The article examines the role and contribution of the rural tourism to the development of less developed regions of Bulgaria. It is presented a characteristic of the rural areas with key issues and challenges that they are faced with. Also, for the purposes of the analysis a brief summary of rural tourism is shown – a definition and its status and development. An analysis of the possibilities and preconditions for its development is made. It is shown that it is a relatively fast growing and assertive alternative form of tourism in the country, tending to increase its demand. An emphasis is placed on the role of rural tourism in the development and improvement of the quality of life in the undeveloped and economically backward regions in Bulgaria. The key benefits of rural tourism which would have a favourable impact on the development of the rural areas and would lead to lessening the existing disproportion between cities and villages are outlined.