Home to not only amazing birdlife this natural hotspot in Bulgaria is home to wolves and bear as well, and is a great destination for hiking, biking and kayaking. The Rhodope Mountains have a huge variety in species and habitats, and have become one of the bird watching hotspots in Europe.
The Rhodope Mountains are an active nature lover's dream.
A strategic location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, coupled with the influence of the Mediterranean and a low human population density, mean the area's stunning landscapes and diverse habitats are a birdwatcher's paradise.
The entire region is a Bulgarian stronghold for the wolf, golden jackal, souslik and otter, while the brown bear has begun to return in recent years, with bear watching becoming an increasingly popular activity.
This natural hotspot is also a great destination for hiking, biking and kayaking.
The opportunity to combine outdoor activities with birdwatching, nature photography and animal tracking, all set against the backdrop of a hospitable local culture and rich cuisine, make this an epic eastern European travel destination.
Based on such rich natural resources, nature-based tourism is now on the rise in the Rhodope Mountains. With enthusiastic hikers and birding fanatics pioneering the area's tourism experiences, offerings now include a range of welcoming guest houses, homestays and upmarket B&Bs.
Restoring food chains: Vultures are perhaps the most iconic examples of European scavengers; the sight of these majestic birds soaring overhead on thermals or feeding at a carcass can be truly captivating. Thanks to reintroductions and species protection, threatened European vulture populations are slowly but steadily recovering.
Restoring natural food chains in the Rhodope Mountains is a flagship project of Rewilding Europe, supported by the European Commission through the LIFE project “Conservation of black and griffon vultures in the cross-border Rhodope mountains”.
Boosting biodiversity through mosaic landscape creation: Together with partners, Rewilding Europe is creating space for natural processes like forest regeneration, free flowing rivers, herbivory and carnivory to impact ecosystems. Across the continent, the interaction of these processes leads to constantly evolving landscapes rather than fixed habitats – this dynamic is the key to preserving Europe’s rich biodiversity.
Restoring Balkan steppe habitat: Natural grazing is also a tool to increase the populations of the endangered souslik (or European ground squirrel). This keystone species benefits globally threatened species like the Eastern Imperial eagle, Saker falcon and the Marbled polecat, which all prey on the squirrel.