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Skiing in Bulgaria

For many of us, a holiday to Bulgaria is an opportunity to relax by some of the most welcoming shores in Europe. But there's more to this country than relaxing on the shore of Obzor Beach or museum trips in Nessebar. Bulgaria is quickly becoming one of the top places for a skiing holiday. With that in mind, we've put together a brief guide of the best ski resorts in the country.


Borovets

The biggest international ski resort in Bulgaria, Borovets is around an hour and a half from the country's capital, Sofia.

If you're looking to strap on some skis and take to the slopes for the first time, Borovets definitely has you covered. Instructors speak English, and you'll have the opportunity to try some snowboarding and sledding as well as skiing.

The most popular route runs from the peaks down to the village, where a thriving resort community has emerged. The bars and nightclubs host all-night parties that rival Sunny Beach, while the slopes are open until 10pm, giving you plenty of time to sweep down the run long into the night. On average, snowy coverage lasts from December to April with moderately chilly temperatures – even in the middle of January you can expect a reasonable 5°C.

Bansko

The culture is strong here, but luckily so are the affordable drinks in the old fashioned pubs and wine bars in the village at the base of this resort, which is perched on the slopes of Pirin Mountain. This bustling ski resort has got a solid reputation for excellence across Europe, so a good multicultural mix of skiers of every talent level converge here each winter.

The balance between beginner and intermediate skiing options is well thought out here, having won awards in its time. And those who want time away from taking on the slopes can lose themselves amid shops with 19th-century looks. What's more, from the summit of the mountain, you can see all the way to the Aegean Sea on a clear day, as well as to neighbouring Greece.

Pamporovo



First-time skiers or those of us still getting to grips with our technique tend to favour Pamporovo, where skiing runs are more blue and green than black and red. That said, intermediates can enjoy some healthy challenge here, although there's a small-town charm to this resort that touches every aspect in the very best way. In fact, the longest run, a four-kilometre sweep from the heights down through the village, is a great way to see the sights at high speed.

It's a good idea to explore the village at a more leisurely pace too though. Affordability is highlighted here, especially since it's a less mainstream ski resort and therefore more down-to-earth with pricing. Expect good hot meals and warm firesides aplenty, backed up by cheap tipple prices that make this one of the secret party places in Bulgaria when the mood is right.

Chepelare

One of the newest ski resorts in Bulgaria and not far from Pamporovo, Chepelare features 20 kilometres of alpine skiing routes and a further 25 kilometres of cross-country slopes. It's also well known as a destination for snowboarding and riding snowmobiles, with a training centre for beginners and a children's skiing school as well. If you're feeling especially adventurous, you can also have a go at target practice with Bulgarian biathlete Ekaterina Dafovska's rifle in the shooting contests held here.

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