If your heart pumps adrenaline instead of blood, consider Bulgaria as your next winter destination. It’s not all about skiing and ice climbing, though. The small Balkan country will offer your adventurous soul a deeper experience – like dancing in the waters of ice-cold rivers – and that’s just the beginning. Read on.
To find your perfect ski slope
From world-class ski resorts with snow parks to exciting off-piste opportunities, Bulgaria is one of the best undiscovered ski destinations in Europe. Besides skiing, you can shop around at the ski resorts and find your new favorite adventure shushon (traditional woolen socks woven by the Bulgarian grannies, which they insist that you wear almost year-round because you are always in danger of getting a cold).
To dance the night away in a freezing river
Or rather, on the morning of January 6, when despite the frosty, teeth-chattering weather, hundreds of Bulgarian men all over the country ignore their instincts of self-preservation and swim only in their swimming trunks in the icy water of rivers, lakes, and seas. The reason for this is an old Orthodox tradition recreating the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. Yet, this is not for the fainthearted, because winters in Bulgaria are sometimes so appropriate for polar bears that the locals say, “Even a stone cracks from the cold.”
…or with monsters
Here’s another Bulgarian winter tradition to warm you up with dances following the sound of the tapan (the local drums): Kukeri. In many villages across the country, Kukeri are the people who dance to scare the evil spirits away and make space for the spring. There’s a catch, though – you should wear a scary, hairy, furry, animal horn-topped mask on your face and no less than 100 kg. (220 lb.) of bells on your waist. From January 1 to mid-March.
To climb your way up to the top of a frozen waterfall (even if you’ve never done it)
Sometimes you need a break from your daily routine, and what is a better change than trying your hand (and feet) at ice climbing? The busiest frozen waterfall in winter is called Skakavitsa, and the best thing to do is to sign up for a one-day course even if you are a beginner with no previous experience.
And if you want to delve deeper into the weird and wonderful life of Bulgarians, read 5 Traditions Only Bulgarians can Understand.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.