For many people, Bulgaria has often been viewed as simply a cheap and cheerful destination, and is often overlooked when considering European ski options. There is much more to the area than meets the eye. We don’t want you to miss out, so if you’re unaware of the potential that Bulgaria has to offer for your ski holiday, read on.
In the final of our series of blogs where we’ve highlighted some of the reasons why we love Bulgaria – (located here, here and here) – we will show you why Bulgarian resorts are up there with the best for nightlife in Europe.
Why is Bulgarian après special?
First of all, it’s important to note that après-ski doesn’t happen in Bulgaria in the same way as in other European resorts. In Austria for example, everyone hits the bars straight after the slopes. There are still some great places to go for a few après drinks, but you won’t see people dancing on tables in their ski gear at 4pm. Nevertheless, in each of the resorts you will find both lively and quiet bars where you can enjoy a drink after a great day on the mountain. The real après in Bulgaria starts after 9pm and goes on long into the early hours.
If shots are your thing, then you’re in luck. Shots are cheaper in Bulgaria than virtually any other European ski resorts. If you’re more of a lager drinker you can get a beer for the equivalent of about 1.50GBP in Borovets.
Not only are the prices absurdly low, but most of the bars have happy hours; if the mood took you, it would be possible to create your own happy hour bar crawl and move from one establishment to another as each happy hour kicks off.
Tip: if a Bulgarian orders a vodka and coke they expect the drinks to be served separately. Although most places would understand what you meant if ordering this (especially in a British accent), it might be worth mentioning to the bartender that you want the drink mixed.
Look out: measures for spirits and liqueurs are double to what you’re used to at home. A single measure is 50ml and a double is 100ml, so pace yourself.
What’s the nightlife in Borovets like…
This resort is an après paradise just waiting for you to take advantage of it. Whether you’re after a more traditional tipple or all-night carnage, Borovets has got you covered.
The Best Bars In Borovets:
For early doors’ après drinks, Mamacitas’ is the place to be. They have the best live band in the resort, and they start playing for you in the early afternoon. Similarly, The Titanic Bar is a small, cosy place dealing primarily in food, but people like to pop in for a quick drink – the staff are great and so are the prices.
Another favourite, BJ’s Bar tends to get quite busy after skiing. It is situated at the crossroads opposite Samokov Hotel, across from the base station of the gondola lift. The music goes right up after 10pm, so this is a place you might want to return to for a late night session.
Franko’s Bar is perhaps the most popular place for après drinks immediately after you return from the slopes, but it really comes into its own later in the evening. If you’re looking for some dance music, Franko’s has two DJs who always put on a great set and get everyone in the mood.
Borovets has been called “Ibiza on snow” and this buzzing resort really does come alive at night, sporting everything from karaoke to serious clubbing:
If you want to sing a song or just have a laugh at everyone else trying, make sure you have a drink or two at the Black Tiger. Their karaoke list is enormous, making for a really fun night out.
The Buzz Bar is our favourite place to finish a night off in Borovets – head there after 11.30 and you’re bound to be on the dance floor until the early hours.
What’s the nightlife in Pamporovo like…
Pamporovo is a little less crowded than Borovets, but it still has plenty to offer in terms of relaxing drinks and lively nightlife.
The Best Bars In Pamporovo:
As soon as you’re done on the slopes, head to the Markony; a cosy little place, perfect for a warming hot chocolate. Situated opposite the ski centre, it’s conveniently placed to pop into before you jump on the bus back to the resort centre.
The lobby bar of Snezhanka Hotel is always packed and you can rarely find a seat after skiing. It’s probably the open fireplace that makes this place so cosy and welcoming; everyone seems to stop for a drink or two before getting ready for dinner.
If you’re looking for a lively place for a few pints after the mountain, then make sure you pop in to the imaginatively named Après Ski Bar in the centre of resort. It’s also a great spot to go back to after dinner as well.
Restaurant Chanove 2 has a great bar inside which attracts skiers and boarders alike with its cocktails, although the real party starts here with some DJ’s and karaoke after 10pm.
The Perelik Hotel’s Spider Bar is a modern club which tends to busy up after 11pm; if you like your cheesy pop and chart tunes, this is the spot for you. For more cheesy music and a great example of indigenous auditory sensibilities check out Sogo Bar on the ground floor of Murgavets Hotel; it’s a great chance to see how the locals party.
Finally, we mustn’t forget one of the most famous venues in resort; Daka’s Bar in Snezhanka Hotel. The live band are amazing and the bar is packed with locals who love a good knees-up. The atmosphere’s great and there’s enough excitement to keep you up ’til the early hours.
What’s the nightlife in Bansko like…
Bansko isn’t famous for après and nightlife, but it might surprise you. No need to research it though, we’ve got you covered.
The Best Bars In Bansko
The Happy End is an interesting place to check out. It is situated opposite the gondola and looks like a traditional Austrian après bar. It’s marginally more expensive here than elsewhere in resort, but make sure you go for at least one drink; the interior and atmosphere are really impressive.
We like Amigos for both après-ski in our ski gear, or for a post-dinner night out. The place is built to resemble a massive alpine house, complete with a second floor. Live bands start after 9pm and can be relied upon to get the crowd going.
Make sure you make at least one stop at the Irish Bar in the Sport Hotel during your week. The place is modern with friendly staff and there are generally plenty of people having fun and dancing around.
The Lions Pub in Bansko is always packed, both inside and out. As the name suggests, you are mostly likely to bump into other Brits here. For many, this makes it a great place to chill out fresh off the mountain or later in the evening.
The final on-resort bar you don’t want to miss whilst in Bansko is Oxygen – it looks like a snow cave and attracts a younger, baggy-ski-pants crowd. The drinks are great and so is the music – definitely worth checking out.
In the old town of Bansko you’ll find more late-night spots, but they cater primarily for locals. This doesn’t mean that tourists aren’t allowed, just that the music might not be what you’re used to. Nevertheless, a very modern bar you may want to try late at night is called Track Bar Drink and Dance – you might want to throw a smart shirt on for this place. The club, situated in the centre of resort, is the place where the locals will dance to their favourite Balkan Music. It goes on all night, and the club generally closes when the last person walks out. Club Euphoria is worth checking out – it’s very trendy with a cool design; definitely a place where people go to be seen. Most go for a meal, but later at night they put on a brilliant live band and the place becomes livelier and more relaxed.
Bulgaria is famous for its nightlife, with good reason. In this blog we’ve tried to show you the most famous – as well of the best unheard-of – places to party. We’d love to hear from you if you’ve been to Bulgaria, so join in the conversation on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.