Sofia Adventures

Welcome to Sofia!

Sofia is an intriguing city, with corners that show at various times a glint of the splendor of Vienna, the charm of Istanbul, the quirkiness of Budapest, and the brutalism of Moscow. You’ll find Roman ruins in our subway stations, medieval icons in the church basements, and Thracian relics in the former presidential palace. Yet Sofia brings all of these seemingly disparate traditions together into one magical, inspiring city.

DISCOVER SOFIA

DISCOVER SOFIA

DISCOVER SOFIA

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11 Best Ski Resorts in Pamporovo, Bulgaria

Planning a ski vacation in Bulgaria? Pamporovo is one of the best ski destinations in Bulgaria, perfect for people who want a quieter vibe than either Borovets or Bansko, which can be quite crowded and expensive in the winter.

Pamporovo ski resorts are generally more popular with Bulgarians, as it’s a little more budget-friendly and therefore suited to those earning in the local currency, whereas Bansko caters more to international tourists (and their wallets).

However, despite the lower price tag and smaller crowds, there are plenty of worthwhile ski resorts in Pamporovo that would be a magical place to stay during your ski holidays in Bulgaria. We’ve also sourced a few chalets and villas in Pamporovo in case you are traveling with a large group or family on your Bulgaria ski trip.

So, here are our top recommendations for where to stay in Pamporovo – on a budget, in a group, as a family, or in luxury!

Budget Ski Resorts & Hotels in Pamporovo

MPM Hotel Merryan

With a total of 20 rooms, MPM Hotel Merryan is one of the cutest budget hotels in the Pamporovo ski area. The exterior of the hotel is made out of wood, and you can really feel the Christmas vibe here. At night, there are beautiful lights around the roof. It is also very easy to find in the heart of the city, perfect for exploring Pamporovo restaurants and enjoying the apres-ski scene.

Going up the stairs to the second floor, you will love how intricately detailed the rails are. The décor of the hotel focuses on modern touches with a natural vibe, mostly made out of wood.

You will find the rooms spacious due to its use of light colors for the walls and carpeted floors. The rooms are clean and there is a small desk with a chair in case you need to work for a bit during your ski trip. You can choose from a double room or a suite. All have private bathrooms with free toiletries. Cribs are also available for families with infants.

Merryan Restaurant serves a breakfast buffet, plus local and international cuisine. You can get your complimentary breakfast here (which is served from 7:30 AM to 10 AM). Most guests loved their a la carte menu choices and you can also get something for those with special diets and also something for kids who are picky eaters! There is also an on-site café where you can have some snacks or just relax after a long day of skiing, with a cute rustic ambiance.

You can also coordinate with them if you wish to try their ski school or to hire some winter sports equipment. Skiers can store their equipment for free in the storages. Other amenities include a spa with free Turkish bath, steam room, sauna, and hot tubs. Relaxing massages and treatments are for an additional charge.

Keep in mind that their front desk is not available 24 hours, so it is best to consider checking in within their operating hours.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at MPM Hotel Merryan here «« 

Sunny Hills Ski & Wellness

This hotel has a very modern contemporary style with a great view of the snow-covered pine trees. Although its name (Sunny Hills) may seem an ironic response to the cold and snowy weather during ski season, it is true inside because it’s very warm and cozy, especially in the rooms.

Most of the soundproof rooms have a balcony showcasing the breathtaking view of the white slopes. There are also private bathrooms that include a free towel, though note that you need to bring your toiletries. If you want to safely store some items, then you can request a safety deposit box for an additional fee.

A free indoor playground will keep the kids entertained, or you can also leave them to enjoy some fun and exciting kid-friendly activities at the Kids’ Club for an additional fee. Free parking is available, though a reservation is required. BBQ facilities can be used for an additional charge.

Someone who wants to feel relaxed and rejuvenated should try their spa packages like a sauna, hot tub, or massages. There’s also a 24-hour service desk where you can request taxis, ask for advice, or schedule an airport shuttle service if this the last stop of your trip.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Sunny Hills Ski & Wellness here «« 

Mountain Lodge Winter Half-Board

This is an apartment-type hotel that has four stories full of rooms. Even from afar, you can see images of skiers on its exterior walls, which makes the hotel quite hard to miss!

The rooms are fully-furnished and the colors are warm due to notes of orange, peach, purple, and yellow lighting. All furniture is made out of wood. What you will love the most is the electric socket near the beds where you can charge your phone so you can check it while you are laying down. The private bathrooms are clean, albeit the decor a little dated. Handrails are also near the toilet to help disabled guests. Families who want to get two rooms can instead avail their interconnected rooms.

The entire lobby and hallways are carpeted, and the sofa and seating area are very comfortable. You can also play board and puzzle games here. There are optional ski facilities like a ski school for those who need a bit of training and a ski storage room for those who rented or brought their ski equipment.

There is an on-site restaurant where you can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, note that some guests were not happy with the food choices and said that most choices were not very healthy or fried. Street parking is also free and there are no reservations needed (however, it’s still best to check for availability).

Guests think that this hotel has a perfect location for the best views of the mountains that’s why they keep returning (and the price isn’t bad, either!)

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Mountain Lodge Winter Half-Board here «« 

Mid-Range Ski Resorts & Hotels in Pamporovo

Hotel Iva & Elena

This is a beautiful boutique hotel that has beautifully executed interiors. It also looks good from the outside with its wooden balconies and windows plus the brick and white walls.

The 39 rooms look so stylish, making use of gold accents for the blankets and curtains. A small table with some chairs is provided inside each room, where you can eat or have coffee. Each room also has a mini-fridge where guests can store some drinks or food. Someone staying during the peak winter season can even choose a room with a fireplace — how cozy!

Restaurant Zlato Eelen inside serves international and local dishes – a must-try are their fish dishes, their specialty. Don’t worry because there are also pizzas and other popular food. Note that breakfast is free with your stay and starts at 8 AM.

Indulge your senses in their spa where you can use the steam room, Jacuzzi, and sauna for free. It is a bit small, but it has most of the things you need, and with only 39 rooms in the hotel, you likely won’t find it crowded.

A ton of activities can be arranged by the hotel for you, like a bike tour, local culture tour, walking tour, bike rentals, hiking, and of course skiing! Ski storage is free, and it has a ski-to-door access, as well as equipment for hire.

There is also a children’s playground and kids’ club to keep the kids in safe hands while parents enjoy sliding down the slopes. If you or your kids insist on bringing your beloved pets, you can, as long as you inform the hotel and pay necessary fees.

You can also rent cars with the front desk, and it is very convenient and free to park on-site. Optionally, you can also have your laundry washed and pressed for a fee, if you are enjoying a longer stay in Pamporovo and require some laundering. Everything is very quick and easy when you stay at this hotel.

The warmth of the hotel is something that guests loved the most – the entire property is so cozy during winter!

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Hotel Iva & Elena here «« 

Complex Kamelia

This is a 4-star apartment hotel with elegant interiors and superb services that are comparable to luxury hotels — at a mid-range price! You will be served your free breakfast in your room — now that’s a 5-star touch!

The rooms have a classic design and make use of synthetic leather for the couches and headboards. Hardwood floors match the beige colored curtains and bed covers. The fireplace in each room (a wonderful wintery touch) will keep everyone warm and cozy during the winter.

Aside from the free WiFi in the entire property, the rooms also have wired internet connections (no excuses for network interruptions!). Ski storage is free, and guests can also rent ski equipment or attend the ski school inside.

There are sports activities you can do outdoors, like soccer (football), volleyball, and tennis, while indoors, you can play billiards and table tennis.

There is also an indoor swimming pool which has a huge window (showing either the snowy background during winter or the lush green trees during summer), hot tub, steam room, Turkish hammam, and fitness center that you can use for free. You can put the ‘pamper’ in Pamporovo by visiting their spa center for some treatments and massages!

Special occasions and business meetings are also possible at their conference and function hall, which can fit 100 guests. Newlyweds or those who are about to get married can book their bridal suites. Even though there is a 24-hour grocery store nearby, if you do not wish to go outside because it’s too cold (or you’re too tired after a day of skiing), then you can just get some snacks on their vending machines.

Most guests could not find any reason not to stay in this apartment hotel because it is complete with most of the things you can think of!

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Complex Kamelia here «« 

Hotel Orpheus – Casino and Spa

This is a huge 4-star hotel that is complete with everything you need. There’s a total of 260 spacious and very clean rooms. The rooms have contemporary and comfortable styles and you can choose from a single, double or triple room.

Breakfast is free and most of the guests said it was rather good. The windows are big, so natural light streams in. They also have two types of curtains (a see-through one and a curtain that can block sunlight), so you can sleep in as late as you want or wake up early should you be an early bird.

The lobby and reception area look very modern and you will find the candy-colored seating here adorable! The hotel has very convenient features like a 24-hour service desk where you can arrange different activities aside from skiing (rope park, paintball, horseback riding, fishing, ATV rides, tennis and football) plus a currency exchange center. Children will love their optional activities like human foosball and the children mountaineering course.

A free indoor heated swimming pool and two hot tubs can help reduce your stress as you dip inside. The water is kept at 28 degrees – not too hot, just right! A small swimming pool is available for kids as well. Just beside the pool area is their Vitamin Bar (for some healthy refreshments) and spa where you can try their Turkish Hammam, steam bath and sauna. You can also try your luck in their casino and see if you can double up some of your cash!

They have two restaurants, a bar, and a café on their premises. The Main Classic Restaurant and the Theme Restaurant serve both an a la carte menu and a buffet. You will love the chill vibe of their Lobby Bar, where you can order cocktails and other alcoholic drinks. If you want to get the best views of the mountains while having a nice cold drink, then you should check their Sky Bar on the 7th floor!

