European Trip Ideas: 5 Natural Wonders In Bulgaria
Be ready for incredible nature reserves, UNESCO World Heritage sites, national parks and unique rock formations. You’ll be booking your flight in no time after checking our list of natural wonders in Bulgaria!
1/ Pirin National Park
Pirin is perhaps the most breathtaking mountain in Bulgaria. Its alpine landscape and steep, rocky slopes are a true wonder of nature and they sure do offer some pretty spectacular views. It’s no wonder then that the park is under the protection of UNESCO and is defined as world heritage. There are 2 unique reserves on the territory of the park – the Yulen Reserve and the Bayuvi Dupki-Dzhindzhiritsa Reserve, both of which preserve the unique flora and fauna of the region.
The National Park of Pirin is a great place for taking a walk in nature and hiking. The park includes many tourist trails suitable both for beginners and the lovers of the extreme. The best time for visiting is between July and September when the weather makes it possible to enjoy a long hike around the mountains. The highest point of the Pirin Mountains is Vihren Peak (2914 m), which is a much-loved destination by climber and hikers.
The shortest way to the top begins in Vihren Hut and you can get there by car. The path is marked with white and red colours and the ascending takes around three hours. When you reach the spot where the road is dividing into two, take the left side if you are a beginner in climbing. The right side will lead you to a very steep and hard way although it passes through a place where you can see the symbol of Pirin Mountains- the rare flower Edelweiss.
On your way back you will have the chance to see the oldest black pine tree in Bulgaria – the Baikushev’s pine, named after its founder, Kostadin Baikushev. It’s 1300 years old and definitely worth a stop!
2/ Srebarna Reserve
The Srebarna Reserve is yet another protected UNESCO World Heritage Site on the territory of Bulgaria. It’s the breeding ground of almost 100 species of birds, many of which are rare or endangered. The reserve is mainly one lake that stretches towards the Danube river and is certainly worth a visit by anyone who is interested in wildlife.
It’s the perfect place for bird lovers since it has the only breeding colony of the Dalmatian pelican in Bulgaria. If you walk from one side of Srebarna to Danube (about 3 km) you can enjoy some amazing views of the lake! During migration season you can also see many types of unique and rare birds such as the Purple Heron.
Another interesting attraction in the reserve is the video camera placed in the lake from which you can observe the birds! Pretty cool, right? The created eco path around the reservation will take you on a calming walk around nature and you can enjoy even more stunning views from the observational platforms. Want to know more about the birds? An impressive collection of stuffed birds can be seen at the museum which gives a great insight into the lake’s inhabitants.
For more information about the reserve and working hours visit their Website.
3/ Nature Park Sinite Kamani, Sliven
Nature Park Sinite Kamani (Blue Stone Nature Park) is considered one of the most attractive parts of Eastern Stara Planina. Beautiful rock formations, impressive caves, waterfalls and a unique blend of flora and fauna make it an incredible natural wonder worth visiting! And if you’re left wondering if the rocks are actually blue, well they are! The blue colour of the stones can be observed under specific conditions (best at night) and they are the result of the high content of quartz porphyry (a type of volcanic rock containing large porphyritic crystals of quartz).
There’s also a lot of interesting history about the hills in this park. They were once the hideout place for the haidouks (the freedom fighters who plotted against the Turks during Bulgaria’s 5 centuries of Ottoman rule). Most visitors take the chairlift to the top and have a picnic overlooking the beautiful valleys. Or, you can follow trails to the caves in which haidouks planned acts of sabotage against the Ottomans. The best time to visit the park is between May and September.
You can find the visitor information centre situated at the foot of the mountain, in the northeastern part of Sliven.
4/ Belogradchik Rocks
The Belogradchik Rocks are located near the town of Belogradchik in northwest Bulgaria. The rocks are no doubt a true geological wonder (they’re 230 million years old!) and an absolute must-see if you’re visiting Bulgaria! The entire area is a great place to go on a walk in nature and recharge your batteries.
The uniquely shaped rock formations are a really interesting sight. Locals have given many of them names depending on what they appear to resemble (objects, animals). The climb to the top is through a series of steps in the rocks. There, you can enjoy an incredible panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and hundreds of acres of stunning forests and valleys.
While there make sure to visit the Belogradchik fortress. The ancient fortress is a spectacular piece of cultural heritage from Roman times to the early Bulgarian kingdoms. The Romans built the fortress in order to guard their new province in the area during the 1st – 3rd C. AD.
Interesting fact: The Belogradchik Rocks are currently on UNESCO’s tentative World Heritage list.
6/ Stara Reka Nature Reserve
Stara Reka Nature Reserve is one of the nine nature reserves in the Central Balkan National Park. It’s an absolute must-visit place for any lover of nature! The Stara river gorge is one of the most picturesque sites within the boundaries of the reserve. The river has made its way through the mountains, creating an impressive gorge with many pools and waterfalls.
So what can you see inside the reserve? There are many marked tourist routes that you can explore while there. One of the most popular routes to Botev peak (marked in blue) passes through the reserve. The trail starts in the town of Karlovo and goes steeply to Barazha. You can enjoy beautiful views of the spectacular rock formations shaped by Stara river (Old River) on the way. The trail going from Ray hut to Dobrila hut is amongst the most beautiful routes in the country.
While there are certainly more sights we can include on this list, we think these are enough to pique your interest. Why not book a flight and come explore one of Europe’s most beautiful and ancient countries!