An Introductory Guide to Bulgaria’s Incredible Wildlife
While Sofia is an incredibly popular destination Bulgaria, it is our country’s wild areas that seem to hold the most allure for visitors. In a world where people have been stuck inside to curb the spread of COVID-19, this zeal for outside adventures is rising considerably. People want to get outside and into nature! This is why Bulgaria can look forward to even more visitors coming to our wilderness areas, perhaps looking to hike, rock climb, or spot wildlife. In the past we have written guides to hiking in Bulgaria’s national parks and we have written guides for rock climbers visiting Bulgaria, but today we’d like to look at our country’s wildlife, offering advice on where to see wildlife in Bulgaria. If anything here inspires you to visit, check out our range of tailor-made tours of Bulgaria.
Birdwatching in Bulgaria
Photo: © Irina Mateeva
Birdwatching in Bulgaria is especially good, with a vast range of different habitats boasting a diverse roster of beautiful and enigmatic bird species. There are different hotspots for birdlife and there are certain times of year that are better if birdwatching is your main reason for visiting. While it varies with some species, bird migration is usually at its highest point in May, so look to visit between May and June.
Here is a far-from-exhaustive list of Bulgaria’s birdlife, many of which you will see as you travel around our pristine wilderness areas:
Rock Bunting, Rock Partridge, Short-toed Eagles, Wallcreepers, Griffon Vultures, Egyptian Vultures, Chukar, Levant Sparrowhawk, Eastern Orphean Warblers, Western Rock Nuthatch, Barred Warblers, Rock Bunting, Black Stork, Masked Shrike, Olive-tree Warbler, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, White-tailed Eagles, Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, Black Woodpeckers, and the list goes on and on. We don’t have the time or the expertise to offer a place-by-place breakdown of Bulgaria’s different birds, but we hope we’ve piqued the interest of some budding ornithologists.
The Eastern Rhodope Mountains are especially good for seeing many of the birds on this list, especially vultures. In the Pirin Mountains, you will possibly see Golden Eagles and Short-toed Eagles. In the area between Studen Kladenets to Burgas, you may see the majestic Eastern Imperial Eagle and the Long-legged Buzzard. But what if mammals and other terrestrial wildlife are more fascinating to you…
Seeing Brown Bears in Bulgaria
First off, it’s important to mention that bears should always be viewed from afar. They are huge predators and while humans are rarely on the menu, caution is always advised! There are perhaps just shy of a thousand bears roaming through Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains alone, but it’s hard to get an exact figure. Of course, it’s always best to practice responsible tourism when engaging in any kind of animal or environment-based tourism, and this is no exception. Consult an expert first and it’s almost always best to explore the area with an expert. Not only will an expert guide keep you safe from this huge predator, they also know exactly where to find them, offering a more satisfied and streamlined experience.
Seeing Dolphins in Bulgaria
Some of Bulgaria’s best wildlife can be found in the waters along the Black Sea coast, and while there are a lot of different species to see, the stars of the show are dolphins. There are three different species of Dolphin found in the Black Sea: the Common Bottlenose Dolphin, the Harbour Porpoise, and the Short-beaked Common Dolphin. All of these cetaceans are charming and worth seeing if you find yourself on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.
Seeing Wolves in Bulgaria
It isn’t easy spotting wolves in Bulgaria as they are an endangered species. This endangered status also means that humans ought to be as careful and mindful as possible when they visit wolves’ habitats. Bulgaria is home to the famous grey wolf — one of the most iconic predators in the animal kingdom. And while they can be dangerous, humans have harmed wolves far more than they have harmed us. You can spot grey wolves in the Balkin Mountains, the Rhodope Mountains, and Strandzha Mountains.
Wildlife Spotting in Rila National Park
Rila National Park is the largest national park in Bulgaria, and it is incredibly popular with locals and visitors alike. The scenery is exceptional, with 120 lakes to admire, but it is also home to over 3000 animal species, making it the perfect destination for anyone looking for their fix of wildlife and the great outdoors! Here, you can see brown bears, grey wolves, wild cats, red deer, chamois, weasels, and a host of birdlife (many of which mentioned above). Excedo Travel can create a custom Rila National Park tour just for you, lasting as long as you like. Or you can opt for an off-the-shelf tour like our 12-hour 7 Rila Lakes Hiking Tour. It’s completely up to you!
That’s all we have time for today. We hope we have inspired one or two wildlife enthusiasts to add Bulgaria to their list of travel destinations. There is so much to see and do here and we look forward to welcoming you to Bulgaria. If you have any follow-up questions about our tours, please feel free to get in touch. Your next big Bulgarian adventure could be just a few clicks away!