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Pirin National park - Bulgaria

Now a world UNESCO heritage site, the Pirin national park sits in the Pirin Mountains in Bulgaria. Covering around 270 square kilometres the Pirin national park is adorned with around 80 glacial lakes and forests that tower nearly 3000 meters high into the mountains.

Any eco tourists considering a visit should do so sooner rather than later. Despite the parks protected status, there are still ongoing threat to the countryside and there is no guarantee that the area will retain its astounding beauty forever.

The park has views throughout that will take your breath away and there is no shortage of walks, hikes and a variety of different ways in which the ecotourist can enjoy the park and as such it may be a good idea to spend several days there.

Accommodation wise, there are various types of accommodation within the park's grounds which will give visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the park's surroundings whilst contributing directly to the local economy. This is a win win situation.

Once at the park there are plenty of hiking trails to be enjoyed. At the base of Mandrat there is an information centre. As always when hiking it makes sense to know as much about the surroundings as possible. For those with little or no experience there are guided walks ranging from one day to several that have the added advantage of an expert imparting their knowledge of the area as you go.

A visit to the Vlahinska River centre will help anyone looking for information regarding the difficulty of the various walks. There are also bears roaming around in the park so it would definitely be advisable to get the low down on where NOT to go as well.

Nature lovers visiting the park should look out for the brown bear, chamois, the wild goat and the Balkan endemyte.