"Katerina" Guest House

A Place for Priceless Moments and Genuine Experiences Away from the City

Оur guests were a family from Tel Aviv - Hagit and her five children. Sometimes, it just happens - one glance, a few exchanged words - the energy aligns, and it clicks. That's how it happened with us - a natural friendship. They stayed at the house for a week.

On the first day, they decided to visit the Seven Rila Lakes and were extremely impressed by what they saw. They also visited the Stob Pyramids, Bansko, and explored Blagoevgrad, saving the Rila Monastery for “dessert”.

Before we knew it, it was time for them to return to Israel, and our farewell was truly emotional. The taxi to the airport was waiting for the family in front of the house, while Hagit tried to bring order to the chaos and direct everyone towards the car.

We were talking over each other and hurrying to exchange final hugs when Hannah- the youngest daughter, in almost perfect Bulgarian, said “Dovizdane (Good Bye),” followed by the sweetest “Obicham vas (I love you).” For a few seconds, the whole commotion quieted down, and we all looked at each other.

It's hard for me to describe the surge of emotion that went through my entire body. This was followed by uproarious laughter, in which I released the entire palette of emotions that had built up in me - joyful excitement, tender affection, but also a tinge of sadness at our parting.

The taxi driver, who had been a direct witness to our little Odyssey, patiently waited for the excitement to settle. Eventually, everyone managed to get into the car, and it drove off with a cheerful honk of the horn.

However, 30 minutes later, the same car returned because Hagit had forgotten all six passports, which we found neatly tucked away in the nightstand. She laughed nervously and tearfully, we laughed heartily, but the important thing is that the story didn’t end with a missed flight.

Our children continue to write to each other, and Hagit has extended several invitations for us to be their guests in Tel Aviv. We hope that one day we will be.

Over the years, our house in Bulgaria has welcomed guests from various parts of the country and the world. I find these encounters to be incredibly interesting, fulfilling, and energising experiences. Of course, it’s impossible to get to know all our guests, and we wouldn't want to intrude on their personal space, but I hope that at least a fragment of the atmosphere and feeling we've created in the house stays with them even after they return home.

Many of our guests often ask why the house is called Katerina (Katerina Guest House). The truth is, the name was chosen by my husband, who says it just felt right. From a more philosophical perspective, the name Katerina, derived from Greek, means "purity" and "cleansing," which aligns well with our concept of a true and fulfilling vacation.

My husband Nikolay and I are passionate hikers, and he is also a mountain rescuer. You can often find us on various trails in the Rila Mountains.

View from the Seven Rila Lakes - Rila Mountain

We stumbled upon the location of our house quite by accident. One spring day, we were walking along the southwestern slope of Barakovo and Kocherinovo when we discovered a quiet and peaceful newly built neighbourhood situated right on the banks of the river “Rilska”.

This was a turning point and marked the beginning of our decision to take the first steps towards realising our dream.

It took a lot of time and effort, but we managed to create "Katerina"Guest House just as we had envisioned it. We put all our love, desire, energy, and inspiration into offering a place for rest with an authentic atmosphere and its own spirit, far from the city noise.

"Katerina"Guest House is designed to provide priceless moments and experiences in a calm, clean, and pleasant environment. It’s a place where you can lie on the green grass, pick cherries from the tree, enjoy watching the stork, passing across, hear the murmur of the river, smell the aroma of flowers and herbs, and enjoy the beauty of life.

It was very important to us that the house has a well-maintained garden where friends and families with children can spend time - everyone together, participating in the preparation of food, enjoying it in the yard by playing games, having pleasant conversations, and relaxing, creating, and learning.

With passion, we created our garden where we grow strawberries and raspberries, various herbs, and spices. We planted fruit trees and vegetables that are harvested from early spring until late autumn. We transform these treasures into little wonders that we love to share with our guests in the form of freshly picked fruits and vegetables or soul-warming preserves. You simply must try them.

Barаkovo is a village with a rich history and a difficult past, located just a step away from the wonders of the Rila Mountains. In 1912, it was the border between Bulgaria and Turkey. The notable Bulgarian poet Bino Ivanov was born here. In his honour, the street on which the house is located bears his name.

Many years ago, the village was bustling with life. There was a school, a nursery, a cinema, its own power plant, a church, a hospital, and a railway. In 1903, a sawmill was built, providing jobs for over 1,000 people. Over time, the factory became a place for producing recycled and pure pulp basis paper, which was exported to Milan, Istanbul, and Malta. At that time, the beloved Bulgarian poet Nikola Vaptsarov also worked in the factory. Today, near the house, you can explore the remains of the now abandoned building and visit the museum to hear the full history of the village.

