On the right side of the river Bregalnica, bellow the hill at the settlement Novo Selo (Ново Село), there is a small hotel of the lowest possible category. It is actually a run down, partially falling apart spa that is а leftover from the days when Yugoslavia was one country and Marshal Tito was still alive. But precisely because of all of that, this place is worth to spend a night even two.
Kežovica Spa is mainly visited by the people from Štip (Штип) that go there daily to take baths. It is considered that the hot water there has healing powers. Well I can not say that it healed me, since I did not feel sick prior going there, but I did notice that my skin became very soft and smooth. But I’m not going to tell you what kind of healing powers it has either, because I really do not know and because I am recommending this place as a place to spend the night. Well just because of those healing powers it is visited mainly by elderly people, and people that have some health issues. Well ok, if you must know, people say that it is good for problems with joints, skin problems, allergies, even fertility. So to get back at my point, due to the fact that it is swarming with elderly people, this place is totally not a party place. It is an early night and an early morning place. Though, some interesting conversations may happen with the people.
There are two options for you to enjoy the healing powers of the water. The first and very simple one is to take a shower. There are several shower booths just at the entrance of the spa. The second one is the actual spa. The spa is divided into two parts: male and female. So there is no interaction between genders. I can describe only the male one, but I heard that the female is just the same. My first use as a novice was both terrifying and curious. I entered first into the changing room, where I to took off my clothes and put on my bathing suit since I aimed to use the big pool. But once I got inside I was warned by the people there that I am not allowed having any clothes on. Then the people there explained to me the in spa rules and procedures. So I followed them. I took a bath in the left room where the showers are. Then I went into the room where the big pool is. There I sat on one of the benches next to a water tap. The idea is that prior entering into the big pool I was supposed to pour some water from the tap on my body. This serves to get my body ready to the extreme heat of the water of the pool. However I did not have any cup to pour so I borrowed one. After some time of getting ready I thought I was ready so I went into the pool. My wish was simply to go in, but again I was corrected. I was supposed to go in step by step using the stairs going into the pool. This way the hot water would not be a shock to me. Well this process took time. A lot of time. Since the water was bloody hot. I kept going in and out because I could not stand the heat. The people there told me that the temperature of the water is about 60ºC degrees. Eventually I went inside. I can say that it was uncomfortable. It was hotter than a steaming sauna. I thought that a person probably can cook eggs in that water, so I decided to go out after a minute. Well okay, I know that boiling my private parts in hot water does not sound very attractive, but it is an experience that is interesting, and I would like to repeat.
I learned also that the spa had another section with small, private pools. However, because of the regular abuse of these pools for sexual intercourses, by the homosexual population, these private pools were closed.
But I should say something about the accommodation... The bath officially has 13 rooms and altogether 33 beds in them. They are fairly clean and very simple, almost hermit style equipped. There are 2 to 3 beds and a table with chairs inside the rooms. The rooms are separated into corridors with own front doors that go into the main yard. Each corridor has a joint toilet, which is not in the best of condition. It is mainly dependent on your luck in which corridor your room will be since some are better than the others. The one I was staying in had a constant flood due to a malfunctioning water tap. And if you want to use a shower you have to go to the main bath.
Despite the very simple and a bit falling apart atmosphere of the accommodation I really liked the stay. It offered the bare necessity and clean sheets. For the price of only ~5 Euro (340 denars) per night it was perfect. It is not a problem to stay up in the night in the yard, as long as you keep your voice quiet since the rooms are just there. The down side to staying up at night is that no one else does that around. So early in the morning there are a lot of people from Štip that come to use the bath. Sometimes people may sit in the yard and make noise. So do ask if you can choose your room to be on the back side if you want to have your beauty sleep in the morning a bit longer.
The place is definitively not made for someone to stay up in the night, nor to arrive late in the night. There is a restaurant within the complex, but it does not stay open much, since they close early in the evening. But they do open early in the morning. The only shop around is the small fridge with drinks that is at the reception. So if you need something to eat you need to go to the town. The nice thing is that there is a short cut if you walk, that should get you to Štip in 15 to 20 minutes. Just ask the people around to tell you about the stairs over the hill.
There is also a kitchen placed at the availability for the guests of the spa. However I have not seen it. So I can not comment it.
I think what really is positive about this place, it is the calmness of it. It all has a very easy going atmosphere. There is this big central yard with tables and chairs which is all covered in a shade of a spreading vine. Then there are cats that freely roam around. It is just the sort of place one needs to get away from it all for a moment and just relax.
The bicycles. Well the staff did not made any problem about the bicycles. But there is no place where one can place a bicycle. The rooms do not really offer great space to put the bicycle inside, and the corridors are too small as well. So when I was there I opted to tie the bicycles to the big tree in the yard. The tree was far too big for someone to cut it without waking us all up. But what I did not foresee was that this would only delay the departure. The tree had left a lot of resin on to the bicycles, which was very sticky and we had to wipe it off prior leaving. So be innovative when you go, find something that is not under the tree where you can lock your bicycle.
Please know that it is not wise to go there for an overnight in summer. Because many people rent out the rooms from June till August. So the chances of finding an empty room are slim. Spring and Autumn are just as good for visit, even better when I come to think about it, and there are available rooms. But if you can, do make a phone call to make a reservation.
There is also a legend about the first use of the hot waters of the spa. A shepherd boy, by the name of Kežo (Кежо), found the hot water spring whilst walking out with the sheep. He took a bath in the warm water. Soon he realized that the injuries he had on his body were gone. So ever since that water is considered as healing.
To find the spa it is easy on daylight, but not so easy in the night since there is no recognizable sign to lead you there. It is good to know that you need to find the settlement Novo Selo, which is considered to be as one of the oldest settlements of the Town of Štip. Then look around for the graveyard next to the main road. Opposite the graveyard is the road that will cross Bregalnica River and take you to the spa. But it all really depends where you are coming from. If you are coming from Radoviš (Радовиш) and going to Štip, then you should turn left just before the settlement Novo Selo. If you enter Štip, you are too far. But if you are already in Štip, then just follow the flow of Bregalnica River. Take the road towards Radoviš and make a turn on your right about 2 km after exiting Štip, right after Novo Selo. If you come to a slaughter house, then you have gone too far.
Oh, one more thing. There are plans to build a big spa centre here, so hurry if you want to go and experience it as is. Once a new hotel is built it will be just like going to a spa anywhere in the world.
There is only a telephone to get in contact with the place: +389 32 308560
And as always, coordinates: N 44.39055555556 and E 38.94555555556
Bicycle friendly – 3/5
Affordable – 5/5
Clean – 3/5
Comfortable – 3/5
Experience – 5/5
Total – 4/5
Gratitude to Darko Madžunarov for inputs into this article.