The first thing I did when I booked a VERY last minute ski holiday to Borovets under the influence of FAR too much vino, was to google ‘ Beginner skiing in Bulgaria – is it easy?! ‘ ‘Like, REALLY easy? Like, ANYONE can do it easy?!’
Needless to say, I was feeling the fear! Being possibly the clumsiest person on the planet, I felt my fear was probably justified! I mean my first injury at Borovets was just walking into the corner of the bed! This somehow resulted in an 8-inch haematoma which looked more like I’d collided with a tree at high speed..!
A few panic attacks later (yes real ones) and a lot of falling over, they finally made a skier out of me. Well, sort of… (Hurtling down the slope in a Bridget Jones manner counts as being a “skier” right?!)
So I decided to write this Borovets ski resort review from the perspective of a beginner skier. I shall tell you how to get there, where to stay, what to eat and drink as well as where to get skis and what ski school is like in Bulgaria. And guess what?! It turns out beginner skiing in Bulgaria is pretty fun…
What you can expect from this article...
- 1 So read on for my Borovets ski resort review to find out why you should consider beginner skiing in Bulgaria!
- 1.1 So why choose Borovets ski resort, Bulgaria for your holiday?
- 1.2 What is Borovets ski resort like?
- 1.3 When to go to Bulgaria skiing?
- 1.4 How to get to Borovets?
- 1.5 How much does a skiing holiday in Bulgaria cost?
- 1.6 Accommodation Options in Borovets
- 1.7 What should I wear in Borovets?
- 1.8 What is the nightlife like in Borovets?
- 1.9 Where do I hire equipment and get lift passes at Borovets?
- 1.10 What is Ski school like in Borovets?
- 1.11 What are the slopes like for beginners at Borovets?
- 1.12 What else is there to do in Borovets when I’m not skiing?
- 1.13 One final thing to remember!
So read on for my Borovets ski resort review to find out why you should consider beginner skiing in Bulgaria!
So why choose Borovets ski resort, Bulgaria for your holiday?
The main reason people flock to Bulgaria for ski holidays is the affordable prices. Yes, it would be lovely to ski in the picture perfect French Alps and yes I’ve heard the Austrian apres ski is second to none. But those ski resorts in Austria or France come with a hefty price tag that is difficult to justify except for the most avid of skiers. If you are a beginner skier, you will no doubt want to keep the costs down until you know that you love skiing!
Borovets has a few other attractions too. Firstly it’s only a 90-minute transfer from Sofia! This means less time in the car and more on the slopes!
In the two most popular Bulgarian ski resorts Bansko and Borovets, there are plenty of green beginner slopes for you to learn on.
Bulgaria is full of geothermal hot springs! I can think of no better way to tend to sore achy muscles post skiing than sitting in a natural hot spring overlooking the snow-capped mountains!
Read more| The best mountain resorts in Europe
What is Borovets ski resort like?
Set in a cute alpine village surrounded by plenty of snowy mountains, Borovets is certainly picturesque. I loved the little triangular wooden huts seen all over town. Everything is close and easy to walk to – even in uncomfortable ski boots! There are horse and carts shuttling skiers back and forth to their hotels. (Though I’d be reluctant to use this service as these horses didn’t appear particularly well cared for.)
There is certainly no shortage of bars pubs and restaurants so the apres ski is lively especially late afternoon when the slopes close for a few hours. You can happily stay out until 4 am or so if you want to!
When to go to Bulgaria skiing?
Borovets isn’t the highest ski resort in Europe with a maximum altitude of 2560M. Therefore, it may be risky going at the very start or end of the season. That said we went the first week of March and there was plenty of snow. A few slopes were getting a bit patchy but there were more than enough snowy slopes to keep us all occupied including the more advanced skiers in my group! I’d say anytime between December and February should guarantee you a reasonable amount of snow.
How to get to Borovets?
