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Botanical Holidays in Bulgaria

The Alpine Flowers & Endemic Plants of the Bulgarian Mountains

Balkan Trek's unique and highly rewarding botanic holiday in Bulgaria, will take you on an exploration of the flora of Bulgaria's highest mountains. Walking in a glorious mountain landscape of high alpine peaks, sparkling glacial lakes,  lush sub-alpine hay meadows and ancient forests, we will go in search of some of the rarest and most beautiful alpine flowers and endemic mountain plants in Bulgaria. By the end of this botanic holiday in Bulgaria, you will not only have had the chance to find and photograph a spectacular variety of alpine flowers and endemic plants, but also have had a memorable insight into both the outstanding flora and fauna of the Bulgarian mountains, as well as the traditional way of life and rural heritage which helps to preserve the delicate wild flower habitats in this part of Bulgaria.

Alpine flowers & endemic mountain plant holidays in Bulgaria

Botanic Holidays in Bulgaria's Mountains

Botanical Holidays in the Bulgarian Rila & Pirin Mountains

Alpine Flower & Plant Holidays in Bulgaria

Botanical Holidays in search of Bulgaria's Alpine Plants

Alpine Flowers of the Bulgarian Mountains

Holiday Highlights

- An exciting range of local endemic plants such as: the 'Rila Primrose' Primula deorum and 'Pirin Poppy' Papaver degenii.

- Numerous unusual, and often strikingly beautiful Bulgarian and Balkan endemics, including: Lilium jankae, Aquilegia aurea, Saxifraga ferdinandi-coburgi, Saxifraga spruneri, Campanula jordanovii, Jasione bulgarica and Digitalis viridiflora .

- Many beautiful and characteristic alpine flowers such as: mountain avens (Dryas octopetala), spotted gentian (Gentiana punctata), great yellow gentian (Gentiana lutea), globe flower (Trollius europaeus), narcissus-flowered anemone (Anemone narcissiflora), mountain thrift (Armeria alpina), birdseye primrose (Primula farinosa), least primrose (Primula minima), dwarf snowbell (Soldanella pusilla), and several saxifrages including purple saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia), livelong saxifrage (Saxifraga paniculata) and starry saxifrage (Saxifraga stellaris). In the Pirin one can also find a local form of edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum).

- An interesting assortment of unusual orchids including the helleborine Epipactis persica, the dark vanilla orchid Gymnadenia rhellicani, small white orchid (Gymnadenia albida), burnt orchid (Orchis ustulata) and heart-shaped orchid (Dactylorhiza cordigera).

- Admire one of the oldest trees in Bulgaria, and majestic specimen of Bosnian pine (Pinus heldreichii).

- Time to soak up the spiritual atmosphere and culture of the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

- Delicious traditional Bulgarian cuisine.

- An experienced, knowledgeable and highly informative botanic guide.

NB: Unlike many other wildlife holiday companies in Bulgaria who attempt to cut costs by making their guides have to double up as drivers, we employ separate professional drivers with licensed vehicles for all our botanical holidays in Bulgaria as we believe it is not only safer to have a driver fully focused on the road, but also allows our guides to concentrate fully on looking after you and finding you the wildlife!

Further Inspiration

One of the great attractions of a botanic holiday in the Bulgarian mountains is the chance to see an exciting mix of local, Bulgarian and Balkan endemic plants. Because of their location, varied climate and complex geology, the mountains of Bulgaria have a very rich flora, including an interesting mix of Alpine, Boreal, Central European and Mediterranean species, plus a unique selection of endemic plants.

Rising up directly above Sofia, the Vitosha mountains make an ideal starting point for an exploration of Bulgaria's alpine flowers and endemic mountain plants. Although only a small mountain massif in terms of area, the highest peak, Mt. Cherni Vrah reaches over 2000m, meaning Vitosha offers a surprising variety of habitats, including the largest sphagnum bog in Bulgaria, and a surprisingly rich flora, with over 1800 species including at least 20 Bulgarian endemics and more than 70 Balkan endemic plants. Perhaps the most beautiful of the endemic plants to be found on Vitosha is the striking yellow lily Lilium jankae.

Moving on south, one can then visit the Rila Mountains, the highest mountain range on the Balkan Peninsula. In terms of the number of endemic plants found here, the Rila Mountains ranks fourth amongst the Bulgarian mountain ranges. Some 36 Bulgarian endemic plants have been found growing in the Rila Mountains, including 10 local endemics. The most famous of these is the striking 'Rila Primrose' Primula deorum, which we can seek out below Mt. Musala (2925m), the highest summit of the range. It is typically found growing alongside the Balkan endemic butterwort Pinguicula balcanica. Other striking Balkan endemic species we will be searching for include the yellow columbine Aquilegia aurea, the Bulgarian gentian Gentianella bulgarica, the Bulgarian avens Geum bulgaricum, and the beautiful lilac-coloured Crocus veluchensis.

Almost as high as the Rila Mountains, but if anything even more ruggedly spectacular, the Pirin Mountains rank third in terms of endemic flora. Indeed the northern part of Pirin Mountains is one of the most important centres of speciation in Bulgaria. So far, 18 plants have been classified as local Pirin endemics such as the mullein Verbascum davidoffi, the diminutive thyme Thymus pirinica the 'Pirin Cabbage' Brassica jordanoffii, and the yellow 'Pirin Poppy' Papaver degenii. Whilst in the Pirin Mountains, it is also well worth paying a visit to the so-called Baykushevata Mura, a magnificent specimen Bosnian pine Pinus heldreichii which is reputed to be at least 1300 years old, making it one of the oldest trees in Bulgaria.

Of all the Bulgarian mountains, the Balkan Mountains (Stara Planina) are the richest in endemic plant species, including more than 20 local endemics such as 'Balkan Mountain Primrose' Primula frondosa and 'Balkan Mountain Violet' Viola balcanica.

 Further Information

If you are interested in a tailor-made botanic holiday in search of Bulgaria's alpine flowers and endemic mountain plants, then please email Balkan Trek with more details of your own special requirements and plans, and we will be happy to design and organize for you a rewarding and memorable botanic holiday exploring the outstanding flora of the Bulgarian mountains!

Responsible Tourism Promise

All our botanical holidays in Bulgaria are operated in accordance with our strict Responsible Tourism Policy, ensuring that the botanic holidays we offer in Bulgaria are not only of the highest quality but also help preserve the natural habitats and traditional way of life of the local Bulgarian people.