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Tourism Diversity

Tourism Diversity
  • Sea Recreational Tourism

Bulgaria has a unique geographical position. It is situated in the remote southeast corner of Europe- the Balkan Peninsula. The geographical position of the country, as well as the great variety of relief and landscapes – vast lowlands and steppes, rivers and lakes, valleys and woods, hills and mountains, descending to the waters of the Black Sea – is a guarantee for multifarious flora and fauna. Here you can enjoy all the seasons – each of them having its own atmosphere and unique charm. The modern beach resorts, situated on the golden sands of the Black Sea offer the visitors nature beauty, ancient history and modern architecture. For decades the Black Sea Coast has rightfully been the most popular, the most preferred and the most visited Bulgarian destination, owing to the remarkable qualities of the region: 380 km of beaches, 240 – 300 hoursof sunshine in the summer season, average daily temperature of the air – 23 – 25 C and of the water 23 – 25 C, 70 – 75% atmospheric humidity, varied relief, uncountable cultural and historical sights, resorts for any taste and pocket. There is a whole range of secluded beach areas, small villages and towns along the sea coastline attracting vacationers who prefer to enjoy the quietness and being away from the busy everyday life. Such are Shabla, Byala, Obzor, Ravda, Aheloy, Lozenets, Chernomorets, Varvara, and Rezovo.

There are lots of heritage traces left throughout the ages by the development of ancient civilizations – Thracian era dolmens (6th century BC), sanctuaries, Christian chapels and churches.

Shallow bay areas with extremely clean and shiny water, rocky coastline with submarine caves, river outflows and mountain hills sloping down to the sea; natural mineral and spa curative waters, sand dunes and dense forests – all the natural beauties and attractions are unique and have their own charm. Nature is the most powerful and great creator and the Bulgarian coastline is one of its brilliant landscape works. One of its extremely attractive and amazing areas is the archaeological reserve

Yailata – a picturesque spot set with hundreds of caves unveiling their historical significance (over a hundred caves have been dwelling places during the 6th- 5th c. BC). There are vestiges of the past through ancient civilizations, the Hellenic stage of development, the early Byzantine epoch, and the Medieval times. The land of Yailata is the kingdom of the deciduous globeflower. Eagles, owls, hoopoes, wheatears and other

typical bird species settle in the rocks. The Bulgarian Black Sea coastline territory and the humid areas nearby are regions offering extremely rich opportunities for developing and practicing ornithology tourism, which is gaining popularity now-a-days.

The migratory flow of Via Pontica crossing our longitudes welcomes and figures in the great biological variety and range of birds species living in those territories. The Durankulak Lake is located under this migration area. The Big Island gives the opportunity to holidaymakers to enjoy the largest open air prehistoric museum in Bulgaria. It gives a glimpse of letters even more ancient than those found in Egypt and Mesopotamia.

  • Cultural Tourism

The geographical position of Bulgaria on the crossroads between the East and the West, where throughout history the paths of world civilizations have crossed, is influential to the country’s rich and colorful cultural heritage. Traces of the material and spiritual presence of the Thracians (2000 BC), the Hellenes, the Romans, the Slavs and proto-Bulgarians, the Byzantines and the Ottomans have been left in the Bulgarian lands. After five centuries under the Ottoman yoke, the Bulgarian Revival, which started in the 18th century, brought the country closer towards Europe, modern times and contemporary culture.A great number of items, jewelry and tombs have survived since Thracian times to present day. The Romans left us as a heritage of strongholds, buildings and roads. The Byzantines and the Turks have left towns, fortified settlements, fountains and baths. Although their culture was overshadowed during the Ottoman Period, the Bulgarians continued to create their own authentic customs, traditions, rituals, songs and fairy-tales. After the Liberation the architecture of Vienna, the German technical mind and European fashion had their impact. Magnificent buildings give charm and character to towns such as Rouse, Varna, Svishtov, Sofia and others.

