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Borovets, Pamporovo and Bansko are the country’s three largest resorts, and each boasts modern facilities, affordable accommodation and lively après-ski scenes. Taking into account ski hire, lift passes, nights out and accommodation, a skiing or snowboarding break in Bulgaria is almost always cheaper than at other popular resorts in Western Europe.
Language: Bulgarian | Currency: Lev (лв) | Local time: EEST | Avg. Flight time: 3.5 hrs
The ski season in Bulgaria runs from mid-December to mid-April. The resorts are busiest over the Christmas and New Year holidays, but cheaper deals are widely available from February to March, and as such that’s a highly recommended time to go.
The picturesque resort town of Bansko, situated at the foot of the Pirin Mountain, offers 70km of well-groomed pistes and impressive off-piste for skiers and snowboarders of all ability levels; it’s popular with families but experts may find the slopes unchallenging. The pistes are served by an eight-person gondola, and there’s a dedicated children’s learning area and terrain park near the top.
After a long day on the slopes, spend the evening sampling traditional Bulgarian fare in one of Bansko’s numerous mehanas (taverns), or indulge in one of the 27 thermal mineral springs in the nearby village of Banya. The best way to get to here is by a shuttle or a hire car, with the journey taking about two hours during the winter months.
Set amid the snow-capped Rila Mountains, Borovets is Bulgaria’s oldest ski resort, dating from the 19th century. Today, an army of grooming machines and snow guns shape the slopes from December right through to April.
Featuring 58km of marked pistes up to an altitude of 2560m, the resort has a mixture of runs based on difficulty, including five black and ten red routes for more confident skiers and snowboarders. Borovets is within easy reach from Sofia.
Surrounded by the enchanting pine forests of the Rhodope mountain range, Pamporovo is one of Europe’s sunniest ski resorts and is nicknamed the “Gem of the Rhodopes”. With good snow-cover in the winter, its 37km of slopes – the majority blue or green – make Pamporovo the ideal destination for beginners.
The well-maintained, rounded slopes also feature a half-pipe and a small horde of ski instructors on hand to give advice to the novice. At the summit of Mount Snezhanka, 1,926m above sea level, the Snezhanka Tower and cafe offers panoramic views of the Rhodope, the Pirin Mountains and even the distant Aegean Sea on a clear day. Pamporovo is less than two hours from Plovdiv by car.
Ski resorts in Bulgaria are excellent for families and groups of friends who want to try skiing or snowboarding for the first time. The main advantage is the cost – you can pick up great deals that include transfers and half-board accommodation if you book early or snap up a last-minute discount.