Last updated on June 7th, 2023 at 06:44 pm
If there is one thing that Bulgarians are proud of, it would be the fact that we have pretty much everything – from rivers and valleys, high mountains and ski resorts, all the way to the Black Sea coast. This allows for a great vacation, no matter in which season you decide to visit.
In this blog post, we’ll be talking about the best ski resorts in Bulgaria and comparing their facilities, difficulty levels, prices and more.
Whether you’re already planning on travelling to Bulgaria in winter, or you’re just researching if this is somewhere you’d like to visit, this post will be able to help you.
Here is a list of the top 5 ski resorts in Bulgaria (in no particular order) with some useful information, coming from a regular skier, which you should keep in mind when deciding where to visit.
The best ski resorts in Bulgaria – our top 5 picks
Borovets is the second biggest resort in terms of length of slopes – 58 km to be precise. It’s located at the foot of the highest peak on the Balkans – Musala, and the slopes are spread at an altitude from 1330m to 2550m.
The landscape effectively divides the ski zone into three sections spread at different altitudes. One of those is the Sitnyakovo ski centre which relies on two fast chair lifts and has slopes suitable for both beginners and experts, and accommodates the ski school – perfect for families. This section is located at the lowest altitude of the three, but most slopes are equipped with snow guns and the snow could be kept in perfect condition. This is also the section where you could enjoy night skiing, which is only offered here and in Vitosha mountain right next to Sofia (more on that below).
The other two sections are on the other side of the main road and are connected by the Yastrebets gondola lift. The lower section (Yastrebets ski centre) offers long slopes for experienced skiers and is operated by the Yastrebets express chair lift which is very fast. The upper section (Markudjik ski centre) consists of 4 slopes (1 easy, 2 intermediate, and 1 for experts), which are all located above 2000m above sea level. This part of the resort is preferable for those warmer winter days, because the snow cover isn’t affected as much at this altitude.
My recommendation would be to stick to the sections with the Gondola lift. Arrive early (around 8 in the morning) and start off at Yastrebets ski centre for an hour or two. Go to the top of the Yastrebets express chair lift and ride down following the markings leading to the gondola lift mid-station. Get to Markudjik ski centre and stay there for the rest of the day. Then, at the end of the day enjoy a 12 km continuous ride down to the bottom station through different slopes.
What difficulty level is Borovets suitable for?
The resort offers slopes for all levels, but most are classified as intermediate. Sitnyakovo ski centre is better suited for beginners, and more experienced people could enjoy the whole resort.
Prices: For the most up-to-date information on prices, check out their website.
Pros: perhaps the best all-rounder; closer to Sofia than Bansko
Cons: ski zone is divided and it may be difficult to try out all slopes at one visit
Pamporovo is located in the Rhodope Mountain range and it’s the farthest away ski resort from the capital at around 3 hours drive. The resort is located at a lower altitude (between 1100m and just under 2000m).
The ski zone is divided into two sections – one under Todorka peak – Ski zone Pamporovo, and the other – at the foot of Mechi chal peak (or Bear’s peak in English, don’t worry – no bears to be seen) – Ski zone Mechi chal. Your ski pass buys you access to both ski zones and to a shuttle bus connecting the two.
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Ski zone Pamporovo is centered around Todorka peak and its Television tower, and all ski slopes start from it in different directions. The ski zone has 5 different chair lifts that will all get you back to the top. This ski zone has slopes of all difficulties, but best of all, there are four very long slopes at over 3 km, classified as easy or intermediate.
Ski zone Mechi chal starts from the eponymous peak at 1873m and the main slope (intermediate) runs for almost 3 km with a denivelation of 720m. There are several other ski slopes and ski routes of varying difficulty bringing the total distance up to 20 km.
What difficulty level is Pamporovo suitable for?
I’d say it’s suitable for everyone, but it’s probably the best place for beginners due to the many long and easy slopes.
½ day ski pass – 35 BGN
1 day ski pass – 45 BGN
2 days ski pass – 86 BGN
For the most up-to-date information on prices, check out their website.
Pros: Pamporovo offers a ski-pass booking service (Select pass) allowing you to purchase a ski pass for several days before the season and use it when you want; the resort is less crowded than Bansko and Borovets.
Cons: it is the farthest away from Sofia; the snow melts more easily so it is best visited in colder months.
Having the greatest total distance covered in ski slopes in the whole country and a rich cultural history, Bansko is known as the best ski resort in Bulgaria. The resort also hosts some of the disciplines of the FIS World Cup.
Bansko has 75 km of ski slopes, 80% of which are equipped with snow guns that allow for perfect maintenance of the snow cover.
This ski zone ranges in altitude between 1600m at Banderishka polyana to 2600m just below Todorka peak. The ski lifts are fast and comfortable and the ski zone is very easy to navigate (helped further by a mobile app that can help you around). The slopes are organized in such a way that both the beginner and the experienced skier/snowboarder could enjoy the whole ski zone from top to bottom without interruptions of different difficulty rating that’s not suitable to them. The ski zone also offers several slopes that have been classified as very difficult if that is your thing.
The ski zones are connected to Bansko via a gondola lift and a road that can take you up to Banderishka polyana or Shiligarnika lift (more on that below). Banderishka polyana is connected to the resort also via a 16 km long ski route which is simply perfect for a relaxed slide down to Bansko after a full day on the slopes. This is perfectly fine for any level of skier. Snowboarders, beware as the gradient at places is not steep enough for you to maintain progress. Don’t despair, plenty of helpful skiers will offer a ski pole as a form of tug and will drag you until you reach enough speed to continue on your own.
