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Wildlife holiday Bulgaria

Strandja’s extraordinary biodiversity


Strandja is Bulgaria’s largest protected area, and the most varied nature park in terms of habitats and species diversity.

About 135 bird species breed in the park but many more can be seen. The Via Pontica bird migration route runs right over the park, bringing the total bird species to 270. The nearby Burgas lakes, Bulgaria’s largest and most important wetlands are a birdwatchers’ paradise.

Because of its intriguing climatic past and location at the crossroads of continents, you can see unique flora and vegetation types in Strandja that you can see nowhere else in Europe. This is why Strandja is also known as Europe’s living museum.

The low human influence in the area means grasslands are unimproved and full of wildflowers and invertebrates; it is possible to record 40 butterfly species in a single meadow!

Birds, butterflies, reptiles, dragonflies, mammals, wildflowers; whatever your, or your group’s interests are, we can give help and advice to make your trip to Strandja a success.

In different parts of Strandja you'll find different types of wildlife. To get the most from a wildlife holiday in Strandja we advise you to rent a car so you can travel around easily. By changing base every few days you explore different regions of the area.

This example wildlife holiday includes a guided excursion with a bird expert at the Burgas lakes, Bulgaria's largest wetland complex.

Quick Overview

Wildlife holiday Bulgaria

Wildlife holiday information pack

€96.- plus postage and packing

Best time of year

The best months for birdwatching in Strandja Nature Park are mid April to the beginning of June, and mid August to mid-September. The best months for seeing plants, butterflies and other insects in Strandja Nature Park are May and June.

In partnership with


Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation logo

More information?

Contact us; Dave & Anja of visitStrandja


What species can I see?

Bird species:

White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos), Sombre Tit (Parus lugubris), White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), Black-headed Wagtail (Motacilla flava feldegg), Semi-collared Flycatcher (Ficedula semitorquata), Black Stork (Circonia nigra), Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Blackheaded Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala), Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila pomarina), Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga), Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus), Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus), Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica), Roller (Coracias garrulous), Bee-eater (Merops apiaster), Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator), Glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides), Spur-winged Lapwing (Hoplopterus spinosus), Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola), Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis).

Butterfly species:

Eastern Baton Blue (Pseudophilotes vicrama), Large Blue (Maculinea arion), Meleager’s Blue (Polyommatus daphnis), Blue Argus (Ultraaricia anteros), Lang’s Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Eastern Short-tailed Blue (Cupido decolorata), Grecian copper (Lycaena ottomamus), Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium ilicis), Nettle-tree Butterfly (Libythea celtis), Cardinal (Argynnis Pandora), Lesser Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia), Twin Spot Fritillary (Brenthis Hecate), Camberwell beauty (Nymphalis antiopa), Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychloros), Freyer’s Purple Emperor (Apatura metis), Eastern Rock Grayling (Hipparchia syriaca), Lattice Brown (Kirinia roxelana). Eastern Festoon (Zerynthia cerisy).

If you are interested in other flora or fauna groups, please contact us for more information about what you can see in Strandja.

Why a Strandja wildlife holiday?

  • Strandja is Bulgaria’s largest and most varied protected area. More than 120 different habitat types occur here, including old and young forests, wetlands, coastal cliffs, dunes, natural river systems, unimproved meadows and karts terrains.
  • Strandja is one of the few places in Europe where you can follow a natural river system from its source to the sea. With this comes the opportunity to see the abundant wildlife associated with such a natural and dynamic system.
  • Because of its location at the crossroads of two continents, Europe and Asia, and Strandja's location on the Via Pontica bird migration route you will see many unfamiliar species here.
  • Low human influence. Only very few people live in Strandja, and they still use traditional farming methods. This means that Strandja's grasslands are still full of wildflowers and butterflies, and the river valleys and woodlands are the home of rare mammals and birds.
  • By recording what you see during your holiday in Strandja, and sharing the data, you help to conserve one of Europe’s most important wildlife sites.
  • If you add a few days to your holiday, you can also visit Mazdharovo, a famous vulture conservation centre in the Rhodophi mountains where you can see species like Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) and Black vulture (Aegypius monachus).
  • During your stay in and walks around small villages you will experience a different culture and way of life. Sometimes you will feel like you are walking in a living rural museum.
  • Our help and advice lets you confidently and comfortably explore a new destination that very few people know about.