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Hotel Orpheus here «« 

Elit Pamporovo Apartments

Elit Pamporovo is one of the best ski resorts in Pamporovo, with apartments with rooms that have multiple configurations. All have a balcony except for the Penthouse (there’s no need since it already has the best view!).

They have private bathrooms with free towels minus the toiletries (so make sure to include your own when you pack — check out our Bulgaria packing list for suggestions). Some guests also find the lighting here a bit dark, but it is perfectly fine for many. The rooms are all simple, with a seating area and tables. Some rooms may have a mini kitchen with a microwave and a small fridge.

The morning breakfast buffet is continental, and you will enjoy the different kinds of deli meats and cheeses and bread. Those who have different needs for their diet can request a special menu. Just in case you want to dine in some of the nearby restaurants, the hosts can arrange it for you, and you can ride their shuttle free-of-charge.

Kids will be busy playing at their indoor and outdoor playground.  It is also one of the few pet-friendly accommodations in Pamporovo. Wellness facilities are also available like a hot tub, sauna, steam room, and Turkish bath.

A thing to note is that the entire property does not have an elevator despite having five floors, but a lot of guests have returned to this property because the hosts are wonderful (they put in hard work to ensure their guests’ trip are as perfect as a vacation should be). Skiers also liked how close the apartments are to the ski lifts, plus they have free ski storages and free shuttle services to get to the slopes!

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Elit Pamporovo Apartments here «« 

Malina Village

Unique wooden “tents” that can withstand the heavy snow is a magical experience, and one that Malina Village wants their guests to experience!

It is a very creative approach and very different than any other ski resort in Pamporovo, as each “room” is actually a private mini chalets that have triangular interiors and exteriors.

There are a total of 30 chalets which usually get fully booked due to its magical location and style. There’s also a deck for each villa, and each has its own bedroom, kitchenette, and a mini living room. The outdoor furniture can be enjoyed during the spring and summer, though it may be a bit cold for it in the winter.

Private bathrooms are quite small (given the unique triangular footprint of each chalet), but it has a separate shower and toilet area so it doesn’t feel too cramped. A free continental breakfast buffet is served daily beside the fireplace – a cozy feeling with a full tummy!

One handy and cool feature is that a mini-market in the “village” – which really makes people feel they are in a remote village, plus it’s convenient!

The kid’s playground has a see-saw, slides, and swing set where they can have fun, aside from picking up some pine cones that have fallen from the trees. The on-site Malina Restaurant is where you can order traditional Rhodope Mountain dishes, hearty and perfect for winter, and different kind of drinks as well as alcoholic beverages. It looks like a huge wooden tent with simple and elegant wooden chairs and tables.

However, a note for families: the second floor of the chalets is quite dangerous for young kids to climb (as the stairs are quite steep), so it is best that parents supervise them.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Malina Village here ««

Best Ski Villas in Pamporovo

Holiday Village Kochorite

If you are looking for a villa that will give you and your family some privacy, then Holiday Village Kochorite is a fantastic choice. It has eight guest rooms where you can choose either a 2-bedroom villa, 2-bedroom villa with sauna, or a 3-bedroom villa (good for 6 guests).

The bedrooms are simple and make use of folk-style printed curtains, duvet cover, and carpets. It also adds color and life to the rooms, since most of the colors used for the walls and ceilings are neutral like beiges and white. The blankets are made from wool and it will surely give you a warm and cozy night’s sleep on their comfortable beds. There is also a balcony with a view of the mountain or the garden during spring/summer. Bathrooms also come complete with free toiletries.

The living area has loveseats and a sofa, plus hardwood floors and a fireplace as well as a radiator, so you’ll be warm and toasty during your stay. The dining area is not that big, but it has dinnerware and a sink where you can wash the dishes after. Aside from these, there are also BBQ facilities for an additional charge, plus kitchen equipment and utensils.

What’s good about the villas is that they are separated by a concrete fence so that even if you leave your kids to play in the snow, they are within the property. They can also have fun at the nearby kids’ outdoor playground. For guests who have rented a car, you can park on the property for free.

Note the cancellation policy before booking. If in case you cancel within seven days, you will be refunded half of the amount you’re supposed to pay, but just in case you cancel after, you will be charged the full amount. There is actually no need to think twice as it is a very nice private property!

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Holiday Village Kochorite here «« 

Villa O Sole Mio

This villa is set on the slope of the hill where you can easily get a good view of the green forest and nearby town during summer and the snow-covered houses and trees during winter.

The entire villa makes use of a nice floral wallpaper and hardwood floors and has 4 bedrooms. The entire property accommodates up to 8 guests — great for large groups of friends as well as families.

The bedrooms have nice windows where you can also see the views of the white forest (unfortunately there are no curtains, so bring an eye mask if you like to sleep in). If in case the beds aren’t enough, there is a folding bed available that you can use.

The ensuite bathrooms (not one, but two!) look lovely because it makes use of brick red tiles and there is both a tub and shower. The toilet sits beside the tub, so just try and not make a mess because it can get wet — true to the Bulgarian bathroom style, which makes use of ‘wet bathrooms’, which can take some getting used to (after nearly two years living in Bulgaria full time, I’m just getting used to it!)

The living area has a fireplace and the dining area is just beside it, making it a wonderfully cozy place to enjoy a meal. There are dinnerware and kitchenware available – this makes planning a feast or celebration easier!

However, the property has no WiFi connection (which makes my heart palpitate, but some people may love being disconnected if they’re looking for a digital detox!). You could bring a Bulgarian local SIM card and hotspot it, as data is rather cheap in Bulgaria. However, they do have other entertainment facilities like TV with cable and a DVD player. You can also grill some burgers on their terrace that has BBQ facilities.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Villa O Sole Mio here «« 

Elitza Villa

This guest house has tons of nice views of the white mountains and the lush evergreen pine trees in the woods during winter. The house looks very warm inside because of the wooden exterior (which reminds me of a sauna) and the stone features. The early ski season is best to book this property, because you can get it for around $110 a night for the entire villa!

The three bedrooms are very simple with white walls, wooden furniture, and carpeted floors. They make use of Persian carpet-inspired bed covers and some are framed and hung on the walls. TVs are also in each bedroom (though not flat-screened).

The living area has its own fireplace (optional to use and there’s an extra charge) to keep everyone warm while seated on the comfortable fleece-covered sofa. You will also notice some animal prints and synthetic leather on their table covers (no animals were harmed!) Most of the common areas have tiled floors.

There is a washer and dryer on the property that you can also use, great for washing up your sweaty ski clothes! Pet owners will be thrilled that this property allows dogs or cats. However, fees may apply so it is best that you inform them should you plan to let them join in on all the fun. If you want to pamper yourself, then they can coordinate you with a nearby spa for a total wellness regimen.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Elitza Villa here «« 

 More Bulgaria Travel Resources

Bulgaria - Borovets - Valentine Snow

For more winter travel inspiration, check out what to do in Bulgaria in winter!

We also have posts on ski resorts in Borovets and Bansko, if you didn’t find anything you liked here!

We want you to have the best trip to Bulgaria possible! If this will be your first time in Bulgaria, check out our Bulgaria trip planning guide as well as our packing list for Bulgaria (which includes a winter section).

To help you, we’ve created a number of resources that will be helpful. If you’re visiting Sofia, this 101 things to do in Sofia should be a nice start! Also read our Sofia travel tips post and where to stay in Sofia.

For transportation, check out our guide to avoiding taxi scams in the city. If you’ll be flying into Sofia, you can read our tips for flying in and out of Sofia Airport.

We also have Sofia restaurant and bar recommendations. We also have articles for popular day trips from Sofia like Plovdiv, the Rila Lakes, and Buzludzha.

For more resources for your trip, check out our pages on traveling in Bulgaria and the Balkans

Planning a Trip to Bulgaria in Winter? Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!

Bulgaria - Borovets - Stephanie Valentine Selfie

We strongly suggest that you travel to Bulgaria with a valid travel insurance policy. While the country is safe, accidents can happen anywhere. If you experience an accident or theft, travel insurance will help you recover your costs and enjoy the rest of your trip.

This is especially important in winter, since winter activities carry a certain amount of risk with them. We recommend the Explorer upgraded insurance plan if you plan to do any skiing or snowboarding so that you can be fully covered.

For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.

Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.

2 Days in Sofia: Itinerary for a Weekend in Sofia

Note: This is a guest post from our friend and fellow Bulgaria enthusiast, Annemarie of Travel on the Brain, who has spent several months in Bulgaria.

Sofia in Bulgaria is a beautiful city and shamefully underrated.

There is so much to see and do even with just two days in Sofia! To give you a head start on orient yourself, plus a few other practical travel tips, here’s a quick Sofia itinerary, perfect for if you only have time for a weekend in Sofia.

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Planning to visit Sofia, Bulgaria? This Sofia itinerary covers the best things to do in Sofia in 2 days. From delicious traditional Bulgarian food at the best Sofia restaurants to hiking in Sofia’s nature to Sofia nightlife & bars to the best Instagram and photography spots in Sofia, this itinerary for Sofia is your ultimate Sofia travel guide if you just have a weekend in Sofia. Here’s your quick guide to planning a perfect Sofia city break.
Planning to visit Sofia, Bulgaria? This Sofia itinerary covers the best things to do in Sofia in 2 days. From delicious traditional Bulgarian food at the best Sofia restaurants to hiking in Sofia’s nature to Sofia nightlife & bars to the best Instagram and photography spots in Sofia, this itinerary for Sofia is your ultimate Sofia travel guide if you just have a weekend in Sofia. Here’s your quick guide to planning a perfect Sofia city break.

