Hiking – This is a popular activity in Bulgaria, where a wide choice of areas for day or multi-day hikes is available. The best time to hike in the higher parts of the mountains is in summer, between the end of June and September, as the snow has already melted and the weather is generally dry. In winter, snowshoeing and ski touring are possible between December and March, depending on the weather and snow conditions at the time:
- in the Balkans – this mountain range gives the name of the Balkan peninsula. It stretches along the whole length of the country and is very popular with lovers of long hikes. One of the famous European long-distance routes (E3) follows its main southern ridge to the sea from the western border of the country. One of Bulgaria’s three national parks – the Central Balkan National Park – is located here. In addition, on the northern slope of the mountain there is the Nature Park Bulgarka. Both parks are protected areas as they are home to rare and endangered species and communities of wild animals, self-regulating ecosystems of biological diversity, as well as historical sites of global cultural and scientific importance.
- in Bulgarian Shopluk – The highest point of the Balkans (Mount Musala – 2925m) is located in Rila. Next to it, the north-western parts of the mountain are a popular hiking destination, rich in nature and cultural sites such as the Circus of the Seven Lakes, Skakavitsa Waterfall (the highest in Rila), Rila Monastery and the Malyovitsa region. The Rila National Park, which is the largest in Bulgaria, is located here.
- in Pirin – Situated south of Rila and close to Greece and the Mediterranean Sea, these mountains are famous for the highest number of sunny days per year among Bulgaria’s mountain ranges. The most popular hiking area is the northern part of Pirin. Its highest peak (Mount Vihren – 2914 m) is the third highest in the Balkans, after Mount Musala in Rila and Mount Mitikas in Olympus, Greece. Another popular route follows the main ridge of the mountains, crossing a landmark called “The Foal” – a very small part of the ridge, which is safe and accessible to hikers. The Pirin National Park was created to protect nature in these mountains. Pirin is also famous for its many high mountain blue glacial lakes.
- in the Rhodopes – Located in the south of Bulgaria, the Rhodopes occupy almost an eighth part of the country’s territory. The landscape here is very different from that of Rila and Pirin – there are no such jagged peaks, but an endless “sea” of green hills and a number of small villages in between. The Rhodope Mountains offer many opportunities for easy walks, while at the same time allowing you to discover the local culture and traditions. The region has been inhabited for a long time and nowadays Christians and Muslims live here and contribute to the unique local culture. The Rhodopes are known to be the home of Orpheus, the mythical Greek musician and poet who entered the underworld to revive his beloved wife Eurydice.
There is an extensive network of signposted tourist trails which allows for a large number of different itineraries. The main accommodations in the Balkan, Rila and Pirin mountains are mountain huts and lodges, which generally offer rustic conditions, but there are also many three and four-star hotels close to popular tourist destinations. In the Rhodopes, it is possible to stay in local guesthouses.
Winter sports – There are a large number of winter resorts all around the Bulgarian mountains. Among the most popular are Bansko, Pamporovo, Borovets and Chepelare.
Enjoy the beach – the Bulgarian seaside is full of enchanting resorts that blend modern hotels and wild nightlife with ancient sites and traditional culture. Famous resorts include Albena, Golden Sands, Nessebar, Primorsko, Sveti Vlas, Sozopol and of course Sunny Beach.
Enjoy the nightlife – Bulgaria has a wide variety of entertainment to offer for all generations and that can satisfy all tastes. However, one of the best known things about the country is its nightlife. A mixture of oriental passion, European vision and unique Bulgarian flavour that can be found in all the summer resorts on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, in the mountain resorts and in almost all the cities and university towns, including Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Haskovo, Veliko Tarnovo, Blagoevgrad and many others.