Winter holidays in Bulgaria are a good alternative to traditional European resorts. The country is located close to Russia, the locals understand Russian, and the traditional Bulgarian hospitality will allow you to have a good rest. However, before the trip, it is recommended to familiarize yourself with the main ski resorts in Bulgaria - their location, slope maps, services.
In the country, almost 2/3 of the territory is occupied by mountain ranges. This made it possible to make modern ski resorts with a developed infrastructure. Here you can practice classic skiing, snowboarding, and master freeriding. There are many nature reserves and parks in Bulgaria, which are located next to tourist centers. In many resorts, snow groomers work and there are snow cannons. For cross-country skiers, there are complex and simple routes developed.
Weather conditions are convenient for skiing. The temperature in winter almost never drops below -10 °. The humidity is average, in the mountains it is much lower. The lowest temperatures are observed in February. If you plan to take a break during this time, it is recommended that you bring warm clothing with you.
Features of the ski season:
For a comfortable stay at the ski resorts of Bulgaria, there are equipment rental points. A network of ski schools has been developed. Educational programs for children and adult tourists have been developed. For the safety of vacationers, each sports complex has medical centers, rescue teams work.
The sports base is located in the southwestern part of the country. The ski resort of Bulgaria Bansko is located at the foot of the highest mountain - Vihren. The distance from Sofia is 170 km, you can get to the tourist complex by regular bus, suburban train or by car. There is a rental office for ski equipment and equipment. There is a ski school.
The popular ski resort of Bansko has three ski areas - Banderishka Polyana, Chalin-Valog, Shiligarnika. For beginners, it is recommended to visit Chalin-Valog, there are training slopes, tracks with blue and green markings. The longest track runs in Shiligarnika, the length of which is 3 km.
Several routes for freeriding have been developed here, which are located on the Bansky ridge. For trips to them, you can rent a snowmobile or helicopter. There are several good hotels and inns operating in the ski resort of Bulgaria Bansko. Small guest houses can be rented.
Tourists from Western Europe see Bulgaria in gloomy tones because of the intrigues of Balkan politicians, rumors about poisoned umbrellas and conspiracies to assassinate the head of the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, the state went a long way of development after liberating itself from the five hundred-year Turkish yoke in the 1870s. The country is now struggling with the aftermath of communism. In the 1990s, power was in the hands of the socialists, and market reforms were slowed down. The 1997 elections that brought the right to power brought some economic stability, and in 2001, former Tsar Simeon II was elected prime minister. His party began to fight corruption to speed up the privatization process and the country's accession to NATO and the EU.
However, low wages and high unemployment rates remain among the main problems. The war in Serbia and the unrest in Macedonia also contributed. Individual tourism in Bulgaria is not popular, but it is quite possible due to low prices. There is something to see here: the main attractions are mountain landscapes, towns and villages famous for their crafts, with amazingly romantic architecture of the National Renaissance. This primarily applies to places such as Koprivshtitsa (Middle Stara Planina), Bansko (Pirin Mountains) and Plovdiv (the second largest city in the country). There are beautiful monasteries, the best of which is Rilski, which is included in all tourist routes. As for the central cities, the bustling capital Sofia (albeit somewhat faded) is worth a visit, as well as the international coastal resort of Varna.
Public transport in Bulgaria is inexpensive, but too slow and not always clean and convenient. Usually it is better to travel to other cities by bus. Today, there is a growing number of private bus companies with faster flights, although the fees are slightly higher. Many places can be reached by bus, although more remote areas may have one or two flights a day. When traveling to other cities, tickets can usually be bought in an hour at the bus station, and on some routes they are sold only upon departure. In rural areas, tickets are sold by the driver himself.
There is a railway in most settlements, trains arrive on time, fares are low, it is worth paying about 30% of the cost to travel in first class - at least for the sake of more space. Express trains run on major routes, and so-called Rapid trains can be found almost everywhere. Use them whenever possible, and not crawling like a snail, pantically. Intercity and overnight trains are equipped with couches and/or sleeper cars. On express trains and high-speed trains, it is necessary to reserve seats and tickets. When ordering seats, you need to clarify whether you need a seat in a non-smoking carriage.
