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Adventure-seekers from abroad come to Bulgaria mostly for horse trekking and mountain hiking

Bulgaria is a veritable treasure trove for bird watchers

Photos: Mountains and People Association of Bulgarian Mountain Guides

Tour operators say that the number of visitors from abroad coming to this country not for a holiday by the sea, but for an adventure in the wild has been growing.

Pre-2019 levels have not been reached yet but there is a lot of interest even though there is no serious national advertising campaign, says Lubomir Popiordanov, chairman of Mountains and People Association of Bulgarian Mountain Guides. For the first time in July, this country took part in one of the leading bird expositions in the UK, bird-watching tours being among the most elite and most expensive kinds of tourism in the world, Lubomir Popiordanov says. In this respect Bulgaria is a veritable treasure trove, because there are more than 400 species of birds on the territory of the country, almost half of the bird species to be found in Europe.

Nature lovers and adventure seekers can choose different itineraries in the country - for bird-watching, wild orchids or dragonflies… Some choose to go ethnographic villages or are interested in Bulgaria’s colourful folklore or traditional cuisine. Wine tours are also very popular. What kinds of adventures have visitors from abroad been opting for?

“This year we have had success with horse trekking in the Balkan Range and in the Rhodopes. We have cycling, though we expect more to happen in this sector next year. But trekking or mountain hiking remains the most popular kind of tourism among foreign adventure-seekers, most of them from Switzerland, France, Spain, the UK. Now that the Covid pandemic is subsiding, this kind of tourists have become more active. Prices at Bulgaria’s hotels, however, have been changing every month (because of the war and the economic crisis – editorial note), says Lubomir Popiordanov, and adds that there is a serious demand for mountain guides in Bulgaria at the moment.

Rila, Pirin and the Central Balkan Range are the mountains suited best for trekking in Bulgaria.

They offer marked pathways and a network of mountain huts and shelters. With the help of a GPS and maps, the foreigners have no problem finding their way all by themselves. That is the reason why the number of individual tourists coming to this country has been growing. Still, most prefer to contact local tour operators and arrive in organized groups. One of the reasons is that most of the tourist information in this country is in the Cyrillic alphabet and if you don’t speak Bulgarian you would find it very difficult to find your way around.

But there is one more category of adventure-seekers:

“There are a lot of individual travelers who purchase package tours without a guide. This means that two to four people buy a package from some agent in their own country who works with a Bulgarian tour operator. When they arrive at the airport they are given the whole package of papers connected with their stay and can arrange their day as they wish, i.e. these are individual tourists though organized by a Bulgarian tour operator,” says Lubomir Popiordanov.

Photos: Mountains and People Association of Bulgarian Mountain Guides
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