Monday, July 13, 2009

Bulgaria - A Dream Place For Ecotourism


Bulgaria has a unique geographical location in the far Southeast corner of Europe on the Balkan Peninsula. The territory of the country is rather small only 111 000 km but it is situated at the crossroads of three bio-geographic regions. They are the Middle European forest, the Eurasian steppe, and the Mediterranean. This location with the huge variety of different landscapes – Black Sea, wide plains and steppes, rivers and lakes, valleys and forests, hills and mountains ensures a rich biodiversity. You can enjoy all four seasons, each one with its own character and color. Eco tourism has never been so variable and exciting.

National Parks

Bulgaria has three National Parks – Pirin, Rila and Central Balkan. They have a total area of 193,049 hectares and comprise more than one-third of all protected areas in Bulgaria.

Pirin, Rila and Central Balkan are among the largest and most valuable protected areas in Europe. They contain some of Europe’s remaining, extant, wild regions. Identified as Category II protected areas by the World Conservation Union, the Parks are managed in accordance with the latest conservation principles and approaches.

Worldwide, national parks are generally designated to preserve representative natural features, wildlife and habitats of the country. Their designation is intended to preserve natural processes generally free from human manipulation. In Bulgarian national parks, unique samples of natural habitats and elements of ecosystems are preserved within reserves.

The Bulgarian National Parks offer excellent opportunities for tourism, scientific research and education. The National Parks also include rivers, lakes, natural landmarks, waterfalls, and exceptional landscapes.

National Parks allow opportunities for recreation, spiritual enrichment and contact with nature. Tourists can choose from a wide variety of activities, including:

* trekking,
* mountain biking,
* horseback riding,
* camping,
* photography,
* wildlife viewing,
* plant identification,
* rock climbing,
* mountaineering,
* and caving.

National parks and local communities registered their first private-public partnerships in two regions near Rila and Central Balkan National Parks. The Central Balkan Ecotourism Association, Kalofer, and Rila Ecotourism Association, Samokov are among the newest models of ecotourism around the National Parks. These non-governmental organizations are alliances of National Park Directorates, local authorities, and private businesses.



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