How to Get to Sofia

In case you are coming from outside Bulgaria, you can easily get a bus (even overnight). For instance, from Bucharest in Romania, it takes 7 hours and can cost as little as 15€ with Flixbus. Among Balkan backpackers, connecting to Istanbul is also a popular option. This takes about 8 hours and costs around 23€.

In case you have an Interrail ticket, you can, of course, take advantage of train travel as well! There are different tickets for different travel spans, and the Balkans are included too. However, buses are generally faster and more reliable.

Turkey - Istanbul - Sofia to Istanbul Train

To get anywhere by long-distance bus from Sofia, you can buy tickets on-site at the bus station next to the train station. If you are traveling to popular destinations during high season, make sure to get your ticket in advance at the station or check BusExpress.

In total, there are 40 ticket offices, and you need to find the correct one for your destination. It’s advisable to bring a note or screenshot in Cyrillic with your destination on it, so you can be guided to the correct stall.

Public Transport

To really make the most of your Sofia itinerary, get yourself a metro day ticket from the tourist information for 4 BGN (2 euro). Another option is a single ticket for 1.60 BGN per ride or a set for a discount. Those can be bought at ticket machines or staffed metro counters.

Please be aware that these metro day tickets don’t include bus or tram rides, for example to Boyana. You will need to pay in exact change on the bus or get a ticket prior from a kiosk.

On that note, when you arrive at the airport, you can either take a bus or the metro into town. You can also take an affordable taxi for around 10-15 BGN (5-8 euros) to the center. With large luggage, you need to have a separate ticket on trams and buses.

Bulgaria - Sofia - Tram

Publish transport operates on a limited basis throughout the night, so it’s a good idea to download the local TaxiMe app, which is basically like a Bulgarian Uber. It’s cheaper and will show you the exact prices as well. You need Wifi or data to operate it, but most restaurants and bars will have that.

Day 1

City Center

To get your bearings when sightseeing Sofia, why not join one of the free walking tours? You should pay a small tip afterward (Editor’s note: we recommend 5-10 leva per person), as the guides really show you the main spots and fill you in on interesting background stories. I’ve done it twice and learned something new every time.

Key points to visit in the city centre of Sofia are the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral near the golden road. From there, walk towards the ancient Serdica Complex and explore the excavations inside the metro station and out.

Get off at the northern exit and walk towards Sofia Regional History Museum and the bubbling drinking fountains. The mineral water coming out of these is warm and has healing qualities. Locals bring giant water bottles to fill up on the good stuff. It has a unique flavor that isn’t to everyone’s taste but you should give it a try.

There are more museums worth entering if you are curious about local history, art and culture. The Archaeological Museum of Sofia, for instance, displays Thracian, Roman and medieval artifacts. It houses in a former mosque and features a mosaic floor from the Cathedral of Sveta Sofia.

Bulgaria - Sofia - National Archeological Museum

Once you are done sightseeing, walk south towards the Palace of Justice. Make a stop at the cathedral Sveta Nedelya, which has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times, reflected in its many mosaics.

Along the shopping street Vitosha Boulevard, you can visit many popular European high street fashion stores as well as souvenir shops specializing in rose beauty and soap products. There is a variety of dining options to be had in the area as well, ranging from Italian over traditionally Bulgarian and Asian fusion restaurants.

Next, stroll around NDK, the National Palace of Culture, which clearly shows Sofia’s Communist heritage. Solemn statues next to the grey concrete and edgy architecture of the cultural center mark the otherwise rather bland park, which is nonetheless a very popular hangout spot among locals.

Oborishte

End the day in a quaint restaurant or café in the area of Oborishte. Particularly intriguing is the Soviet-style Raketa (Ракия Ракета Бар). Here, drinks use local ingredients in creative ways, the food is extremely delicious takes on traditional Bulgarian classics, and the décor strikingly retro. At neighboring Bar Sputnik, part of the Raketa family, the bartender can mix drinks for you based on a series of questions.

Not only is Sofia busy during the day, but its nightlife isn’t bad either. Just know that party time doesn’t start before midnight! There are many different clubs and live music clubs. A popular (yet sometimes snuffed at) Bulgarian style of music is chalga, which is a style of House music with Arabian influence.

(Editor’s Note: Here are our favorite bars in Sofia, as well as more restaurants to choose from)

Day 2

A Walk in Nature

For your second day in Sofia, why not enjoy the beautiful countryside that is around Sofia? You don’t even have to leave the city to immerse yourself in nature!

For one, there is the centrally located Borisova Gradina, which is a park on the one side and a natural forest on the other. The first is perfect for people watching and enjoying a little picnic. The latter is great for some quiet time and if you like the idea of forest bathing.

For a more mountainous terrain, try Mount Vitosha. Over the colder months, you can actually go skiing and snowboarding at the slopes up on the top. There is a restaurant too to refresh your energies and warm you up before setting out into the cold again!

There are different lifts up Vitosha mountain and options to reach them. For the Simeonovo lift, take bus 122. For the Vitoshko Lale lift, jump on bus 166 on weekends, which also passes both the Dragalevtsi chair lift and Dragalevtsi Monastery. Note that this year, it is only in service from July 6 to October 27, 2019.

Ona sunny day, no matter the season, try the Boyana walk up to Boyana Waterfall and Lake. It’s refreshing on a hot day as you’ll follow shady paths, which are all well laid out. I used my maps.me app offline to see the various trails and gradients. If you don’t want to go alone, there is another tip-based guided tour available.

Bulgaria - Sofia - Boyana Waterfall

There are different levels of difficulty, but it’s definitely not an easy walk. But depending on your fitness levels, you don’t need to walk all the way. A good compromise is making it up to the lake and then have a seat and take in the beautiful nature. There are natural springs along the way too if you need to refill your water bottle.

To get to Boyana Church and start your hike, it’s best to go to the bus stop at National Palace of Culture and take line 9TM. Then switch into the 64 at Hladilnika. The stop to get off at is Boyansko Hanche. Ask the driver to notify you, or better yet, use the excellent Moovit app to get schedules, route information, and notifications of when to depart the bus.

Day Trips

For a day trip a little bit outside of Sofia, try the famous Rila Lakes and Monastery. It’s difficult to get here via public transport, so a tour is definitely the best way. For instance, with a Get Your Guide tour, you’ll get an instant printable confirmation and a convenient round-trip transfer. We recommend this tour which includes both the Lakes and the Monastery.

Alternatively, you can visit Bulgaria’s second-biggest city, Plovdiv, which was named one of the two European Capitals of Culture for 2019. It is a very cute city that is separated into two parts. The lower is full of parks and shopping facilities and the funky neighborhood of Kapana.

Bulgaria - Plovdiv - Bulgarian National Revival Style Houses

On the higher levels, you can conquer its many mountains and explore the Old Town with its Roman ruins and remains of an ancient fort. The mountains make for epic sunset viewing spots and aren’t that hard to conquer. Book a tour from Sofia to take away the hassle of figuring out bus or train schedules and see the main attractions with a knowledgeable English-speaking guide! We recommend this one which also includes the adorable museum town of Koprivshtitsa.

Where to Stay in Sofia

Bulgaria - Sofia - Sense Rooftop Bar Allison
Our number one choice for where to stay? Sense Hotel, where you can find this view at the rooftop bar!

Here are our top 3 recommendations for where to stay when you visit Sofia.

Budget: For a hostel, we always recommend Hostel Mostel. I have never stayed at the Sofia location but several of my friends have and have always spoken highly of it. I stayed at the one in Veliko Tarnovo and it was excellent.

Perks include a free vegetarian dinner in addition to breakfast included in your stay! Check rates and availability here. If you are traveling in peak season, be sure to book online, as Hostel Mostel is popular and tends to get booked up.

Mid-range: For a trendy new boutique hotel that is shockingly affordable, we recommend R34 Boutique Hotel. 

The location is fantastic, near the Ivan Vazov National Theater in central Sofia. It has gorgeous, loft-inspired details like exposed brick, giant windows, and streamlined but modern décor. It’s a great bargain, too – check rates, reviews, photos, and availability here.

Luxury: As far as we see it, there’s only one option for the best hotel in town: Sense Hotel. We go to their upscale, beautiful rooftop bar all the time when we have guests in town – it has one of the best views in the entire city and they make fantastic cocktails.

With beautiful views over Alexander Nevsky, Sofia’s most iconic landmark, the hotel couldn’t be in a better location. Sense Hotel also boasts a state-of-the-art fitness center, an art gallery in the lobby, an excellent spa with luxe treatments, and an indoor pool. It’s truly the best choice in town. Check rates, reviews, photos, and availability here.

Sofia Travel Resources

Bulgaria - Sofia - Russian Church

We want you to have the best trip to Sofia possible. Start with these Sofia travel tips to get you prepared for your visit, and this Bulgaria packing list which has packing tips for all genders, seasons, and travel types.

To help you, we’ve created a number of resources that will be helpful – this 101 things to do in Sofia should be a nice start!

If this will be your first time in Bulgaria, check out our Bulgaria trip planning guide. 

For transportation, check out our guide to avoiding taxi scams in the city. If you’ll be flying into Sofia, you can read our tips for flying in and out of Sofia Airport.

We also have Sofia restaurant and bar recommendations, as well as a thorough post on where to stay in Sofia. We also have articles for popular day trips from Sofia like Plovdiv, the Rila Lakes, and Buzludzha.

