Pamporovo Ski Resort guide and Bucket list
Neilson say Pamporovo is "Quite possibly the best value place in the world to learn to ski".
Certainly, in my personal experience, the tuition for both skiing and snowboarding is absolutely excellent with English speaking instructors. It is also very cheap compared to anywhere else.
The resort is situated in the heart of the Rhodope mountains surrounded by pine forest and according to Crystal Ski is "like skiing in Narnia". It is a very pretty, Christmas card picture ski resort area. It is more Canadian in appearance than Alpine.
There are gentle slopes for the beginners. Pamporovo Centre has a small selection of shops, taverns, bars and restaurants and an inexpensive
Excellent tuition for beginners and children.
Plentiful choice of accommodation all at value prices.
Some ski-in/ski out apartments.
Rare long queues (except New Year).
Fast lifts and modern infrastructure.
Good group holiday for families and beginner and intermediate skiers.
We don't like
Not a great deal for non skiers. (But there is ice skating, dog sledging and snow tubing).
Limited for experts.
Food in hotel establishments is not very good - and customer service is not fantastic. Better to self cater or eat out.
Pamporovo is situated in the heart of the Rhodopi mountains about 85km from Plovdiv (Bulgaria's second city) Airport PDV served by Ryanair and charter flights. Try Charter Flight Centre. Sofia (SOF) is bigger and about 250km distant. Sofia is served by many airlines including Easy Jet. Try the normal cheapflights.co.uk/easyvoyage.co.uk for price comparisons. Flights into Kavala (about 99km) (KAV) might also be worth considering.
Airport transfers to Pamporovo can easily be arranged and most establishments provide a ski shuttle service to the slopes. Many people hire cars, especially 4x4. Prices are competitive. Driving times from Plovdiv are about one and half hours, from Kavala about 2 hours, and from Sofia about 3 and half-4 hours.
Few people actually live in Pamporovo. The centre developed as a resort. This is the hotel/restaurant/tavern/bars/shops area. There is also a plentiful supply of apartments and chalets available for holiday lets winter and summer. Pamporovo experienced a building boom, but is quite spread out. It is much less developed than Bansko, but the supply of accommodation still exceeds the demand (except during the New Year period) so there are good deals available.
There are plenty of places to visit nearby such as the Smolyan Lakes (take the chair lift). In summer visit the Wonderful Bridges and Bachkovo Monastery. There are wonderful waterfalls at nearby Smolyan and the Devin Spa is famous. There are also the Devil's Throat Cave
and spectacular Yogodina caves.
Pamporovo has a soft winter climate with an average of about 120 sunny days. Yet snow cover is generally good - especially compared to other value destinations outside Bulgaria such as Poina Brasov in Romania and Kranjska Gora or Bled in Slovenia. Snow cover in 2012 was exceptional (perhaps unusually) beating Bansko for most of the winter. It even beat the snow cover for the Swiss and
Austrian resorts and those in the USA.
Size of ski area (km) 37km
Highest lift 1926m
Lowest piste 1650m
Maximum vertical 276m
Green runs 5
Blue runs 4
Red runs 7
Black runs 3
On the slopes
Pamporovo resort altitude is 1650M and temperatures average a pleasant -3C. Ski season is mid December to early April. Average snowfall 1.5M. During 2012 the upper slopes were covered by nearly 3 M of snow, and even over 200cm snow cover on the lower slopes. The peak is Snejanka (Snow White) is at 1926M.There is virtually no risk of avalanche.
The slopes with overall length of 37km suitable for all ages and abilities, but being mostly famous as an excellent choice for beginners and intermediates. There is a preponderance of green and blue runs, and a few reds and a black mogul run. The resort boasts a new snowmaking system composed of 80 snow cannons covering 90% of the ski runs as well as a new 3740m long ski run serviced by unique 6-chair open lift. Queuing is rare due to a new up-to-date system of rope-ways, a product of the famous Austrian company "Axess" with capacity of 11,600 persons per hour. For the snowboarders there is a new 100m long half-pipe run, which together with the LED-lighted night run complement the ski magic.
The ski runs and gently carving slopes are suited
for snowboarding and there is the Pamporovo Fun Park. The resort is suitable for cross country skiing and the overall length of the route is 25km. Studenets to Mugla Village
Since the beginning of Ski Season 2010/2011 Snezhanka 2 Ski Run, famous also as the wall, offers excellent conditions for Night Skiing.
