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The secret ski resorts in Europe that are cheaper than you think

Simon Calder’s Travel

Europe’s wealth of ski resorts attracts visitors from around the world, with many returning year after year to the slopes in famed mountain ranges such as the Alps and the Dolomites.

While the mountains of France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria have become some of the world’s most sought after ski destinations, more and more people are exploring further afield in a bid to save money on a family getaway or simply party hard for less on their next trip to the slopes.

One country in particular hits the sweet spot of resorts with slopes that appeal to beginners and families, great affordability and plenty of choice for trips.

Bulgaria’s resorts may not be as plentiful as those of France, but where our over-the-Channel neighbour comes with a sometimes soaring price tag for its skiing holidays, Bulgaria has built its reputation on offering a good time for less, whether you’re on the pistes, at apres or simply in your hotel. From the more renowned to the lesser-known, we’ve rounded up the eastern European nation’s best resorts.


Bansko is the country’s most popular resort

(Getty Images)

Located in the south of the country at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, Bansko is a mountain town with a small maze of winding streets lined with terracotta-roofed stone buildings, providing a distinct mountain style with a Bulgarian, rather than Alpine, twist.

It has carved a reputation as Bulgaria’s top ski resort, with the addition of a gondola system in the early 2000s leading to the opening up of what is now a network of 14 lifts and around 75km of pistes.

Prices are still as affordable as you’d hope for from Bulgaria, but the resort has made an effort to shift its “cheap and cheerful” reputation, with consistently rising standards in accommodation, food offerings, and the general ski area infrastructure.

The ski area features World Cup runs like Tomba and some off-piste to add to gentle beginners’ runs, while those looking for off-the-slopes action should enjoy the town’s vibrant atmosphere and lively apres scene.

How to ski in Bansko

Stay at the Wellness Hotel Bulgaria – courtesy of Heidi – for a comfortable experience right in the centre of Bansko. You’ll be six minutes away from the slopes on foot, with pool, spa and sauna facilities to enjoy.


Borovets is the oldest winter resort in the country


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