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Arbanasi

Bansko

Bistrilitza

Bourgas

Bozhentzi

Gabrovo

Koprivshtitsa

Kotel

Kyustendil

Leshten

Melnik

Nessebur

Petrich

Plovdiv

Plovdiv

Rousse

Sofia

Sozopol

Tryavna

Varna

Veliko Turnovo

Zheravna



Black Sea Resorts

Mountain Resorts



What to see

The Tracian Tomb in Kazanluk

The Tracian Tomb in Sveshtari

The Horseman of Madara

The Boyana Church in Sofia

The Rock Monasteries of Ivanovo

The Rila Monastery

The Old Nessebur

The Nature Reserve Srebarna

Pirin Mountain

Monasteries and Churches



Activity Holidays

Useful Information



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BULGARIA



ACTIVITY HOLIDAYS

Mountaineering and rock climbing
It is difficult to surpass the excitement of climbing in Bulgaria, and the keen moun-taineer will never forget the thrill of the many ascents the mountains have to offer. Besides the chance to follow mountaineering courses, trips are organised by specialised agencies in the areas of Vratsa, Veliko Turnovo, Trojan Maliovitza and Roussenski Lom. For sheer excitement and endurance, the climbing rocks of Rila, Pirin, the Rhodopes and Stara Planina are a must.

Hiking and walking
Hiking and walking have long been a tradition in Bulgaria, and there are both one and two week trips on offer in most of the national parks, always in the company of an experienced guide. Enthusiasts will certainly want to discover the mountain regions of Pirin, Rhodopes, the Balkan with the Botev peak, and Vitosha with the breathtaking Cherni Vrah.

Thanks to a network of comfortable mountain chalets guest houses and camps, the visitor has the choice of more than 5,000 marked paths and routes through unspoiled nature, secure in the knowledge of a warm welcome at the end of an exciting day.

Caving
With more than 2,000 caves still to be explored, Bulgaria's subterranean rock formations and ancient cave paintings will delight and excite the more adventurous visitor. There are organised expeditions in the Balkan, Pirin and Rhodope Mountains and in Sevlievo and Vratsa. Orienteering Bulgaria has already hosted two World Championships and the annual cup for orienteering is held on the Shoumensko Plateau. The forests around the Sts. Constantin and Helena resorts and the Kamchiya River are ideal for this type of activity holiday.

Trekking
One or two week trekking trips through Bulgaria have become very popular since they are an ideal way to get to the heart of Bulgarian life and customs, offering a wonderful insight into the local population, who always have a warm welcome for the unexpected visitor. On foot or by horse-drawn carriage, it's an experience not to be missed.

Horse riding
For an experienced horseman, there is a wide choice of one and two week trekking tours. Destinations include the Balkan Mountains, Trojan, the Danube valley and the Valley of Roses. Riding along the paths in The Rila and Stara Planina Mountains you are at one with nature, breathing in cool mountain air and history at the same time.

Rafting, canoeing and kayaking
Where would an activity holiday be without the excitement of going rafting? The Struma, Arda and Ossam rivers are especially suitable for the enthusiast in springtime once the mountain snows higher up have melted, and the Stackevska river in the Vratza mountain offers all the thrills and spills of wild water rafting. The river Danube is excellent for canoeing and kayaking.

Mountain biking and cycling
Mountain biking in the Rhodope Mountains is a new activity holiday, and the Special Bike Tours are fast gaining in popularity, both for youngsters and families. The Black Sea coast is great for the cyclist who wishes both to be closer to nature and cycle through the surrounding areas meeting the local inhabitants, and no two days are ever the same.

Fishing
There is excellent trout fishing, along with pike, carp and bream, to name but a few in the mountain streams, and com-fortable accommodation to be had with the local inhabitants. Who will ever forget being among friends, with the smell of the day's catch cooking over the camp fire, sitting around and listening to the 'one that got away' stories which last well into the night.

Hunting
Hunting is more than a tradtion in Bulgaria. In order to maintain a steady ecological balance, both small and big game hunting is permitted in the mountains, and the larger hunting areas offer accommodation in typical hunting lodges.

The season runs from mid-August to the end of January, peaking in October, and wild boar and deer are plentiful. The hunter will not be disappointed with his trophies. Licenses both for fishing and hunting are naturally required and can be obtained from the State Forest Authority.

Special interest travels
For the less active visitor there is the chance to explore and discover the local geology and botany either on foot or on horseback. Some areas are so unspoiled that finding semi-precious stones answering to magical names such as amethyst, jasper, agate and chalcedony is not uncommon.

International Youth centres
There are two major international youth centres offering a wide range of activities, both cultural as well as sports oriented. Primorsko, at the foot of the Strandja Mountains on the Black Sea coast, offers a wide range of sporting activities in natural surroundings. When night falls, there's the chance to take part in traditional dancing and singing or visit one of the local taverns or night-clubs. Batak, in the Rhodope Mountains, located at the pic-turesque area of Tsigov Chark near the lake of Batak, is a firm favourite for skiers in winter-time, and during the summer there's fishing, hunting, caving, mountaineering, hiking and walking.

 



Festivals and Fairs


The Great Koprivshtitza Folklore Festival

The Great Koprivshtitza Folklore Festival is Bulgaria's largest gathering of traditional musicians and singers and is a cross between a pop festival and a medieval fair. It is a sight that knows no equal: thousands of musicians and singers making the hillside above the picturesque village of Koprivshtitza their home for a few days. Coupled with this you have the colourful stalls of the traders and the thousands of visitors who come for the festival.

This is Bulgarian music as it was always played, played by the ancestors of those who first played it. But perhaps it is what happens on the periphery that is the most authentic. Strolling players or soloists, simply playing for the sheer enjoyment. forming new bonds with other musicians or just letting their music ring out over the hillside.

The Bourgas International Folk Festival

The Bourgas International Folk Festival, held annually, attracts a host of Bulgarian and international artists and is held in the second half of August.

The Kazanluk Festival

The Kazanluk Festival of the Roses is held annually in early June, and has grown from a local to an international event. Not only are the roses, Kazanluk's main industry, in full flower. but the town itself blossoms while visitors enjoy the "Rose Picnic" and all the fun of a folklore festival, with its costumes, songs and dance. Should you still have the energy left, you can always visit the old factories where the rose oil is extracted.

St. Trifon's Day

In the agricultural calendar, St. Trifon's Day celebrates the pruning of the vines, and is held on February 14.

Kukerov Den

On the first Sunday before Lent, Kukerov Den celebrates the start of the agricultural year, and all over Bulgaria you can witness processions led by the dancing. leaping Kukeri dressed in colourful masks and costumes.

Baba Marta

Baba Marta is celebrated on March 1 when peasant house-holds brush out the winter cobwebs with a traditional spring clean. and people offer each other tokens of good luck called martenitsas.

Kukeri
Like western countries. the Bulgarian calendar is dotted with important feast days and festivals. The festival of the Kukeri re-enacts ancient surovaki rites to ward off evil spirits and Kukeri fertility rites. Although only held once every five years, it brings together dancers from all over Bulgaria in a rainbow of colours and styles.

St. Lazarus Day

Lazaruvane is also celebrated in spring on St. Lazarus Day, and here village girls considered fit for marriage perform ritual songs and dances.

St. Konstantin and St. Elena Day

The coming of summer is traditionally celebrated on St. Konstantin and St. Elena Day on May 21, and in some of the remoter villages in the Stranzha hills fire dancing, dancing on heated coals, is still practised in celebration of summer's arrival. Ethnologists have suggested that this practice is directly descended from Dionysina rites of the ancient Thracian.

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