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Bulgaria is fast becoming one of the most popular countries in Europe for skiing. With budget-friendly resorts, decent snowfall and World Cup-standard pistes, it’s no wonder hundreds of thousands of skiers descend on the country’s slopes each winter.
There are three major ski resorts in Bulgaria – Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo – plus many other smaller, quieter ones to explore. The country is home to 37 mountains, and temperatures regularly drop to -5C (23F), which is not quite as bitterly cold as Northern Europe. Intrigued? Culture Trip rounds up the best ski resorts in Bulgaria.
Just 40km (25mi) from Borovets and with only 4km (2.5mi) of runs, Malyovitsa is more commonly frequented by alpine mountaineers looking to summit the 2,729m (8,953ft) peak. It’s also popular with advanced skiers who come here for backcountry skiing. Hire a guide to take you up to the summit, starting at 1,730m (5,676ft) and ascending 1,000m (3,281ft); it takes around seven hours in total. The best conditions are usually between February and April. Don’t miss the incredible views stretching across the nearby Balkan lakes, namely Strashnoto (the Scary Lake).
In one of the most beautiful parts of the Balkan mountain range, you’ll find the tiny ski resort of Uzana. It’s not one for a week’s holiday – there are only 3km (2mi) of pistes – but it’s an ideal place to learn how to ski as part of a wider Bulgarian adventure. During the weekdays, this ski resort is quiet, and you’ll have the pistes to yourself. However, during the weekend, ski tourists will descend. Stay at the Balkanci Family Hotel, where you can rent ski equipment for just 8 leva (£3.80) per day for adults. Relax in the hotel sauna and Jacuzzi afterwards.
Ribaritsa lies 600m (1,969ft) above sea level at the foot of the Balkan mountain range. While there is only one ski run here, serviced by a drag lift, it’s 1km (0.6mi) long and is the only ski resort in Bulgaria to offer summer skiing on grass. In the village, you can spot rakia distillers and small artisan workshops. Stop at Stara Ribaritsa Tavern for a traditional Bulgarian dinner. From Ribaritsa, you can also visit the 16th-century Troyan Monastery and the nearby town of Tryavna, with its picturesque, traditional architecture.
Additional reporting by Nina Zietman.