A question from a history class launches our tour. Do you know what was the first ever resort built in Bulgaria? Let’s pretend you haven’t read the headline – you might not guess what the correct answer is but perhaps most of the students wouldn’t know it too. Last year Borovets ski resort celebrated 120th anniversary – created in 1896 it’s the oldest winter center on the Balkans and the first ever tourist village in the country. Known from the beginning as Chamkoriya for nearly half a century the site was renamed to its current in 1942.
The pine forest as the name of Borovets is translated in English represents only one of the attractions of this place. What beats every other big winter resort in Bulgaria happens to be the proximity to the state’s capital. Sure, except for Vitosha mountain touched by the outskirts of Sofia but the range of skiing activity there fall far behind the top 3 sites – Bansko, Borovets, and Pamporovo. Among this elite group, Borovets is the closest to Sofia – 70 km and about a one-hour ride on a half-mountainous road. Other two complexes lie much further away from the main airport in Bulgaria.
Nested inside the valleys and hills of the highest mountain on the Balkan peninsula – the Rila, the resort gives everything to a skier who is eager to ride a week or longer. Skiing in Borovets serves the rich list of tracks from all spectrum of difficulty. The winter sums up 27 slopes – one third are the Green type for absolute rookies (Rila, Rotata, Suhar, etc.) so no surprise you can find a ski school in no time. But there are also four of the toughest Black type – sliding down on Markuzhika 2-A for example is e real challenge even for experienced riders and a danger for beginners.
Borovets offers affordable prices for the lift. Last year the daily ticket cost was 55 BGN (less than 30 Euro) – a bit cheaper than Bansko. But the kids benefited from anniversary festivities and were granted the possibility to ski Borovets pistes for significantly lower prices. Part of the strategy of the resort is to attract more and more children and young adults every year – rooted more than a century back in time, this Rila based complex tries to take a glimpse of the future.
Hundreds of hotels and houses are situated in Borovets ski resort and nearby villages. Their prices vary from below 10 Euro for a sleepover in some of the low-cost places to numbers like 500 Euro for the night of the New Year for example.
Skiing might be the leading but not the only reason to visit that place. Only a few hours of walking will lead you to the highest peak of the whole region – mount Musala rises 2925 meters above sea level and if the weather report is favourable even inexperienced could climb to the top of it. Biking is also an option and actually, Borovets ski resort never stops – there are plenty of choices even in the summer. And the gulp of fresh air and serenity is only an hour away from the big city heat and pressure.