Central Balkan National Park – The heart of the Balkans

  • Country:
  • Start year:
  • Location:
    Central Balkan National Park
  • Size (ha):
  • Area Type:
  • Type of protection:
    National park - second category according to Bulgarian legislation (the Law on Protected Areas) and IUCN

Central Balkan N.P. is situated in the central & highest parts of the Balkan Range, in the heart of Bulgaria. The Park was established to conserve the unique natural, historical & cultural heritage. Embracing eco-tourism is part of work towards a more sustainable livelihood for the local population.

Rayskoto praskalo waterfall - the highest waterfall of the Balkans


  • Habitat types: More than 60% of the Park territory is covered by forests. The largest is the share of old growth beech forest. These are the largest beech forests under protection in Europe. Treeless area of the Park is occupied by six priority habitats of Directive 92/43/EES. Some of them are the result from long-term extensive pasturing practices. Total identified habitats from Habitats Directive in Central Balkan are 29.
  • Keystone species present: European souslik (Spermophilus citellus)
  • Fauna (mega) species present: Brown bear (Ursus arctos), Balkan chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica), Red deer (Cervus elaphus)
  • Fauna species reintroduced: Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug), Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus)


  • Description: In Central Balkan National Park more than 70% of the ecosystems are natural and their evolution is subject only to natural laws. The Park Directorate works for protection and study of this natural course of the processes, for better resources management and for the spreading and promotion of environmental ideas.
  • Aim: To protect forever, and for the benefit of society, complexes of self-regulating ecosystems and their inherent diversity of species, habitats of rare and endangered species and communities, typical and remarkable landscapes and abiotic objects of global significance for science and culture.
  • Vision: National Park with preserved biodiversity, ecosystems and landscape, provides opportunities for development of scientifical, educational and recreational activities as well as development of sustainable forms of livelihood for local communities which are familiar with the importance of the territory.
  • Flagship species: Bear
  • Other characteristics: Eco tourism, Education, Recreational activities, Research


  • Inspirational value: .
  • Experience you would like to share: Experience in the field of uses in the protected areas.
  • Experience you would like to gain: Experience in the field of uses in the protected areas, ecotourism and biodiversity monitoring.
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