BOROVETS

Ski Resort in Bulgaria

Info Borovets

introduction

Borovets ski resort is located 12 km from the town of Samokov and 72 km from the Bulgarian capital Sofia. The resort is situated on the northern slopes of the Mousala ridge in the eastern part of the Rila mountain. Borovets is huddled in venerable pine woods 1390 meters above the sea level. The highest pistes of Borovets ski centre are located at 2600 m above the sea level.

Borovets is a modern ski resort with luxury hotels, shops, bars and restaurants. The resort provides excellent skiing facilities, pistes and lifts. Diverse winter sports can be practiced on the slopes: skiing, snowboarding, night-skiing, cross-country skiing, biathlon, ski jumps, ski-doo etc. 

The total length of the ski pistes is 58 km. The ski runs vary in difficulty. The pistes are grouped in 3 ski centres: pistes of Sitnyakovo – Martinovi Baraki region; 4 pistes of Markudjik region and 3 pistes of Yastrebets region. The best ski slopes are those of Yastrebets ski centre where all winter sports competitions take place.

The winter in the resort is mild with loads of snow. The average temperature in January is 4.8ºC. The snow cover on the slopes remains from December untill April. The air in Borovets is clear, the climate is considered to be healthy.


Ski information


Beginners

If you're completely new to skiing and don't fancy blowing the budget on a swanky French resort, Borovets is for you. Beginners will receive a high standard of English-speaking instruction (for a very low price) on the gentle nursery slopes that are located just beside the Rila Hotel. And as this is a ski-in village, you're just a short walk from your hotel once your ski day is over.

Intermediates

Borovets is a good resort for intermediates who like a variety of runs to choose from. The well-planned lift system includes the six-person Yastrebets gondola.

Advanced

For the expert skier, there's the testing World Cup run, one of the more challenging pistes in the Yastrebets area, or the excellent off-piste and skiing through the trees.

Snowboarding

Borovets is said to be one of the best rideable areas in Bulgaria, and one of the highest in Eastern Europe with runs above 2,500m. It has plenty of varied terrain, open pistes, some fun lines through the trees and even a half-pipe at Rotata. If you're a beginner, the excellent English-speaking instructors will help you find your feet, and if you're experienced, the Snowpark Borovets is bound to keep you busy. Located at the foot of the Martinovi Baraki 2, you'll get free reign of the 300m-long terrain park with rails, boxes, a wall ride and an air bag.

Good to know

Prices given below for lift passes, equipment hire, ski school and packages are for information purposes only and may fluctuate during the season. Current prices can be found by proceeding with your booking.

Lift passes

6 daysAdultYouth (14-22)Child (7-13)
Local lift pass£120£75£63
Lift Pass Coverage: 
• BorovetsDeposit required for lift pass: No
Photo required for lift pass: No

Equipment hire

DaysAdultChild (7-13)*
Standard skis£33£28
Ski boots£21£16
Skis and boots£47-
Skis, boots and helmet-£42
Snowboard£58£29
Snowboard boots£29£29
Snowboard and boots£54-
Helmet£15£15

*Snowboard hire is only available to children 8 years and over.

Ski school

 DaysAdultChild*
Ski tuition (4 hours)6£62£44
Board tuition (2 hours)6£80£55
Ski kindergarten6-£111
Non-ski kindergarten6-£109

*Child 1-3 years non-ski kindergarten, 4-6 years ski kindergarten (helmet included), 6-13 years ski tuition.
Board tuition is only available to children 8 years and over.6 day ski tuition (4 hours): 10am – 12pm & 1pm – 3pm6 day board tuition (2 hours) – 10am – 12pm OR 1pm – 3pmPre-bookable Independent Nursery and Ski kindergarten at the Hotel Rila (8.30am - 5pm)
Nursery (non-ski) -
 for 1-3 years. Cared for by nannies based in the hotel.

Ski Kindergarten - for 4-6 years. Includes supervision, skis, boots, two-hours daily tuition, lunch, games, sweets, tea and children's entertainment. Lift pass isn't required for Ski Kindergarten. Ski school is open to everyone, not just customers at the Hotel Rila.Pre-bookable Independent Nursery and Ski kindergarten at the Hotel Samokov (8.30am - 4.30pm)
Hotel Samokov also runs its own kindergarten for guests staying in the hotel.
Nursery (non-ski) - for 2-3 years. Includes lunch, snacks and supervised indoor and outdoor activities.
Ski Kindergarten - for 4-6 years. Includes two-hour daily tuition, ski and boot hire, helmet and vest. Indoor and outdoor activities. Lunch and snacks provided. Lift pass isn't required for Ski Kindergarten. Hotel Samokov only offers ski school for customers staying at the hotel.

