Pamporovo is ready to go for the winter

For those who love skiing, Pamporovo Bulgaria brought some good news – the winter is coming early this year. The snow has fallen in the last days of October and the flakes brought a promise for a season full of endless white slopes and sunny smiles all along. If the weather is favourable skiing and snowboarding might be possible up until mid-April – more than one-third of the year, almost the half of it could be used for snowy rides and enjoyment. But even if the natural fall happens to be scarce during the winter, the whole complex Pamporovo is prepared with a backup plan and still can make those skiers and snowboarders happy. More than 200 snow machines are held around the 14 trails of the resort in case the flakes from the sky are not enough for a nice piste and the demand.

Pamporovo Bulgaria

And the cost of the ride remains the same for the 2017-18 season as it was last year. 55 BGN (about 28 Euro) is the price of the daily card for the lift, not a penny higher compared to the last winter. There are options for a half-day pass (8.30-12.30 and 12.30-16.30 intervals) that require 20 Euro payment (39 BGN). And actually these represent the most expensive tickets – for not excluded, it’s unlikely to pack your stuff for a day only at Pamporovo. The more time you spend in that Rhodopes mountain resort the cheaper becomes the access to the slopes. Connecting Mechi Chal to Pamporovo Bulgaria now has the biggest complex not only inside the country but on the Balkans. A weekly pass for both ski zones combined costs 338 BGN (roughly 170 Euro) and the card for the whole winter is listed on 1080 BGN (around 550 Euro). The mentioned prices are all for adults, the kids and teenagers below 18 can ski for a much lower – 25 BGN a day, 189 a week and 597 for the season ticket respectively. The family vacation packages offered in Pamporovo, Bulgaria bring up even better opportunities – 7 days for mummy, daddy and their two kids will cost less than 500 Euro (960 BGN).

The Rhodopes’ winter centre lists among top 10 of the most affordable ski resorts in Europe. Other than Pamporovo Bulgaria has two more centres ranked by the German newspaper “Bild” (Vitosha and Bansko). The combined average daily expense at Pamporovo including lift pass, equipment hire and accommodation sums around 106 Euro. Attracted by the price but uncertain what hotel you can find? Here are some of the best options at Pamporovo – http://www.balkanholidays.co.uk/holiday_destinations/winter_holidays/bulgaria/bulgaria_mountains/pamporovo/index.html

The exceptional beauty of the Bulgarian mountain adds one more reason to the above mentioned to visit that place. The Rhodopes’ complex welcomes guests and tourists not only with snowy hills and fresh air but with plenty of light – more than 100 sunny days on cold season, definitely one shiny opportunity. The only backdrop is the fact that near Pamporovo Bulgaria has only one airport – Plovdiv, operating on a limited number of flights to and from London-Stansted, Bruxelles, Bergamo and Frankfurt. More planes land in Sofia but the distance to the resort is around 230 km. But if you are ready to accept that inconvenience Pamporovo is definitely on the brighter side of one beautiful and exciting winter vacation.

Ski, Spa and Vibrant Nightlife in Bansko Ski Resort

Bansko Ski Resort At Night

Tucked away in the heart of Pirin Mountains, Bansko is a unique gem with captivating nature, snowy slopes and charming architecture. With its modern facilities, versatile runs, cosy and lively atmosphere, the town ranks among the best resorts in Eastern Europe. If value for money is what you are after, then Bansko ski resort will definitely live up to your expectations. You can find package holidays, lift passes and equipment hire half the price or less compared to the expensive Alpine resorts and you can still receive satisfying level of service.

Getting There

Sofia-to-Bansko-Directions

Bansko is approximately two hours away from the capital Sofia. You have several options to get to the town from the airport – rent a car, use the public bus services from the central bus station in Sofia or book pre-arranged transfers. You can also travel to Bansko from Plovdiv, but you will need to plan for longer trip (around 3-4 hours).

