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Bulgaria

Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a Balkan nation in the Southeast of Europe, neatly situated between Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey.  Despite its relatively small size, in which it occupies just 2% of Europe, Bulgaria’s biodiversity is among the richest in the continent, allowing a wide array of plant and wildlife to call the country home.  This impressive range of flora and fauna is set among an equally impressive range of landscapes, including wild mountains, sandy beaches and verdant valleys decorated with many lakes and rivers. This biodiversity is conserved within three national parks, 11 nature parks, 16 biosphere reserves and 565 protected areas. 

Just over 1/3 of Bulgaria is made up of mountain ranges, more commonly found in the central and southwestern parts of the country.  These areas consist of five main mountain ranges, Rila, Balkan, Rhodope, Pirin and Vitosha.  Our Gentle Walking Bulgaria trip explores three of these ranges. Most time is spent among the Rhodope Mountains, the largest mountain range in Bulgaria, characterized by striking river gorges, ancient caves and unusual natural sculptures. Towards the end of the trip, time is also spent exploring the Pirin and Rila Mountains.

As well as mountains, Bulgaria’s cities are also packed with fascinating history and heritage.  In ancient times Bulgaria was populated by Thracians, Ancient Greeks and Romans, to name a few, all contributing to the country’s cultural heritage, leaving behind their stories in the form of architecture.  Most commonly you will see a selection of Bulgarian monasteries, for example, Bachkovo Monastery set among the Western Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria’s second largest monastery, founded in 1083, or perhaps the most impressive of all, Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, filled with colourful architecture.

You may also visit the 2019 European Capital of Culture, Plovdiv. The city is built around seven hills and is therefore known as ‘The City of Seven Hills’. On our Gentle Walking Bulgaria trip you will climb three of these hills, admiring monuments including a towering Soviet Army memorial and the old Ottoman clock tower as your reward. Plovdiv is also famous for its ‘Old Town’ where you will find ancient Roman remains surrounded by old houses created using traditional Bulgarian architectural styles.

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