Skiing in Bulgaria this Season
If you spent your winter ski break in one of the big Alpine resorts last year, did you at any point question whether there might be something better within easy reach? Perhaps you spent too long queuing for the lifts, or maybe you found it difficult to locate an un-crowded piste.
If, for whatever reason, you made a decision to look for somewhere different this year, then Bulgaria might well be a destination you should consider. Columbus Direct looks at some of the best things it can offer.
Bulgaria is a mountainous Eastern European country that is only three hours flight time from the UK. Flying into the capital city of Sofia puts you within easy reach of some fantastic skiing opportunities. The main resorts offer a choice of ambience; from the modern facilities in Bansko, the traditional Bulgarian atmosphere of Borovets, through to the Alpine feel of up and coming Pamporovo. All of this is available at a price that won’t make a huge dent in your wallet.
The cost of living in Bulgaria is roughly half that of most Western European countries and in the resorts, the price of food, drink and entertainment is noticeably cheaper than in the Alps. A three course meal and drinks are likely to only set you back around £20.00 per head. Internal bus transport is well provisioned and surprisingly cheap. Shuttle buses to the main resorts from the coach station in Sofia are very affordable, comfortable and regular.
Pamporovo with its pine forest setting has a typical Alpine flavour and a great range of skiing for all levels. With 25km of marked pistes at heights of between1,620 – 1,937m (4,290 – 8,300ft), the season runs from mid December through to late April. Runs include 4 green, 3 blue, 5 red, 4 black that descend from the summit of Mount Snezhanka. There is also a 2.4km beginners trail known as the Tourist Run and a further 24km of cross country track. Access to the slopes is via a more than adequate series of chair and drag lifts.
Bansko is the most developed resort in Eastern Europe. With 65km of marked piste ranging in altitude from 930 – 2,580m (3,185 – 8,120ft) the season often extends until May. Runs include 4 blue, 12 red and 1 black with the longest being 10km. Access is via the Gondola which runs from the village up to mid-mountain. From there a series of lifts are available to get you higher.
Borovets is the oldest ski resort in Bulgaria and has been accommodating visitors since the 19th century. On the slopes of the highest mountain in Bulgaria, the resort has runs between elevations of 1,330 – 2,560m (4,290 – 8,300ft) that include 58km of marked piste including runs of 4 blue, 12 red and 1 black services by a Gondola and a number of chair and drag lifts. There is also over 35km of cross country trails available for the enthusiast
Vitosha is only 10km from Sofia and is serviced by a Gondola that originates from the outskirts of the city. The highest resort in Bulgaria, it features six ski runs accessed by a number of chair and drag lifts as well as the Gondola. Difficulty levels vary with the green ski run being the easiest and the Vitoshko Lale the most difficult. The season runs from mid December until spring
Bulgaria is a great place to go skiing and will not disappoint if you want to try something different. With superb winter climate and some great terrain for skiing, why not escape the crowds heading for the Alps this season? All of the resorts have more than enough amenities for après ski, including some great restaurants, bars and clubs. Bulgaria is indeed a country that you will keep you entertained both on and off the ski slopes.