First-time ski/board package

 AdultChild (7-11)
First time ski£172£127
First time board£192£147*

* Children have to be 8 years and older to snowboard

For complete beginners only and includes:
• 6 day lift pass
• 6 days equipment hire
• 6 day ski tuition - 4 hours per day
• or 6 day board tuition - 2 hours per day
• helmet for children


Improver package

 AdultChild (7-11)
Improver ski£184£136
Improver board£205£157*

* Children have to be 8 years and older to snowboard

Includes:
• 6 day lift pass
• 6 days equipment hire
• 6 day ski tuition - 4 hours per day
• or 6 day board tuition - 2 hours per day
• helmet for children

Borovets info card

Resort Altitude1390m
Highest Lift2600m
Total Piste58km
Longest Run12km
Directions of SlopesN,NE,NW
Uphill Capacity8650
Total Lifts18
Gondolas/Cable cars1
Chairlifts4
Drag Lifts13
Snow Parks1

Tourism

Super Borovets

The Super Borovets project is one of the largest and most expensive investment and development projects in Bulgarian history. The plan is to enlarge Borovets town to encompass the nearby towns of Samokov and Beli Iskar. The resort will be divided into three levels:

Level 1 or Low Borovets: A brand new development just outside Samokov, this area will cater for the less economically well off tourists, but will have good connections and transport with Borovets and the main ski area. This project will provide around 5,000 hotel rooms.

Level 2 or Borovets: Consists of the existing Borovets with extensive investment and development. This will provide around 10,000 hotel rooms (approximately what Borovets currently provides) and will remain as the main accommodation area.

Level 3 or Super Borovets: This will cater for those looking for 5 star hotels and a luxury experience, however it will provide no more than 2,500 hotel rooms.

The current plan from the architects (subject to review and acceptance by the ecology team) is to expand the number of pistes by constructing 19 new pistes bringing the total ski-able area to around 90 km. To cope with the higher demand for ski-lifts and gondolas, 12 new ski-lifts will be built. One of these lifts will be a multi-station gondola which connects Borovets to Samokov allowing skiers easy access to the slopes from the Lower Borovets development site.

The project was launched in 2004 and was to be completed by 2009, however several setbacks have delayed it. The project was then given the go-ahead in October 2007, amidst opposition from environmentalists. However, by February 2010, still nothing had happened with the whole project mired in financial problems as a result of the late-2000s financial crisis, and the project's backers denying that work had restarted.


Summer activities

Like most ski resorts, Borovets is quieter during the summer, but there is always horse riding, by the hour or 1 to 7-day holidays, on the wonderful mountain and forest tracks and paths, and more recently, mountain biking has become popular and there are many dedicated routes which include purpose-made jumps. The lifts are working in the summer and bikers can take their bikes up on them. Different lifts work on different days. Hiking is also popular as is fishing at the local trout fishery.

The Kings Palace (Tsarska Bistritsa) is open from 10 till 5 Friday to Sunday and cost 3 leva entry.

History

Borovets is the oldest Bulgarian winter resort with a history that dates back to 1896. Borovets was originally established at the end of the 19th Century as a hunting place for the Bulgarian Kings. Borovets gradually developed into a modern ski resort with hotels, restaurants, bars and a network of ski runs and lifts along the slopes of the Rila Mountains, providing for a whole range of winter sports. The resort has twice hosted World Cup Alpine Skiing rounds(1981 and 1984), while the Biathlon track is one of the best in the world.

