Bulgaria is wide known as a country of tourism. For the recent couple of years, the revenues of the country from international tourism ran up to around 2 billion EURO and substantially exceeded the overall amount of costs of Bulgarian tourist trips in abroad. The tourist businesses are almost totally privately run. An average of 70% of the foreign tourists coming to Bulgaria are heading for the Black Sea-side resorts, while the rest of them find the highland and hydropathical resorts as a better choice to suit their cultural and business interests.
Forms of tourism offered in Bulgaria, include Cultural (or of Cognitive purposes) tourism – consists predominantly in visiting Bulgaria’s bigger towns with their historical, architectural and cultural monuments and sightseeing spots, museum-towns/ villages, reservation-towns/villages, eye-catching natural localities and sites of UNESCO’s world cultural inheritance, multiple ancient strongholds and citadels, palaces, historical sites, old bridges, tombs, mausoleums and pantheons, etc. The aforesaid form of tourism can be implemented both by independent travelers and package holidaymakers following prearranged and well itineraries (route exploring tourism).
Hiking. Foreign visitors can choose multiple upland and high mountain hiking routes, where they’ll certainly be rewarded by astonishing views of verdurous woods and pastures to render them speechless, variety of water wealth forms, wildlife species, etc. Definitely, they’ll be much facilitated in their outing ventures by the sign posted trails, availability of dozens of tourist hotels, centers and houses, mountain huts and chalets.
We should also add alpinism to this category, and in this regard, the Mount Malyovitsa portion of the Rila mountains, the highest parts of the Pirin range, the Iskar pass (particularly the cliffs near the railway station of Lakatnik), the Vratsata gorge area and Mount Botev in the Balkan range, and elsewhere, will undoubtedly meet the requirements of mountain climbers.
Hiking tours can also include caving – another way to enjoy mountains Аor even be extended to include caving expeditions. Most suitable and attracting sites to do so are the area of the village of Karloukovo in the Iskar Gorge, the Dobrostan Ridge and Trigrad in the western Rhodopes, the caves of Magura, Ledenika, Saeva Dupka, the area of Kotel in its part in the Balkan range, etc. Foreign visitors are recommended to get in touch with the local hiking and caving societies for additional information, in the towns which appear to be starting points for highland hiking and mountain climbing.
The Ecological tourism (Eco-Tourism), as a relatively new form of outdoor holiday making in Bulgaria, presupposes opportunities for unforgettable outings in natural environments and sites with no or little damaging impact on them, and unconditionally requiring observance of nature protecting measures and behaviors. This particularly relates to the national parks, natural parks and reservations of nature. Appealing sites and virgin country for eco-tourism is to be found in Bulgaria’s mountains of Rila, Pirin, Vitosha, the Rhodopes, the Balkan range, and so on.
Rural tourism. Well-developed and broadly popular in western countries, the rural tourism is now increasingly making its way in Bulgaria. Individuals or groups of tourists reside for a certain time, mainly in smaller villages, immersed in the bosom of scenic nature, amid well preserved one-time customs, day-routines and way of living of indigenous population, to sense and get a better idea of Bulgarian national culture and spirituality specifics.
Winter-time tourism. Due to its high mountains and copious snowfalls in winter months Bulgaria, with its mountains like Rila, Pirin, Vitosha and the Rhodopes, is an attractive target for lovers of the wintertime tourism and recreation. Well furnished hotels, tourist and recreation centres, mountain huts and chalets, signposted snow paths, facilities for skiing sports, fitted with ski-pistes, chairrlifts and ski-lifts, winter-sports equipment available at the recreation centres and other enhancements will surely make the time, spent in the mountain pleasing.
Fishing and Hunting. Opportunities for practicing these exotic forms of recreation are increasingly growing in Bulgaria thanks to the availability of vast expanses of woods full of wildlife, still non-polluted rivers, lakes and artificial dams in Bulgaria.
Yachting. Chances for this kind of exciting water sports experiences are offered at large artificial dams, but first and foremost at the seaside.
Congresses, Symposiums, Conferences. Broad opportunities for organizing and conducting international gatherings to serve the needs to meet and exchange cultural, scientific ideas and research results, discuss and initiate business projects and ventures are now available due to the international relationships of long standing, established and kept going by the comprehensive care and endeavors of the appropriate bodies and organizations in Bulgaria.
Religious, esoteric and cultist interests. To meet religious, esoteric and cultist needs and interests of people from all over the world, available in Bulgaria nowadays are remarkable sites like the multiple monasteries (full of exceptionally valuable relics), various shrines of worship, the imagination striking churches of Ivanovo and the Rock monasteries like Aladzha near Varna and the village of Bessarbovo to the south of Rousse, the Church of Boyan a near Sofia, the Thracian tombs at Kazanlak, Sveshtari, Silistra, Pomorie, Strelcha, Mezek, Perperek, the Krastova Gora (Hill of the Cross) pilgrimage shrine in the mid-Rhodopes, the Roupite locality (where the famous Bulgarian female prophet Vanga lived), the places related to the Teacher Peter Danov (his grave is in Sofia), the Seven Rila Lakes, etc.
Sports and Sporting Activities. Decent facilities and conditions for sporting and fitness occupations are available in all of the larger towns and holiday resorts of Bulgaria. More detailed information in this website, concerning the opportunities for practising winter sports, is provided in chapters and paragraphs related to appropriate mountain resorts.