Finding yourself lost for just a few short minutes is enough to remind you of the inestimable value of a good walking guide for use in the outdoors. When hiking in Bulgaria, Julian Perry’s The Mountains of Bulgaria: A Walker’s Companion is an excellent choice to carry in your backpack.
Spoiled for choice in a country rich with trails and huts, Perry sticks primarily to the most important routes. The bulk of the book is devoted to the Bulgarian sections of the Trans-European E-3 and E-4 paths, with additional chapters describing two shorter routes of mainly local interest. Each chapter includes introductory notes concerning topography, geology, climate, flora and fauna, economic significance and historical associations.
Almost half of the book is used to describe the Stara Planina Traverse, the longest trail in Bulgaria. This route was made famous in the book “From Kom to Emine,” which records the first ever traverse of the range by Pavel Deliradev in the summer of 1933. Today it is included in the European trail system as the easternmost section of the E-3 Trans-European path. Since it stretches across the whole spine of the country, this trail is within easy reach from just about any point in Bulgaria. Perry has divided this route into 30 bite size chunks from 1.5 to 9 walking hours in length, making it easy for readers to use the book for planning trips of various difficulties and lengths.
Four chapters describing the routes over Vitosha, Verila the Rila and the Pirin string together to describe the southern Bulgarian section of the E-4 European long distance path. Though offering considerable variety of terrain, these four chapters are more easily understood as one contiguous trail from Sofia to the Greek border.
In addition to these major routes, Perry includes short chapters describing walks in the Rhodopi Mountains and the Sredna Gora. Both of these are of special historical significance to Bulgarians.
Perry’s focused approach yields a compact, informative and useful guide to enhance a Bulgarian experience for visitors from near and far.
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ISBN 1-87189-058-6 (paper)
Perry, Julian. The Mountains of Bulgaria: A Walker’s Companion, (), 1995.