For more resources for your trip, bookmark our pages on traveling in Bulgaria and the Balkans. We publish new content almost daily!

Planning a Trip to Bulgaria? Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!

We think it’s a good idea to travel to Bulgaria with a valid travel insurance policy. Travel here includes outdoor activities and travel to highly touristed sites. It’s a good idea to be covered in case you have an accident or fall victim to theft. Travel insurance will help you recover your expenses and continue to enjoy your trip.

For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.

Where to Stay in Sibiu: Hotels & Accommodations We Love!

Sibiu is a gorgeous Transylvanian city with so much to offer, and it’s a great base for heading out on a Romania road trip around the Transylvania region.

It’s also drop-dead gorgeous, with tons of Instagrammable places in the city and within just a few hours’ drive of it as well.

The other great thing about Sibiu is its compact size, meaning that basically no location is a bad location! We generally recommend staying near the Great Square or the Bridge of Lies, which are not far from one another but make good reference points for looking for accommodation in Sibiu.

So, if you’re wondering where to stay in Sibiu, read on — we’ve picked our favorite places to stay in Sibiu in each budget category for you to choose from!

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Don't yet know where to stay in Sibiu, Romania? This Sibiu travel guide lists the best Sibiu hotels and accommodations. Whether you want to visit Sibiu on a budget or stay in a luxury hotel in Sibiu, here are our top picks closest to the best things to do in Sibiu, top Sibiu photography spots, Piata Mare (great for Christmas markets & Winter), fantastic Sibiu restaurants and beautiful medieval UNESCO Sibiu streets!
Don't yet know where to stay in Sibiu, Romania? This Sibiu travel guide lists the best Sibiu hotels and accommodations. Whether you want to visit Sibiu on a budget or stay in a luxury hotel in Sibiu, here are our top picks closest to the best things to do in Sibiu, top Sibiu photography spots, Piata Mare (great for Christmas markets & Winter), fantastic Sibiu restaurants and beautiful medieval UNESCO Sibiu streets!

Budget Hotels in Sibiu (Under $75 USD)

Style Residence Sibiu – Check Prices Here

This stylish aparthotel is located right in the heart of Sibiu, a mere 10 minute walk from the photogenic Bridge of Lies.

Style Residence Sibiu features larger units perfect for people planning to self-cater and cook for themselve during their stay, as many of the rooms have a dining area and kitchenette for use. If you’ve had your fill of polenta and Romanian food, you’re staying in Sibiu for a longer stay, or you’re just trying to travel on a budget, this can be a fantastic option!

As an aparthotel, it’s a bit different than your standard hotel, as it’s more like a set of studio apartments collected together in a lovely modern building. There is a receptionist who will meet you on-site and explain how everything works and get you checked in. However, if you’re looking for a more standard hotel experience, this may not be the place to stay in Sibiu for you.

The rooms feature big, spacious beds, flat-screen televisions, big windows with effective blackout curtains in case you want to sleep in, floating beside shelves, a desk area in case you need to work, wardrobe space for unpacking, and a couch area to lounge in. Check prices, guest reviews, photos, and availability here.

Sibiu - Romania

Plaza35 – Check Prices Here

Another fantastic aparthotel option, this is great for people who wish to cook for themselves and settle in in style. There’s a fully-equipped small kitchen in each unit, with plenty of utensils and cooking equipment, as well as a reasonably-priced minibar in case you’re tired upon checking in and need some refreshment.

Plaza35 is close to several important Sibiu landmarks, such as the Council Tower of Sibiu and the picturesque Albert Huet Square, so nothing is ever a far walk from your accommodation – no public transit or taxis needed.

The rooms are large and modern, well-equipped with all the creature comforts you’d need to enjoy a longer stay in Sibiu or just feel at home while you’re on the road, such as large wardrobes, balcony, dining/seating areas in most units, etc. While the price is affordable, previous guests have said that they feel like they’ve had a 5-star experience!

Keep in mind that this is an apartment hotel and therefore there is no breakfast included, nor is there a traditional “front desk”; however, past guests have said the staff has been incredibly helpful with any needs that arose! Check prices, guest reviews, photos, and availability here.

Sibiu - Romania

Blumenhaus Central Apartments – Check Prices Here

Perfectly located right between the Little Square and the Great Square — 100 meters from the former and 200 meters from the latter — this hotel definitely puts the central in Blumenhaus Central Apartments!

With a quiet interior courtyard, this aparthotel is in the heart of all the action of Sibiu yet quite peaceful. It features air-conditioned rooms and colorful, floral-inspired decor.

Rooms feature kitchenettes with small fridges, cutlery, tableware, and basic cooking needs provided for – perfect for a longer stay in Sibiu. The furnishings are modern and unique, perfect for people who like rooms with a little personality.

The rooms feature pull-out windows which let a lot of natural light into the apartment, perfect for people who thrive off sunlight and bright spaces. Each unit features a small seating and lounge area to relax on in the room when you want to take a break from exploring the cute, meandering streets of Sibiu. Check prices, guest reviews, photos, and availability here.

Sibiu - Romania

Mid-Range Hotels in Sibiu ($75-$150 USD)

Noblesse Boutique Resort – Check Prices Here

The exquisite 5-star Noblesse Boutique Resort is located just 500 meters from the beautiful Council Tower of Sibiu, and is about a 10-minute walk from the historical center of this beautiful Transylvanian city.

This is truly a hotel for art lovers and connoisseurs, as the whole property is full of beautiful paintings that will inspire you throughout your visit. The rooms are air-conditioned, spacious, and cozy, with all the things you didn’t even know you craved — like black-out curtains, feather pillows, heated floors in winter, and more!

It has modern hotel amenities as well such as a fitness center, which you can access freely with your stay. Each room is personalized beautifully to make your stay in Sibiu feel unique and memorable, yet tasteful in keeping with the name and style of the hotel. Desk space is provided in case you need to work while on the road.

Guests loved the breakfast options, which had a buffet of continental options as well as local traditional food that you can try. The hotel also has a terrace, garden, daily housekeeping, a restaurant serving international and local fare, and a massage and wellness center. Check prices, availability, photos, and past guest reviews here.

Sibiu  - Romania

Exclusive Hotel & More – Check Prices Here

This lush hotel is located just 800 meters from the Bridge of Lies. Exclusive Hotel & More is a little outside of the historical center, so it’s perfect for people who prefer their hotel on the quiet side and to be an oasis from the sightseeing they do during the day will find it.

The hotel features air-conditioned units with lovely Sibiu city views. Each room is equipped with a flatscreen TV, desk, and minibar. There’s a restaurant on-site serving Italian and international cuisine if you want a break from the local food (though the Sibiu gastronomy scene is quite delicious!). Rooms are carpeted with a clean, modern aesthetic and seating areas provided in some of the larger units.

If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll love this hotel as it has an indoor playroom specifically dedicated for the little ones! Meanwhile, parents will love the sophisticated style, 24/7 front desk ready to answer all your Sibiu questions, and sunset views from the terrace. Check prices, reviews, photos, and availability here.

Cetatea Medievala – Check Prices Here

The lush and gorgeous Cetatea Medievala is a beautiful and unique place to stay in Sibiu, one you’ll hardly want to leave — especially since every unit has a spa bath you can soak and unwind in after a long day of sightseeing!

The guesthouse décor is beautiful and tasteful, not overdone in the slightest, with bright whites, wood details, and lots of old traditional glamorous furniture that is vintage without being dated in the slightest.

It’s a mere 200 meters from the Great Square, so you’re never far from the heart of the action in Sibiu. It’s a small guesthouse with a lot of heart and refined sensibilities, so it’s perfect for people who love boutique hotels and want a unique stay filled with personality and little details. Check photos, reviews, prices, and availability here.

Sibiu - Romania

Luxury Hotels in Sibiu ($150 USD+)

Golden Tulip Ana Tower – Check Prices Here

This is where Stephanie and I stayed during our time in Sibiu and we were definitely impressed — most of all by the sky-high restaurant on the top floor with stunning views over all of Sibiu!

We were there in Sibiu just after an early fall snow, and seeing the traditional rooftops all dusted in white powder and the mountains in the background was an absolute treat. You won’t get this kind of view staying anywhere else in Sibiu!

It’s a small walk from the center – about a 15-minute walk away from the beautiful Grand Square – but that’s why the vibe is so peaceful and the view so exquisite. A hotel of this size and height wouldn’t be allowed in the UNESCO limits of Sibiu, hence its location.

We enjoyed eating at the 585 Fusion restaurant, where you can enjoy tasty fusion cuisine from the 11th floor — aka 585 meters (hence the name!) above the ground. The breakfast here was fantastic and varied, one of our best breakfasts in Romania.

The rooms are well-equipped and modern, with up-to-date technology, spacious bathrooms, gorgeous mountain or city views from large windows, and comfortable beds. The look is a little dated, we admit, but we found it quite comfortable.

There is also a spa with sauna that you can visit, as well as a massage center, but do note that there is a surcharge for spa services. Check prices, reviews, photos, and availability here.

Ramada Sibiu – Check Prices Here

Talk about location! The Ramada Sibiu is right smack-dab in the historical city center of Sibiu, a mere 50 meters from the main pedestrian area and main city square. If you like to be in the heart of it all, this is the hotel for you!

This modern hotel boasts 4 stars and has panoramic views from the elevator — from which you can marvel at the views over the Old Town! The décor is very new and elegant, with spacious rooms and good soundproofing so that it is surprisingly quiet despite the central location. There is a lot of natural light, and some of the rooms have stunning city views.

There are a variety of eating and dining options at the hotel, the delicious Atrium Restaurant as well as two 2 sleek bars. Breakfast is provided daily and offers a wide selection of traditional favorites.