Length: 700 meters
Category: ADVANCED, suitable for upper-intermediate and advanced skiers
Lifts: Tow Lift /Anchor/
Lighting: modern LED-light technology, providing good visibility even in foggy weather
Opening hours: 17:30 – 22:30
For the Beginners
Ideal with choice of green and blue runs. The gentle profile of the mountain with its rounded slopes and summits makes Pamporovo particularly suitable for beginners.
For the intermediates
Choice of blue runs starting from peak at Snejhanka 1926km. Choice of chair lifts from Ski Centres 1 and 2 and Middle Ski Station of Studenets. More ski runs and lifts are being developed presently. The one in Stoikite completed for the ski season 2008 - 2009. is six-seat chairlift made by famous French company with capacity of 2 400 people per hour -116 chairs of 6 seats each, with length of 2992 meters and is one of the most modern ski facilities in Europe.
For the experts
"The Wall" Black Mogul run. Snezhanka Free Ride and Snezhanka European - used for international competition. To be honest, experts might find Pamporovo a bit limiting. Overall length of slopes is 37km compared to 425km Paradiski area of combined French resorts La Plagne and Les Arcs. Hone your skills in Pamporovo, and if you live to ski or snowboard - and you can afford it - move on.
For the snowboarders
Pamporovo Fun Park. Choice of wide gently rounded slopes ideal for snowboarding. New half pipe snowboarding run.
"The best value place in the world to learn." Neilson. Exceptional. But limited child minding. Learn here but not suited to under 4-6 years of age. Families can learn together. Husky Dog sledging and snow tubing.
Motor sledges – The resort offers many opportunities for walks and rides among the beautiful forests in the mountain. One of the most exiting winter activities is the motor sledge ride. This sport can be practiced outside the official ski zone along the hills and meadows in the mountain. After 5.00a.m. professional guides usually organize motor sledge tour, presenting some of the best terrains suitable for this sport.
Ice Skating – Ice skating is also offered in the resort, on an excellent ice rink, accompanied by the sounds of pleasant music. The ice skating rink is situated right in front of the après ski bar and the shopping centre of Perelik Hotel. Individual ice skating lessons are also offered.
Experience the amazing athleticism of Bulgarian Huskies, by joining them for an exhilarating workout along the magnificent forest trails. You will be able to ride as a passenger behind a team of Bulgarian Huskies and enjoy watching the dogs working amid beautiful scenery in the Rhodopi mountains. They can be found near the Studenets ski lift. Maximum 2 adults and 4 children per ride.
For dog sleighs You can call here: 00359 (0) 888 75 41 11
For snowmobiles You can try to call and ask here: 0885 740 710 or 0309 59 750
Great fun - anyone can sit in a giant rubber ring and whirl down a slope
Off the slopes
Pamporovo has apres ski with value prices. Of note are:
The underground nightclub and discotheque at Forest Nook 3
BJs bar in the lobby of Hotel Perelik
Dak's Bar on the ground floor of Hotel Snejanka
Night Flight in Hotel Rojen. A new disco, the largest in Pamporovo. Very good party Spider Night Club
The White Hart Pub in the centre of Pamporovo. Traditional pub good for party, good for food from pub grub, bangers and mash to T bone steaks. Vegetarian pizza ande pasta dishes.
Restaurants in Smolyan offer excellent value. Try a traditional Bulgarian evening out at the Bacchus
restaurant with excellent food and staff in traditional dress and music. For good food at value prices
try the restaurant Rhodopsi Kat in Smolyan.
Restaurants in Smolyan are much better value than those in Pamporovo. There is a new Billa supermarket for those who self cater.
Smolyan is also good for leather goods - especially leather boots.
Late deals in March - not just for accommodation but for even more reduced ski lift passes. Free lift passes on 9 and 12 April 2012.
For posts and videos of snowboarding and skiing and husky dog sledging in Pamporovo see our page on g+
Pamporovo mountain rescue service: (+359) 309 58336; (+359) 1475;
NB Medical & dental service: The Emergency SKI PATROL service is available 24 hours a day. Ambulance and clinic (with doctor and nurse) are available, as well as first aid, on all ski slopes. Fully equipped and functioning hospitals are available in Smolyan and Chepelare. Highly qualified dentists are available at Pamporovo or Chepelare. Pharmacies are available at the resort. Some medical and all dental services must be paid in cash to the doctors (clinics). They should provide the necessary bills, receipts and invoices describing the service and the cost, so that you can claim back the expense from your insurance company. It's recommended you call your insurance company and inform them in case of injury. Please follow their instructions.
Mountain Activity holidays in summer.
Mountain Bike Park Pamporovo opens 30 June 2012.
Summer activities - including water skiing nearby at the Vacha or Dospat Dams.
