The Bulgarian massifs, covered with pine forests and fir trees and inhabited by bears, wolves, deer and foxes, offer several possibilities for hiking. One of the loveliest walks is in the valley of the Roses, the birthplace of production by this country that is the foremost world exporter of the essence of these fragrant flowers.
The coastal aspect of Bulgaria extends over almost 236 miles besides the Black Sea. Seaside tourism, symbolised by the creation of luxurious resorts, could have made it a type of Bulgarian Riviera if the rather harsh and long winter did not limit its frequentation in the summer season. From June to September the climate is perfect; hot, but not suffocating (26°C on average), and the sea temperature is ideal (24°C). At this time groups of tourists arrive from the eastern countries and also from Germany, England, and Scandinavia. It is an ideal place for family holidays. Children can actually swim without being frightened of getting out of their depth, even far from the shore. The water is clean, clear, not very salty (half as much as the Mediterranean), and the bays have long and beautiful beaches of fine sand.
Bulgaria is the Eden of the Balkans. Thanks to its geographic location and various types of climactic conditions, Bulgaria's fauna and flora is among the richest and most varied in Europe. You will find plenty of endemic plant species growing here and more than 13,000 animal species. A lot of effort has been made to preserve this invaluable biodiversity and many large regions are now home to national parks and natural reserves.
As well as the Thracian or Roman archaeological remains, the Ottoman mosques, the picturesque villages, and the several towns of classified buildings, it is undeniably on churches and monasteries that Bulgaria focuses all the beauty and richness of its cultural heritage. Dispersed over the territory, the Orthodox monasteries are the bastions of a religion that gave birth to remarkable treasures. You only have to see the monasteries of Rita, Bachkovo, Troyan, Aladja near to Varna, Ivanovo near to Roussé, Preobajenski near to Veliko Tavarno, Sokolovo, Rojčne, Kapinovo... and plenty of others!
To avoid any misunderstandings, it is important to know that Bulgarians make the opposite signs for saying yes and no. To say yes they shake their head from side to side and to say no they nod up and down.
If you are in a church and wish to light a candle, be careful not to mix things up. A candle that is lit in honour of a deceased person should be placed on ground level.
We would like to note two traditional festivals that are still very much a part of the Bulgarian way of life: the Baba Marta, which takes place on 1 March and celebrates the arrival of spring, and the Trifon Zarezan, on 14 February, when the people visit the wineries and do wine tastings.