Stay

There is a hub with apartments, hotels and shops in a ski-in/ski‑out location by the gondola station. The town below the village resort offers a sheer variety of accommodation options. You can find four and five stars hotels with wellness area including a large pool, hot tub, sauna, steam bath and gym or pick less luxurious, but much cheap guest houses.

Winter Sports

Winter Sports in Bansko

In the last few years Bansko has been completely modernized with a smart  lift system, and a hands-free pass system. The resort’s slopes stretch across two mountains that can be accessed through a state-of-art gondola, 14 lifts including a six‑persons chair and four quads. The eight-seat gondola ferries go up to the main mountain Bunderishka from the top end of town. A blue piste with floodlighting and snowmaking leads back to town. From Bunderishka, you can reach the north-facing slopes at the highest point of the area through the two successive fast quads chairs.  There are few nursery slopes near the mid-station of the gondola. The runs are well-maintained and usually quiet. Given that the snow conditions are good, there are plenty of challenging pistes suitable for both beginners and experts.

On the other hand, snowboarders can enjoy the first on the Balkans Fun Park.  The place allows to snowboard over artificial bumps and jumps or to customize the layout. In addition skiers and snowboarders can boast their skills on the half-pipe situated near the Bansko’s famous snow towers.

Eat &Drink

Eating and drinking in BanskoWith the development of the resort town, the utalitarina cafes and small shops give place to trendy restaurants, boutiques and wine bars. Hide away from the chilly weather and the roaring wind inside one of Bansko’s many “mehanas”. These typical Bulgarian taverns will welcome you with a warm blaze in an open fireplace and the traditional Bulgarian hospitality. Don’t be surprised if there is live music to add up to the cheer. While there, don’t miss the opportunity to try local cuisine dishes such as “Banski starets” and ”Kapama.”

The prices are generally low, making it a fun place for wild après. The lively night life has gained Bansko the reputation of a party town. Go out for a drink at the Lions Pub or The Happy End at the base station of the gondola. The most popular night clubs in town are No Name and Amnesia. You can pick from a wide selection of bars, live music and piano bars such as the Torino that is usually attended by weekenders from Sofia. If you fancy a quieter night out, you can go to the Bowling arena in hotel Strazhite.

Off the Slopes

To experience the most of Bulgarian sights and nature, visit one of the most popular tourist locations – the Rila Ministry. The area around Bansko is notable for its mineral waters, making the region an attractive all-seasons SPA destination. Trips to Greece can also be arranged because of the close proximity to the border. Those who prefer to stay in-town can explore the local landmarks and museums.  Have a glimpse at the Bulgarian heritage properties and visit the richly painted 18th-centrury mansion – the Velayn’s house. Behind the thick stone walls of St. Trinity Church lies an astounding interior with multicolour marvel and beautiful frescoes. Most of the popular locations are situated close to each other, making it easier for the tourists to see as much as possible while enjoying the town.

Local Insight

Bansko - view from above

Bansko has a relaxed and colourful vibe that makes it popular among the tourists.  The town is an extraordinary blend of old traditions and contemporary style. You can take a walk around the cobbled streets and beautiful historic stone buildings in the town centre. The unique ethnographic houses listed as a World Heritage Site give Bansko a distinctive and picturesque look.

Shopping

Bansko may be a small town, but you can dig out some interesting gems. Explore the old centre for traditional items and local souvenirs  for your family and friends  back home. You can also buy less expensive ski and snowboarding equipment, jackets and pant from the local stores. However, beware of any fake/imitation brands with non decent quality.

The Nitty-Gritty

  • Winter season starts in mid December and usually lasts to the mid April with regular snow downfalls.
  • Bansko has a unique 16 km uninterrupted run starting from Todorka Peak (the highest point in the area), with various pistes on the way down to the base station of the gondola.
  • Keep in mind that during the peak season, Bansko can be quite crowded, which means busier pistes and longer queues at the gondola. It’s best to avoid the period between Christmas and February.
  • Aside from skiing and snowboarding, you can also try paragliding, ice skating snow-mobiles, skidoos and snow trekking. Want to relax after a long day at the piste? You can unwind in a natural thermal bath.