SKI-BUZZ

The Crystal Ski Holidays Blog

Bulgaria – a favourite for family ski holidays

Bulgaria’s a great place for a family ski holiday – it’s fantastic value, the ski schools are excellent, and the areas are easy to get around and have dedicated children’s zones and fun slopes. There are also lots of family-friendly hotels with kids’ clubs, bowling alleys and swimming pools. But where’s the best place to go in Bulgaria? Read on to find out more about each resort.

Borovets

Children on a magic carpet in Borovets

The skiing

Borovets has 58km of skiing linked by lifts from the resort centre, where there are lots of sunny lunch spots to get together for a bite to eat. The mountain’s made up of mostly tree-lined pistes, which keeps the runs in great condition, and means the visibility is good even when it’s snowing.

There’s a mix of wide, gentle runs for beginners, as well as intermediate slopes and a few steeper downhills for more seasoned skiers. The nursery area is next to the town, along with the dedicated Borokids Park where little learners can take the magic carpet to ski through tunnels and past fun obstacles. They can also have a go on the kids’ slalom run and the carousel – a rotating ride where they’ll sit in an inflatable ring or hold onto the bar while on their skis to spin in circles. And both adults and children can try some tricks over at the family-friendly Borosport Snow Park, with three lanes of kickers, boxes and rails for all abilities.

Kids’ carousel ride in Borovets
Kids’ carousel ride

Off the slopes

Borovets is purpose-built but it’s set among pine forests and is Bulgaria’s oldest ski resort, so there’s plenty of alpine charm too. The town’s centred around a lively high street with lots of shops and restaurants. When you’re not skiing, you can take the teens on a guided snowmobile ride through the forest or try out winter activities like candlelit walks and horse-drawn carriage rides with the younger ones.

Lots of the hotels also have kids’ clubs, bowling alleys and swimming pools. And most of them are close to the slopes, which means you’ll only have a short walk with your gear each day.

Where to stay: Club Hotel Yanakiev

Crystal rating: 3.5

The Yanakiev has spacious rooms for families – some of which have piste views – and ski-in, ski-out access straight onto a beginner run. When you’re back at the hotel, you can all go for a dip in the indoor pool, which has panoramic views of the slopes. Or head to the games room where there are toys and consoles. As for mealtimes, the buffet caters for everyone’s tastes – and little ones are sorted with early meals too.

Bansko

The skiing

With 75km of piste, Bansko is Bulgaria’s biggest ski area, so it’s great for families who’ve got a bit more experience. There’s plenty of variety on the mountain, with wide, open slopes at the top and sheltered, tree-lined runs further down. The area’s also pretty easy to find your way around, as most runs lead back down to the gondola station.

This station is the main hub of the area, and is where you’ll find the ski school, kindergarten and a children’s adventure course with arches and cool obstacles. Any learners will master the basics in the dedicated nursery area, and experienced skiers can tackle the popular Alberto Tomba black run – named after the famous Italian alpine ski racer. Thrill-seekers can take on the family-friendly jumps and rails of Bansko’s Fun Park.

Bansko ski area

Off the slopes

Bansko’s the most authentic of our Bulgarian resorts. You can take a stroll around the UNESCO-protected, medieval old town, which is filled with cobbled streets and stone-clad buildings with terracotta roofs. Then the new town is where you’ll find most of the shops and restaurants, and the ice rink.

Known for its affordable luxury, Bansko has high-quality hotels that won’t break the bank. And they’ve got lots of family facilities too.

Where to stay: Hotel Lucky

Crystal rating: 4.5

This is one of Bulgaria’s top-rated hotels and is part of our Crystal Finest range. Here, you can team up to tackle the escape room, go for dips in the pool and have fun in the games room. Or enjoy a drink and chat in the bar and lounge while the younger family members are entertained in the kids’ club, which stays open until 10pm.

Thanks to the bed and breakfast basis, you can start the day with a delicious buffet spread and then try out some of the resort’s 100 restaurants in the evenings. Or upgrade to half board and get all your meals sorted – there’s even a children’s menu. Don’t fancy heading out for food? The large studios and family apartments have a kitchenette, so you can always have a night in and whip something up for yourselves.

Pamporovo

The skiing

Pamporovo’s the smallest of our Bulgarian resorts, with 36km of mainly green and blue runs, so it’s great for young families with children who may not have the stamina to keep going all day. If it’s your first time skiing, you can all pick up the basics from English-speaking instructors, and then spend your free time getting confident on the slopes that you’ve been learning on. When you’re ready, you can move on to the 4km Ski Road Pamporovo – a gentle green run from the top of the mountain back to the ski school meeting point. Little ones can also enjoy a mix of tuition and playtime in the Fun in the Snow kindergarten, while you head off for some adults-only slope time.

As for the conditions, an average of 270 sunny days each year means the temperatures here are generally warmer than other European ski resorts. And the softer snow can be fun to ski on and easier for beginners to learn on too. There are also a lot of tree-lined slopes, so you get good visibility even on snowy days.

Looking for a lunch spot on the mountain? Take the family to the summit and head up the Snezhanka TV tower – an old communications station with impressive views over the area. You can grab a bite to eat at the café at the top, or just stop for a few photos and a quick drink.

Vegetarian burger

Off the slopes

Pamporovo’s a compact, purpose-built resort that’s quick to get around, so the children never have far to walk. The town has a laid-back atmosphere, but there’s still plenty of fun things to do. Go skating on the ice rink, join a candlelit walk through the forest or, if you’ve got teens, head off on a snowmobiling adventure.

Several hotels also have family-friendly facilities, from bowling alleys and games rooms to indoor pools. They’re great value too, and most are half board , so you can try Bulgarian dishes like moussaka or kavarma (a slow-cooked beef or chicken stew) or international favourites like pasta and pizza.

Where to stay: Hotel Perelik

Crystal rating: 4

This hotel is right in the centre of the resort and has big rooms for up to four people. It’s packed with facilities for families – there’s a six-lane bowling alley, games room and a coffee bar and lounge to kick back in. Or head down to the indoor pool where the kids can splash around. And each day, the hotel shuttle gets you to and from the slopes and ski school.

Ready to make winter part of the family? Check out our Bulgaria deals and use the ‘best for families’ filter to narrow down your options.

Or if you’re going on holiday with older kids, read about the best ski resorts for teenagers.

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