Cruisey, tree-lined slopes and a large dose of sunshine make Bulgaria a pleasure to ski at half term.
Brits have been loyally returning for years, many choosing to make their stay permanent - you’ll find Brit-run ski schools, bars and restaurants dotted around, which gives the resorts a familiar feel. Better yet, costs are SNO low from cheap 5* luxury to £1 for a pint.
Catered chalets may be few and far between in Bulgaria, but those willing to forgo high tea or fend for themselves will find a range of half-board or self-catered lodgings.
In Baltic country, “villas” are a good alternative to a chalet – though they’re closer to compact-cabin than Tuscan palace on the “villa” spectrum, many are clustered around hotels with access to facilities like restaurants and pools (and they won’t cost a king’s ransom).
A St George Villa, meanwhile, will find you in the heart of the resort, so less of your week’s frittered on the back and forth to Bobby’s bar (great home cooking, friendly après and complimentary childcare = a half term dream).
Bar to the left, restaurant to the right and relaxation up to the rafters: hotels are just what the doctor ordered on a week away. Plus, you’ve probably heard that Bulgaria’s “Baltic Bling” is one of the cheapest ways to do luxury - the Winter Palace in Borovets is the least costly palace we’ve ever clapped eyes on…
If you’re more focused on ski-filled days or there are kids in your party, pick a ski in / ski out hotel like the Yanakiev. It’s by an easy-going piste and doesn’t compromise on style either.
Those looking for a week of calm can’t go wrong in sunny little Pamporovo – you’ll be able to make your own postcards out of the views from Hotel Prespa, which overlooks the snowy forest and Rhodope Mountains.
Bansko’s the place to be heading if you’re after après with a difference, it’s home to some of the best in Bulgarian “Mehanas” (people wax lyrical about the singing violinists at Baryakova). The Hotel Strazhite here’s halfway between the ski lifts and the town, so you’ll be out and about in a jiffy.
Self-catering apartments are a great way to bring the costs tumbling down at half term; especially in cut-price Bulgaria. They also let you take the wheel on your half-term break, whether you want to go out for a Kavarma or stay in with a sarnie...
Intimate Pamporovo was seemingly made for families, where the striking Castle Apartments are higher up the resort in the quiet Studenets area. In the same resort, culture vultures will love the Grand Monastery Apartments. A sight in themselves, they make a great base for easy access to the slopes, while non-skiers can take excursions to Plovdiv and Smolyan or the beautiful surrounding caves.
Apartments are far from bare-boned - especially “Aparthotels” where you stay in self-contained accommodation but have use of hotel services and facilities. Take your half-term relaxation up a notch and book somewhere like Bansko’s St George’s Lodge Aparthotel, a new complex on the outskirts of the Pirin National park.