Planning your next winter holiday? If you want to be far from the madding crowd of the Alps and stay on a budget, well, you need to look in a more unconventional place. Bulgaria is known for its affordable ski resorts, but the country can offer a lot more to the adventurous visitor who decides to set foot on their picturesque slopes. There are three main resorts with excellent slopes and nice hotel options. But if you prefer plenty of sun and blue skies while brushing off the pistes, then you should definitely head off to Pamporovo. The resort prides itself on being one of the sunniest in Europe. Combined with gentle slopes and acclaimed ski schools and you have the perfect place for beginners.
Pamporovo is an up-and-coming ski resort set in the majestic Rhodopes Mountains at the foot of Snejanka peak. The small village is well-hidden in the gorgeous pine forest and is relatively tranquil even in the busy season. Thus you won’t need to fight your way through the crowd to get a seat on the lift. Pamporovo ski resort is 4-hour transfer from the dashing Bulgarian capital Sofia or 2 hours from Plovdiv airport. Rest assured that the long travel will be rewarded with impressive views and a whole lot of snowy slopes.
There is a variety of well-groomed pistes, most of which are suitable for beginners and intermediates. Professionals can try off-piste skiing or go straight to the most difficult run in Pamporovo ski area – “The Wall”. All major runs start from Snejanka peak. The longest piste is 4 km and leads straight to the village and the bed base Stoykite. If you are new to skiing or snowboarding, this is the ideal place to find your passion for winter sports. There is an excellent ski school with experienced teachers, who will ensure you learn all the basics while having a great time.
As of last year, the ski area Mechi Chal in Chepelare is also part of Pamporovo ski resort. This means that you can use your Pamporovo lift pass in both areas. There is a total of 14 lifts that serve Pamporovo, with plans for the construction of new ones also in store. A number of shuttle busses connect the village with the base of the slopes as well as with the Mechi Chal ski areas.
Pamporovo is more of a purpose-built resort than a village but it has a good set of hotels and several decent restaurants such as an Italian one and an upmarket steakhouse. Have a bite in one of the local taverns called “mehana” to taste the traditional Rhodope cuisine. Go for “kachamak”, “patatnik” or roasted lamb. Looking for some evening fun? Pamporovo will live up to your expectations. There bar hop, bowling and snow tubing. If you fancy venturing outside of Pamporovo, you can visit surrounding villages such as the ethnographic reserve Shiroka Lyka popular with its traditional Rhodope homes. You can also stop by Smolyan and visit its Planetarium or enjoy the beautiful sights of Plovdiv.