Bargain-basement beginners’ ski holidays are what Pamporovo is all about…
Set on a thickly-forested hill, topped by a telecoms tower, ski holidays in Pamporovo offer just 25km of gentle pistes winding through the trees. That's plenty if you're new to skiing - but anyone who's making confident turns on groomed snow, and beginning to develop an appetite for speed should give it a wide berth.
The accommodation options in Pamporovo have improved in recent years, with the opening of a five-star hotel and several refurbishments: the lifts, by contrast, are in need of an upgrade.
Resort height: 1,650m
First-time British skiers are an important part of Pamporovo's clientele, and their needs are well catered for - the ski school even organises exclusively English-speaking classes for them. What's more, the gentle pitch of the pistes and the unpretentious nature of the resort provide an undemanding and low-key environment in which to get started. You won't feel like a second-class citizen here just because you can't ski moguls.
Snowboarders should note that most of the nursery slopes are served by draglifts, which are a nightmare for one-plankers. They may not like the climate much either. Pamporovo's famously sunny weather (270-odd days of sunshine a year) sounds great if you're a sunbather, but snowboarders need lots of light powder snow to get the best from their sport, and the sunny weather often makes for icy pistes, which they hate.
Fly to Plovdiv if you can, as it's only 50 miles from the resort...
Transfers shouldn't take more than 90 minutes as a result.
Shelling out for a ski holiday in a big resort is an expensive way to find out whether you like snow sports or not...
That's why budget-friendly Pamporovo is so popular with beginner skiers - and snowboarders who can cope with all the draglifts. Experts looking for some action should avoid Pamporovo like the plague, though.
Pamporovo is not going to win any beauty competitions, but who cares when the beer's this cheap...
It's not exactly sophisticated, but Pamporovo's nightlife is cheerful - and fuelled by incredibly cheap beer. The White Hart Pub, Dak's Bar and BJ's are all popular après venues. Hotel food isn't great - a common complaint in all Bulgarian resorts - but with prices so cheap many visitors are happy to venture out in search of something more characterful. Chevermeto is the best of the resort restaurants, spit-roasting four or five lambs every night.
In a resort where almost everyone is a beginner, shouldn't non-skiers have a crack at skiing too? If not, they can take their pick from day trips to historic Plovdiv, cross-country skiing, snow-mobiling, tobogganing, and visiting one of the hotel spas.
Cost of living 10/10
Pamporovo's big selling point is its price. If you shop around you can get a week's skiing here for just a few hundred pounds, half-board.
Attractiveness of the resort 4/10
The thickly-forested hills of the Rhodope mountains make for a pleasing backdrop to the pistes - but that said, the scenery isn't a patch on the Alps. Pamporovo benefits from its forest setting, but it is purpose built and lacks charm.