Note that this is a great option if you are seeking an accessible hotel in Sibiu as it has accommodations in place to suit travelers who use wheelchairs or have other mobility, health, or vision impairments. The restaurant also has special menus to accommodate a variety of dietary requirements.

Location, fantastic views, delicious dining, and convenience for all — that’s what we call a great place to stay in Sibiu. Check prices, reviews, photos, and availability here.

Hilton Sibiu – Check Prices Here

The Hilton name has long been associated with luxury (OK, and ditzy heiresses) and you’ll find just that in Sibiu as well. The Hilton Sibiu boasts free pool and spa access, perfect if you’re looking to unwind after a long day of sightseeing!

Now let’s talk about that spa: we’re talking an indoor swimming pool, saunas, a steam room, a Cleopatra bath (I don’t know what that is, to be honest, but I’m pretty sure I’d love it), a meditation and relaxation room, and a gym area with state-of-the-art equipment.

The hotel has balconies that offer stunning views of the Carpathian Mountains which surround Sibiu. Rooms are spacious and modern, with all the amenities you’d need, and unique and opulent décor in line with the Hilton Brand. Work desks are available in the rooms for those who need to work on the road.

Guests raved about the breakfast, as well as the presentation of the food at the restaurant. While Stephanie and I didn’t stay at the Hilton during our time in Sibiu, we did have the opportunity to eat at its Romanian restaurant during our stay (there are also two other options) and found it to be very high quality traditional Romanian food.

Do note that it’s located quite a bit outside of the city center, about 50 meters away from the stunning ASTRA Folk Museum. You’ll want to get a taxi or take public transportation into town to do your sightseeing. However, this is what gives it its solitude, peacefulness, and space for its many amenities — such as its two tennis courts, outdoor pool and sun lounging area, kids outdoor play area, and sun terrace! Check prices, guest reviews, availability, and photos here.

5 Things To Pack for Sibiu

The Lonely Planet Romania & Bulgaria: A good guidebook can help you with the kinds of tips you need if you’re out in the city and feel a bit lost, especially if you don’t have internet or a cell signal. These also have specific neighborhood information that will help you in different parts of the city, and it’s a great supplement to blog posts like this one!

Unlocked Cell Phone: Stephanie and I both have unlocked cell phones that we bought in Europe (Stephanie uses a Samsung and I use an iPhone). This allows up to get sim cards when we travel so that we always have the internet. This has gotten us out of so many jams! If you don’t have an unlocked cell phone that can use a Romanian sim card, you can buy a cheaper unlocked phone online and bring it with you!

Pacsafe Citysafe or Other Anti-Theft Bag: This is the bag both Stephanie and I use for all our travels. It has a pouch with RFID technology so our credit cards can’t get scanned from afar, interlocking zippers to make it harder to pickpocket, and it’s roomy enough to be a perfect sightseeing day bag, yet it’s still quite stylish for all of its security features. If you’d rather bring something smaller, you can pack a money belt instead. 

Grayl Water FilterWhile the water is *technically* safe to drink, I would still filter it. If you don’t want to be buying millions of plastic water bottles, you can get a reusable water bottle that comes with a water filter so that you can stick to the tap water and reduce your plastic waste. If you’ll be traveling outside of Sibiu, check if the water is potable locally.

Waterproof Jacket / Layers: Romania’s weather can be quite unpredictable — we actually ran into an early snowstorm in Sibiu when we visited in late October and I had to run to H&M and do a major winter shopping blitz! Not ideal for your vacation. We definitely recommend bringing proper layers that are versatile and pair well with other things in your luggage.

We love this Marmot PreCip rain jacket (here’s a woman’s version and a men’s version) which pairs well with other layers or can be worn on its own. If you’re visiting in fall or spring, we suggest a warm under layer, and if visiting in winter, upgrade that rain jacket to a parka! I own and love this North Face Parka and have had it for nearly a decade and know I’ll own it for decades to come thanks to its lifetime guarantee.

Romania Travel Resources

Romania - Bucharest - Street art near Carturesti Verona
You know how I said Romanian weather is crazy? This summery photo was taken two weeks before a massive October snowfall! Pack and layer well!

If you’re going to Romania, we have a goldmine of resources for you to take advantage of! First, check out this guide to planning a trip to Romania. It’s a good starting point for planning your trip. Next up, be sure to check our Romania packing list which features what to wear for every season, including winter.

Next, check out all the things to do in Transylvania and things to do in Bucharest. You can also check out our Instagram guides to SibiuBrasov, and Bucharest – more are on the way.

You can also read about the best Romanian castles, the Romanian food you should try on your trip, the best Romanian souvenirs, and inspirational travel quotes about Romania. Plus, how to plan some epic day trips from Bucharest!

We publish new content nearly every day! Bookmark our pages on Romania and the Balkans so that you don’t miss out on any new info or resources that we publish before your trip!

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

I’m sure you’re aware that travel insurance is a good idea for traveling in Romania (or really, any part of the world)! Stephanie and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.

While the Balkans are perfectly safe to travel around, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel, so it’s better to play it safe.

>> Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here <<

11 Best Bansko Ski Resorts for Winter Fun

Bansko, Bulgaria is a wonderful destination year-round. In fact, I just returned from enjoying the Jazz Fest that they have each summer, and I enjoyed going for a hike in the Pirin Mountains and seeing the largest tree in the national park.

But Bansko’s true season is winter — when the mehanas serving tasty traditional Bulgarian food get all cozy and warm, snow coats the old town streets, and skiers go up and down the lifts skiing on fresh white powder until calling it a day and enjoying the lively apres-ski scene.

There are a variety of Bansko ski resorts for all budgets, ranging from ultra-budget friendly family-owned offerings to 5-star perfection to holiday homes and villas. Here are our top suggestions for where to stay in Bansko on your ski holiday!

We’ve broken these Bansko ski resorts down by budget category to make it easier for you to search. Roughly, here is how we define each budget category.

Budget hotels are under $100 USD per night on your average, non-holiday weekend night. Mid-range hotels are $100-200 USD per night (also on an average, non-holiday weekend night). Luxury hotels are upwards of $200+ USD per night.

Of course, this doesn’t account for holidays (when prices will increase) or weekdays (when prices will go down). And keep in mind that you often get a discount when booking several days in a row, as well as that many hotels won’t let you book just a night or two as they have a minimum amount of nights you must reserve during the ski season.

Budget Bansko Resorts

7 Pools Boutique Hotel & Spa

7 Pools Boutique Hotel & Spa is a spa and resort-type hotel. They have neat and stylish rooms where you can choose from a studio, maisonette or apartment. There’s also one-bedroom and two-bedroom choices for the maisonette and apartment type, though of course, these are more pricy than the studio. Even better, all rooms have their own private balcony or terrace!

The restaurant serves a good variety of European and Bulgarian dishes, and you can also request a special menu for people who have dietary restrictions (though contact them in advance if this is the case!). 7 Pools has two main of bars: first, the Spa Bar which offers healthy drink concoctions in the spa area, and second, the Lobby Bar where you can have some alcoholic drinks or cocktails mixed just to your liking!

For being a budget-friendly hotel, 7 Pools has very elaborate choices in their wellness facilities. You can try their Turkish bath, tepidarium (a heated relaxation room – yes I had to Google that too!), steam bath, sauna, shock barrels (where you can alternate between barrels filled with hot and cold water), pools, a salt room, hot tubs (there are different sizes available too), fitness center, beauty salon and VIP Spa center. Whew!

This wellness-focused Bansko resort also has their own “7 Program” for positive thinking, rejuvenation, stress, understanding, beauty, energy, aging, peaceful mind, and living well. Just in case you want to talk to someone and release that inner stress within you, they do have a professional that you can consult!

Kids can enjoy their children’s spa, kids club, and children’s menu. There is a ton of activities you can do in both winter and summer. During winter you can ski or snowboard using the nearby chairlifts, which take you into Pirin National Park and its many pistes. Alternately, you can try freeriding or snowmobiling. During summer you can check their walking tours, mountain cycling, picnic in nature, horseback riding, fishing and riding a buggy.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at 7 Pools Boutique Hotel & Spa here «« 

Kap House Family Hotel

This is a 3-star hotel with a total of 26 rooms, so it’s quite nice, cozy, and individualized in terms of attention given to each guest. Each room in Kap House Family Hotel is carpeted (no cold feet in the winter!) and have their own private bathroom equipped with a lovely lie-down bath and shower.

A night’s stay for two can go as low as $22 USD — but you’ll have to reserve quick and in the off-season to get those rates. The rooms come with a free spa access and massages are at a discounted rate, giving you 20% off.

For winter sports enthusiasts, you can rent ski equipment at the site and learn how to ski in their proprietary school. However, you need to pay to use their ski storages. For animal lovers, note that you can bring your pets; just inform them before you book!

Families who have brought a car can park on-site for BGN 5 (around $3 USD) per day. Kids will be entertained with their books, music, and children’s TV networks. You can also leave them supervised by a trained staff who can babysit them while you are off somewhere — whether you’re hitting the ski lifts, enjoying the apres-ski scene, or just enjoying a peaceful night out with your beloved.

Keep in mind that they have a strict cancellation policy, and they will only give you a partial refund for your canceled booking. It won’t be a problem if this is really the place where you want to stay. After all, they have one of the best budget-friendly prices, that will give you a great experience that the majority of guests liked!

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Kap House Family Hotel here «« 

Boutique Hotel Uniqato

This small, friendly Boutique Hotel Uniqato has only 16 studios and suites, all with large and modern stylish rooms. There are three types of rooms available: double, maisonette, and suite.