Barakovo, Kocherinovo and Rila mountain

The house is independent and situated on two floors. It has a modern architectural vision, and the interior space was built with natural materials - wood and stone, the interior is made of wood, leather, linen, silk, wool, and cotton. We opted for a simple and sophisticated design, combining modernism and homely comfort in the interior.

The maximum capacity is 8-10 guests, accommodated in 4 separate rooms, each with its own bathroom and toilet. Two of the rooms have terraces overlooking the river Rilska.

The first floor is a large space divided between a spacious kitchen fully equipped with everything necessary for a complete stay, a cosy dining room with a large dining table, and a living room with comfortable soft furniture, a library with books and board games, a TV, and a fireplace that creates a unique cosiness during the cold months. Although the house has the digital conveniences we are all used to, the experiences during your stay, connected with more moments for family and friends, will make you forget about the internet and TV. The unique views of the Rila Mountains are our screen, and the starry sky is our observatory.

In the yard, there is an outdoor barbecue, a large table with benches under an awning, a relaxation area with loungers, and entertainment for children - a table tennis table, a trampoline, and a wooden swing. All that’s left is to just enjoy them.

We welcome guests from Bulgaria and abroad all year round. For 6 consecutive years, we have managed to maintain a quality standard that reflects our efforts. Reviews from our guests are an invaluable guide, and that is why we continue to strive to offer them the best experience.

We have been honoured with many awards, including:

“Top 3 Luxury Place in Kyustendil”;
“In the Top 25% of ECO-Friendly Properties in the World”;
“One of the Most Loved Homes on Airbnb”;
An exceptional hospitality rating of 9.9 on Booking.com;
On Google Maps, we are rated with 4.6 out of 5 by 120 guests.

The high ratings we receive make us believe that we have succeeded in creating a paradise that gives a sense of peace and comfort. 

Here’s what our guests write about us: 

“Wonderful place! The house is beautiful, very cosy and comfortable, perfectly equipped with everything you can think of. Katerina and Nikolay were extremely kind and helpful. They welcomed us, told us about the area and what we could visit, were always available, but the most memorable was their personal garden behind the house with tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, peppers, strawberries, raspberries, etc., which they insisted we pick and eat fresh and home-grown! We were with three small children who had a great time on the well-maintained grass in the beautiful yard of the house. Truly a wonderful place.”
Daria Simeonovа

“Amazing house. Close drive to everything. Couldn't have asked for nicer hosts or a more beautiful house.”
Danielle, Canada

In the area of the Rila Mountain, there are amazing places worth seeing. They recharge with positive energy and make you enjoy the little moments, turning them into precious family memories over time.

The places our guests often visit are the Rila Monastery, the Stob Pyramids, the Seven Rila Lakes, the Old Town of "Varosha," Melnik,  Rupite, and Bansko.

The Rila Monastery, a UNESCO world heritage site - Rila Mountain

The Stob's pyramids - Rila mountain

The Seven Rila Lakes - Rila mountain

Blagoevgrad, the old town "Varosha"

Town of Melnik houses in traditional style

The "Rupite" area, Saint Petka temple

Bansko, center

We offer additional experiences such as walks to different paths of Rila and Pirin mountains, a day trips, and two-day hikes for more advanced enthusiasts. We organize outings and picnics in nature, rafting, as well as other forms of tourism. Together, we can hike a certain trail or eco-path.

Descent from Maliovitsa peak, Rila mountain

A walk to Ribni Ezera - Rila Mountain

A walk to Vihren Peak - Pirin Mountain

A walk to Vihren Peak - Pirin Mountain

To the Macedonia hut - Rila mountain

Rafting along the Struma river gorge

Descent with a paraglider from the peaks of Rila mountain

During winter, the house is the ideal starting point for a ski and snowboard vacation. After a satisfying day on the snowy slopes, the warm embrace of the house awaits you.

The Kartala Ski Park in the Rila Mountains is 28 km from Blagoevgrad, and Bansko is 60 km away.

Winter at "Kartala" - Rila mountain

Bansko Skiing - Pirin mountain

View from "Golyam Mechi Vrah" - Rila mountain

View from "Golyam Mechi Vrah" - Rila mountain

A ski touring to "Ismailitsa" peak - Rila Mountain

At "Katerina" Guest House everyone can organize their personal celebration, spend a weekend with friends, arrange a team building, work remotely, or rent the house for long-term use, and we will ensure the necessary comfort and tranquility during the stay.

Be our guests and find out why "Katerina" Guest House is a place created for relaxation!

How to reach "Katerina" Guest House? The house is located 8 minutes away from Blagoevgrad and an hour's drive from the capital, Sofia.

For more information and to contact us: +359 893 636 462

I am expecting you Katerina Arsenova