Bansko is one of the cheapest ski resorts in Europe (which is considered world class) and by far the biggest winter resort in Bulgaria, which also offers the greatest variety of accommodation options. The resort is also around 2 hours drive away from Sofia and easily accessible by car or bus.
What difficulty level is Bansko suitable for?
Around 1/3 of all the slopes are great for beginners, 40% are suited for experienced skiers and the rest are best suited to the experts.
For the most up-to-date information on prices, check out their website.
Parking is paid for practically everywhere near the ski lifts and it will cost you between 10 and 20 BGN per day.
Pros: best organized ski resort in the country, greatest variety of slopes only rivaled by Borovets, all slopes are in a single ski zone.
Cons: the most expensive resort on this list; the wait to get on the gondola could be very long.
Dobrinishte is also located in Pirin mountain close to Bansko (10-15 minutes drive), but is a much smaller resort with a smaller ski zone. As a consequence, Dobrinishte is much less crowded both in the resort and on the slopes, and is considerably cheaper than its neighbor. You are also likely to find a higher concentration of snowboarders there than anywhere else in Bulgaria.
The resort is a small village and there are no huge 5* hotels there, which only adds to the coziness of the place. The ski zone itself is located 11 km away from the village and is only accessible by car. If you find yourself here without a car of your own, it is very likely for the hotel or host to offer transport.
The ski zone consists of what is basically a 5 km long slope starting at approximately 2230m and ending at 1485m. The slope itself is divided into two sections – Bezbog 1 (intermediate) and Bezbog 2 (intermediate with a section for very experienced skiers called “The Wall”). The ski zone makes use of one double-seat chair lift with a mid-station. That is precisely where the two sections of the slope meet.
At its top-station the lift drops you off a few metres below the highest point of the ski zone, and you’ll have to climb them on your skis or snowboard. However, this will come as a much needed warm up after 27 minutes on the chair lift. Yes, that thing is slow. The slope starts with a ski route section which continues in the Bezbog 1 slope (intermediate) and ends at the mid-station. Bezbog 2 follows, which ranges from intermediate to very hard to easy at the end.
The resort is supported by snow guns only in the very bottom section which is best suited to beginners, and that makes it very dependent on weather conditions. On a good winter, all of the sections are opened and groomed, but more often than not the black section (The Wall) is not groomed due to insufficient snow and has to be bypassed through the si route. Hence, most people just ski between the top and mid-station of the lift.
What difficulty level is Dobrinishte suitable for?
Dobrinishte is better suited for experienced skiers/snowboarders and it’s particularly loved among snowboarders.
Prices: A single day lift pass costs approximately 40 BGN
Pros: a lot cheaper alternative to Bansko both in terms of accommodation and skiing expenses; less crowded.
Cons: very dependent on weather and snowfall; very slow lift.
Vitosha Mountain near Sofia
Bulgaria’s capital is quite lucky to be nestled in the foot of Vitosha Mountain. Having its highest peak Cherni Vrah at 2290 m tall makes the mountain well suited to offering good conditions for winter sports. It’s home to the oldest developed ski zone in the country – ski zone Aleko. It’s only a 30-40 minute drive away from most parts of Sofia and it’s also accessible by bus, or the Simeonovo-Aleko gondola lift which makes it perfect for a few-hour ski getaway anytime during the week.
The Aleko ski zone offers a few easy slopes for beginners and a ski school for the little skiers. However, the best maintained slope in the ski zone is Vitoshko lale (Vitosha tulip in English). This particular ski slope is equipped with snow guns and could be maintained in very good condition even if the winter is rather warm, and is inevitably the first one to accumulate enough snow for grooming each season.
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The whole ski zone is accessible during the day via bus (setting off from two different locations in the capital, simply Google lines 122 and 123), car (beware, on weekends the road to the ski zone is deliberately closed for cars between 11 and 14 o’clock), and the gondola lift (working every day between 8:30 until 16:30). The slopes are busiest during the weekends.
Vitoshko lale 1 is also attracting many snow sport enthusiasts from the capital with its night skiing, happening every day between 18:00 and 21:30 from December until late March. It’s important to remember that for night skiing the slope is only accessible by car, but people from Sofia love it because it’s just perfect to top off a busy work day. It’s best to arrive at the parking lot just before 18 o’clock because it fills up quickly. As mentioned above, the only alternative for night skiing is in Borovets.
When we’re really lucky and the winter is very cold and snowy, we could also enjoy 3 other slopes which are classified as hard or very hard – Vitoshko lale 2 and 3, and Stenata (The Wall), but that happens rarely in the past years. Thanks, global warming! However, during those lucky winters we get to ski on all slopes and the ski zone expands almost to the top of the Cherni vrah (Black peak).
What difficulty level is Vitosha suitable for?
Most of the slopes are classified as easy.
Vitoshko lale 1 (night skiing slope) and Stenata are classified as hard. Vitoshko lale 1’s middle section is prone to freezing during night skiing.
Vitoshko lale 2 and 3 are classified as very hard.
Prices: the prices for an adult for the 2021/2022 season were as follows:
Night skiing – 40 BGN
1 day – 45 BGN
5 days including night skiing – 500 BGN
7 days including night skiing – 700 BGN
½ day cards are also available at 35 BGN from morning until 12:30 and for 30 BGN for the rest of the day.
Make sure to visit their website for the most up-to-date prices.
Pros: Extremely close to Sofia, you can go there without having a car; one can experience night skiing.
Cons: Usually only one slope is open and it can get a bit crowded.
In no particular order, these were the five most visited ski resorts in Bulgaria. I hope this article was useful and you managed to pick a place to visit during your holiday, and if anything has remained unanswered – you can always message me privately on my social media!
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