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Central Balkan Wilderness

Central Balkan Wilderness

Central Balkan Wilderness

  • Author: Max Rossberg
  • Date Posted: Oct 25, 2017
  • Category:
  • Address: Central Balkan National Park

Central Balkan Wilderness

The 20 019 ha Central Balkan Wilderness is embedded in the Central Balkan National Park, Bulgaria. The Central Balkan Wilderness is entirely inside the borders of 9 strict nature reserves (IUCN Ia), which fall within the boundaries of Central Balkan National Park (IUCN II). Central Balkan Wilderness is covering 28% of the park’s territory and consist of the following 9 strict nature reserves: Boatin, Tsarichina, Kozya Stena, Steneto, Severen Dzendem, Peesti, Sokolna, Dzendema and Stara Reka. In Central Balkan Wilderness, a non-intervention management is applied as the underlying principle for Wilderness stewardship.

The Central Balkan National Park is one of the largest and most valuable of all protected areas in Europe. It is the third largest protected territory in Bulgaria, spanning an area of 71 669 ha with a total length of 85 km from west to the east and an average width of 10 km. Recently, nine components of Central Balkan National Park were added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.

European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System

The 20 019 ha Central Balkan Wilderness was audited in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2020.

Park information

  • Protected area: Central Balkan National Park
  • Wilderness: Central Balkan Wilderness
  • Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
  • Country: Bulgaria
  • Size of the protected area:  71 669 ha
  • Size of the Wilderness: 20 019 ha
  • European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2010
  • Wilderness Quality and Uniqueness: Old growth Rhodope mixed forest, alpine meadows, deep canyons, gorges, waterfalls, rare and Wilderness indicator species such as bear, wildcat, chamois, wolf, and eagle
  • Number of visitors per year to the National Park: approx. 60 000
  • Number of visitors per year to Wilderness: approx. 35 000


The Central Balkan Wilderness includes large high-mountain meadows, vertical rock faces, deep canyons, waterfalls, compact and often untouched beech forests as well as numerous peaks with altitudes higher than 2 000 m. The Central Balkan Wilderness is home to an overwhelming biodiversity with rare and endangered wildlife species and communities, self-regulating ecosystems, as well as historical sites of global cultural and scientific significance.

In Central Balkan Wilderness, you can find the brown bear, wolf, red deer, chamois, river otter and – amongst over 200 bird species – the imperial and golden eagle. Some individual species, particularly the chamois, have been affected in history by illegal hunting in the Central Balkan National Park.

Wilderness Tourism Experience

Tourists, naturalists, and scientists alike appreciate the Central Balkan Wilderness as a favourite spot. The highest waterfall of the Balkan Peninsula, the deepest cave of Bulgaria or a large protected beech forest are just some of the attractions you’ll encounter around here. A set of specialised routes including 10 equestrians and 4 mountain bike trails are carefully managed and monitored, as well as thematic routes for bird, plant, and large mammal watching. Additionally, you can explore local culture and history, caving, photography, alpine skiing experiences. There are multiple tourist chalets scattered throughout the Central Balkan National Park, some of them close to the border of the Wilderness with a combined capacity of over 1 000 beds, all operated by the Bulgarian Tourism Union.

Contact details

  • Central Balkan Wilderness
  • Address street: 3 Bodra smyana Str
  • Postal code city: 5300, Gabrovo, Bulgaria
  • Phone: +359 66 801277
  • Website:

Wilderness Brief


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