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Bulgaria / Zornitza Family Estate Relais & Châteaux

You’re not likely to have heard of this secluded retreat, but will want to keep it to yourself once you’ve discovered its charms.

Despite being easy to get to, this is relatively uncharted territory for luxury travellers. Clothed in a vineyard pinstripe suit, Zornitza’s expansive surroundings of green-gold hills and distant misty mountains seem somewhat Tuscan in appearance. The deception, however, ends here as within the strong stone and rustic timber walls, the spirit (not to mention the wine) is distinctly Bulgarian.

Cosy and elemental in its décor throughout rooms and villas, this family-owned Relais & Châteaux lodging has just 15 keys, making a picnic within the five hectares of wineland or a Vespa tour to nearby Melnik all the more exclusive. In the extensive Zoma Spa, muscles are soothed in the volcanically-warmed waters of both indoor and outdoor pools, naturally kept at a comforting 39 degrees. With indulgent sustenance at its soul, when it comes to dining, aEstivum restaurant is a gourmet extension of the property’s eco farm, sourcing 90 per cent of its produce in-resort. Here (and across the estate in general), stylish interiors meet exceptionally executed service without any stuffy formalities. Top tip: it’s also an ideal twin centre stay with Halkidiki in neighbouring Greece.

Travel notes:

  • 9 suites; 6 villas
  • 2 restaurants; plus a vast wine cellar with around 300 labels and in-resort sommelier
  • A large spa with thermal water pools
  • Activities include hot-air balloon rides and off-road drives to the surrounding wineries and cellars
  • Close proximity to Greek beaches and Carrier recommended twin centre with Halkidiki, Greece

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When to visit Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s climate varies significantly with the seasons. June – August are the hottest months with sunny days and mild nights while November – March brings very cold temperatures with snow covering the majority of the country. Warm weather can be found during April – May and September – October with fewer crowds than in peak summer.

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