If you want to dive into the snow without diving into your bank account, add Bulgaria to your list. The value for money here is hard to beat, with high-quality hotels at bargain prices and après that’s both cheap and cheerful. And with excellent ski schools and lots of beginner-friendly slopes, it’s the perfect place to start your ski adventure. Take a look at these top picks and find a Bulgarian ski resort that’s right for you.
Best for families: Bansko
Bansko is Bulgaria’s best ski resort for families. There’s a dedicated nursery area where little learners can master the basics, as well as an adventure course with arches and obstacles for more confident kids. Once everyone’s ready to start exploring as a family, there are 75km of mainly sheltered, tree-lined slopes to discover – the linked blue trails below the Kolarski Express lift are some of our favourites. Or make the most of some adults-only slope time while the youngsters enjoy ski sessions and games at the Junior Ski Club.
As for where to stay, there are lots of modern hotels that wouldn’t look out of place in exclusive alpine resorts. And the prices are easy on the wallet, especially during peak times like school holidays. When it comes to kid-friendly activities, you can head to the outdoor ice rink, enjoy an afternoon at the bowling alley, or crack codes and puzzles in the themed escape rooms at the Hotel Lucky.
Best for beginners: Pamporovo
Pamporovo is the perfect pick for a beginner ski holiday. It’s one of the cheapest resorts in Europe, so you won’t have to splash the cash on your first trip, and the local ski school gets consistently great reviews. Once you’ve found your ski legs, build your confidence on the Ski Road Pamporovo – a 4km green run that winds from the top of the mountain back to the ski school meeting point. The rest of the 36km ski area is easy to navigate and averages 270 sunny days a year, so you’ll have soft snow and warmer temperatures while you’re learning. And with 90% of the slopes covered by snow cannons, there’s plenty of the white stuff whatever the weather.
The village itself is pretty laid-back compared with Bulgaria’s party hotspot, Borovets, so it’s a favourite for families too. For some alternative winter fun, you can dash through the snow on a dog sled ride or take a snowmobile for a spin. And if you want to see the best views in the resort, a trip to the top of Snezhanka TV tower is a must. Built on the summit of the mountain, it’s also home to a panoramic restaurant so you can enjoy some lunch while you soak up the scenery.
Best for nightlife: Borovets
Borovets is famous for its buzzing bars and clubs, so you can expect some lively evenings here. The prices are cheap and lots of places have happy hour deals too. Kick off your après with a piste-side drink in the Black Tiger at the foot of the slopes. Another popular spot is BJs, which is known for its Austrian-style atmosphere – think cheesy tunes and mugs of beer. Or for a taste of the local culture, check out a mehana – a traditional Balkan pub – and sample Bulgaria’s must-try mountain drink, rakia.
Before you hit the après scene, spend your day exploring the 58km ski area. The resort is surrounded by pine forests and most of the runs carve through the trees, so visibility is good even when the flakes are falling. The long red runs from the top of the Yastrebets chairlift are best for intermediate cruising. Or if freestyle is your thing, check out Snowpark Borovets, which has a 300m-long course filled with jumps, rails and boxes.
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