? :P)

    I just launched my site –also built in wordpress like yours– but the theme
    slows (!) the site down quite a bit.

    In case you have a minute, you can find it by searching for “royal cbd” on Google (would appreciate any feedback) – it’s still in the works.

    Keep up the good work– and hope you all take care of
    yourself during the coronavirus scare!

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