In larger towns and cities, it is usually easier to get tickets and book seats at the train bureaus than at the train station, and on weekends and in summer it is better to book tickets in advance. At train stations, tickets can only be purchased on the day of departure. Pre-order is needed to buy tickets abroad and if you buy tickets at the Rila agency (there are branches in all major cities). Many stations have luggage storage facilities and are valid Inter Rail and Eurail cards.
Until now, living in Bulgaria is cheap, but the quality of housing is improving, although for foreigners it is almost twice as expensive as for Bulgarians. Prices are often quoted in Euros or US Dollars, but many places prefer to pay in BGN. In most cheap hotels (mostly high-rise buildings), a double room costs 20 euros, slightly more expensive in Sofia and Plovdiv. Cozy family guesthouses are widespread on the coast and in suburban resorts such as Koprivshtitsa and Bansko.
Private housing is available in most large settlements, usually it can be booked through a rental agency, while in small resort towns you can simply ask people and rent a room for two for 10-15 euros, more expensive in Sofia and Plovdiv. Independent travelers can get a small discount for the double room. The quality of housing varies here, and it is rarely possible to first inspect a room, but, as a rule, in large cities, private housing is provided in large quarters, and in rural areas, accommodation is offered in traditional houses.
There are few hostels, although in Sofia and Plovdiv, for example, good hotels are adapted for the needs of foreigners. On the outskirts of some localities of interest, there are campsites (usually only in summer). However, there are few of them, they are far away, and transport links are poor. There are double chalets (5-10 euros per day). Tents are prohibited and you have to pay a fine to set them up.
Bulgaria is a European country with a very high level of tourism development. Both summer and winter resorts in Bulgaria do not hit the wallet and, at the same time, offer quality rest, so this country attracts many tourists every year, including Russian ones.
Like many European countries, Bulgaria offers its tourists holidays all year round. In the summer you sunbathe on the magnificent sandy beaches, and in the winter, armed with alpine skis and the necessary equipment, go to conquer the mountain peaks.
Having visited Bulgaria in winter, you will not be disappointed. The best ski resorts in Bulgaria are unique in their own way and offer you an excellent level of service and everything you need for a good rest. If you are traveling alone, you do not have to worry about the company - numerous bars, small and cozy cafes, as well as numerous nightclubs will help you find friends and like-minded people from all over the world. A trip to Bulgaria with your family will also not bring you any hassle, the attentive staff will take care of your children, for whom various entertainment programs are organized at the resorts. You can choose hotels for every taste: from elite to budget, youth or family. Picturesque nature, rich culture and history of Bulgaria does not leave indifferent any of its tourists. Moreover, such a wonderful vacation can be obtained at a very affordable price.
Winter holidays in Bulgaria, on the slopes of the Rila Mountains, are perhaps the best in Eastern Europe. The list of ski resorts includes such popular places as Bansko, Borowec, Sitnyakovskaya Rock, Pamporovo, Vitosha. They work not only throughout the winter, but also in the spring.
Bansko is the most famous ski resort in Bulgaria, located at the base of the Pirin Mountains. Here you can not only ski, but also go on various excursions, relax in nightclubs, taste Bulgarian cuisine in numerous cozy cafes and restaurants, and shop in shops. Since Bansko is a fairly large resort center, there are many ski slopes that you can choose according to your taste. But this is not a complete list of the advantages of this resort - you will not remain indifferent to the gorgeous mountain scenery and many blue lakes located in the vicinity of Bansko. Picturesque places and fresh mountain air will help you escape from the bustle of the city and plunge into the natural world.
Another popular winter resort in Bulgaria - Borovets - is located at the foot of the highest mountain in the Balkans - Usala. Initially, since the 19th century, this area with vast coniferous forests attracted hunters here, among whom were the Bulgarian kings. Now Borovets is a fashionable ski resort, including hotels and cottage complexes, numerous sports facilities, bars, clubs, restaurants, etc.
