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The back country of Primorsko is characterized by small villages and the forests of the Strandja mountains.
The Strandja is a mountain range, spreading along the south-western coast of Bulgaria.
The mountain is not high, but it has a beautiful landscape and is characterized by its natural beauty. Its wooded slopes form small picturesque rocky bays on the sea coast. Large areas of the mountains are covered with different plant species and laurels, mainly beech and oak.
Most of the areas are covered by representatives of the southern wild plants such as wild olives, figs, plane tree, bayberry, cypresses and buxus. The area is also rich of wild plants and plants, which are widely used in pharmacy and folk medicine. Many of them are registered in the Bulgarian Red Book of Protected Plants and Animals.
The domestic animal world is represented with a
variety of species.
The Strandja Mountain is home to various species of deer, wild boars, hares, wildcats, jackals and foxes.
The main flight paths of many migratory birds run here and every spring and autumn thousands of storks, cranes, pelicans and eagles fly over these areas.
The natural reserve Poda, near Burgas, is of international importance with its preserved natural diversity in 100ha.
North of Primorsko is the unique reserve “Ropotamo” – a home and breeding ground for thousands of wild animals, geese, fishers and others.
The reserve offers a magnificent view: forests, wetlands and lagoons covered with water lilies and inhabited by a forest and water dwellers, such as water and land turtles, snakes and fish. In the dunes grow protected plant species such as the endangered sand lily.
The 48.5km long Ropotamo River is an important part of this varied landscape. Its banks are densely covered with wild and rare plants. Many of them are registered in the “Red Book” of protected plant species. In various places one finds water lilies, lianas and clematis. You get the feeling of being in a jungle. The river is full of fish.
From the bridge the river is navigable with small boats.
The water lily, snakes and frogs can be visited in the nearby reserve “Arkutino”. In the somewhat hidden lake (it has a parking lot beside the road to Sozopol) a footbridge was built into the lake. This gives you the chance to admire the untouched nature.
Numerous archaeological finds throughout the Strandzha mountains testify of an ancient megalithic culture. The mountains are ruled by ruins of Thracian, Roman, ancient Greek and allegedly Egyptian origin.
According to legend, which is very common among the locals, an Egyptian princess is to be buried in the mountains.
The Strandzha is also the home of the Nestinari fires in Bulgaria.
In the village of Balgari, the festival takes place on the 3rd June in honor of St. Constantine and Elena.
The region of Strandzha is today famous for its beautiful nature with many picturesque old villages and wilderness. Many places testify to the rich history of the region.
If you head to the south-eastern part of Bulgaria or along the sea coast, you soon get a feeling in the easy embrace of Strandzha mountain.
In less than an hour you are in the heart of the national park Strandzha, the largest and one of the most exotic natural parks in Bulgaria.
It covers the area of Strandzha’s coast up to its center.
The protected areas include natural reserves, protected regions, natural monuments and historical sites.
The area of the Strandja mountain range is interesting in terms of ethnography and history:
Many legends and folks tell stories about the mountains and its inhabitants, whose customs and traditions are unique and full of originality.
The remains of medieval monasteries can still be found here.
The white flowering sea of the Snowflakes (6km) leaves its breath during the flowering season. Snowflakes (let.Leucojum) provide the most important substance in the production of the vaccine against child paralysis.
In the village of Yasna Polyana (12km), there are mainly typical old-style, as well as a permanent exhibition about Leo Tolstoy (he wrote the novel Ana Karenina), whose successor to the ideals in a colony in the 19th century settled in the village. A symposium of woodworking is organized annually from the middle of July.
For true cacti friends, go to Velika (15km). The path to the house with the private collection is signposted. You should also take a look at the village church.
An original preserved part of the local heritage can be seen in the small village of Brashlyan. It is situated between Zvezdetz and Malko Tarnowo. It used to be a local center of sheep production, now its population counts almost 80 persons. Here you will find authentic houses from the 18th century, including a cell school, church and chapels, ethnographic museum and about 80 other objects. Today, the village is under monument protection.
The village of Balgari, which is only about 300 inhabitants, is the only one in the Stradzha region under the “folklore reserve” status. Here, the pagan customary firedancing is at home. Exactly on 03.06. “faithful” people, after praying in a religious trance, walk barefoot over burning embers. At the end of July and the beginning of August many village festivals take place, at which this custom is also performed.
Golyamo Bukovo is a village about 150 years old. It is located along the river Fakijska. The only active monastery in the Strandzha area is nearby. Since 1990, the monastery, founded in 1887, has been progressively renovated and attracts believers as well as visitors.
The town of Malko Tarnowo is located close to the Bulgarian-Turkish border. It is situated in the Bulgarian part of the Strandzha mountain range. The city is located in the reserve “Witanowo” of the natural park Strandscha, on a former Thracian settlement and a Roman fortress. The present town was built at the end of the 17th / beginning of the 18th century. In the region a marble mining was carried out. Thus, the marble of the Istanbul Dolmabahçe Palace comes from the region around Malko Tarnovo. More recently, an Orthodox Church has been constructed in the center of Malko Tarnovo. It was built on the site of an older church from 1754. Several remains (ruins) of ancient churches are scattered in the city and its surroundings.
In the city there is a remarkable museum, with its five exhibitions spread over three houses from the period of Bulgarian rebirth: archaeological, natural science museum, new and recent history, iconography, ethnography.