Bulgaria, one of the EU's newest members (joining in January 2007), has been through mammoth changes in the last few years. Many of the cities and resorts have been undergoing construction booms galore, tempting buyers from Western Europe with relatively cheap property.
Bulgaria's beach and ski resorts are expanding quickly as a result. The main cities have shrugged off their weary Communist-era image and have become vibrant and attractive, with well-kept boulevards, varied shopping and lively nightlife.
Spectacular mountains occupy half the country's territory and the swathe of golden beaches along the 370km- (232-mile-) long Black Sea bring in hordes of tourists from around the world.
Visitors can stay in towns and villages that have aimed to preserve the authentic Bulgarian spirit and hospitality. Bulgaria is especially proud of its rich folklore traditions, and folk dances, music, national costumes and traditional rituals play an important part in the life of Bulgarians.
Many and varied are the mountains in Bulgaria, but Teteven Balkan combines the best of them all - picturesque valleys with sparkling rivers and ancient forests with hidden meadows, high ridges and tops, crowned with rocky peaks revealing spectacular views, and villages scattered at the foothills, where life is lived with an old rhythm. This part of Stara Planina, or Balkan, is loved by tourists both for the preserved nature and for the pleasure of touching the authentic life of the local people: tasting home-made rakiya with home-made appetisers is an integral part of the experience.
This wonderful trail riding holiday in the mountains of Bulgaria includes six days of riding in the Rodopes – the land of high peaks and deep river gorges, weird rock formations, lush meadows and dense forests.