Air raids during World War ІІ (1943-44) destroyed some of the architectural and cultural sights but in the middle of the century (the 80’s) modern-style buildings, monuments and parks were constructed. After the democratic changes the borders were opened to cultural exchange. Bulgaria’s cultural and historical heritage, as well as its contemporary arts, have become famous all over the world.

  • Rural Tourism

It is hard to describe the astonishing culture, history and people of Bulgaria. The traditional life is best preserved in the numerous villages nesting in the mountains and plains. In many regions people still work the lands manually and their produce is ecological and tasteful. The old handcrafts are still handed over from generation to generation. Typical are the houses from the 18th and 19th century, which are built from wood and stone. Village life is tranquil, colorful and rich in emotions. In the picturesque villages people are already welcoming their first guests in comfortable guesthouses and family hotels. Rural and eco tourism have big potential in small Bulgaria. There are several places in the country where one can explore great biodiversity, and experience warm hospitality in a Bulgarian house. The country can be divided in seven regions for rural and eco tourism, each with its own character and personal touch. It is difficult to imagine that there are still places in Europe untouched by the breath of civilization, but Bulgarian villages have managed to maintain their traditions and history. You will feel as if you have stepped into the past as you wander past the preserved traditional architecture, watch the villagers do their daily chores, and experience their welcoming attitude to visitors. Authentically homemade dishes will send you back to your childhood. Apart from the culinary specialties of the various regions you can also try some homemade honey, yoghurt, fruits and vegetables, homemade jams and freshly canned food. For example, Bulgarian tomatoes during the summer months could not be tastier or more succulent anywhere else on Earth. In Bulgarian villages one can still experience the true meaning of the word “hospitality.” The local people will open the church for you, show you the way to a nice meadow for a picnic, or suggest a place for a walk. You will undoubtedly discover hundreds of new things, the enchantment of the village atmosphere will pursue you everywhere. At dawn the quiet village becomes animated with the most pleasant sounds of the awakening life: the crowing rooster, barking dogs, and busy villagers starting their day. At nightfall you may find men drinking and talking in the local pub, and the “babas” (grandmothers) sitting on benches and knitting socks. Their life is simple and often very hard, but they live it with dignity. The main occupation of the lowlands is agriculture and crafts, while in the mountains people raise animals and gather herbs, mushrooms and forest fruits. The people live in harmony with the land that feeds them and their daily work is defined by the seasons. The rural houses differ greatly from region to region. They may be made of stone or soil, but they may also have tiled roofs or be covered with slates. All of them bare the mark of time and the occupation of their inhabitants. There are many examples of well-preserved, traditional architecture. If you wish to get a feel for them you should not miss some of these villages in the Balkan Range (Elena, Koprivshtitsa, Bozhentsi, Zheravna, Tryavna), Pirin Mountains (Melnik, Delchevo), Rhodopes Mountains (Shiroka Laka, Zlatograd, Dolen, Kovachevitsa, Boukata), Strandzha Mountains (Brashlyan, Malko Tarnovo).

