In last month’s blog post we recommended some fun things to do when visiting Bulgaria in January. But February can be just as much fun, if not more so. As stated previously, we enjoy the best of all seasons in Bulgaria. Winter can certainly be a great time to enjoy the natural beauty and the welcoming culture of Bulgaria, despite all the snow and low temperatures.
Therefore, if you happen to visit Bulgaria in February, here are some suggestions on what to do.
1. Celebrate February 14-th … the Bulgarian way!
While the rest of the world celebrates Valentine’s Day on February 14-th, we, Bulgarians also celebrate. However, we celebrate our love for wine.
The Bulgarian alternative to Valentine’s Day is called Trifon Zarezan. It is the day when we celebrate vine-growers and winemakers. If you own a vineyard or even just a vine in the garden, you would go out and prune the vines on this day. It is a major event in many villages throughout Bulgaria. Celebrations often include inviting a Christian priest who blesses the vineyards, as Saint Trifon is considered to be the guardian of the vineyards, and protector of all winemakers. After the ritual is performed, the real feast begins.
So in case you happen to be in Bulgaria on February 14-th, make sure to get a nice glass of wine and raise a toast to those, who provide us with this elixir!
2. Wine tasting in a boutique winery
And speaking of wine, why not tour a local vineyard and taste some excellent wines. Bulgaria might not be on everyone’s radar as a wine destination; however, that is slowly but surely changing. Our beautiful country is one of the biggest wine producers in Europe. We have plenty of boutique wineries and some spectacular and unique wines to choose from.
If you are interested to learn more about Bulgarian winemaking traditions and indigenous varieties, check out our Guide to Bulgarian Wine or join us on a private Sofia or Plovdiv city tour with optional wine tasting.
3. Ice climbing
February is a great time to visit Bulgaria if you are a thrill-seeker enjoying some ice climbing. One of the most popular ice climbing locations is Boyana Waterfall in Vitosha Mountain, just an hour’s hike away from the brink of Sofia. It freezes in winter and makes for a fun ice climb!
You could also drive out to Skakavitsa Valley in Rila National Park during winter and early spring. The area is usually quiet in these cold months and the waterfalls and rocky slopes freeze over, making them perfect for ice climbing. The region is idyllic for nature lovers and hikers in the summer months and offers several great alpine-style approaches as well.
4. Winter hiking
If ice climbing is a little too extreme for you, choose the more relaxed alternative. There is nothing quite like winter hiking in the Bulgarian mountains in February. Provided you are with an experienced mountain guide, winter hiking and snowshoeing in Bulgaria is reasonably safe and a lot of fun. It offers a stunning perspective of frosted landscapes and mountainscapes in splendid hibernation that is perhaps even more beautiful and awe-inspiring than anything you can see in the summer.
Given its proximity to Sofia, Vitosha Mountain is a great option for some winter hiking, if you just want to try it out. However, if you are looking for a true winter adventure, Rila and Pirin Mountains should be at the top of your list.
5. Birdwatching on Atanasovsko Lake
Bulgaria is a major birdwatching destination. The vast range of different habitats ensures a diverse roster of beautiful and enigmatic birds. After all, you can observe over 70% of all bird species in Europe here.
There are different hotspots for birdlife and there are certain times of year that are better if birdwatching is your main reason for visiting. The month of February happens to be one of those times, especially if you want to see some pink flamingos and pelicans. For several years now Atanasosvsko Lake in the city of Burgas on the Black Sea coast has become the winter home of several colonies of those beautiful birds.
And if you are in the area, you should definitely visit our friends from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds at the Protected Area PODA.
So those are our top 5 suggestions of things to do when visiting Bulgaria in February. If you need help with planning, we’re happy to oblige! Take a look at our tailor-made example itineraries or contact us to help you craft your individual guided or self-guided trip around our beautiful country. You can also reach out any time if you have any questions at all about traveling to Bulgaria.