In the heart of the magical Rhodope Mountains, surrounded by thick pine forests at the foot of Snezhanka Peak lies Pamporovo (1650m) – a modern ski resort with established traditions in the winter sport-and-holiday arena. Being one of the most southern of the European ski resorts, it offers a good balance between snow coverage and amount of sunshine throughout the winter – with more than 240 sunny days, Pamporovo is the sunniest mountain resort in Bulgaria. An invaluable asset for such a place, snowmaking and grooming machines are modern and aplenty. It is a perfect resort for beginners and families, since not only is there a great number of gentle and wide slopes for the more inexperienced of skiers and snowboarders, but the Ski School has been recognized as being among the best in Europe, with low prices and professional skiers, fluent in many languages. Although small, cozy and not having a busy nightlife, Pamporovo is bursting with restaurants, shops and bars for an enjoyable après-ski night out.
- One of the best ski schools in Europe
- Great for families and beginners with its gentle slopes and easy-to-navigate ski area.
- Very cheap all around, including on the slopes
- Many sunny days with great visibility, backed-up by excellent snow-making coverage.
Pamporovo resort was founded in the 1930s, with a few cottages and guest houses, rising to prominence in the 1960s. Its host - Rhodope Mountain - is not among the highest mountains in Bulgaria, but it bears a different and very distinctive charm. Its widely spread country of ridges, peaks and hilly plains, layers and layers of them, keeps the secrets of the ancient Thracian people - the people of Orpheus; its mystique has inspired tales and songs of profound beauty and sadness along the centuries; its people are one of a kind in their generosity and liveliness of spirit. The negative ionization of the air in the Rhodopes has long ago been discovered to have a healing effect on the human body, being used in the rehabilitation and prevention of respiratory diseases as well as in cases of nervous system disorders. Pamporovo has been steadily establishing itself as an acclaimed ski-sport zone for professional training and a host to many ski and snowboard competitions. Winters are mild and very sunny, snowmaking coverage is excellent.
The ski-sports area is located around Snezhanka Peak with a highest point of 1926 m. It consists of 37 km of runs for alpine disciplines and another 25 km for country-cross tracking. The ski zone is compact and can be reached from several different ski centers - Avtogara (Bus Station) No. 1, Malina No. 2, Smolyanski Ezera (Smolyan Lakes), ground Studenets and Stoykite. There's also a Fun park with different installations, including a half-pipe, plus a number of stretches for freeriding, where the diverse slopes and the suitable forests make for an appealing mixture of pleasure and safety with no avalanches and low chance of getting lost. Pamporovo's ski pistes vary in difficulty, ranging from the lightest ones - the greens - to the black ones for expert riders, where competitions from the FIS European Cup have been conducted. The most numerous, though, are the greens and blues for beginners and intermediates with not much experience. The lift system, serving the network of runs, consists of 13 units - 7 chairlifts and 6 draglifts - for a total capacity of 13 000 persons per hour.
The resort offers a wide choice of ski rental shops and more than 100 highly qualified ski instructors. Ski and board equipment is affordable and the represented brands are of high quality. The resort offers various opportunities for ski instruction depending on the individual level and experience of the skier. The ski school in Pamporovo is considered to be among the best in Europe and the prices are considerably lower as compared to resorts outside Bulgaria.
In ski resort Pamporovo, one could try traditional Bulgarian meals and especially the popular local dishes, made by experienced chefs in typical Bulgarian mehanas with authentic setting, good local wine and sometimes folklore music and dancing. There are many options for dining out, having a cup of tea or tasting the warm red wine with spices and fruit the locals call "greyano vino". Having a lunch on the pistes is a great convenience, the low prices of which might surprise you.
Emblematic for Pamporovo is the TV Tower Snezhanka, located on the top of Snezhanka Peak. Its iconic panoramic terrace (2030 m) and restaurant invite you to take a look at the amazing 360-degree view. Aside from the ski pistes, which can be seen at a glance from the top, also a view of the Smolyan Lakes is revealed to the south, Golyam Perelik Peak plus the magnificent Rila and Pirin mountains - to the west, Stara Planina Mountain - to the north, and Rozhen Plateau with the National Astronomical Observatory - to the east.
Distance from Sofia Airport is 230 km, 3 h 15 min by car.