All rooms have a balcony and you can choose either a view of the mountain or the city of Bansko! You are surely going to enjoy sleeping in their comfortable, large beds.

The family rooms also come with a private fireplace which is a perfect way to keep warm during the cold ski season. The ensuite bathroom has a separate dry and wet area — not always common in Bulgaria.

The breakfast options are great because there’s a menu for everyone (vegan, kids’ menu, dairy-free and gluten-free). You can also explore the dishes served at Victoria Restaurant in the hotel.

They have a great assortment of wellness amenities like a steam room, sauna, and Turkish bath, which are all free to enjoy. You can also bring your beloved dogs and cats for a fee. Skiers can rent equipment at the place and storage for your ski equipment is free, unlike many other hotels!

Just a reminder, that you only get refunded half of the amount you’re supposed to pay if you cancel.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Boutique Hotel Uniqato here «« 

Trinity Residence Bansko

For a place in the heart of Bansko, a little bit away from the ski area but in the center of downtown and all of its excellent restaurants, Trinity Residence Bansko is a fantastic choice. It’s just a one-minute walk to Pirin Street, the main street of Bansko. It’s extremely affordable for the quality.

The rooms are large and spacious with bathtubs and showers — however, do note that there is no shower curtain, so it is effectively a wet bathroom (so bring some flip flops for using the toilet after you’ve taken a shower!).

The rooms have balconies with views of other buildings in Bansko and some of the mountains in the background. The really amazing part of Trinity Residence is the excellent spa area. It has a Finnish wood sauna, a Turkish steam room, two jacuzzis, a large indoor swimming pool (heated), a smaller kids pool (also heated), a relaxing room, and massages available upon request. The spa center is free for all to use.

The breakfast was varied, with something slightly different every day. You can order full-board or half-board in the hotel if you’d like to eat at the hotel for all your meals, but I suggest trying the local Bansko restaurant scene instead!

This is where I stayed on my recent summer trip to Bansko and overall I rather enjoyed it. My only nitpick is that there was no daily housekeeping provided, and that there was no fan or air conditioning in the summer — however, if you are visiting in the winter, the latter part will certainly not be a problem. And for the price you pay, it’s hard to really complain!

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Trinity Residence Bansko here «« 

Mid-Range Bansko Ski Resorts

Astera Bansko Apartment Tourist Complex & Spa

Astera Bansko looks beautiful, especially at night when all the lights are lit up and glittering. This large apartment and hotel complex has 105 rooms, each with marvelous ventilation to get that fresh mountain air, due to the big windows that allow natural lighting to also enter.

The beds have wooden headboards and built-in wall lamps, creating a cozy cabin feel with all the wonderful amenities of a 4-star hotel. You can see a lovely view of the pool and the mountains from your room balcony. There is a ski school, and if you didn’t bring your own skis or snowboard, ski equipment can be rented. No need to reserve for parking, because it is free on-site — great if you are coming from Sofia or as part of a Bulgaria road trip!

The spa and wellness facilities are world-class at Astera Bansko. The ski resort offers well-priced packages that are sure to make you free from tension and stress. They have an indoor pool, fitness center, beauty salon, hot tubs, hammam, steam room, and sauna, all for you to enjoy when you’re not hitting the slopes (or you’re recovering from them!).

You can also check their library for some books to read in the lounge area or in your room. Alternately, you can rent a bike and go around sight-seeing with nearby attractions (as long as the roads aren’t too slippery and icy!). There is also a game room where you can play billiards, bowling or table tennis, so it’s nearly impossible to get bored here.

They specifically have facilities to cater to children’s needs, like a kids’ pool, indoor play area, and a kid’s club where trained staff can watch over them while you are away. 

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Astera Bansko Apartment Tourist Complex & Spa here« « 

Lion Bansko Hotel

They say lions are the king of the jungle (and they are the unofficial mascot of Bulgaria — after all, the Bulgarian lev is named after the lion). Well, this just might be a contender as the king of the ski resorts in Bansko!

Lion Bansko Hotel looks amazing with lovely natural stones embedded in its exterior walls, almost like a castle. If you are looking for a nice romantic view, you can check the dim lights in the façade at night. The lobby looks elegant with wooden interiors and furnishings.

The ski resort of Lion Bansko has big rooms and the windows are just amazing – they’re huge! The large windows allow you to get natural lighting into your room, aside from the really good view of the Pirin Mountains in the background. The ensuite bathroom is also spacious, so a divider isn’t necessary.  

Skiers can keep their equipment in the free storage provided, and you’re just a short walk from the ski lift in Bansko if you are feeling like getting involved in some winter sports!

You can also check their spa features; which guests loved the most. It is clean and you can tell that they invested well in it. They made use of neutral colors and added some touches of green to give you that close-to-nature feeling. Plus, it has all the luxury wellness amenities that you’re used to expecting from a Bansko ski resort: sauna, indoor pool, etc.

One thing that guests weren’t as crazy about was the breakfast. Previous guests reported that the free breakfast is just okay, but at least there was a good selection.

A pro tip would be to choose the early ski season because you might just get it for a real steal! You can get a mid-ranged value room for the best budget price.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Lion Bansko Hotel here «« 

Green Life Resort Bansko

Green Life is a 4-star hotel with annexes that make it look almost like a tiny town. And as it’s a little bit away from the center of Bansko, it makes sense that it’s a bit of a self-enclosed community. There is a ski shuttle which will take you into town and the ski lift, as well as taxis.

This lovely Bansko ski resort has a total of 140 rooms, that look great with clean and crisp white linen and purple or floral curtains that drape towards the floor. It is also very spacious and there is a seating area provided where you can have coffee or tea.

What’s interesting about the hotel is that they can give you a balcony with a view of the mountains. Skiers can keep their equipment in the storage for a fee. If you need anything (like car and bike rentals), you can communicate it to their 24-hour service desk. Should you need more cash, you can even have it exchanged at the hotel.

The outdoor pool is only open during summer, but there is also an indoor pool that you can use during the winter. They have wellness facilities like a spa, sauna, hot tubs, and a Turkish bath. No one will experience a dull moment, because they have an entertainment room that has bocce, billiard tables, and table tennis — perfect for entertaining non-skiers or for relaxing when you want a day off the slopes. This hotel offers more than just a green life!

Children will love the fun games and activities at their kid’s club. They also have staff who can keep an eye on them to ensure they are safe and sound. The restaurant and café also serve a dedicated menu for kids. 

On December 31st, they have a half-board rate for their Gala dinner with live performances (there’s also a DJ)! This is a great Bansko ski resort to stay at for the New Year.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Green Life Resort Bansko here «« 

Amira Boutique Hotel

Amira Boutique Hotel is a five-star hotel known for its gorgeous location near the foot of the Pirin Mountains. They have rooms that look warm due to great lighting and the choice of yellow tones for the colors of the linens and curtains.

You will love how they make use of faux fur and fluffy fabric in their chairs and linen.  It just adds up to a comfortable experience that makes you never want to leave your room (but with so much to do in Bansko ski season, you’ll have to find a way to pry yourself out of your room!).

They also make use of stone wall panels and wood for the walls. The private bathroom also comes with free toiletries and robes in each room. 

They have modern wellness facilities like pools, an infrared sauna with Himalayan salt, Finnish sauna, and a steam bath with a hot tub. The architecture of these facilities is beautiful, and it is perfect for having that relaxing moment after you ski (or enjoying if you’re traveling with a mix of skiers and non-skiers). Note that free ski storage space is also provided for skiers.

You can also make use of their fitness center to burn some calories after a fulfilling dining experience. There are three restaurants inside and they offer a unique fusion of local and international cuisine.

If you are a group (colleagues and friends) and you want to make the most out of your stay, you can check their programs as they have function rooms for different occasions too. Children can enjoy the indoor playground and make use of their kid-safe facilities.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Amira Boutique Hotel here «« 

Lucky Bansko Aparthotel Spa & Relax

Lucky Bansko is an apartment-type hotel with the most advanced facilities and features you can imagine. It has won many awards and was given the 5-star rating in 2015!

What’s amazing about the hotel is that they annually have a program to ensure they are up to date with trends and all facilities are functioning well. They have 115 rooms where you can choose from a studio or an apartment. The rooms are absolutely stunning. You will love how they mix and match decors to make it look very well furnished.

It has 3 restaurants inside. Le Bistro serves breakfast and dinner with a taste of Bulgaria while Leonardo serves Italian cuisine (which is known to be one of the best in the city!). Fondue Restaurant offers the best Alpine specialties like cheese, meats and of course chocolate fondue! They also have the Lobby Bar where you can stay for some nice music, snacks or alcoholic drinks. The free buffet breakfast is mostly continental.

If you want to pamper yourself, they have very unique treatments you can get like micronized algae and healing mud at their spa. Of course, they also have all the other wellness facilities that you’d imagine, like saunas, steam rooms, indoor pools, etc.

They have also ensured facilities for kids, like a children’s pool, play area with toys, and highly-trained staff that can take care of your kids.  For older kids, they can enjoy the computer games in the fun room!

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Lucky Bansko Aparthotel Spa & Relax here «« 

Luxury

Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena

This 5-star hotel has a ton of facilities and features you don’t usually encounter anywhere else. The rooms are spacious and make use of regal colors and quality materials for the interiors that befit the 5-star name of Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena. You can choose a view of the beautiful town or the mountains, and all rooms are non-smoking.

Skiers don’t have to worry because they provide passes at the hotel for the gondola lift. The ski lift is only a short walk from Kempinksi so it’s a true ski-in, ski-out resort in Bansko! There’s also a ski room where ski storages are available.

