This month, a group of 23 of us went on a group summer holiday to Bulgaria. Rachel, (queen of organisation and group-holiday-planning) managed to find us a beautiful rustic villa that managed to squeeze us all in and still offered everything we could possibly need. Not one gob was left unsmacked when we realised what we were getting for our money. The property was made up of; a huge 8-bedroom 6-bathroom villa with mountain views, another completely separate house, a massive 300 square meter barn with panoramic mountain views, two outbuildings, a working fire pit, tons of fire wood, a private swimming pool, a vineyard and hundreds of acres of organic agricultural land to explore. The owner of the villa was so lovely, he even supplied us with 10 bottles of wine on arrival!
The 8-bedroom villa:
The other house:
Acres to explore
So, how much did it cost? This immense Bulgarian property only ended up costing us £40 each. FORTY QUID EACH for the whole week. Who knew there were so many financial benefits of gonig away with 22 other people? The flights in September were also relatively cheap; I managed to get mine for £70 return even though I booked them quite late. Total spend so far = £130.
Aside from Bulgaria being stunningly beautiful, it’s offensively cheap wherever you go it seems. The exchange rate during our trip meant that £1 was equal to about 2.15 Bulgarian Lev. To put this into perspective, a beer cost about £1. I came back from this holiday with a nearly third of my spending money, which I don’t think has ever happened to me before. (I took out £300 and came back with £80.)
Night out in Sofia
Our flight landed at ten to midnight on the Saturday, so we planned ahead and decided to stay in a hostel for the night in Sofia. This meant we wouldn’t have to make a 2hr 45min drive to the villa until the next day which was definitely a good shout. We stayed at Hostel 44 in Sofia, and it ticked all the basic hostel-boxes. It was clean, the staff were really friendly and helpful and we were allowed to check in at any time. They also supplied cereal and coffee the next day free of charge and each of our beds cost 14 Lev which is equal to about £6.50.
We went out to meet everyone for drinks and I loved the look of Sofia, it was a shame we didn’t get longer to enjoy the city.
Our villa came with a small private pool with gorgeous mountain views. It was freezing cold but still did the job perfectly. The team brought loads of inflatables including a giant pizza slice, two air beds, two Simpsons-style doughnuts, a tiny elephant, giraffe, palm tree and beach ball, so we had the perfect set up for the week…
The Barn was a space like no other this holiday. It was absolutely huge and we used it for karaoke nights, dance offs, general climbing, running around and basically all the things we didn’t want to do in our lovely villa for fear of wrecking it. It’s hard to describe in hindsight why the barn made everyone act like large-rogue-children but it definitely livened up our otherwise fairly relaxing holiday.
In one end of the barn was a separate room that had panoramic mountain views and yoga mats, for those wanting to find some inner zen. It also had boards with pens which the boys quickly defaced, about 100 folded up chairs and huge speakers that we definitely made the most out of over the week.
Don’t go chasing waterfalls…
On the final day we were being so indecisive about whether to go to the waterfalls or not. It had somehow rolled around to 3pm and we were panicking a bit about whether we’d leave ourselves enough time to clean and tidy the barn after the dinner that Rachel had booked us, but thankfully we decided to go and I’m so glad we did. We arrived to find a tiny bar and a pretty shitty car park, only to look out over the ledge to a beautiful lagoon with waterfalls that were dying to be jumped into.
Within the first day of being here and smugly uploading my stories to Instagram, I had FIVE people message me to ask where we were and how to find it! I’ve never had so many questions about a holiday before. So here are all the links you should need if you want to book this place for yourself, or just want to be nosey and see what the website is saying:
Link to our hostel in Sofia on the first night – www.hostel44.com
Villa website – www.stoneandcompass.com/amenities
(Booked my flights through RyanAir.)
To sum up, this was one of the best group holidays I’ve been on and I’m so happy to have gone with such a perfect group of people! I’d highly recommend Bulgaria to anyone looking for a super cheap holiday for upwards of 20 people. It doesn’t have to be a stress, just make a Facebook event, pick a date most people can do and get booking. I always find that once the first couple of people have gone for it and booked flights, the rest soon follow…