Climate

Climate data for Borovets, Bulgaria

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)0.6
(33.1)
2.2
(36)
5.4
(41.7)
11.1
(52)
16.2
(61.2)
19.6
(67.3)
22.1
(71.8)
22.3
(72.1)
17.9
(64.2)
12.6
(54.7)
7.3
(45.1)
2.6
(36.7)
11.7
(53.1)
Daily mean °C (°F)−3.8
(25.2)
−2.5
(27.5)
0.7
(33.3)
6.1
(43)
11.0
(51.8)
14.9
(58.8)
16.8
(62.2)
16.8
(62.2)
12.5
(54.5)
7.9
(46.2)
2.6
(36.7)
−2.1
(28.2)
6.8
(44.2)
Average low °C (°F)−7.1
(19.2)
−6.2
(20.8)
−3.1
(26.4)
1.2
(34.2)
5.7
(42.3)
9.1
(48.4)
10.4
(50.7)
10.2
(50.4)
7.0
(44.6)
3.1
(37.6)
−1.2
(29.8)
−5.7
(21.7)
2.0
(35.6)
Average rainfall mm (inches)59
(2.32)
53
(2.09)
62
(2.44)
82
(3.23)
114
(4.49)
121
(4.76)
91
(3.58)
62
(2.44)
56
(2.2)
68
(2.68)
67
(2.64)
60
(2.36)
895
(35.24)
Source: Stringmeteo.com

Transportation - Get In

Borovets is reasonably easy to access being only 73 km from the Bulgarian capital of Sofia and 125 km from the second largest city of Plovdiv.

Sofia, the closest airport, is served by a number of budget airlines including Wizz Air and Easyjet among others. If booked early, you can pick up a really cheap deal. Also, British Airways and Bulgaria Air can offer extremely good deals and provide more comfort. Lufthansa have several daily flights to Sofia, with connections from many countries through Muenchen or Frankfurt. Most hotels are fully prepared to provide transfer services with booking.

Holidays to this area can also be arranged via tour operators with package holidays available from a variety of companies including, but not limited to: Crystal, First Choice and Balkan Holidays.


By public bus

By far the cheapest option but a little more difficult than a direct transfer as there’s not yet direct public transport between Sofia and Borovets. Take a bus from Sofia, Bus Station South (Avtogara Yug) to Samokov (one hour) and then a minibus to Borovets (20 minutes). Minibuses from Samokov leave every 30 to 45 minutes between 7AM and 7PM. Borovets has no bus station; minibuses from Samokov stop outside Borovets’ Hotel Samokov. The trip costs around 14 lev all up.

Ski Lifts & Slopes

The ski resort is at an altitude of 1350 m. 58 km of marked pistes cover the generally north facing slopes up to an altitude of 2560 m, with many runs terminating near the village centre allowing skiers to ski almost to their hotel door. The longest run is a gentle 12 km return to the resort along the maintenance road.


Borovets Ski Slopes

Ski RunDifficultyLength (m)Inclination (m)
Sitnyakovo ski trackGreen60000
Sitnyakovo 1aBlue5800400
Martinovi Baraki 5Green50000
Sitnyakovo 1bRed4000230
Sitnyakovo 2Red4000250
Yastrebets 1Black2300860
Yastrebets 2Red3000650
Yastrebets 3Red2350617
Markujik 2ARed1300280
Martinovi Baraki 3Red1260320
Markujik 3Red1240390
Martinovi Baraki 4Black1240302
Markujik 1Red1220220
Martinovi Baraki 1Black1160340
Martinovi Baraki 2Red1160280
Sitnyakovo 3Red1000220
LavinataBlack8300
YastrebetsBlack8000
MarkujikGreen6000
BorovetsCross Country00

Lifts

All ski lifts are open 9.00 am to 4.30 pm. Each lift closes for technical checks and maintenance for half a day each week and for 1 full day each month, see local signs for dates and times for each lift.

Ski Run/LiftTypeLength (m)Elevation (m)
Gondola YastrebetsGondola48271054
Yastrebetz Express4-seat1786439
Sitnyakovo Express4-seat2050609
Markudjik 24-seat950342
Martinovi Baraki4-seat1209313
Markujik 3Drag1031366
Markujik 1Drag903223
Markujik 0 - beginners pisteDrag50042
SitnyakovoDrag28070
RilaDrag18033
IglikaDrag19650
RotataDrag50054

The lift infrastructure of the resort is very well developed by drag lifts, baby tows, seat chain lifts, plus a gondola lift. 1 six-seat Gondola lift, 2 High Speed Quad Chair lifts, 1 Fixed Grip Quad Chair lift, 10 Surface ski lifts and 9 tow lifts. As for the 6 persons gondola lift, it takes you to the Yastrebets peak on 2363 m above sea level. The difference in altitude is approx. 1046 m and length of route is 4827 m. The gondola lift has a capacity of 1200 persons per hour. The journey takes around 20 minutes. The total capacity of all tow lifts of Borovets is 8150 persons per hour.

A recently completed 200-meter carpet lift takes the skiers from ski center Markudjik to the upper station of the gondola lift "Yastrebetz"; and the widened 10 km long Musala Pathway provides an easy way to return to the resort.

