Veliko Turnovo and the Stara Planina Mountains

Central Rural Areas

Just a few years ago, the first wave of foreign buyers was pretty much restricted to tourist hots pots such as the coast and the ski resorts. Nowadays there is not a corner of rural Bulgaria where a British person has not bought a house. It would be impossible to give details of all the country’s rural regions, and this book focuses on the most popular and up-and-coming areas. It includes the inland region of Veliko Turnovo and the Stara Planina mountains; the town and its surroundings have become the most popular area for inland property – and prices have reacted accordingly.

Borovets – Bulgaria

Ski Facilities in Borovets

Borovets is an alpine-type resort and provides very good conditions for winter sports such as skiing (both day and night), snowboarding, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, biathlon and skidoo. Thereareski runs for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers designed with international markings and multilingual signs. Pistes are maintained to a high standard.The resort is a regular host of sports competitions: it has twice hosted World Cup competitions in alpine skiing and its biathlon track is one of the best in Europe. Borovets has developed into a modern ski resort of a high class, and has luxury hotels, restaurants, clubs, shops and a good choice of pistes and lifts.

Borovets ski resort

In the 19th century the ruling Prince Ferdinand built a hunting lodge at Borovets and was followed by various wealthy families and their friends. As a result one of Europe’s earliest ski resorts developed. The modern resort was built in the 1960s to cater for package ski holidays; during the Communist era its proximity to Sofia made it the favoured resort for Party officials and Sofia’s diplomatic set. In the last few years Borovets has attracted considerable private development and investment, but as yet not on the scale of its neighbour, Bansko. Hoping to replicate the success of Bansko, a’Super Borovets’project was planned (see overleaf) as a more luxurious and larger-scale replica of Bankso.

Plovdiv and the Surrounding Region

Bulgaria’s second largest city, Plovdiv, is located 75km from Pamporovo. This is one of the most attractive and vibrant centres in the country, a picturesque town full of parks and gardens, museums and archaeological monuments.

Plovdiv is situated on the river Maritza and has an interesting past. Only fragments of the city’s ancient buildings – the city forum, the stadium, the amphitheatre of Philip II of Macedonia (Alexander the Great’s father, who founded the city as Philipopolis), basilicas, hot springs and residences – remain today, but columns, capita Is, friezes, mosaics and bas-reliefs mark the city landscape. The 2nd-century amphitheatre has been completely restored and hosts outdoor performances.

Sofia – the capital of Bulgaria

A bustling, dynamic city of two million people set against the stunning backdrop of the Vitosha mountains, Sofia is the place where the influences of east and west come together in a fascinating conjunction. For the past 10 years, Sofia has been transforming itself from a sleepy socialist city to one of Eastern Europe’s most dynamic destinations. Its shops, cafes and nightlife surprise most first-time visitors. While not having the chic reputation of Prague

Bulgarian countryside – Rural Inland

Bulgaria’s countryside is its hidden gem. Far away from the bustling cities the Bulgarian countryside provides a landscape redolent of times gone by, compared to the mechanized and sometimes lifeless countryside of rural England. Just a few years back, foreign buyers were pretty much restricted to tourist hot spots such as the coastal areas and ski resorts.

The Mountains in Bulgaria

The mountains of Bulgaria are quintessential to the character and history of the entire Balkan peninsula – in fact the word ‘Balkans’ itself is Ottoman Turkish for ‘mountains’.

Bulgaria has four major mountain ranges, each with its own character and indigenous culture; they are the Stara Planina, in the centre, and the Rhodope, the Pirin and the Rila in the south. Historically, the mountains have been the cradle of Bulgarian identity, providing a safe haven for Bulgarian culture and literature during the five centuries of the Turkish yoke during which the nation was subsumed into the vast Ottoman empire.

The Bulgarian black sea coast

The Black Sea coast (Cherno More) is a 380km stretch of sandy beaches, rocky coves and calm, safe sea running from the Romanian border in the north to the Turkish border in the south. This region includes the cities of Varna and Bourgas and the well-known resorts in and around Sunny Beach and Golden Sands.

Pamporovo area

The village of Trigrad, with its awesome gorge and caves, is the star attraction in the southwestern Rhodope, 30km south of Devin. The Trigrad Gorge provides one of the most spectacular vistas in Bulgaria, its sheer walls overhanging the foaming river Trigradska, which disappears into the fantastic Devil’s Throat Cave, accessible via a 150m-long tunnel. The thunder of water can be heard long before you see a huge waterfall, which vanishes into the canyon through the enormous Roaring Hall.

The ski resort Pamporovo

Pamporovo ski resort is located in the southern part of Bulgaria near the border with Greece (and the White Sea), in the heart of the Rhodope mountain. Its main attractions are the good ski facilities and natural beauty together with the proximity of very picturesque villages with old stone houses. Somewhat more tarnished than modern Bansko, it is still a delightful place to ski, with stunning scenery.