Smolyan region is located in the Southern part of Bulgaria. It borders with Kardzhali region, Blagoevgrad region, Pazardzhik region and Plovdiv region. On the South it borders with Greece. The region includes the following municipalities: Banite, Borino, Dospat, Zlatograd, Madan, Nedelino, Rudozem and Chepelare. Smolyan municipality is the administrative centre of the region.
The territory of the Smolyan municipality is with a mountain relief, with abundance of coniferous forests and pastures. The average altitude above sea level is about 1 000 m.
The Rhodope relief is a combination of high ridges, divided by deep river valleys. The deep valley of the Vacha River divides the West Rhodopes in two parts: Batak-Dabrak and Perelik-Prespa. The Smolyan Hollow, in which the town of Smolyan is situated, is in the Perelik-Prespa part. It has a trough shape with length of 9 km and width of 5 km. The relief of the bottom is terraced, with amphitheatrically ordered slopes one above another, and ends with inaccessible Rhiolithic steep slopes, which lend the region an unusual beauty. Their prismatic weathering has lead to the formation of curious rock shapes.
The rocky belt that fences the hollow from the West is called Golyamata Stena and Malkata Stena (the Big Wall and the Small Wall). In the South-west rises the highest summit of the Rhodopes Golyam Perelik (2191 m). The North boundary of the hollow is the part of Perelik called Bilo (Ridge), which ends by the Rozhen Pass (1428 m). In the South the valley is fenced by the elevation Kainadinski Rid. Its name comes from the summit Kainadina (1607 m), whose name is in its turn a derivative from the Turkish word 'kainak' meaning 'spring'.
The climate is mainly mountain influenced by Aegean sea. The winter is soft but snow, without strong and lasting cold spells thanks to the surronded hills from west and north. The summer is breezy and wet, while the autumn is longer and warm.
There is a typical characteristic in the region of Rozhen peak / Progled, Momchillovtsi and Sokoltsi villages/ - the temparatures can reach 0оС even in the summer.
If you are willing to sense the real spirit of the Rhodope people, visit the Rhozhen Fair. It usually takes place every second year at the last weekend of August. You will be dazzled by the songs, dances and music, with the colour of the marvellous lovely national costumes.
Carnival in Shiroka Luka
Following an ancient tradition a national carnival takes place in the village of Shiroka Luka at the beginning of March. A group of lads and young men disguised in unique leather masks play a major role. They perform ancient scenes and dances to the beat of hundreds of cow-bells tied around their bodies.
The Festivity of Milk
Every year during the last weekend of August, the inhabitants of the Smilyian Rhodope village organize the festivity of milk and cows.
Dressed festively in their national costumes the stock-breeders take out of the cow-sheds the best dairy cattle decorated with flowers, beads and bells, ready to participate in the Miss Cow competition.
Skiing in Chepelare
Surrounded by greenery and flowers the highland town of Chepelare is situated in a picturesque way on the two banks of the Chaya river.
Just 2 km away from the town there are two Alpine ski tracks - Mechi Chal 1 (3 200 m long ) and Mechi Chal 2 ( 5 200 m), which are among the best ones in Europe.
The twenty-two family hotels in Chepelare offer you accommodation at any time of the year. Their total capacity is around 250 beds.
Snow and sun, ski and snowboard in Pamporovo
If you love skiing and winter sports in general, Pamporovo is the place where you can spend unforgettable moments on the snow tracks.
Pamporovo, the pearl of the Bulgarian mountain resorts, is situated in the heart of the Rhodopes, some 260 km away from the capital Sofia, 85 km to the South of Plovdiv and 15 km from Smolyan.
Just a single day on the ski track is enough to provide you with lovely sun tan, because this place is considered one of the sunniest highland resorts in Bulgaria where the number of sunny days is over 240.
The climate is mild and with great Mediterranean influence. The average annual temperature is 8.5" C, while the snow cover is 140-150 cm. The altitude of the resort is 1.650 m, the highest peak Snezhanka is 1.926 m.
The Magic of the Rhodope Villages
If you go to Shiroka Luka at the beginning of March you will witness an unusual folk carnival, the Kuker festivity called Shirokolushki Pessyatzi (The dog-breeders of Shiroka Luka).
If you are willing to combine the pleasure of skiing with the cosiness of a village house you should go to Stoykite. The village is only 5 km away from Pamporovo. You will be able to rest here after skiing down the tracks and will be given care and attention by your hosts, warmed by the fire at the fire-place and the fine Bulgarian wine.
The Ezerovo suburb on the other hand, offers the cosy home atmosphere of rustic life without taking you too far from the city centre of Smolyan, which is only 5 km away. The comfortable family hotels are surrounded by the lovely scenery of the Smolyan Lakes and are just 2-3 km away from the lift leading to Snezhanka.