In the summer there is horse riding,mountain biking and walking/hiking. Quad Biking. There is also fishing, canoeing, hunting and bird watching. Places of interest:-rock formations (eg the Miraculous Bridges , near the village of Kosovo; the "elephant" near Devin and "the maiden" resembling a standing woman on the outskirts of Shiroka Luca). The Yagodinska Cave/Yagodina and the Buinovo Gorge. The Trigad Gorge - the most impressive natural sight in Bulgaria where you will also find The Devil's Throat Cave. Chudnite Mostove rock formation in pine forest. Smilian and Arda are spectular mountain valleys and the Uhlovitsa Cave. Rockclimbing; river activities; roman ruins; caves; fortresses; monasteries; churches and chapels - four churches are considered artistic cultural monuments of national historic significance.
In Devin you will find the Vacha Dam/reservoir where you could water ski or alternatively Dospat Dam hosts a number of water sports in which you could partake.. Don't forget the water canyons in Smolyan: this is a breath taking walk with magnificent views, you could try abseiling down one of the water canyons.
Activities Centre at Pamporovo Village
Try a Multi Activity Holiday to the beautiful Rhodopi Mountain area (including Pamporovo Ski Resort) for sunshine and relaxation as well as an extensive array of adrenaline and leisure sports activities. Our Activities Centre provides adventurous activities to suit all levels, and will appeal to friends and family, as well as couples and solos. We can also provide excursions for you to admire the magnificent scenery and for the cuture vultures to ancient Plovdiv (Roman) and the Thracian fortress of Perperikon. In other words, a holiday to suit all ages and to suit the passive to the adrenaline junkies.
Pamporovo/Forest Nook is situated in an area of Lakes and Mountains and is an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Take a look http://www.flickr.com/photos/ski_jacobs/sets/72157629489422592/show/
If you want excitement , there is caving, bungie jumping and a whole host of activities including Whitewater Rafting which is especially exciting in May and June.
Quad bikes and bicycles are available to rent through us and in Pamporovo and Smolyan.
The Canyon of Waterfalls in Smolyan is a breath taking walk with magnificent views, you could try abseiling down one of the water canyons. We organize visits for you to try the adventure or hike or view the sights.
For a little fun try paintballing at Smolyan Lakes or a day's fishing. You can go angling around Pamporovo, on fishing trips in Chepelare's surroundings. In the river which cuts through the town. It is possible to fish for trout, but you have to go a little further away if you will find the best fishing opportunities.
You may be able to horse ride to Greece from Arda.
Group holidays can be accommodated. Our neighbours' chalet is available for rent.
There is a possibility of horse riding holidays/pony trekking trips; which would use the chalets as a base. Just a ten minute drive away (a car can be arranged to take you there and bring you back). There is a riding school which caters for both novice and advanced riders. You can ride into the surrounding forest for anhour or trek into the beautiful scenery of the Rhodopes for up to 3 days. Ask for the riding guide Stefan.
THe World Car Rally came to the Balkans for the first time in July 2010. There is plenty of exciting driving in the
Although it is primarily a winter resort Pamporovo is also pleasant to visit off season, the picturesque surrounding mountains with peaks of up to 2000 metres (6550 ft) make for ideal hiking and mountain biking in the summer. Sunshine is generally reliable at 20-23C.
"NEWS FLASH!!! Pamporovo Mountain Bike Park opened 30n June 2012.
Looking for a cheaper alternative to the Alps?? Ever thought of Bulgaria?? Why would we suggest this??
One area, price of food and drink, but it goes beyond this. Accommodation, uplift, travel, in fact everything. Trails that are deserted, unmolested and raw, fantastic weather, friendly local riders, a number of other activities, paragliding, wakeboarding, atv's, horseriding etc etc all at a fraction of what you would pay in the Alps.
For a culture lovers holiday
The Rhodopes is home of the mythical singer Orpheus and the clan of guards of the sanctuary of Dionysus.
Archaeological excavations date back to the 7th century BC. There are remains of Thracian fortresses which guarded an ancient Thracian road from Abdera, on the Aegean coast, to Istros on the Danube. The churches and chapels date back to the Bulgarian Revival period (1762-1878) when cultural and educational life flourished in the region. 15 chapels are considered of regional historic significance. The Bachkovo Monastery is a must see.
Perperikon, Bulgaria's Delphi: the Ancient City of Excessive Pleasures!
Perperikon (changed through the years from the Greek name Hyperperakion) is the most significant archaeological find on Bulgarian territory for the last 20 years. Scientists believe that it was precisely Perperikon that was the temple of Dionysus described by Herodotus, which used to rival Delphi in Antiquity.
