Bulgaria is known to most people in the West only as one of the former satellite states of the Soviet Union, or alternatively, as the nation where Victor Krum, a character in the Harry Potter books, originated. These are surface descriptions only; the truth is that Bulgaria is the fifteenth largest nation in Europe and is an ideal vacation spot now that the Iron Curtain has finally fallen and visitors from the US and around the world can finally see the eastern half of Europe.
Bulgaria borders Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey; to the east its borders are contiguous with the Black Sea. This means that Bulgaria has over 200 miles of coastline where resort towns have sprung up to cater to the tourists who flock there each spring and summer.
The landscape features several mountainous regions including the Balkan Mountains and the Rila range, which boasts the highest summit in the Balkans. Other areas of the country are characterized by plains that host fertile farmland where visitors can see a way of life that has all but vanished from the more industrialized nations of Europe.
Vacation homes in Bulgaria are often near natural areas; almost 35% of Bulgarian land is forested. Some of the oldest trees in the world can be seen here, and there are three national parks, 11 regional nature parks, and 17 reserves for biospheres in Bulgaria. Wildlife in the nation includes the jackal, brown bear, Eastern imperial eagle, and European mink.