Situated in south-eastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria is a beautiful mountainous country about half the size of the UK. Bounded to the east by the shores of the Black Sea and to the north by Romania, the country also shares borders with Greece and Turkey (to the south) and with Slovenia and Macedonia (to the west). Although perhaps best known for its Black Sea resorts, the real character of the country is to be found in its mountain regions. There are six very different ranges varying from gentle green slopes and forests with flower strewn alpine meadows, to high, snow-covered peaks. The rugged Rila and Pirin mountains are the most spectacular of these and in the winter they are host to several ski resorts, whilst in the summertime they offer some of the finest hiking in Europe. A week-long trekking itinerary can take in Mount Musala (2974m / 9757ft), the country's highest peak and several other impressive summits. In Bulgaria's more remote, rural corners the traditional slow pace of life continues much as it has done for centuries.