When visiting Apriltsi, every tourist should taste local homemade plum rakia and also, if possible, learn something about how local people make rakia. Rakia is the name of a strong alcoholic drink that is traditional for Bulgaria. It can be made from many kinds of fruits. The whole process begins in the summer when "blue plums", as we call them, are grown. Then people gather some 90-100 kg plums and collect all in big "katsa"-s (tuns). There stay the plums until they have fermentated, which often is in the autmn. After fermentation, the plum "kasha" (mess) is taken to a nearby rakia-making place which is a hut with a fireplace and one or several "kazan"-s (coppers) over it. There the making of the rakia usually takes a whole day. The kasha is mixed with water and all is boiled. After cooling the plums are separated and to the remaining juice is added a good quantity of alcohol which can reach up to 45-50% of the drink. The rakia is first tasted right on the place. In the end it's collected in cellars or attics, where it's cooler.
The other thing you should see when being in Apriltsi, is the surrounding area which is an almost native nature. The only thing that local people change in it is that they cut the grass for food of the sheep in winter.
A shop, restaurant and cafe in one. A perfect place to sit for a reat while taking trip in Apriltsi. You can have international meals or local dish there.
Favorite Dish: Local dish: filled paprika. There are many kinds of filled paprika - with eggs, meat, rice etc. They are all very delicious.
Getting to Apriltsi by bus is easy and doesn't get much money or time. Anyone who has car and map could try to get there but the rest tourists can rely on public bus transport. Although it is not as comfortable as it would be (depending on the general options in BG) it is quite good way to get there. The buses also go through many village areas where people can see the traditional Bulgarian villages and houses. They go every morning and afternoon from the Sofia Central Bus station. There are also buses to Apriltsi from Troyan, Pleven, Sevlievo, Gabrovo, Russe and Lovech. Some of them, however, are going only in the summer.
In Apriltsi there are several shops in which are sold foods and some things for home. There is a big market in the center every Sunday - another local tradition, where can be bought many different things - it's true that the quality of many of them cannot be seen on place, but it is about average. In the center there are also some shops for technical equipment.
What to buy: There isn't any special thing that you must buy in Apriltsi. You will buy things that you need.
What to pay: The average prices are not above those in most shops around Bulgaria and in Sofia.
In every part of Bulgaria there is a different speaking-language which come from old dialects mixed with foreign words. Although the language in this part of Bulgaria (Sredna Stara Planina) is very like to the official Bulgarian language, in speaking-language many words are slightly changed or replaced by other words - old forms, Turkish words and others. Sometimes the local people are hard to understand and most of them don't know English (except the younger ones).
The only problem that you could have in Apriltsi is to get lost - because the town is divided to many small groups of houses on a great area. Only the central parts look like a real town. But nowadays everyone can buy a map of Apriltsi when entering the central part. There is a special informational bureau and a list of all bigger hotels in the area. With a good map of Apriltsi, I think that noone should have problems finding the way to his place for rest. The best maps are those that show only Apriltsi - they have noticed almost every house in the town.
You can buy maps or guides in the information center or at the newspaper kiosks.
The disco clubs in Apriltsi have little disco music. There almost all the time goes that serbo-gypsy type of music called "chalga".
Unique Suggestions: If you like dancing on the tables and watching drunk people doing foolish things, there could be a place for you in the cocek-discotheque.
Fun Alternatives: No proper information yet
Luggage and bags:
A mountain-backpack - you can carry it everywhere
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Nothing special. The weather changes quickly so take a jacket.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Good to have some. May take a long time to get to the pharmacy.
Photo Equipment: All you can bring - there are many sights and views.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Not bad to carry some - there are perfect conditions for camping and picnics
According to different information the Turkish laws during the Turk occupation of Bulgaria permitted building of very low churches - only 2-3 m high, or "not higher than a Turk on his horse". There is one church like this in Apriltsi. It is a stone basilique with nothing like a tower on the roof. Its floor is lowered from the ground so people could stand in without bending. Nowadays the building is pretty empty. It has a separate wooden tower which is built later. The old church is up on a hill in a forest near the center of the town and cannot be seen from distance. I cannot tell how exactly locals call it.
Other thing that you could miss in Apriltsi is the romantic view of 100-year or older buildings with big trees all around like in fairy tales. As my companion said once, "you can only stay and wait the house to start spinning around on a chicken leg".
Hiking in Stara planina mountain is one of the most popular sport activities for Apriltsi as it is one of the main starting points for getting to the highest mountain part and especially Botev peak. The mountain tracks are available in summer and winter.
Equipment: In summer there isn't any special equipment - you need only some food (there isn't a warm dish in all chalets up in the mountain). In winter weather could turn nasty so you need warm clothes and proper snowboots.
One of the best thing for Apriltsi is that it can be used as a starting point to the beautiful mountain of Sredna Stara Planina - National Park Centralen Balkan. Stara planina is the longest mountain range in Bulgaria and from Apriltsi you can reach only a very small part of it, but it's the highest and the loveliest part.
Fondest memory: Apriltsi is a place where live people who have saved in their hearts the old Bulgarian moral values and it's a great pleasure to communicate with them. They are very warm and friendly. The whole town has its warm atmosphere with the marvellous landscape around and the traditional way of living. This is the thing that I appreciate most for Apriltsi.