While Borovets may not have a reputation as the creme-de-la-creme of ski resorts, it’s certainly not to be discounted: a top-notch beginner resort, Borovets is fantastic value for money and provides simple and straightforward skiing essentials.
All of that’s not to say you’ll be roughing it though – If indoor pools and spa centres are crucial elements of your ski experience then Borovets delivers there, too.
If you’re still not convinced, here are seven more reasons to head East:
1. Skiing in Borovets
Skiing snobs may scoff at the prospect of skiing in Bulgaria. As a ski season veteran however, I couldn’t have been more impressed. I won’t claim that Borovets is the destination for seasoned Three Valley skiers or Chamonix thrill seekers, but for the right skiers and snowboarders, the mountains of Eastern Europe can’t be beaten. Borovets is a great place to learn and the resorts nursery slopes are close to many of the hotels and the English-speaking instructors are friendly. The Yastrebetz area of the resort is perfect for those wishing to improve their skills, begin to parallel turn and begin navigating harder runs. On top of that, the snow cannon coverage is impressive, so even when the white stuff doesn’t fall from the sky, the slopes are kept topped up and in great condition.
Need more Borovets in your life? Read why we think it’s a Bulgarian National Treasure.
2. Convenience, short transfers and ski-in ski-out hotels
Once you touch down in Sofia it’s only a 1hr 30mins transfer to Borovets. Couple this with regular afternoon flights and there’s no getting up at the crack of dawn to reach the airport – you might even squeeze a morning’s skiing in before you depart!
Many of the hotels, like the Hotel Rila, Hotel Ice Angels and the Hotel Alpin are located right on the slopes, meaning you’re even closer to the action – ideal for beginners and seasoned skiers alike.
3. The best-value country for a ski holiday
The food and drink, like everything in Bulgaria, is the excellent value – you can pick up a pint of beer for the equivalent of 1.50 in Borovets. A shopping basket of ski essentials in a Bulgarian resort was less than half the price of the same items purchased in traditional favourites like Italy or Switzerland.
4. Tasting the local dishes
When you tell anyone you are going to Bulgaria, they always know a friend-of-a-friend who’s skied there and been less than impressed with the food. Of all the cliche’s that I am pleased to dispel, the one surrounding the food is definitely the most satisfying. I loved the food in Bulgaria: it ranged from local traditional dishes to international menus for tourists. The local cuisine reminded me of Greek food (just don’t mention it to the proud Bulgarians) with delicacies like Snezhanka (yoghurt and cucumber), Shopska (similar to Greek salad) and pita bread with roasted meats. When I fancied a change there was pasta, salads, soups and stews galore. For dessert I found ice cream, fruit salad and some pretty amazing cakes! Out on the mountain lunch is great value and it’s easy to find warming, traditional stew and fast food alike.
5. Après-ski and nightlife in Borovets
I had heard that the nightlife in Borovets was legendary but was still surprised by the sheer scale of the weekly tour and selection of great bars. The action gets going at the bottom of town opposite the Samokov Hotel and works its way around venues such as Buzz Bar and BJs. The venues come in different styles and sizes but the great value and lively atmosphere is a constant. Remember that fresh mountain air is the best hangover cure – you may well end up with one after the Borovets pub crawl.
But if you’d rather hit the hill than hit the bar, Borovets caters for this too. Night skiing on no less than 4 runs is available every night until 10.00pm during the height of season; all you need is a night pass valid from 6 p.m.
6. Wellness centres, pools & spas
I’m hardly a health nut, but when it comes to some apres ski pampering I can always be persuaded. I stayed in the Hotel Samokov, which aside from offering great food and excellent comfort, also has a wonderful new spa centre. I made the most of the kneipp baths, the different saunas and the steam room. I turned down a massage which in retrospect would have been the perfect medicine for aching muscles. There’s a huge swimming pool and all sorts of beauty treatments on offer too. Best of all – and as we’ve come to expect from Bulgaria – the prices are seriously low.
7. Battle of the brains – the weekly pub quiz
I love a good quiz and the Crystal staff in Borovets didn’t disappoint with theirs. The weekly question fest is held on the upstairs floor of a rickety, character-filled bar on the towns main street. We managed to come second and even won a prize for our efforts! It was a nice relaxing way to experience Borovets by night without the frenetic pace of the pub crawl.
Borovets in numbers
- Snow Range: 1350-2560m
- 58km of piste:
– 24km Easy
– 29km Intermediate
– 5km Difficult
- 35km of cross-country skiing
- 15 ski lifts (1 six-seat gondola lift, 3 high speed quad chairlifts, 11 drag lifts)