Bulgaria - natural history of the mountainous southwest
Exploring the mountains of southwestern Bulgaria, home to endemic plants, abundant butterflies and peaceful monasteries.
We will start our holiday in the western Rhodopes, where the rounded, pine-covered hills are occasionally cut by streams and rivers running through deep gorges. Heading west, the Rhodope mountains reach their highest point with the massifs of Rila and Pirin, cloaked in ancient conifer forests, leading on to alpine meadows and rock screes higher up.
The mountains are home to many local specialities: with a little searching, flowers such as Lilium jankae, Aquilegia aurea, Geum coccineum, Primula deorum, Pinguicula balcanica and the beautiful Orpheus flower Haberlea rhodopensis could all be expected, along with beautiful pine forests including trees as old as 1,000 years.
The butterfly fauna is equally rich, and we will be hoping to find the impressive Apollo, Balkan copper, Balkan Clouded Yellow, and the rare Cynthia’s Fritillary (only found here and in the Alpes Maritimes in France), along with a mind-boggling variety of ringlets and graylings, blues and skippers.
For the bird enthusiast, the highlight will no doubt be time spent in the stunning Trigrad Gorge, looking for the beautiful Wallcreeper that nests in cracks on the rock face here. We will also keep our eyes open for Balkan Chamois grazing on the high mountain slopes, Common Rosefinch, Black Woodpecker and Nutcracker.
Please note that holidays change, although sometimes only slightly, from year to year and previous trip reports may not reflect the planned itinerary, or other holiday details, for the current trip. Please ask us if you would like to know of any significant differences.