Such a resort as Sitnyakovskaya Skala can also offer wonderful rest. He is not so well known among Russian skiers and when describing the best ski resorts in Bulgaria, we decided to give him a little more attention than other winter resorts.
This resort is very attentive to newcomers to alpine skiing. If you are planning to become a beginner in alpine skiing, you need to take your first steps here. Professional experienced instructors and safe comfortable tracks will help you quickly master and consolidate your skiing skills.
However, professional skiers at this resort will also be satisfied: there are steep, challenging slopes designed for extreme lovers. Therefore, if you want to get unforgettable emotions, drive and adrenaline rush, a tour to Sitnyakovskaya Skala is an excellent choice for your vacation.
You can enjoy your vacation here in complete peace, even if you come with small children. The resort has a kindergarten where you can leave your child in the care of attentive and qualified instructors and educators.
The excellent service at the resort is complemented by numerous cafes, bars and restaurants, where you can have an inexpensive and tasty snack and warm up.
Thus, you can not only play sports, but also have fun and usefully.
I have already spoken in detail about several excursions that are offered while on vacation in Bulgaria near the coast. And today, about where else it is interesting to go in Bulgaria in the summer, besides the sea, - we will talk about relatively long trips, and not small excursions for half a day. In addition, I intend to share with other parents of many children of small and very young children our experience of active travel with the whole family and inspire them to such feats.
Our vacation with children in Bulgaria has been happening for four years in a row, for two months each time. And, frankly, the sea is pretty tired of us. Well, in general, if you have three preschool children with a small age difference, then staying at the sea very soon ceases to be a rest, at least for adults. So in the fifth year we even decided not to experiment and not try to "relax" on the sea with one actively crawling child and two who cannot swim - we did not go to the sea in Bulgaria at all, although we were not far from it.
And we decided on this trip to be not only parents who are madly focused on children's "useful" recreation at sea, but also adults who love travel. After all, this is real relaxation - to be yourself! Do what you are interested in. And my husband and I are interested in traveling, but at the same time we like to be with the children. And for the younger participants of the trip, we believe it is very useful to be with their parents when the parents are exploring the world, and to see their sincere interest. We are interested in various historical sights (more on them later), unusual natural places, etc.
Being in different places of the world greatly expands the horizons of children and contributes to their active development and the acquisition of new skills, which my husband and I have repeatedly observed on our trips. And the same sights are also useful for children to study. For example, our oldest child, at the age of 6, can already ask quite reasonable questions about those Roman castles that we unexpectedly visited in the Bulgarian mountains.
Actually, this is the educational principle that I adhere to - not imposing on children what some external development program implies, but gentle acquaintance with different phenomena in order to understand what exactly interests them ... And for this joint travel is the best fit.
It is a well-known fact that for a large family, recreation becomes much more expensive not even due to renting housing (in principle, everyone can be patient for a short time in a small studio space) and not even due to food (you can cook in a multicooker as well), and due to the flight - because from the age of two, children have their own separate seat on the plane. You can, of course, try to save money by choosing charters that fly at inconvenient times - for example, a return flight from Bulgaria will be cheap in early summer, and a flight there will be right before September 1.
But you can save on the off-season: summer vacation at sea will generally be more expensive than in the country. After all, Bulgaria is not only sea resorts, but also ski resorts. On its territory is Musala - the highest peak of the Balkan Peninsula, almost 3000 m high. There, in the Bulgarian mountains, there are ski resorts - Borovets, Pamporovo, Bansko with a bunch of hotels and cafes. And they all do not disappear anywhere in the summer. Moreover, the owners still want to rent them, and much cheaper.
I am not a skier and have never been in the mountains before, so I personally was very interested in any of these places - to see the sights and beautiful views, learn the customs there and just walk with my husband and children. So we booked an apartment from the owner in an apart-hotel in the mountain village of Bely Iskar, five kilometers from the ski lift of the Borovets ski resort.
