About Bulgaria - Bulgaria occupies a strategic location in the Balkans, locked between the Black Sea and the Danube river. Since Ancient times, the country has served as a major crossroad between Europe, Asia and Africa. It is the oldest land in Europe that rose from the warm sea more than 35 million years ago. Rocks, caves and biodiversity in Bulgaria rank as one of the best in Europe.
About Rhodopes mountains - In Bulgaria and the Balkans the most Ancient feature of all is the Rhodope mountain range. In this secret corner of the European continent a colourful mixture of Slavic and Turkish people lives. The Rhodope mountains in Bulgaria is one of the last remaining places in Europe to see wolves, brown bears, lynx and birds of prey in the wild.
Cyrillic - Bulgarians read and write using the Cyrillic alphabet, and the country actually is the origin of the alphabet, having adopted its use before Russia.
Nodding - When asking a Bulgarian a question, you might be confused with his reply. In the country, nodding one's head up and down indicates a negative response, while shaking your head horizontally actually means 'no'.
Remembering deceased people - When a member of a Bulgarian family dies, his relatives write a "necrologue" (printed death notice placed on a tree or a dashboard) which announces to the local community that this person passsed away. Sometimes it happens that foreign visitors ask whether the people from the paper sheets are wanted by the police. Actually, for Bulgarians is natural to live surrounded by the faces of their dead people, while for the strangers this is a little bit odd and exotic.
When you as a tourist enter the city of Kardzhali, you probably will visit the Tourist information centre on the Belomorski boulevard in front of the city stadium. The centre is located just 1,5 km away from the bus station. The staff there speaks basic English, Russian, and Turkish and provide you with detailed information about the whole area of the Eastern Rhodope mountains.
In Ivaylovgrad and the village of Studen kladenets are tourist information centres located. The staff in both centres speaks basic English and can be of help for giving directions and providing printed materials.
In Madzharovo the Vulture centre is located. Our partners there speak good English and are enthusiastic about showcasing the kingdom of the vultures which their area is considered to be. The exhibition of the Vulture centre is interactive and very interesting, devoted to the birds diversity of Madzharovo and Eastern Rhodopes.
Information panels - these are placed on central / crossing sites where a lot of tourists pass by or where we thought there would be a need for such an information corner for our visitors. Information panels are in the towns of Kardzhali, Ivaylovgrad, Madzharovo, and villages of Bolyartsi, Studen kladenets, Potochnitsa, Pelevun, Gorno pole.
In the villages of the Eastern Rhodopes many families are self sustaining and they do not need a big supermarket or a bank in the village.
Be aware that in Madzharovo region, a place that is a hotspot for the eco tourists, there is no bank. The closest bank can be found in Haskovo, Kardzhali, Krumovgrad, Momchilgrad or Ivaylovgrad.
Big supermarkets can be found in Kardzhali, Momchilgrad, Kirkovo, Krumovgrad, Ivaylovgrad. There are little weekly open-air markets in the villages where fresh vegetables and fruits can be bought. The closest hospitals can be found in Kardzhali and Ivaylovgrad, but every bigger village has a local doctor who can be of your help.
Almost every village has one or two little pubs (bar) where you can eat. Do not expect luxurious restaurants, but local traditional dishes while sitting between the local people drinking beer and playing cards. These local restaurants don't provide English menu cards or English speaking staff, but usually at every place you can order shopska salad and a couple of kebapche/kyufte (minced meatballs with local herbs).
Hospitality - the hospitality of local people in the Eastern Rhodopes is admirable. Especially, for Western tourists this is a pleasant surprise. It is common that while you walk through the village, a farmer with his donkey invites you to come with him to his garden. He will show you his plants, the different grape species and his oven. His wife will prepare a table with many kind of grapes and other fruits. It might seem unbelievable, but it's common and so typical Rhodope style hospitality. The people in this region are naturally hospitable which makes the destination friendly and attractive.
Guidance - our guides are local people with professional knowledge about the region. They are English speaking and provide you with information about the history and traditions of the area, about the nature; wildlife, flora and fauna.