They have a diverse selection of restaurants that each cater to a specific type of cuisine, all executed beautifully. You can check local Bulgarian, Mediterranean, and Asian cuisines at their Gallery Restaurant. Come Prima Restaurant offers delicious and authentic Italian dishes. Lastly, the Japanese sushi and Teppanyaki grill which is made by masters who will showcase their fiery art in front of guests. You can also check their lobby bar for a few exotic cocktails and treats.

The wellness facilities are surely more than what you’re paying for (a half-day pass alone is 60 leva or $35 USD!).

It’s very luxurious (it also has a 5-star rating) and you will feel a moment of bliss once you get their treatments and services. The Kempinski Spa offers a unique relaxation machine called the Alphasphere. You can lay on a modern couch-like piece of furniture that has sound effects and vibrations that will help you soothe your senses.

They also have a snow room where you can experience winter all year round — indoors, even! After a nice steam bath, you can go here to help stimulate blood circulation. The feeling would be similar to using those shock barrels, but it’s less jarring on the system and requires less nerve. Aside from these, they have the usual sauna and pools.

If you feel like you want to have some retail therapy, you can also do some shopping at the hotel. They have brands like Chopard, Conte of Florence, Maxport, and Bobbles.

It’s not just luxury for adults, but also fun for the family. Kids can enjoy the play area and fun activities. The moment they arrive from the hotel, they already have a registration separate for kids where they will be welcomed with cookies and sweets! The kids’ buffet and menu offer a good list of their favorite dishes too. They also have a mascot bear called Todorka – so cute!

Pets are allowed too! You will pay €20 (around $22 USD) per night as a fee, and there is also a separate disinfecting and cleaning fee after your stay which costs another €25 (around $28 USD). They normally allow pets that are less than 10 kilograms, but just in case they are bigger, you have to inform the hotel so that they can make exceptions.

No matter what your circumstance, know that Kempinski will likely go above and beyond to meet your needs. True to the 5-star name, they are really into giving the best service they can for their guests!

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena here «« 

Villas & Holiday Homes

Rupchini Houses

Who doesn’t love a vacation house with a warm fireplace? Rupchini Houses will give you just that, making it a warm and cozy winter for you and your family.

The holiday homes are 120 square meters and beautifully furnished with brick and wood interiors, where you can choose from a holiday home (which can cater to 6 guests) or a two-bedroom home (which can accommodate 5 guests).

It has a simple and elegant style that perfectly matches its very clean rooms. The private bathroom is well-maintained, and it has your usual toiletries for free — hotel conveniences with the privacy of your own space. There is also kitchen and dinner utensils that you can use if you want to have a fancy dinner or lunch, or just have a change of pace from eating Bulgarian food every night in Bansko.

The best part of the house is the garden and patio where you can gather for a nice barbeque (weather permitting, of course).

Skiers can hire equipment at the site and there’s also a ski school and storage for a fee. Guests have loved how friendly the owner and host is. They would even want to rent the house again!  

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Rupchini Houses here «« 

Bulgaria Travel Resources

Bulgaria - Borovets - Stephanie

We want you to have the best trip to Bulgaria possible! If this will be your first time in Bulgaria, check out our Bulgaria trip planning guide as well as our packing list for Bulgaria (which includes a winter section). We also have a full guide to things to do in Bulgaria in winter!

To help you, we’ve created a number of resources that will be helpful. If you’re visiting Sofia, this 101 things to do in Sofia should be a nice start! Also read our Sofia travel tips post and where to stay in Sofia.

For transportation, check out our guide to avoiding taxi scams in the city. If you’ll be flying into Sofia, you can read our tips for flying in and out of Sofia Airport.

We also have Sofia restaurant and bar recommendations. We also have articles for popular day trips from Sofia like Plovdiv, the Rila Lakes, and Buzludzha.

If you’re thinking of Borovets instead of Bansko, check out how to get to Borovets from Sofia, our favorite Borovets ski resorts, as well as our favorite Borovets restaurants.

For more resources for your trip, check out our pages on traveling in Bulgaria and the Balkans

Planning a Trip to Bulgaria in Winter? Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!

Bulgaria - Borovets - Snow Covered Pine Trees

We strongly suggest that you travel to Bulgaria with a valid travel insurance policy. While the country is safe, accidents can happen anywhere. If you experience an accident or theft, travel insurance will help you recover your costs and enjoy the rest of your trip.

This is especially important in winter, since winter activities carry a certain amount of risk with them. We recommend the Explorer upgraded insurance plan if you plan to do any skiing or snowboarding so that you can be fully covered.

For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.

Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.

11 Best Borovets Ski Resorts for a Magical Winter Trip

We think that Borovets is one of the most underrated destinations in Bulgaria for a ski holiday. It’s close to Sofia (and super easy to get there!), cheaper than Bansko, and full of wonderful ski resorts in Borovets that won’t break the bank while providing all the amenities you expect from a ski resort.

We’ve picked out the best Borovets ski resorts for a variety of budgets and picked out two holiday homes as well, perfect if you’re planning a Bulgaria ski trip with a larger group.

In general, our budget categories go as follows: a budget Borovets ski resort is under $100 USD per weekend night, a mid-range ski resort in Borovets goes for around $100-200 USD per weekend night, and a luxury Borovets ski can go for slightly upwards of $200+ USD per night.

However, keep in mind that we based these prices off a random Saturday in January. If you travel in the very peak season, such as the period between Christmas and New Years, expect prices to be as much as doubled at times! Meanwhile, if you travel during the weekdays and limit your weekend days, you’ll likely find that you’re able to get quite a good deal on accommodations in Borovets.

So, without further ado, here are our top recommendations for where to stay in Borovets, Bulgaria: the best ski resorts in the city!

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Planning a Bulgaria ski holiday? Whether you pick Borovets or Bansko, there are plenty of amazing ski resorts in Bulgaria. In this post we list the best ski resorts in Borovets, so you can pick the perfect Borovets accommodation (whether it be a hotel, a ski resort, or a villa) for your budget! Read this guide to where to stay in Borovets, Bulgaria for your ski vacation.
Planning a Bulgaria ski holiday? Whether you pick Borovets or Bansko, there are plenty of amazing ski resorts in Bulgaria. In this post we list the best ski resorts in Borovets, so you can pick the perfect Borovets accommodation (whether it be a hotel, a ski resort, or a villa) for your budget! Read this guide to where to stay in Borovets, Bulgaria for your ski vacation.

Budget

Bulgaria - Borovets - Hotel Samokov

Hotel Festa Chamkoria

The location of the hotel is peaceful and perfect — it is just right beside the ski slope. It boasts complete family-friendly features for as low as $84 USD (that’s for 2 adults and 2 kids!) per night. Try to book it for the early ski season to get a good deal like this!

All rooms are soundproofed and have a balcony with a mountain view. The hotel’s decor is the perfect embodiment of winter – the interiors are mostly white! The ensuite bathroom comes with the usual toiletries, a hairdryer, as well as fluffy bathrobes and towels. For someone who can’t live without caffeine (raises hand), each room has its own coffee and tea making facilities. While breakfast is inclusive, you can also request dinner with a wide selection of food!

If traveling with a family, there are a few family-friendly features to note. They have an outdoor playground and an indoor kids’ club for children. You can also request extra cribs or beds; just make sure to communicate this request before your arrival, as it can sometimes be unavailable due to the number of guests.

But not only kids can enjoy! For friends traveling here in a group, there is a bar inside where you can have some drinks. You can also take a dip in their year-round indoor heated pool, relax in the steam room or sauna, go to the spa for beauty treatments and massages.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Hotel Festa Chamkoria here «« 

Bulgaria - Borovets - Hotel Flora

Euphoria Club Hotel

This 4-star design-inspired hotel is a skier’s paradise. The rooms look lovely in neutral light colors with touches of red, which give it a romantic appeal. Skiers are provided with free private ski storage, and if you didn’t bring your own gear, you can rent equipment directly at the hotel for a reasonable price.

The beds are comfortable and extra-long, to ensure that your sleep will be relaxing. In the morning, you will love the forest and snow-covered mountain view from your balcony.

Parking is free, but if you decided not to bring a car, then you can also take their free shuttle to and from the gondola lift or slopes. For some R&R, you can take a dip in the hot tub or visit their spa for a massage, facial, or other body treatments.

Families will be happy to note a few facilities that are perfect for them. If you need someone to watch over the kids while you enjoy the slopes or have a night out, you can utilize the hotel’s babysitting services. Keeping them entertained at the outdoor playground is also an option.

Those who do not ski can still enjoy swimming in their indoor pool, playing in their game room, relaxing in the lounge with a book, having cocktails at the bar, or renting a bike to go around nearby locations (weather permitting!). There are just so many things you can do at this hotel, and with the low price, it’s definitely a good bang for your buck.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Euphoria Club Hotel here «« 

Bulgaria - Borovets - Valentine Snow

The Lodge Hotel

Considered to be one of the first boutique hotels in Bulgaria, The Lodge Hotel is one of the most well-reviewed hotels in Borovets. It’s a small, personal hotel with only 17 rooms and suites, so you can rest assured there is a great deal of attention to detail individually provided.

The rooms are simple yet elegant and have features like a minibar, private bathroom with toiletries, and safety deposit boxes for your important belongings. If you want a balcony or patio, take a look at their larger suite options.

A unique feature of the rooms is their underfloor heating which helps keep maintain your desired temperature — no frozen toes here!