For Nature Lovers, twitchers etc.
The Rhodopes are a haven for bird watchers,and contain over 200 species - many of which are rare. You may see Golden Eagle, or dippers and kingfishers by streams. The highland lakes are really beautiful blue. There are lush meadows home to an abundance of wild flowers - many are not found anywhere else on Earth. According to legend the flower Silivriak with its pink petals (spring) bloomed out of the blood of Orpheus after he was dismembered. Silivriak (heberlea rhodopaensis) is the symbol of the Rhodopes. The region is famous for mushrooms and herbs.The Rhodopes are one of the few mountain ranges in Euirope where Brown Bear and wolves still live. There are guided walks on the wildlfe,birds and the rare plants and flowers and lovely walks and excursions into the Rhodopi mountains. The ski lifts run in summer.
Pamporovo is the southern most ski resort in Europe and the sunniest mountain resort in Bulgaria. Summer temperatures range from May 10C -20C with similar temperatures at the start of October.This is the time for hunting wild boar - excursions can be arranged. The autumn leaves are spectacular (New England Fall but in Europe).July and August can reach an average high of 24c and low rainfall July through September (about 30mm during each of these months, August being driest).
Car Hire during summer is recommended to take advantage of exploring the beautiful mountain area. A small family car would be adequate around £170 per week. The drive from the airport (Sofia) to Forest Nook takes about 3 hours and the scenery is lovely.
For Nature. Summer rural retreat with breathtaking scenery
Witness the rural splendor. Visit the "emerald eyes" of the Rhodope mountain area - the Smolyan Lakes. The deepest and most beautiful of the seven lakes is Muddy Lake (not muddy!). Devin Spa is famous and you could treat yourself! The Yagodina Cave is the longest cave in Bulgaria and is several storeys high in parts. You can take a tour which highlights the remarkable stalactites and stalagmites, which in places resemble curtains. Neolithic settlers lived in the caves in the 6th millennium BC. There is a spectacular underground waterfall 42m fall in the Devil''s Throat cave - so called because objects allowed to flow in do not flow out. The Trigradska River flows through the fantastic Devil's Throat Cave . Stretching 7,000 meters the water forms eighteen waterfalls and exits onto a canyon. It leads to the Trigad Gorge, a breathtaking natural phenomenon. Its incomparable karst formation is the most impressive natural sight in Bulgaria.
For Events - really close
Rozhen Fair is a major Bulgarian folklore fair held every four years on the meadows of the Rozhen area in Smolyan municipality,Smolyan Province, in the Rhodope Mountains of southern Bulgaria. The fair's goal is to popularize the Bulgarian folk dance and song art and it lasts for two days in July or August. In 2015 it will be held 17-19 July. (20 minute drive from our chalets following route 864 striaght up through the centre of Pamporovo and route 86 to Rozhen).
August 2, 2015 – August 3, 2015 all-day
International Bagpipe Contest 2015 in Gela, Bulgaria
WHERE: Gela village (about 45 minutes drive from our chalets foloowing route 864 (sharp left) from the centre of Pamporovo 866 via Shiroka Luca to Gela)
Two centre holidays
Relax on the beach after an activity holiday in the mountains.
For those wanting to see more of Bulgaria, why not consider a two centre summer holiday with a week at Ski Chalets at Pamporovo Village and a week on the Black Sea coast. Most car rental firms will allow a pick up and drop off at different airports.
We are not far from the Greek Aegean coast.There is a new road through the mountains (via Zlatograd) to
Xanthi which will reduce the journey time to just 90 minutes. You can reach Chalkidiki in 3 hours. You could rent a place there for a few days. If you try www.bulgariacarrent.com they will arrange for you to pick up a car in Thessaloniki, although you will have to drop off the car/finish your holiday in Bulgaria. Most of all we recommend
www.psl-bg for both car hire and cross border airport transfers.
Tip for 2 centre holidays
There are a number of villas and apartments to rent on the Black Sea coast, but for those wanting a 2 centre holiday with the Aegean coast , we would suggest you look at teletext holidays and www.cheapflights.co.uk for both flights and holidays. Kavala is about a 4 hour drive from Pamporovo Village and you may get a last minute holiday in the Greek island of Thasos cheaper than a return flight from Kavala. (The flights go into Kavala). We recommend car hire from www.psl-bg for cross border.
An alternative site for cheap flights is Skyscanner or Skyscanner.ru from Russia.
Our nearest ski slopes are near the Black Horse