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Wildlife Holidays in Bulgaria

For wildlife holidays, Bulgaria is a land of contrasts. To the east extends the warm welcome of the Black Sea coast with its rocky capes, sandy beaches and sheltered bays. To the north lies the Danube, fringed by lakes and marshes, and bordered by an alternating succession of elevated plateaus and broad steppe-like plains. Meanwhile the heart of Bulgaria is dominated by its majestic mountains, forming the physical heartland of the country, the spiritual soul of the nation and a refuge for a unique variety of wildlife.

For lovers of nature, Bulgaria is a paradise and a veritable Garden of Eden, and the perfect destination for a wildlife holiday. Because of the range of wildlife habitats and climatic conditions found throughout the country, its flora and fauna ranks amongst the richest and most varied in Europe, including many endemic species that are unique to Bulgaria. Thankfully, great efforts are being made to preserve this priceless biodiversity, and over the years, large areas of Bulgaria have been set aside for wildlife and designated as National Parks, Nature Parks, Nature Reserves, Important Bird Areas, Prime Butterfly Areas and Important Plant Areas.

Because of its geographical location, varied climate and geology, Bulgaria has a very rich flora, with over 4000 species of higher plants including Central European, Mediterranean, Pontic, Pannonian, Steppe and Oriental elements, making Bulgaria an outstanding destination for a botanic holiday. Compared to other European countries, Bulgaria's flora boasts a relatively large percentage of endemics, with 170 endemic species and 100 endemic subspecies. The highest concentration of these endemic plants are found in the Rodopi (Rhodope Mountains) and Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains).

As with the flora, Bulgaria's faunistic richness results from a combination of climatic and geographical factors. In terms of its diversity, Bulgaria's fauna ranks amongst the richest in Europe, including some 1,200 endemic species and sub-species. Currently, more than 30,000 species have been discovered in Bulgaria, but many experts believe this is likely to be only about half of the final total. At present some 781 species of vertebrates have been recorded within Bulgaria.

Thanks to this outstanding biodiversity, Bulgaria has now gained itself a well-deserved reputation as one of Europe’s prime destinations for wildlife holidays.

Lured by the annual migration spectacle along the Black Sea coast or the chance of photographing the rich birdlife of the Bulgarian mountains, more and more ornithologists are flocking to the country to enjoy birdwatching holidays in Bulgaria. With its ancient forests still sheltering large carnivores such as brown bear and wolf, and a great variety of other elusive mammals, mammal watching holidays in Bulgaria are becoming ever more popular, with bear watching holidays in Bulgaria being particularly memorable. The amazing diversity of Bulgarian lepidoptera means that butterfly holidays in Bulgaria are among some of the most rewarding in Europe, whilst dragonfly holidays in Bulgaria always offer the opportunity of making exciting new Odonata discoveries. Those interested in reptiles and amphibians will also not be disappointed, by choosing a field herping holiday in Bulgaria, you have the chance to find and photograph and unusual variety of species.

As well as observing animals, there are also a great many opportunities for botanical holidays in Bulgaria, including the stunning spring displays of wild flowers along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, the jewel like alpine flowers that are found within the high mountains of Bulgaria, an amazing diversity of endemic plants that can be found throughout Bulgaria, and last but by no means least, the wonderful variety of rare and beautiful orchids that still flourish in Bulgaria.

For those wanting more general wildlife holidays, and the chance to discover the diverse natural history of a particular region of Bulgaria, there is a great network of protected territories to explore. Bulgaria has a long tradition of nature conservation. Its first protected area, the ‘Silikosiya’ reserve, was established in the Strandzha Mountains as early as 1931. Over the subsequent decades, over a thousand other protected territories have been established, and these now encompass more than 5% of the Bulgaria’s territory, and include: 3 National Parks, 11 Nature Parks, 55 Strict Reserves, 35 Maintained Reserves, 344 Natural Phenomena and 561 Protected Localities. The majority of the protected areas in Bulgaria are included in the pan-EU Natura 2000 network. The total number of such Natura 2000 sites in Bulgaria is 339, encompassing 34.4% of Bulgaria’s territory, meaning that Bulgaria ranks third after Croatia and Slovenia among the 28 member states of the European Union. This Natura 2000 network includes 119 Special Protection Areas for birds.

To find out more about the opportunities for tailor-made wildlife holidays in Bulgaria, and to discuss your own specific plans and requirements, please email Balkan Trek. We will be happy to design and organize for you a unique and highly rewarding wildlife holiday in Bulgaria.

All our wildlife holiday's in Bulgaria are operated in accordance with our strict Responsible Tourism Policy, ensuring that the wildlife holidays we offer in Bulgaria are not only of the highest quality but also help preserve Bulgaria's natural and cultural heritage!

Furthermore, all our wildlife holidays in the Rodopi (Rhodope) Mountains are organized in co-operation with the local NGO 'Wild Rodopi', ensuring that you not only have the best opportunities to observe and photograph some of the Rodopi (Rhodope) Mountains rarest and most beautiful flora and fauna, but will also be directly contributing to the work of the NGO 'Wild Rodopi' and help funding their efforts to research and conserve the wildlife and rural heritage of the Rodopi (Rhodope) Mountains.