I must say that the very visit to this village was already quite an interesting vacation with children. Firstly, it is strikingly different from another Bulgarian village located in the interior of the country not far from Yambol, where my husband's grandmother lives. So, in a mountain village there are no gypsies at all - this is the main misfortune of the Balkans! For ten days we have not seen a single one at all.
In addition, there are wonderful mountain landscapes, as well as many beautiful villas of wealthy Bulgarians who rent them out in winter. And also the fast mountainous and very clean river Bely Iskar, from which we had just caught trout once for lunch in the only cafe open there in the off-season.
The most popular ski resorts in Bulgaria are Bansko, Pamporovo, Borovets, Uzana, Vitosha, Panitsishte, Malovitsa, Dobrinishte, Chepelare.
This charming historic town at the foot of the Pirin Mountain is a year-round destination that offers a slice of village life as well as good skiing, hiking and dining. Bansko has recently become a hot spot, gradually increasing in popularity over the years. Every year the best skiers in the world officially opened the ski season in Bansko. Until now, prominent guests of the great celebrations have been Alberto Tomba, Lasse Cuss, Mark Girardelli, etc. Tomba is the name of the most challenging ski slope in the resort.
Bankso, the newest Bulgarian winter resort, is located in southeastern Bulgaria, 62 km from Blagoevgrad and 160 km from the capital of Sofia. The city has short summers and long, mild winters. Heavy snowfall ends in April. The average temperature in January, the coldest month, is -2 C. The altitude and geographic location create ideal conditions for alpine skiing. Snowfall remains until May.
The infrastructure in Bansko is excellent. This is due to the fact that Bansko appeared relatively recently as a popular destination for skiers, and the development of the city was planned very carefully. Bansko has the best equipment of all Bulgarian winter resorts: the best lifting system and many modern winter sports facilities. The resort has 70 km of top-class ski slopes (17 tracks), ice skating, Winter Fun park, cross-country skiing trails and biathlon grounds. There are also numerous restaurants and brand new hotels. 5 km from Bansko is Banya, a village famous for its 27 thermal mineral springs.
Bansko has a rich culture and history. This is a great example of how old and traditional can live hand in hand with new and modern. Bansko is a museum town, a combination of typical old Bulgarian houses and new hotels, many of which are cobbled streets. There are over 140 cultural attractions in Bansko. Some of the most important museums in the city are Velyanovata Kushta, Nikola Vaptsarov and Neofit Rilski. One of the greatest Bulgarians of all time, Paisiy Hilendarski, the father of the Bulgarian Renaissance, was born in Bansko. The more famous Bulgarians from Bansko are Nikola Vaptsarov - the famous poet, anti-fascist, awarded the International Peace Prize, and Neofit Rilski - the patriarch of the new Bulgarian education and enlightenment.
During the last years of globalization, Bansko has managed to preserve its personality and culture. Dine at a local restaurant is a must for Bansko. The locals are very proud of their city: they have unique dishes for Bulgaria, their own, specific dialect and old architecture from the Bulgarian Revival period. These characteristics make Bansko a great place for skiing, recreation, with nature and forget about the problems of fast, everyday life.
Borovets is a very popular ski resort in Bulgaria with many luxury hotels and high-end restaurants. Borovets hosts the Alpine Skiing World Cup and is one of the most impressive winter landscapes in Bulgaria and a recognized tourist destination in Europe.
Borovets is the oldest ski resort in Bulgaria and also a popular summer mountain resort. It dates back to 1896, when Duke Ferdinand lived there. Borovets is located on the northern slope of the Rila Mountain, at an altitude of 1350 m above sea level. The location of the resort is very convenient - the necessary infrastructure is built in such a way that the resort is easily accessible. It is located 75 km from Sofia and 125 km from Plovdiv. The nearest town - Samokov - is only 10 km away.
Summer in Borovets is relatively cool, averaging 15 C for July, and winter a moderate averaging of +4.6 C. These excellent conditions make skiing or going out very pleasant. Borovets is equipped with new high-tech elevators, a range of pistes and world-class ski slopes. The resort is equipped for skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping, cross-country skiing and biathlon. All activities are accompanied by instructors.