, a country with a historical and cultural heritage, and attractive natural landscapes, is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Europe
. Tourism, as an industry, has been an important source of economic growth. While in 2006
the country hosted an estimated 6 million foreign tourists, in 2007
, that number was increased to 7-8 million In
2008 tourism is estimated to be above 9 million visitors. The country has historical cities and towns, summer beaches, and mountain ski resorts. New types of tourism, including cultural, architectural and historic tours, eco-tourism, and adventure tours, expand the range of services available to visitors.
Winter tourist centres, such as Borovetz
are picturesque and popular ski resorts. The Bulgarian summer resorts along the Black Sea coast, include destinations, such as the summer resorts: Sozopol
, Golden Sands
, Sunny Beach
, Sveti Vlas
and St. St. Constantine & Helena
Some guests, such as the Germans
favour the summer beach resorts, while winter tourism, and the ski resorts, are the favorites of the British
Emerging forms of tourism
Emerging types of tourist activities, such as "ethno-tourism" and "architectural-cultural" tourism, are increasingly gaining ground, catering to specialized tastes. These are new types of tours, which involve interaction with and living amongst the local people, in small mountain villages.
For the more adventurous, active recreation, involving mountain hiking and bike tourism, provides a close connection with nature. Climbers scale the granite mountains of Rila, Pirin and the Balkan. Hikers enjoy the mountains of Vitosha and the Rhodopes - the latter being the mythical birthplace of Orpheus. Mountain biking, and bicycle racing are also recreations, and Bulgaria is one of only six countries to annually host the official 1,200 km Randonnees - ultra-marathon bicycle rides patterned after Paris-Brest-Paris.
Cultural and Historical Tourism
Situated at the crossroads of the East and West, Bulgaria has been home to many civilizations - Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs, Proto-Bulgarians, and Ottomans. Although Bulgaria is rich in historical artifacts, many of the museums and monasteries still need to be properly advertised and maintained, and some of the most interesting heritage sites may not be easily accessible, due to poor infrastructure. Yet, some visitors regard such "underdevelopment" as desirable - those who prefer to experience history first-hand rather than look at artefacts behind glass.
- Summer Resorts
- Winter Resorts
- Rural Tourism
- City Tourism
- Most Picturesque Bulgarian Villages (per National Geographic, January 2005)