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About Hotel Sonata
About Hotel Sonata
Borovets skiing
Borovets skiing

Town of Samokov - Sofia region, Bulgaria - near Borovets ski resort, Rila mountain

The town of Samokov (29 987 inhabitants, altitude 950m.) is situated at the Northern foot of Rila mountain and in the highest plain in Bulgaria, enjoying some of the best view in the country.
The longest Bulgarian river Iskar, which springs from Rila mountain flows through it.
The town is situated 55 km. south – east of Sofia, and only 6 km. to the north – west of Borovets ski resort.
There are six more resorts in the region some of which known to the international public for their calming waters and crystal clear nature.


Samokov was once a Roman settlement, but generally it is assumed, that it was founded around iron mines at the beginning of 14th century. It has been known since then for its best iron workmanship in Bulgaria then part of the Ottoman Empire until late 19th century.
At that time Bulgarian craftsmen had direct contact with other European communities, including the Saxons, known locally as sasi. During that time Saxon furnaces were introduced in Samokov with blowers and big hammers, set in motion by water power.
When the Turks conquered the town (1372), Samoкov was an economical and cultural centre well known around the country and the region.
Later it became a municipal centre within the Ottoman Empire.
The first Bulgarian printing house of Nicola Karastoyanov was opened here in 1827.
It is not a coincidence that by the end of 18th century Samokov had one of the most progressive art school in the Ottoman Empire enlightening the Bulgarian subjects of the Sultan in their mother tongue about their history, culture and religion.
Some of the most famous Bulgarian painters, such as Christo Dimitrov and his sons Dimitar and Zahary Zagraf,also Ivan and Nikola Obrazopisovi and others, were born and worked in Samokov.
Konstantin Fotinov, the founder of the first Bulgarian magazine “Ljuboslovie” (1844) was also born in Samokov.
The first movement for an independent Bulgarian church from the Greek Orthodox Church started here in mid to late 19th century.
As a result of the decline of all crafts at the end of the 19th century the town lost it’s economical, cultural and administrative power, although the traveller can still buy beautiful hand crafted souvenirs in the numerous curio shops in town.


The town is the starting point of all climbers attempting to conquer the highest mountain in Bulgaria and the Balkans – Rila.
They will either stay in Samokov or Borovetz and start early morning to the peaks of Moussala or Maljovitsa which can be reached by marked tourist routes.
Others attractions that may have not been mentioned above:

  • 13 km southwest of Samokov on the road to Maljovitsa is situated the big resort village of Govedartsi.
  • The spa resort of Belchinski bani is only 13 km west of the town along the Palakaria River.
  • 27 km to the northwest of Samokov is located the famous Alino monastery.
  • 30 km to the east is situated the resort town of Dolna bania.


The oldest winter resort in the country - Borovets dates back to 1896 and is only 6kms away from Samokov. It is the biggest ski resort in Bulgaria.
Situated at 1350m above the sea level on the northern slopes of Rila Mountain among age-old pine woods, Borovets is located at the foot of peak Mussala (2925m) - the highest one on the Balkan Peninsula.
It is easily accessible, being at a distance of 55kms from Sofia and 126kms from Plovdiv. The town of Samokov is only 6kms down the road from the resort.


It’s pleasantly cool here in summer (the average July temperature is 15,2C
°) and the winter is mild and snowy (the average January temperature being 4.8C °)

The air in Borovets is crystal-clear and free of any pollution.

The various opportunities to practise favourite winter sports attract thousand of fans from Bulgaria and abroad.

Borovets has already hosted the World Cup Alpine skiing competition twice, various European Championships and the biathlon track there is one of the best in the world.