We flew from London Stanstead to Sofia. Sofia is just 1-1.5 hours drive from Borovets and transfers are pretty cheap from about 10 euro each person each way if organised in advance. Some hotels will arrange transfers for you so it’s worth checking this at the time of your booking.
How much does a skiing holiday in Bulgaria cost?
This really depends on how and when you book it! You will comfortably be able to afford an apartment or chalet for 4 people for around €500. However, there are better bargains to be found. Some friends we met out there had found flights AND accommodation for a week with half board for €250!
Food and drink can be expensive on the slopes. Expect to pay up to 30 lev (€15) for a hot meal and a beer. However, this is substantially cheaper than in the Alps where you could easily spend double! Back in the village, prices are a lot cheaper. Mulled wine will set you back about 3-6 lev, a meal 15-20 lev. Beers and cocktails are often sold as 2-4-1 deals so can work out very cheap. Good for the bank balance. Not so good for the mega hangovers!
You will usually save at least 25-30% of the cost of ski passes and equipment hire in Bulgaria compared to more expensive resorts in France and Austria. Ski school is also extremely cheap!
Accommodation Options in Borovets
– Chamkoria Chalets
We stayed at the Chamkoria Chalets. Booking so last minute and after a heavy snowfall, we didn’t have many options available to us! However, Chamkoria chalets were great. Our apartment was spotless, well equipped and had a lovely open fire which was extremely cosy! We also had use of a pool, sauna and jacuzzi in the building which was much appreciated after a cold day on the slopes with achy muscles!
The main downside to Chamkoria Chalets was the location. Approximately 3 miles from Borovets, we had to rely on shuttle buses and taxis. Shuttle buses had to be prior arranged and stopped at 7 pm so we often had to pay for taxis. Due to the narrow icy road to get there from town, many taxis were reluctant to do the trip and the ones that did charge a premium. It cost us 30 lev for each journey. The remote location, however, was very picturesque and peaceful.
– The Lion Hotel
Our friends we met on the slopes were staying at The Lion Hotel just half a mile from Borovets centre. They were pretty happy with their hotel. The only criticism is that they weren’t able to provide much information on local tours and activities. However, they got a bargain price and taxis were only 10 lev. Plus there was a shuttle bus that ran frequently and didn’t need to be pre-booked.
– Hotel Rila
Hotel Rila is definitely the luxury option. This grand hotel is literally right on the main slopes and the outdoor terrace overlooking all the action looked like an amazing place to hang out. I only saw the lobby when I went in to inquire about local activities but it felt extremely grand and the spa which you can see from the slopes just looked amazing! I thought it would be really expensive to stay here but a quick check on booking.com and it’s only €90 per night between 2 people! A bargain really…!
Check out deals in Borovets now and be inspired!
What should I wear in Borovets?
Given that the altitude isn’t too high in Borovets, you may feel warm on the slopes if you wear too many layers! I’d recommend for most days you will need a thermal base layer and leggings under a ski jacket and salopettes. You may need an additional layer or two on colder days! Also invest in goggles, sunglasses, a buff or face warmer and some good waterproof gloves. In the evening, the dress code is casual. Jeans or leggings with a jumper and snow boots would be perfect! I talk more about what to wear and what to pack in my Packing for beginner skiers post!
What is the nightlife like in Borovets?
Whether you are looking for a smart bar, a casual pub, a family-owned restaurant or a no-frills karaoke bar, Borovets has you covered! My favourite restaurant was Mamacita’s Mexican and my favourite apres ski bar was BJ’s for friendly service and great atmosphere. (Borovets has a habit of naming all of its bars crude names..!) I will be writing an article about Borovets nightlife so keep your eyes peeled!
Where do I hire equipment and get lift passes at Borovets?
We used Traventuria one of the main ski hire places in Borovets. After researching prices for ski hire in the French Alps, I was pleasantly surprised by the reasonable rates for hire, lifts passes and ski school.
