|Photo: Veneta Nikolova|
Who says autumn is a gloomy, rainy and melancholic season? This is the time when nature sends us its brightest colours, before falling in a winter and fruitless sleep as if it wants to “say goodbye”! One should walk along the mountain paths in Bulgaria in order to fill his lungs with the crystal-clear air and get the last sun beams of the year. There, people can indulge their senses with beautiful nature views, which remind of a work of a French impressionist with the graduation of its yellow, orange, purple and red colours. This is the view one can see in the vicinity of Razlog, which is situated in a picturesque valley between Rila and Pirin mountains.
The autumn is very quiet there. You can not meet the typical for the winter ski season crowds, the weather is mild and sunny and the nearby forest ridges remain calm under the colorful cover of dry leaves. The region is full of well-marked paths, which swing up in the mountain to reach many virgin places.
Over the last few years the region changed a lot as a result of huge investors appetites, which led to the building of many hotels, villas, ski slopes, casinos, etc. This trend is typical for the town of Bansko as well. This resort is among the fastest developing winter resorts in whole Europe. Its newly built hotels and villas, which resemble miner villages, have a huge clientele during the winter months. However, during the rest of the year they remain empty.
In order to attract the clientele needed, the local owners of hotels and restaurants reduced the prices and started to offer various promotional packages. This is why it is worth it to make use of the good weather and the cheap offers and stay in one of the local hotels and walk along the numerous mountain paths of Rila and Pirin. Many people regard this as a very pleasant trip, which is full of emotional moments. Two of the protected zones in Bulgaria are situated in those two mountains. These are the Rila and Pirin national parks, which attract tourists with its numerous eco-paths. There are many wooden ladders, shelters, watch-stations and signs along the routes which are used by tourists to find the habitats of rare plant and animal species.
|© Photo: Veneta Nikolova|
“Some of the paths cross century-old forests, some cross Karst springs and rivers, other go through places with unique animal and plant species”, says Ivan Debelushin who is a member of the local tourist association Pirin. All paths are marked and well maintained. Some of them start from the town of Razlog and the surrounding villages, some start from the huts in this region such as the Yavorov hut, Dobarsko hut, Vihren hut, etc. One of the most difficult tourist eco-paths is situated in the region. It goes through the so-called “Horse”. It is a Karst formation on the mount, where tourists have to pass along a very narrow and steep section at an altitude of 2 800 meters above sea level. The path is part of the European pedestrian route E4, which crosses the Alps, goes through the Pyrenees and Mount Olympus in Greece. In Bulgaria it includes mountains Rila, Pirin and Vitosha. This route is very popular among foreign tourists. There are many well-maintained huts and shelters in this region. The passages are a bit shorter in the winter. There are paths with a winter marking, which are very popular among the fiery mountaineers”, says Ivan Debelushin.
|© Photo: Veneta Nikolova|
One of the popular paths in this region takes you to the park of the “dancing bears” near the village of Belitsa in Rila Mountain. Dobarsko, which is another village in the foot of Rila Mountain, gives the start of 2 eco-paths dedicated to the dandelion and the cowslip. In Pirin Mountain there is a special route which reaches the springs of river Mesta right above Yavorov hut at an altitude of 2 600 meters. This eco-path goes through the Bayuvi Dupki-Dzhindzhiritsa nature reserve which was included in the biosphere reserves list at the UNESCO programme. It reveals one of the few habitats of the edelweiss in Bulgaria. Situated across the sunny slopes of the mountain, the local villages known as Pripetsite attract many tourists.
“These are the villages of Bachevo, Godlevo, Dobarsko, Eleshnitsa and Banya”, Ivan Debelushin goes on to say. ”Each one has its own sites. For example the village of Bachevo offers horse riding facilities. There are many spa centers in the village of Banya. Tourists can enjoy the traditional cuisine of the Razlog region in the village of Dobarsko. In fact one of its most popular meals is the Razlozhka Kapama which is a specialty made of different meats. Many traditional meat appetizers and flat sausages are offered during the winter. These are Razlozhki starets, baburka, sudzhuk and others. These local specialties are spiced with many herbs, which are typical for this region. Horse riding, mountain biking, paintball tournaments are one of the countless opportunities for a healthy, active and entertaining holiday in the region of Razlog valley.”
English version: Kostadin Atanasov
Neverending Journey . Veneta Nikolova