Yellow banded skipper butterfly

Yellow banded skipper - Pyrgus sidae.

What would it cost?

Prices of accommodation and car rental vary according to the season. For a Wildlife holiday we would recommend the months April to June and mid-August to October. Costs are of course completely dependent on how long you decide to stay, your choice of accommodation and rental car. Below we give you an example of prices:

  • Accommodation - from €12.50 per person per night
  • Car rental - from €19 per day
  • Information pack Strandja Wildlife holiday - €96 plus postage and packing (the price of each information pack includes a donation to the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation).

What more we can help you with

In addition to sending out the information pack, we can help you further to make your Wildlife holiday to Strandja as enjoyable and relaxing as possible. We can recommend a tailormade programme for your wildlife holiday based on your interests and wishes. We can recommend accommodation based on our extensive knowledge of places to stay in the area, and also recommend a reliable car rental company that will have your car waiting for you at the airport when you arrive. Please contact us for more information on what we can do to help you.

What do others say?

Put quite simply, Strandja is stunning. The main draw for us were the opportunities for seeing wildlife, and we weren’t disappointed. Butterflies coming out of our ears….reptiles galore.…fields that literally come to life with grasshoppers when you walk into them….watching bats swooping over sand dunes to the loudest chorus of frog song you’ve ever heard! It’s also pretty impressive when the commonest birds you’re hearing are nightingales…

Read the full review in our Guestbook

Julie Danby and Antony Mould, UK

More information

Contact us; Dave & Anja of visitStrandja

Do you want to know more about Strandja or advice about a nature holiday to this part of Bulgaria? Please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Wildlife holiday - example itinerary
Day 1 Arrival in Bulgaria. Receive your rental car and drive to your first accommodation.
Day 2 Woodland walk in a river canyon. Karst landscape with many small caves, springs and underground rivers. Various options in the afternoon; species-rich grasslands and visit to slope rich in orchid species. Short walk to point with wide views over open grasslands in the direction of Turkey. Several birds of prey, Red-backed shrike, Black-headed Wagtail and Spanish sparrow.
Day 3 Walk through species-rich meadows and river plains to meeting point of Strandja's three natural rivers. Golden Eagle, Black Stork, Golden Oriole, Bee-eater
Day 4 Visit a small Bulgarian village and nature reserve with relict species from before the ice ages. Sombre tit, Semi-collared Fly catcher, several relict plant species.
Day 5 Fantastic walk through woodlands and through the valley of Europe's most unspoilt rivers where White-backed woodpeckers breed. Waterfall, small chapel and springs.
Day 6 Visit to coastal nature reserve with spectacular coastal flora and volcanic rocks. Black-headed Bunting, magnificent flora, often dolphins.
Day 7 Natural estuary, dunes and beach. Ropotamo nature reserve and quiet bay. Coastal wetlands. Marsh harrier, Squacco heron, Night Heron.
Day 8 Visit to north Burgas lakes and Green Balkans visitor centre. Glossy Ibis, Collared Pratincole, birds of prey on migration.
Day 9 Visit to south Burgas lakes and Poda visitor centre. Excursion with bird expert. Dalmatian and Great White Pelican, Pygmy cormorant.
Day 10 Departure day


Also see...

Accommodation

Holiday accommodation in Strandja in Bulgaria

More about hotels and guesthouses in Strandja Nature Park.


Accommodation

Car rental

Renting a car in Bulgaria - woorden cart in a village in Strandja

Information on renting a car during your holiday in Bulgaria.


Car rental

Flights

Flying to Bulgaria - white stork

Information on travelling to Strandja in Bulgaria.


Flights

Group holidays

Group of people on holiday in Strandja in Bulgaria. They relax at a stream in a forest.

More about a holiday in Strandja with a group.


Group holidays

Holiday activities

Horseriding is one of the things you can do during on holiday to Strandja. Two horseriders at the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria.

More information about what you can see and do in Strandja.


Holiday activities

Walks and excursions

View on a local guesthouse in Strandja Nature Park Bulgaria.

More info on walks and excursions in Strandja.


Information packs

Practical information

Information on practical things like Bulgarian money.

Some practical things to help you plan your holiday to Bulgaria.


Practical information



Double lilac primrose.

The beautiful yellow of the Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala) in Strandja.

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. - St. Augustine