What is it like to take a winter vacation in Bulgaria now in the midst of the global financial crisis?
Overall, the number of bookings at Bulgaria’s leading skiing resorts has dropped considerably over the season. As a rule, Brits have been the keenest to take a skiing holiday in Bulgaria. And yet the number of UK bookings has slumped sharply too, people in the know say. To be specific, the number of UK visitors to Borovets, Bulgaria’s oldest skiing resort, sitting in the Rila Mountain, has gone down by 30%. The same goes for other skiing resorts too, prompting a number of tour operators to cut down tour package prices.
In another development ski-zone concessionaires have moved to invest in improving winter-sports conditions. Most Bulgarian skiing resorts are equipped with special artificial snow equipment. Bansko resort in the Pirin Mountain offers the best skiing conditions- hotel-keeping in the area has experienced a genuine boom in most recent years. Visitors can choose from a great variety of ski pistes, running to a total length of 65 km. Over the ongoing season another 25 newly acquired artificial snow-cannons will definitely guarantee uninterrupted skiing to patrons of the resort of Bansko. Snow-boarders have their own special track in the environs of the small mountain town. Bansko, like so many other Bulgarian resorts, offers excellent conditions for night-time skiing. Quite a few foreign visitors opt for single family-villa accommodation, relishing the quiet and magic of snow-clad woodlands, visits to old-time churches and local cuisine nights.
Borovets, on its part, offers totally upgraded sporting facilities this season, the result of 10 million euros of investments. Skiers enjoy the benefits of the new chairlift, servicing 2400 people per hour. At Pamporovo resort, situated in the Rhodope Mountain, visitors can benefit from spa procedures and trips to the nearby ethnographic village of Shiroka Luka. Snowboarders have to travel some way to the snowboarding track at Momchilovtsi, reportedly one of the best in Bulgaria.
All in all, tour packages are very much within the range of even not well-off foreigners - depending on the hotel category, the overnight charge can range from 20 euro to 200 euro. A day lift ticket will cost only 25 euro. Local ski schools offer ski training at appreciably low-cost rates.