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Mammal Watching Holidays in Bulgaria

Bear Watching Holiday in Bulgaria

Balkan Trek's exciting new bear watching holiday in Bulgaria takes you into the realm of the brown bear, and offers a unique insight into the behaviour and ecology of these most iconic yet secretive large carnivores.  During the course of the week's holiday, we will make daily hikes through the heart of prime brown bear habitat, recording tracks, scats and other signs of bear activity as part of an on-going brown bear conservation project in Bulgaria. Not only will this provide vital data about bear activity in the region for a local wildlife NGO 'Wild Rodopi', but it will also provide you with a privileged insight into the daily life of bears in Bulgaria. In the evenings, the holiday will offer the chance to visit a specially constructed bear watching hide, from where we will hopefully have an opportunity to see some of the bears whose activity signs we have been monitoring during our days in the field. In addition, we will also be collecting and collating images from several camera traps that will be set up in the surrounding forests. By the end of this bear watching holiday in Bulgaria, you will hopefully not only have had the chance to see wild brown bears in their natural habitat, and know how to find and identify their tracks and signs, but also have a better understanding and appreciation of the fascinating way of life of these majestic, mysterious and often misunderstood animals.

Bear Watching Holidays in Bulgaria

Bear Watching Holiday in Bulgaria

Bear Watching Holidays in Bulgaria

Bear Watching Holiday in Bulgaria

Bear Watching in Bulgaria

Holiday Highlights

- Outstanding opportunities to observe brown bear in Bulgaria, as well as wild boar, Balkan chamois, red deer, roe deer and other elusive mammals.

- An exciting and informative programme of daily bear tracking walks, offering a unique insight into brown bear ecology and behaviour in Bulgaria.

- A rewarding opportunity to become involved with a brown bear conservation project in Bulgaria.

- A wonderful chance to explore the realm of the brown bear in Bulgaria, and to see and photograph the rare flora and wildlife with which the bears share the Bulgarian mountains.

- Stunning landscapes preserving a rich rural heritage and traditional way of life.

- Delicious home-cooked cuisine and outstanding regional wines.

- Inspirational and highly informative guiding by Julian Perry, an expert on brown bear ecology and behaviour, and a leading authority on the Bulgarian mountains.

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 mammal watching 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

Historically, the brown bear was distributed throughout most of Europe, but over the course of recent centuries, conflicts between humans and bears have steadily increased as forests have been cleared for agriculture and livestock grazing. As a result, bears steadily disappeared from large parts of their original range due to a combination of habitat loss and fragmentation, combined with increasing direct human persecution. Recent research suggests that the population of bears in Bulgaria is between 500 and 700 individuals. Monitoring bears is important to ensure the conservation of these majestic animals, and the preservation of the habitats on which they depend. 

The most rewarding places to search for large carnivores in Bulgaria are the ancient forests that still cover large swathes of the mountains in many regions of Bulgaria. The beautiful beech forests of the 'Central Balkan' National Park, the mixed forests of Rodopi (Rhodope) Mountains and the majestic coniferous forests of the Rila and Pirin mountains all still harbour brown bear, and the tracks and signs of these majestic large carnivores can be found and followed along the silent forest trails.

The majority of brown bears in Bulgaria belong to one of two main sub-populations. The Central Stara Planina sub-population and the Rilo-Rodopi subpopulation. Brown bears of the Central Stara Planina sub-population inhabit the entire territory of the 'Central Balkan' National Park, excluding the alpine zone. The Rilo-Rodopi sub-population of brown bears is mainly located in Rila, Pirin, Slavyanka, Western Rodopi (Rhodope), Plana, Verila and Vitosha Mountains. In the Rila, Pirin and Slavyanka Mountains, the brown bears occur to the upper edge of the forest, and only rarely in the sub-alpine zone.

By choosing a Balkan Trek bear watching holiday in Bulgaria, you can make your experience even more rewarding, not only tracking and observing wild bears, but also directly contributing to bear research and conservation in Bulgaria. This bear watching holiday in Bulgaria directly involves the local people and community into these brown bear conservation efforts, thus raising their awareness about the economic value of coexisting with brown bears, and developing a means by which they can benefit financially from the bears that live around them. By basing ourselves for a week at a a small family-run hotel in the heart of a brown bear core region, utilizing local produce for our meals, and purchasing local products and crafts as souvenirs, our bear watching holidays in Bulgaria will be making a direct contribution to the economy of the local community, and providing a useful source of extra income for families in the village. This in turn will encourage a sense of pride amongst the local people, and an increasing realization that they are guardians of the bears, a unique natural treasure that is not only to be prized and protected as part of their traditional culture and legends, but also as part of their future and the village’s sustainable economic development.

 Further Information

If you are interested in joining one of our scheduled small group bear watching holiday departures, or alternatively would prefer a tailor-made bear watching holiday in Bulgaria, then please email Balkan Trek with more details of your own special requirements and plans.

  Responsible Tourism Promise

All our bear watching holidays in Bulgaria are operated in accordance with our strict Responsible Tourism Policy, ensuring that the bear watching holidays we offer in Bulgaria are not only of the highest quality but also help preserve both the brown bears themselves and core brown bear habitats, as well as fostering the means by which local people can benefit from peaceful coexistence with the brown bears!