Reaching heady heights in Bulgaria
When paraglider Veso Ovcharov and friends were given the chance to spend some time gliding the coastline and mountains of Bulgaria, they couldn’t refuse. The natural beauty of this European country is not only astounding but has created an outdoor arena ideal for adventure enthusiasts.
The varied topography of Bulgaria, from the snow-capped mountains in the north to the rocky coastline of the Black Sea in the east, is not only beautiful but a literal playground for adults. The natural outcrops of rock that fall off mountains and the undulating hills of the interior have determined perfect conditions for paragliding while the slopes of Rila and the Balkan Mountains are a snowboarder’s dream. All of these activities are celebrated in Bulgaria, and the higher the better in most cases for the daredevils that attempt them.
Here is just a small taste of what’s waiting for you in Bulgaria this year as discovered by the RedBull.com athletes…
Now that you’ve seen the natural beauty of Bulgaria, why not put together your own bucket list of what to do when you’re there?
Gliding the coast
Paragliders have kept their idyllic destination a secret up until now, but Bulgaria can boast some of the best weather conditions for the sport in the world. Lazy, predictable ocean breezes and high mountaintops and lakes all create a landscape that deserves to be seen from the air.
Paragliders can choose between an aerial flight over the mountains in the north of Bulgaria, which is typically seen as a calmer trip ideal for those looking for some solitude in the air, or if looking for a higher dose of adrenaline head to the eastern coastline. The Black Sea coast is dotted with small town perfect for ‘dropping in’.
Bulgaria is in southeast Europe and is a mountainous country, with 130 kilometers (80 miles) of beautiful beaches on the Black Sea coast. It shares borders with 6 countries.
Rocks, ice, and boulders
The simplistic term ‘rock climbing’ really isn’t enough to cover the wide range of climbs, bouldering, ice climbs and winter climbs available in Bulgaria to travellers. The options are so wide across the country that it’s a wonder this hasn’t been voted in as the national sport!
The area best known for rock climbing and all its related forms are in the valley just outside the small town of Vratsa. The limestone cliffs at Vratsa have over 250 climbing routes ready to be conquered, including Bulgaria’s longest wall standing wide at about 350 metres long.
Conquering the cliffs
The steep limestone cliffs and their natural overhangs have earned Bulgaria the reputation of a premier cliff diving destination. Natural caves along the shoreline that provide shelter for divers are one of the appeals of this stretch of coastline for when the weather may take a sudden turn for the worst.
While the cliffs create beautiful natural diving spots along the coastline, and even at some of Bulgaria’s interior lakes, these dives can be tricky and dangerous. It is advised that you accompany a professional diver or somebody with ample experience to show you where to avoid underwater ledges and more dangerous dives. Of course, they’ll also show you some of the most magnificent places to dive deep into the clear ocean waters below.
There are many incredible natural wonders in the country including the striking rock formation called the Belogradchik Rocks in the northwest of Bulgaria. The Seven Rila Lakes are also a highlight, along with the 225 mineral spas where you can relax and enjoy the healing properties.
Eastern Europe, while holding some of the best snowboarding spots in the world in its topography, is relatively underdeveloped for travellers that want to visit, for this reason. Bulgaria has more infrastructure set up for snowboarders than its neighbours, but nothing like the ski resorts straddled across the mountains of northern Europe. While accommodation may leave a little to be desired, the free reign over cross-country terrain certainly makes up for it.
The maintained pistes in northern Bulgaria tend to be relatively empty in comparison to their northern European counterparts, a definite bonus for any snowboarder looking to really let go. A few large cliff jumps, plenty freeriding slopes and bumpy terrain add a sense of adventure to snowboarding here too.
If you’ve got more time to kick around Bulgaria, there is a heap of other activities to include in your plans, including:
- Shredding up the Bulgarian capital Sofia with local skateboarders
- Partying on the beautiful beaches of Black Sea
- Enjoying the very surfable waves of Bulgaria’s coast
- Making your way through the ancient caves in the Bulgarian countryside
Europe has so much to offer all of our adventurous WAYN readers. Check out these other great adventures on RedBull.com:
- Take a ride down Helsinki’s Crashed Ice hell track
- A Mellow afternoon at Berlin’s finest DIY spot
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- Watch Chris Akrigg fight gravity in Lake Garda
- Hannah Barnes explores the trails and terrain of Scotland's west coast
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