Welcome to Borovets, in monetary terms – the cheapest ski destination I could find, but that doesn’t mean to say that it wasn’t still breathtakingly beautiful with some excellent runs.
To put things into perspective, the beer was on average between £2-3 per pint (I love how Brits determine the expense of a destination by the price of their beer). Yes, Borovets was cheap; for the first time in my life I came home with money, so if you’re looking for a ‘cheap & cheerful’ ski destination then this is my recommendation for you.
Hotel Rila (pictured above) is by far the most luxurious hotel in Borovets. It is perfectly situated opposite the slopes and has a terrace lounge which conveniently happens to serve excellent cocktails – the ideal way to spend your afternoon following a morning of challenging red and black runs. I love Hotel Rila, but on every occasion I have found that the prices listed in their menu and the price totalling the bill differs. Whether this is deliberate or a mistake, it’s a shame. You don’t expect a place with class to rip you off. Despite this, the food and drinks are both the best around and so if you’re prepared to splash out it’ll definitely be worth it.
Pictured below is the view you receive from Rila’s Terrace – grab yourself a deck chair, pile on the suncream and rest your tired legs until the sun goes down.
This was my second trip to Borovets and after a questionable stay in the Festa Winter Palace (it’s rumoured to be haunted and the portraits in the corridors certainly enhance the suspicion) we chose to go for four-star luxury and stay in the second largest hotel in the resort – the Samokov.
Conveniently, the Samokov has its’ own ski hire and ski school located on the basement level, so the prospect of waking up with a bad head from the night before and only having to stumble downstairs was appealing. They also have an ideal location, being situated opposite the gondola means you don’t have to walk too far in your heavy ski boots!
The Samokov had a good price for a skiing package which included ski school, ski hire and most importantly the ski pass! Please note that most places don’t include helmets in these packages though so if you’re not taking your own, it’ll cost you extra.
The Samokov ski school was perfectly adequate, but having used Borosports the previous time (the most prominent ski school business in Borovets), I have to say that Borosports are my preference and if I were to go back, I would choose them.
I also wouldn’t personally rate the Samokov as a four-star hotel, and again, if I return to Borovets I’ll most definitely be staying in Hotel Rila (this destination absolutely adopts the “you get what you pay for” ethos).
The top of the mountain – it’s beautiful. You can see for miles and on a sunny day the brilliant blue sky contrasts the fluffy white snow perfectly.
Borovets has, in my opinion, the perfect balance of runs. There’s something for every level. Red is my preference, but I enjoy the challenge of a black and you can balance the two perfectly, dipping in and out of both as you make your way down the mountain. For less proficient skiers you can still ski the entire length of the mountain on a blue run – something I highly recommend!
Meet the Shopska salad, similar to the Greek salad this simple combination of cucumber, tomato, pepper, onion and cheese is exactly what your body craves come lunchtime. NB – Vegans be aware, Borovets does not cater to our needs and rather than fatigue my body on a diet of fruit for breakfast and chips for dinner I chose to eat vegetarian for the week. Your body needs the energy for skiing and for me, a lack lustre meal leaves me feeling depressed and irritable, which is certainly less than ideal.
Others meals of note are the garlic sautéed potatoes, cheese and potato bake and anything from the Mexican restaurant, Mammacita’s.
I didn’t expect to be including a picture of a Subway menu in my travel blog but this Bulgarian Subway served Avocado and Falafel subs !! Both vegan, and both delicious!
One last thing, take this opportunity to book yourself a massage! The majority of the hotels have a pool and spa facilities, and there’s nothing better than having your aching muscles rubbed with rose oil at the end of a long ski day – it’s sublime. Plus, you’re on holiday!
I may not have painted the best picture of Borovets in this blog post but actually, I really enjoy my time here. It has cheap, boozy bars full of stag do’s, but it also has a certain familiarity that makes me want to go back.
For those who haven’t skied before, here’s a rough guideline to our daily timetable:
9am – Ski school
Generally you ski until 12pm, lunch until 1pm and then ski again until 4pm.
4-7pm is either nap time or massage time – you choose! Then get showered and ready for a meal out and a night on the town.
7pm – The bars are open until 3.30/4am, I didn’t stay out that late because I like my sleep too much, but for those who are willing – enjoy! The alpine air will soon sort your head out again in the morning.
On a final note, Borovets may not be perfectly sparkly with designer stores on every corner, but it is humble and down to earth in its’ own way. The runs are good, the food is good and with the right group of people, this is the perfect cheap-week-away destination.
(Just don’t forget the suncream)