We were late for our fitting / first ski school due to a blockage on the only road to our hotel – a minibus had got stranded in the snow sideways! But this didn’t seem to matter and we were handed all of our equipment when we arrived with minimal hassle. The equipment was decent quality, the centre close to the gondola and there were lockers available at additional cost of €5/day. This came in very useful for days where we went straight out from the slopes!
The organisation on occasion was a little poor. Our first instructor seemed to think he was teaching advanced skiers until we informed him otherwise – already halfway to the slopes! The following day, somehow my name wasn’t on the list for lessons and lessons had begun 45 minutes ago anyway as we’d been told the wrong time! But they did ring around and manage to slot me into another lesson albeit with slightly more experienced skiers.
A 6-day ski pass with equipment hire and 3 days of ski school (from 9 am to 2 pm) will set you back a very reasonable €252. A 4 days ski pass with equipment hire only costs €164. Compare this to Tignes in France where a ski pass alone (with no equipment hire or lessons) will cost €285 for 6 days or €198 for 4 days!
Aside from your skis, boots and poles, you will need some additional equipment but not as much as you would think! Check out my skiing for beginners packing list here!
What is Ski school like in Borovets?
I had 3 days of lessons. Each involved a 2-hour session in the morning, lunch on the slopes (not included) then a 2-hour session in the afternoon. My groups were always between 3-4 people but I have been told at busy times can be up to around 15 people. As a nervous skier, I was glad for the closer supervision!
I had 3 different teachers. The last 2 were fabulous and really helped with my confidence. Though I was disappointed with my first ski instructor who acted like he didn’t really want to be there and didn’t teach us much. So whilst it can be hit and miss depending on which instructor you get allocated, in general, the standard of teaching was very good. Keep your eyes peeled for my article on beginners skiing coming out soon. You will hear about my Bridget Jones moment on the slopes…!
What are the slopes like for beginners at Borovets?
In Borovets, there are plenty of beginner slopes. There are 2 main nursery slopes and another longer cross country green slopes then plenty of blue slopes to practise on. Though I’d suggest not attempting the cross country slope until you gain a little confidence as it crosses a red run and you really don’t want to end up on that by accident!
There is also plenty to do for more advanced skiers. There are plenty of challenging reds plus a few black runs.
1/ Always check the ski run is open when you get on the ski lift! Friends of mine who were complete beginners had to ski down a blue run when the green was closed. It sounded like a stressful experience!
2/ Always check what time the last gondola back down leaves at. My friend and I narrowly missed the last gondola on our first day when I still couldn’t even stand on skis without falling over. Skiing down a red run to get back would not have been fun!
What else is there to do in Borovets when I’m not skiing?
Be assured, there is plenty to do for non-skiers. You can visit natural hot springs, take ski-doo ski mobile safaris, horse treks and take time to chill out in a spa. There is also the apres ski where I spent most of my time..!
One final thing to remember!
Do NOT forget to arrange travel insurance! Especially as skiing carries a little more risk than a stroll in the park! As well as covering holiday cancellations, theft etc, make sure there is good health cover including emergency evacuation if needed. It’s also important to double check your insurance policy covers you for extreme sports – skiing! Check out Nomads travel insurance below – a company I reckon you can rely on! (psssst their travel health clinics are super helpful if you are planning a trip somewhere exotic and need advice on malaria, immunisations or altitude sickness!)
I hope you have found this Borovets Ski resort review useful and that I have persuaded you that beginner skiing in Bulgaria can be brilliant – even for the non-talented skiers like me! Bulgaria is a great option for beginner skiing if you are looking for somewhere affordable and not intimidating for beginners. There is a fab apres ski and plenty to do in the local area and I would definitely recommend Borovets as a great place for beginner skiing in Bulgaria and a great alternative to the pricier ski resorts in the French and Austrian Alps.
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Have you been to Borovets or are you considering a ski holiday in Bulgaria? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Please comment below! And if you’ve found this article useful, please share it with your friends and family using the share buttons below! Thanks a million!