Activities & Things to do


Skiing

The ski area in Borovets is split in two; a smaller area with runs down into the main resort is serviced by 2 chairlifts and a number of drag tows and consists of nursery slopes; a couple of short black runs; 1 long blue run and a number of short reds. The second ski area is accessible via a Gondola and is much larger with a number of long blue and red runs. Black slopes are available at this resort but it must be noted that despite the high quality of the red and black runs this resort is considered to be mainly for beginners and intermediates. The resort has several good ski schools and a wide range of Apres ski activities. It is suggested that to book a place at one of these schools if you are new to skiing.


Night skiing

For night skiing there is a special lift pass that has to be bought separately at the kiosks on the pistes. It is valid from 5 pm till 10 pm.


Cross-country skiing

The resort also offers biathlon facilities for training and competitions. 35 km of cross country trails are designed according to the requirements of FIS (Federation Internationale de Ski), although they cancelled the last two cross-country events to be held in Borovets, in 2009 and 2010.


Ski-doo

2 person ski-doos are available for local rent in the resort. Tourists can be guided through the local forests by an instructor.


Ski jumping

Every Wednesday the local ski and snowboarding instructors put on a Ski Jumping show on the slopes in front of the Hotel Rila. The show is free for all that attended ski school during the week but there is a charge for those who have not attended ski school. There are, however, many bars in the local area where you can sit and enjoy a drink whilst watching the show for free.


Ski Instruction

One of the major attractions of Bulgaria and especially Borovets is the high standard of instruction available at a much lower cost than is common in the ski resorts of western europe.

The instruction is divided into 5 different levels according to the skill level of the individual. The lessons may be group or individual (subject to request) and the duration of the course is from anything from 3 to 12 days. There is also a ski kindergarten for the children aged 4 to 8 years which runs for the entire day.

Restaurants & Nightlife


Eating out

There's a decent range of restaurants throughout Borovets, to keep the international crowds happy. A lot of restaurants are clustered in the area around the Hotel Rila, and most menus offer a variety of Bulgarian dishes, pizzas, burgers and steaks. Special Bulgarian evenings give a taste of the local with regional cuisine and entertainment.

• Silver Fox Restaurant  A tiny, traditional spot next to the slopes serving up authentic Bulgarian cuisine - expect lots of meat - and beautiful, warm homemade bread.

• Vicky's Pizza  One of the best menus in town, which includes loads of grilled meats, pizza, pasta and salads. If you're really hungry, or up for sharing, opt for the 1 metre-long meat sword with chicken or beef.

• Mamacita's  A fantastic Mexican with a lively atmosphere and delicious fajitas, nachos and burritos - plus plenty of sangria and live music to keep the party going.

• Alpin Restaurant  Popular and comforting home-style cooking, with a mix of Bulgarian and European flavours, fantastic desserts and an excellent wine menu.

• Euphoria Hotel  Elegant, quality restaurant with delicious Bulgarian and international dishes. Everything is presented well, and the chocolate souffle is the perfect way to end the meal.


Mountain restaurants

• Silver Fox (Rotata piste) – Sample mouthwatering Bulgarian dishes served with a smile in this cosy wood and stone hut.

• Skidoo Café (bottom of Cherveno Zname piste) – If you’re on a budget, it’s cheaper to eat here at the base than up the mountain, but you’ll still get a tasty, hearty lunch.


Nightlife

Said to be one of Europe's greatest party hotspots on the slopes, Borovets has a legendary and very cheap nightlife. Step into one of its numerous bars and nightclubs and you're guaranteed to be there until the small hours. For more traditional Bulgarian nights, head to one of the 'mehanas'. 

 Black Tiger Bar  This is a karaoke lover's heaven. Belt out tune after tune all night long with an extensive track list. And with cheap drinks, there are bound to be lots of laughs.

 Buzz Bar  This diddy hut is the most popular joint in Borovets. It's got fantastic music all through the night until the early morning, so don't blame us when your legs won't work the next day. 

 BJ's Bar  If you want a buzzing Austrian-style bar with blaring music and the best homemade cocktails in town, then BJ's is your answer. Located just opposite the Samokov, this one is definitely for the ultimate après animals. 

 Mamacitas  This lively Mexican-themed shack is full of live music, good food, tasty cocktails and, of course, sombreros. On the main shopping street next to the Hotel Rila, get here early for a round of après drinks.

 

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