In the first of a series of features sponsored by the Bulgarian Tourist Board, we take a look at what’s on offer in the country’s northwestern region

Most foreign tourists associate Bulgaria with its beautiful coastal resorts and the incredible conditions for winter sports in its high mountains.

But those who have explored farther afield and visited Northwestern Bulgaria have discovered another, unexpected side to the country.

If you or your clients enjoy peace and quiet, while exploring cultural and historical sites and soaking up some unique entertainment, then this area certainly fits the bill.

HouseFor a truly incredible journey, the region around the cities of Montana and Chiprovtsi and the villages of Chuprene and Ruzhintsi comes highly recommended.

Not only can you enjoy amazing views of the Fore-Balkans and Stara Planina, but you will also have the opportunity to see well-preserved antiquities and heritage.

In the Regional History Museum in Montana, you can see replicas of the medieval treasures discovered nearby, plus valuable icons and many other unique exhibits.

Another impressive sight is the Lapidarium – “the stone book” – one of the largest collections of epigraphic monuments charting the history of ancient Montana

Elsewhere in the region, you can explore the Chiprovski and Lopushanski Monasteries and the ruins of the Gushovski Monastery, which are classed as historical monuments of culture of national value and seen as evidence of the Bulgarian spirit.

Of no less cultural importance is the unique heritage from the Bulgarian Renaissance, which you can see when exploring Northwestern Bulgaria.

The famed carpets of Chiprovtsi (pictured below) and the folklore of Torlak are both emblematic of the area and invariably impress the tourists who seek them out.

In addition to its history and culture, Northwestern Bulgaria also differs from other regions of the Carpetscountry with the vast array of rural tourism opportunities it offers.

Visitors can take part in a number of everyday activities, from taking care of animals and planting flowers, fruit and vegetables, to cooking and creating traditional Bulgarian food including cheese and yellow cheese from natural animal products.

For lovers of fishing – the quick and clean waters of the Ogosta, Tsibritsa and Lom rivers offer great conditions for the sport.

So if you or your clients are considering something different for a free weekend, look no further than a weekend in Northwestern Bulgaria.