Gaining in popularity year after year, Bulgaria found and established its berth among destinations to consider for a winter vacation for increasing number of European citizens, especially those from the United Kingdom. Although it’s hard to compete with the Alpine tradition and characteristics of nature, the quality for price ratio regarding the Balkan country makes it stand out not that far from the Great Powers of skiing. Bansko is considered to be the best complex for snow sports activity in the land for the last decade but Pamporovo runs close and becomes an attractive alternative for more people.
Which one to choose? No easy answer to that question. It largely depends on the overall agenda of the vacation and what the tourist would imagine about it. Running down the hill during the day and having a blast till late after midnight – sounds more like Bansko. Enjoying the slide together with the family and relaxing quietly for a week – that concept fits more Pamporovo. But the other way around is not excluded from both venues.
Bansko: Longer season, longer slides
Bulgarian winter resorts besides beating the competition on a national level with the number of pubs, restaurants, bars, and discos, Bansko holds one substantial advantage concerning the ski tourism. The Pirin mountain resort has the longest combined length of pistes in Bulgaria – about 75 km snowy tracks of all types. Well, the rookie Green kind happens to be missing but the ski roads also can be employed to learn. On the other hand is the Black type piste named after the Italian legend of the slalom Alberto Tomba. The altitude also adds to a longer season in Bansko compared to Pamporovo since the highest point just below the Todorka peak is about 2600 m above the sea level and the core of the ski zone Banderishka Polyana stands around 1600 m.
Pamporovo: Cheaper family vacation
The other Bulgarian resort besides Bansko finding a place in the top 10 of the most affordable ski destination in Europe – Pamporovo, is situated lower to the sea level and still high enough to sustain snow for more than two months if the weather is favorable. The Rhodopi mountain resort develops faster than any other in the country in the past few years since two ski zones merged – pay one and take two, riding on Pamporovo and Mechi Chal. This resort comes with better options for a family vacation regarding the prices of the lift pass. The whole week on the slopes for mummy, daddy, and two kids costs 960 BGN or about 435 GBP. Sure, Bansko is a competition when it comes to a longer stay, but rarely a family can afford more than a fortnight in the mountains.
Bansko is closer to Sofia
What is to be considered a drawback for both resorts is the distance from the main airport. Bansko is closer anyway but it still takes approximately two hours to get there from the airport. Pamporovo stays 230 km away from the capital, it’s much closer to Plovdiv but the planes landing there are few. The good thing if you book any of these places is you can fly from several airports in the UK (London’s Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton as well as Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol and East Midlands) to Sofia where there will be a bus shuttle waiting for you if that option is checked. The deals are here to find. The other choice is to rent a car – the office at the airport works from 8.00 to 23.00.