Bulgaria

Hiking

It is a popular activity in Bulgaria, where a big choice of regions for a day or multyday walking trips is available. The best time for hiking in the highest parts of the mountains is in summer, between late June and September as the snow is already melted and the weather is dry generally. In winter, snowshoeing and ski trips are possible between December and March, depending on the current snow and weather conditions.The main hiking areas are:

Balkan Mountains

This mountain chain gives the name of the balkan peninsula. it stretches all along the country and is popular among the fans of the long distance hiking trips. one of the famous european long distance routes e3 follows its main ridge all the way from the west border of the country to the seaside. one of the three national parks in bulgaria - central balkan national park - is situated here.

Rila Mountains

The highest point of the balkans - mount musala 2925 m. is situated in rila. beside it, the northwestern parts of the mountain are a popular hiking destination, rich to nature and cultural sights as the seven lakes cirque, skakavitsa waterfall the highest in rila, rila monastery and the area of malyovitsa. rila national park, the biggest in bulgaria, is situated here.

Pirin Mountains

Located south from rila and close to greece and the mediterranean sea, these mountains are famous with the biggest number of sunny days per year among the mountain ranges in bulgaria. the most popular hiking area is northern pirin. its highest peak - mount vihren 2914 m. is on a third place on the balkans, after musala in rila and mount mitikas in greece. another popular route follows the main ridge of the mountains, crossing a landmark, called "the foal" - a very tiny part of the ridge, which is secured and accessible for hikers. pirin national park is established to protect the nature in these mountains. pirin is also famous with a number of blue high mountain glacier lakes.

Rhodope Mountains

This is the largest mountain range in the country, located near the south border of bulgaria. the landscapes here are quite different than in rila and pirin - there is no such a jagged peaks, but endless "sea" of green hills and a number of small villages between them. rhodopes offer a lot of opportunities for easy hiking in combination with getting to know the local culture and traditions. the area is inhabited from an old time and nowadays both christians and muslims live here and contribute to the unique local culture.

There is an extensive network of marked tourist trails available and this allows a large number of different routes. The main accommodation in Balkan, Rila and Pirin mountains are the mountain huts, which usually offer rustic conditions. In Rhodopes is possible to stay in a local guest houses and pensions. A guide with useful information about hiking in Bulgaria - maps, safety isuues, routes, trails, destinations, etc. (http://bulguides.com)

The oldest Bulgarian university is the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" that in 2008 celebrated 120 years from its foundation. It is considered to be the largest and most prestigious university center. There are many newer centres of education in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Shumen, Veliko Tarnovo, Blagoevgrad, etc.

For most subjects, programs are available in Bulgarian or English, depending on the university. Elementary and middle schools are supported by local authorities budget. As with most nations, teachers complain about small salaries. Literacy is nearly universal. Bulgarian people speak mostly English, German, French and Russian.

Some of the universities that offer education entirely in English are the American University in Bulgaria, the New Bulgarian University and the Technical University of Sofia. The last one offers also degrees in German language.

The American College in Sofia offers secondary education in English.