SamokovBulgarian Shopluk, 70 km south of Bulgaria's capital Sofia.
The town serves as the main shopping area for many local villages and the famous ski resort of Borovets which is 10km to the south east.
The town itself is attractive in and around its centre but there's a few ugly tenement blocks that remind you of the communist past. The town is nicely isolated from the surrounding villages which include Dospei, Reliovo, Rayovo, Shipochene, Beli Iskar, Govedatsi and the spa village of Belchin Banya.
A daily fresh produce market and a big monday market selling clothing, hardware, bric a brac, hooky watches and designer gear are well worth going to.
The town is well served with restaurants serving traditional Bulgarian cuisine such as Kavarma which is a delicious mildly spicy meat stew with peppers and onions.
- Rila - 1.5 hours away, home to a UNESCO-listed monastery