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Posts tagged with "Borovets"

 (Editor’s note: This post is part of our Dispatches Detours continuing series of travel stories about unconventional destinations accessible to Europe-based expatsTerry Boyd also contributed to this post, which has been updated with new information.)


For many American expats, and even Brits and Europeans, Eastern Europe is terra incognito.

cherveno_zname_ski_run1446545745But as Dispatches found out earlier this year, Bulgariaand other countries such as Romania have a lot to offer, especially to adventurous expat travelers in Europe broadening their horizons.

One thing is for certain: Southeastern European ski resorts are well worth checking out for 2017.

For example, Bulgaria offers some of the best skiing in Europe at resorts that are sophisticated yet affordable. And, because they’re so far south, Bulgarian mountains get significant moisture that guarantees snowfalls between sunny days.

For example, right Switzerland is pretty much snow-free as of early January. But starting 6 January, a blizzard swept through Bulgaria and Romania dumping up to 60 centimeters (2 feet) of fresh snow. Yet another reason to check out Bulgarian resorts in 2017.

The largest and most developed ski resorts in Bulgaria are Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo. The resorts draw skiers from all over Europe, but Brits seem to make up the largest single visitor category.

Bulgaria has some of Europe’s sunniest slopes, cheapest prices and friendliest locals.


Borovets is the oldest and biggest international mountain resort in Bulgaria. It’s located at 1,350 meters above sea level (with highest pistes at 2,600 meters), on the Northern slopes of Rila Mountain. The location is famous for the surrounding pine woods at the foot of Mt. Mousala (2,925 meters), the highest mountain on the Balkan peninsula.

Borovets is easily accessible to the main airport in Sofia, the capital and largest city, at about 70 kilometers, and 126 kilometers from second-city Plovdiv, which also has an airport.

From the Borovets website:

The total length of the ski pistes is 58 km. The ski runs vary in difficulty. The pistes are grouped in 3 ski centers: pistes of Sitnyakovo – Martinovi Baraki region; 4 pistes of Markudjik region and 3 pistes of Yastrebets region. The best ski slopes are those of Yastrebets ski center where all winter sports competitions take place.

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Article by Xavier, for Madame Bulgaria, a french nomad guy passionate of sports of sliding and of travels around the world, based in Sofia, and cofounder of 2 successful companies : Tribway (a concept store of the best gifts of the web) and Tribway Consulting (helping you develop and launch your web projects). Distinctive sign : super cool. 

It has been snowing in Sofia for days, with temperatures between -10 and -20 C°. Fortunately, this Friday the weather finally announces sun and positive temperatures ! I jump at the opportunity to spend the day in Borovets, and enjoy this fresh snow. I leave with my friend Viki who recently won a season ticket to the raffle (which lucky !). Well equipped, we start to assault the pleasantly deserted trails on this weekday. As expected, the sun and the snow are at the rendezvous. We take full advantage of it! It is by bus that we return very tired but satisfied, in Sofia. We can not wait to go back! Situated at 1300 m, on the northern slopes of the mountain of Rila, the station of Borovets has 58 km of alpine ski runs (from 2560 to 1300 m) and 35 km of cross-country ski trails, all levels, grouped in 3 zones : Sitnjakovo (8 slopes); Jastrebec (3 slopes) and Markudžika (4 slopes). Borovets is providing very good conditions for snow sports during the winter : skiing, night-skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, ski jumps and biathlon, ski-doo, etc. While skiing, you can enjoy amazing views of the valley, with the Samokov town and the Iskar Lake. In the distance, you can also see the Vitosha mountain, and on the ot her side, you won’t miss the Musala peak, which is the highest peak of the whole Balkan Peninsula, at 2925m ! The resort itself is very pleasant, with many restaurants and bars. On a good day, you can enjoy a tasty lunch on a sunny terrace during your ski break. The fantastic Hotel Rila will make your stay unforgettable (although you won’t forget the price either). If you’re on a budget, you’ll find cheaper accommodation in the town of Samokov, which is only 20 minutes away. In summer, Borovets is also the starting point of many wonderful hikes, such as the ascents of the Musala and Malyovitsa peaks. Have fun !

Practical info : To get to Borovets : First, you have to take a bus from Sofia (station “south”) to Samokov. Travel time : 1h10 early in the morning, rather 1h30 on the return with traffic. Cost : 6 leva per journey. To enjoy the day it is advisable to take the first start at 7:00am. After that, leave every half hour (schedule details). Once in Samokov you have to take another bus to Borovets, which runs every half hour. Do not rely on the schedules displayed at Samokov, which are incorrect! Cost : 1.40 leva per journey. Duration : about 20 minutes. A taxi for the same journey costs about 15 leva. Otherwise by car : 73 km and about 1 hour 20 minutes. Start of the ski lifts : 8:30am/End of the ski lifts : 4:30pm-5:00pm, depending on the lifts. Price of the day package : 55 leva. Prices of equipment rentals : about 25 leva the day for a pair of ski / snowboard + shoes. Lessons: 35 leva / 2 Hours. I like : scenic views, runs for all skill levels, many food options. Could be better : a direct bus from Sofia would be great !

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