Last ski season, I booked a surprise ski trip for my partner John. He’s never skied before, although he’d made noises suggesting he might enjoy it. I wanted to take him somewhere to suit beginners and that wouldn’t break the bank if he hated the surprise – I chose Borovets in Bulgaria. “Boro-whats?” I hear you say…..well let me tell you.
Why Ski in Borovets
Is it cheap to Ski in Borovets?
First and foremost, it’s cheap. I don’t want to do Borovets a disservice, but this is a really big part of what it has to offer. See more on the price of ski passes, food and accommodation below.
How much is a ski pass in Borovets?
The ski pass costs around 35 Euros per day (190 Euros for six days consecutive), setting you back significantly less than the more glitzy and established resorts. The accommodation is reasonably priced and the food and drinks too.
Is it easy to get around the ski area in Borovets?
The town and ski area is compact and easy to navigate. The hotels are mostly near the centre and it’s simple to rent skis (although I’d urge you to check the skis carefully and ensure you rent from a reputable store, I had a near disaster when my rental ski completely fell apart on the first day!), store them and get up the mountain quickly. There’s a little bit of walking in ski boots at the start of the day, but no buses and not too much faff. Big bonus in my view, as some of the bigger resorts can feel like hard work (unless you’re in one of those luxury ski-in ski-out jobs – hark at you).
It’s also pretty straightforward to get to Borovets. I flew from Luton to Sofia with Wizz Air. Flights are regular and cost effective if you book in advance. From Sofia, there is public transport available (two short buses from the centre of town) or you can book a taxi/private transfer (I used Borovets Express). You could easily combine a couple of days skiing, with a couple of days in the capital of Bulgaria (more info on dining in Sofia here!)
What is Apres Ski like in Borovets?
Finally, Borovets is quite…..unique. Don’t expect a chocolate-box ski village (akin to Val D’isere), champagne bars (a la Courchevel), or even a traditional feel (like Kranjksa Gora in Slovenia). Picture instead, something a bit like the strip of Magaluf, or Tenerife, but with snow.
This is not to say it’s not pretty, it is in it’s own way, but it’s also the type of place that has a lot of pictures of food on the menus and 2 for 1 cocktail deals, all of which are being advertised to you by touts standing outside the restaurants. But if you like this sort of thing, or can embrace the quirk, it’s a lot of fun. I never imagined that I would Apres ski with 2 Pina Coladas in my hand, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
What is the food like in Borovets?
After a few days (and some terrible culinary disasters) we sorted the wheat from the chaff and found a few places we enjoyed eating and drinking. The first was Hunter’s restaurant which is frequented by a steady stream of Bulgarian ski instructors (always a good sign) – here you can enjoy a massive bit of Bulgarian sausage, alongside oh-so-creamy, garlicky potatoes, washed down with a decent caraffe of house red wine for about 20 Euros. For a cocktail, and the closest you’ll get to feeling a bit “fancy”, we really liked the Terrace Lounge at Hotel Rila which stands proud at the bottom of the main lifts with a panoramic view. Cocktails cost 8 to 10 Euros as of March 2022.
Borovets also has a night ski offering. This is open most days during peak season and a couple of nights per week in the off-season. I didn’t try it as it was iced over when I was there late season, plus I’d enjoyed the 2 for 1 cocktails a bit too much for all that. It’s also not included in your ski pass .But that didn’t stop others who zoomed down the two flood-lit runs!
Is the skiing in Borovets good?
Can beginners ski in Borovets?
The total ski area of Borovets pistes is 58km, this is spread across three ski areas which are not particularly well joined up. For total beginners, this resort is a great option. For a start, the ski lessons here are a bargain compared to the more expensive French or Austrian resorts. We used Borovets Ski School for a 2 hour lesson (approx 80 euros for a private lesson) – I’m hesitant to recommend this place too much as the instructor my partner encountered had some interesting (brutal) teaching techniques, but I imagine he got unlucky and the other instructors are a little kinder to newbies!
Secondly, there are a few short green (nursery) slopes in the centre of the resort for anyone who is just getting onto skis for the first time, kids and adults included. There’s also a nice long green cross country style route (Sitinyakova Royal Residence Ski Way) that takes you through the trees, which we really enjoyed. Once beginners are a bit more established, there are a few blue (beginner) routes to try. One of which (Igllka) is fairy short, with a few options at the top, so first-timers can enjoy different routes down and keep going up and down until they’ve perfected their snow plough.
I would say that after four days, most beginners will have exhausted their options to ski in Borovets and unless they are dare devils or quick learners, the next step up the red (intermediate) runs is quite a challenge. But, the great thing about this ski area is that there are a few shorter red, and even black routes, that have an option to turn back onto a blue run after a few hundred meters.
Can advanced skiers ski in Borovets?
For intermediates, the red and black (expert) runs are fun and some are challenging. Apart from the Markudjik ski area, there aren’t a huge amount of long runs. This isn’t a resort that enables you to spend hours carving down different runs before getting on another lift. It’s a bit “start-stop” as you get on different lifts. But fun for a few days nonetheless. My favourite run quickly became Cherveno Zname which is steep, wide and tends to keep good snow and skiing down into the village, where an espresso martini awaits you, is always a good thing!
Where to stay in Borovets
Hotel Rila in Borovets is the top-end of accommodation in this resort. At around 200 Euros a night, it has a pool, spa, various restaurants and bars and overlooks the piste.
For a mid-range option, you could try Moura Boutique Hotel, which costs around 50 Euros per night. It’s modern and has been renovated, but there are some issues with sound-proofing.
If you’re looking for budget accommodation, then Villa Park Apartments might be the one for you at approx 30 Euros per night.
How to get to Borovets from Sofia
The nearest airport to Borovets is Sofia. One of the great things about Borovets is how close it is to the airport and capital city of Bulgaria. It’s a great option if you want to combine a city break with a ski break.
There is a bus that runs direct from Sofia to Borovets too. It takes around one hour.
Rates provided by Book Away
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