  • Balneo, Spa and Wellness Tourism

The natural thermal water springs in Bulgaria are some of the most sterling and unique resources of the country and welcome the prosperity of tourism; they are the “golden key“ to boosting the development of the hospitality industry that will keep tourism flourishing. Over 800 hydro mineral springs clustered in over 240 water formations, rich in hot and cold mineral water with temperature varying in a wide range from 37° C up to 101° C, gush forth and spout out of the bowels of the Earth from a depth of over 2000 meters. In the uniqueness, variety and abundance of hydrothermal, bioclimatic, mud treatment, sea cure, and other health resources, Bulgaria ranks among the first in Europe. Specialists are unanimous that all kinds of known mineral waters around the world find their counterpart in our country. Deposits of high quality peat and healing mud have been found at many places in the country. The mineral water with the highest temperature measured on the Balkan Peninsula springs out as a geyser in the area of Sapareva Banya. The Mihalkovo natural soda-water is the third most famous of its kind in the world. The healing spring waters with curative effect in the spa resort of Merichleri, similar in quality to the mineral water springs in the famous resort areas of Karlovi Vari and Vichy, were awarded a gold medal at the International exhibition which took place in London in 1907. The up-to date mud center in the sea town of Pomorie is the largest on the Balkan Peninsula and is an incredible contribution to the development of domestic balneology (hot spring spas and therapy). Bulgaria’s health spas and hot mineral springs have been noted for their restorative and recreative effects since the ancient Thracian, Greek and Roman times. Ancient civilizations settled in these mineral spring areas a long time ago. When establishing their dwellings on the Balkan Peninsula in the 5th century BC, the Thracians, preferred to settle in these wholesome and favorable unique lands with natural spring waters, following the old traditions and making a cult of the natural sparkling curative thermal waters. There are extremely good bio-climatic resources which, combined with the existing ancient traditions in thermal water use, provide a base of balneology development in the country of Bulgaria. In Thracian times, flourishing settlements sprang up around the hot mineral springs. Later, under the influence of the Greek mythology, nymphaeums were built where the Thracians practiced religious and health rituals ending by tossing coins in the mineral water areas “for health”. The cultural and economic boom of these dwellings actually started after the Romans conquered the Thracians in the year 46. In addition to conducting health and religious rituals, for the next five-six centuries the nymphaeums welcomed other activities such as hospitalisation. The “Asclepions“ – baths with additional functions and curative health centres for hospitalisation of the sick, were built and the largest of their kind was established in the ancient Ulpia Pautalia (present Kyustendil) spreading over a territory of 3600 sq.m and ranking second among the Asclepions in ancient Hellenic Epidavar. Today enormous wealth of natural factors, combined with the country’s modern hotels and spa facilities, provide excellent possibilities for the yearround effective treatment of the most widespread diseases of our times and truly make Bulgaria a country of health. Evidences that the mineral springs and Roman baths were used in the time of the first and second Bulgarian Kingdom have been found during excavations near the villages of Merichleri, the baths in Stara Zagora area, the village of Varshets, the baths of Sapareva Banya and Haskovo baths.

  • Eco Tourism

Bulgaria has a unique geographical location in the far Southeast corner of Europe on the Balkan Peninsula. The territory of the country is rather small only 111 000 km but it is situated at the crossroads of three bio-geographic regions. They are the Middle European forest, the Eurasian steppe, and the Mediterranean. This location with the huge variety of different landscapes – Black Sea, wide plains and steppes, rivers and lakes, valleys and forests, hills and mountains ensures a rich biodiversity. You can enjoy all four seasons, each one with its own character and color. Eco tourism has never been so variable and exciting.

National Parks

Bulgaria has three National Parks – Pirin, Rila and Central Balkan. They have a total area of 193,049 hectares and comprise more than one-third of all protected areas in Bulgaria.

Pirin, Rila and Central Balkan are among the largest and most valuable protected areas in Europe. They contain some of Europe’s remaining, extant, wild regions. Identified as Category II protected areas by the World Conservation Union, the Parks are managed in accordance with the latest conservation principles and approaches. Worldwide, national parks are generally designated to preserve representative natural features, wildlife and habitats of the country. Their designation is intended to preserve natural processes generally free from human manipulation. In Bulgarian national parks, unique samples of natural habitats and elements of ecosystems are preserved within reserves. The Bulgarian National Parks offer excellent opportunities for tourism, scientific research and education. The National Parks also include rivers, lakes, natural landmarks, waterfalls, and exceptional landscapes. National Parks allow opportunities for recreation, spiritual enrichment and contact with nature. Tourists can choose from a wide variety of activities, including:

  • trekking,
  • mountain biking,
  • horseback riding,
  • camping,
  • photography,
  • wildlife viewing,
  • plant identification,
  • rock climbing,
  • mountaineering,
  • and caving.

National parks and local communities registered their first private-public partnerships in two regions near Rila and Central Balkan National Parks. The Central Balkan Ecotourism Association, Kalofer, and Rila Ecotourism Association, Samokov are among the newest models of ecotourism around the National Parks. These non-governmental organizations are alliances of National Park Directorates, local authorities, and private businesses.