The Balkans are known for their stunning mountains, which makes sense considering the entire penninsula is named after a mountain range! While we love exploring Balkan cities and never run out of things to do in Sofia in winter, we sometimes find ourselves itching for some good skiing and winter sports. Here are great options for Balkan ski resorts and other great winter holiday ideas.
Bankso, Bulgaria. Old meets new in Bansko - one of Bulgaria's top winter sports areas. It's the country's most modern ski resort, set among the snowy peaks of beautiful Pirin National Park. The ski area's a 25-minute gondola ride from the resort up at 2000-2600 metres altitude. The height means there's great snow coverage, a long ski season and some fantastic panoramic views from the top. Bansko has around 70km worth of pistes at a mix of levels. Though good-value lessons and low-cost ski hire make it especially popular with beginners wanting to give skiing or snowboarding a try. There are off-piste and tree runs for the more advanced skiers too.
Borovets, Bulgaria. Whilst Borovets in Bulgaria is one of the more affordable ski resorts in Europe, it is also one of the best for beginners. It was not so huge that you feel overwhelmed. It is affordable so you can take plenty of ski lessons (trust me I needed them badly!) The apres ski was lively and won’t make too much of a dent in your budget.
There are also loads of other things to do in the area like taking a snowy horse trek or visiting nearby hot springs. There’s also a lot to be said for chilling in a warm jacuzzi at a spa looking through the window at a magical winter wonderland.
The friends I traveled with were a mixture of skiing abilities and it suited all of us with enough black runs to keep the best skiers happy. I’d highly recommend Borovets for your next ski trip!
Parnassos, Greece. Skiing is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about holidays in Greece. But it is possible to ski in Greece and there are plenty of well-equipped ski centers all over this surprisingly mountainous country. Parnassos Ski Resort is an ideal choice for a quick ski trip from Athens. The drive only takes around two and a half hours and there are regular ski buses running between Athens and Parnassos.
Parnassos is a modern ski center consisting of 17 lifts, over 35 km of slopes of varying difficulty, ski rentals and schools, and a large cafeteria. The highest point of the ski center lies at 2250 meters but if you are an experienced alpinist you can ascend the highest peak of Mount Parnassos, Liakoura, towering to an altitude of 2.457 meters.