First time skiers can get guidelines on their ski school inside. You can also buy or hire ski equipment here. It’s right next to the gondola entrance (literally 20 meters away!), so it’s perfect for skiers and snowboarders who don’t want to waste any time in transit to the slopes!

They also have wellness amenities like a fitness center, sauna, spa, steam bath, hot tubs, and two heated indoor pools. Those who do not wish to go outside for meals can dine in their restaurant and bar (though Borovets does have some delicious restaurants!)

If you’re lucky, you can get their suite for two that includes a private pool for $100 USD – that is such a steal! People looking to get married can book their bridal suite. If you feel like riding a horse or renting a car, they can arrange those have it too.

For people with kids, there are some amenities for you that make your trip even more relaxing. You can keep kids busy at their playground, enjoying board and puzzle games which are provided, or utilize the hotel’s own babysitting services.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at The Lodge Hotel here «« 

Bulgaria - Borovets - Snow Covered Pine Trees

Radina’s Way Hotel

You will be welcomed by the fresh breeze from the mountain the moment you arrive! The rooms are well-maintained and cleaned every day plus there are multiple configurations for different family sizes. Details of warm colors complement its simple and elegant theme.

You can also rent ski equipment and have a private instructor for yourself at an additional charge. And you can even take a tour around the facilites on a sleigh pulled by horses! What a wonderful way to start that much-awaited vacation (and please any kids you’re traveling with!)

Guests enjoyed the free buffet breakfast due to its healthy options. There is also a restaurant inside the hotel that serves international breakfast, lunch, or dinner at an extra charge. The bar also has a good selection of drinks and cocktails.

Keep your vacation stress-free by availing some of the services at their spa center. You can also enjoy other free wellness activities in their fitness center, Finnish sauna, geothermal pool, and steam bath. To ensure safety, they have a separate children’s pool for free.

Just in case you need someone to watch over the kids, you can leave them at their kids’ club where a trained staff member can watch them. Cots and extra beds are available at no extra charge.

One thing to note is that it’s a little outside the center of Borovets and a bit away from the ski lift. There is a shuttle which connects you to the town center and the ski lift, but it doesn’t run extremely frequently, so you may prefer to stay here if you have your own car rather than relying upon the shuttle and taxis.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Radina’s Way Hotel here «« 

Mid-Range

Bulgaria - Borovets - Skiiers

Ice Angels Hotel

Ice Angels is the biggest 4-star hotel in Borovets, Bulgaria. That said, the hotel only has 40 rooms, and you can choose from a double, a studio or a suite type (some even have private fireplaces!).

The rooms are spacious, which makes it a very big space for couples and perfect for families on a vacation. Guests will feel like a celebrity upon entering the hotel because you will walk on their red carpet! The hotel has a very high demand during the peak of the ski season, so be sure to book in advance if this Borovets ski resort catches your eye.

Most of its amenities are world-class and newly renovated. They have an International Ski & Snowboard Center where you can learn the basics of these winter sports if it’s your first time hitting the slopes.

You can check their restaurant for a delicious experience of Bulgarian and international cuisine, or even party at their night club! If you prefer some peace and have some shots or drinks, then you can visit their lobby bar. For someone who wants to rejuvenate themselves, spa facilities like a warm jacuzzi, Turkish bath, sauna, and other delightful treatments are available: a perfect treat after a long day of skiing.

Due to the night club and lively lobby bar, the hotel can be a bit loud and is perhaps not the best place for families. It’d be far better for a group of friends who enjoy a lively apres-ski scene!

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Ice Angels Hotel here «« 

Bulgaria - Borovets - Snow Covered Pine Trees View from the Hotel Flora

Festa Winter Palace Hotel

This is a 5-star hotel that looks very grand – it’s really like a palace! It has a total of 66 rooms — some even with fireplaces. The rooms are very stylish, spacious and elegant, each having its own balcony showcasing the view of the ski slopes and the mountains. You will be surprised by beautiful surprise decor elements like tiny hummingbirds and antelopes completing the interiors!

For someone who hates wet toilets that often come as a result of poorly designed bathrooms (raises hand), rejoice for the toilets are divided from the shower. As someone who’s been living in Bulgaria for years and is always shocked by the poor bathroom design — this may sound silly but it’s pretty freaking cool!

The quality of the buffet breakfast is also wonderful according to guests. There are two restaurants and a café inside, where you can enjoy meals or sip some warm coffee. Use of amenities like the pools, steam rooms, sauna, and fitness center is inclusive of your stay. There are also wonderful choices of treatments you can avail in their spa.

For skiers and snowboarders, the location couldn’t be more perfect, as it’s just 100 meters away from the ski lift! It’s nearby to several restaurants as well.

It’s a kid-friendly hotel, so bring along the whole family! Kids can meet new friends in their indoor play area (which is quite cute and safe) or watch their TV programs with children’s shows available. Cots for kids under 2 are free; there is a charge for kids over 2 if they require an extra bed.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Festa Winter Palace Hotel here «« 

Bulgaria - Borovets - Bus Stop for the Bus from Borovets to Samokov

Borovets Hills Ski & Spa

This gorgeous hotel has a total of 65 rooms, where you can choose from a double, a suite, or an apartment-type stay. The floors are all carpeted and have vibrant and regal colors that perfectly complement and create a beautiful space.

Breakfast and dinner are included. For someone who is very conscious about what they intake, you can check their menu which caters to special diets. There is also a café inside the hotel and the restaurant offers a fine dining experience where you can see how they prepare authentic Balkan dishes right before your eyes! Parking is also very convenient and free.

Skiers can store their equipment safely in the ski storages provided. Someone who doesn’t know how to ski can try their ski school! The ski lift is only two minutes’ walk away, so there’s no time like the present to indulge in some winters sports.

The spa offers a great pampering experience, but you can step up your relaxation game with their hammam, massages, and hair and nail salon. There’s also a swimming pool, a steam bath, a hot tub, a fitness center, a sauna, and my personal favorite — a salt room!

If you want to bring back some Bulgarian souvenirs for your loved ones, they have an on-site gift shop for easy souvenir shopping.

For families, there are a few things to note. Children aged three years old and below are free of charge, and you can get them either a free cot or extra bed upon request. For a busy day skiing where you can’t bring your kids (or a night out sans kids), you can leave them safely at the kids’ club where a trained staff member can supervise them and keep them entertained with some activities and amusements! There are also indoor and outdoor kids playgrounds.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Borovets Hills Ski & Spa here «« 

Bulgaria - Borovets - Snow Covered Trees Money Exchange

Luxury

Rila Hotel Borovets

The architecture of Rila Hotel Borovets is very modern, with an unusual triangular shape. It is classified as a spa hotel and you will notice a lot of wood in their interiors which makes you feel peaceful and calm. The rooms are also decorated with wooden furniture, that remind you of an upscale version of gorgeous Scandinavian designs. While Borovets is indeed safe, guests will feel an additional layer of safety due to the 24/7 security presence.

If you feel lucky that day, try your best at their on-site casino! Other activities like horse riding, cycling, and a games room with darts and billiards will keep you occupied when you’re bored. Though with the ski lift only a few meters away, why would you get bored?

You can also try their spa amenities — they’re one of the best, if not the best in the area. They have a 25-meter long heated indoor pool, hot tubs, a salon, hammam, fitness center, sauna, and wellness services such as massages and more.

A breakfast buffet is included in your stay and what parents love the most is the selection in their kids’ buffet. If nothing from the buffet fits your kids’ liking, you can check their a la carte kids’ menu too — perfect for picky eaters. For families, note that cots for kids under 2 are free; there is a reasonable charge (40 leva per child) for extra beds for kids aged 3-11.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Rila Hotel Borovets here «« 

Bulgaria - Borovets - Hotel Rila

Hotel Yastrebets Wellness & Spa

The hotel has a next-to-nature design, making it look like a huge luxurious cabin — a lot of wood was used to make it, giving it an extremely natural and beautiful aesthetic! In fact, it has been awarded multiple times as Bulgaria’s leading resort by the World Travel Awards!

Outdoors, you will see the square-shaped wicker chairs in their patio, which look stunning. All of their rooms have a minibar, mountain view, safety deposit boxes, a personal wardrobe, a balcony with the view of the mountain, and free toiletries.

A/C and heating are also available depending on the season you arrive. The ensuite bathroom comes with free toiletries and all of their shower gels, shampoo, soap, and conditioners are organic.

Outside of the hotel are countless fragrant pine trees, that add a spectacular view from your room terrace. Most guests have loved their free breakfast, and many guests noted that they always looked forward to the themed dinner nights hosted at the restaurant.

Families who love to bond over a BBQ can pay additional to use their barbeque facilities. And even better — you can even bring your pets with you; just make sure to coordinate with the hotel and pay applicable fees! You can also check their on-site bar, restaurant, and café.

Aside from the free pool and wellness activities you can do, there are also a ton of other paid activities like archery, bike tours, badminton and tennis equipment rentals, horse riding and fishing which you may ask about at their 24-hour service desk.

For an extra special occasion, take a look at the incredible Finnish chalets they have on site, where you can stay in a wooden cabin, either one or two bedrooms — and some even have their own sauna! The price is a little high for this experience, but for a special occasion, I can’t think of anywhere more cozy or romantic to stay in Borovets.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Hotel Yastrebets Wellness & Spa here «« 

Holiday Villas

Saint George Holiday Village

The villas provide a private, homey feel to every family vacation! It can also be considered as a perfect place to celebrate special occasions due to its privacy.

During winter, the villas will remind you of Christmas villages! Each villa features a living room with a fireplace and a seating area. There’s also three large bedrooms, two bathrooms and the floors are made of warm-toned wood parquet — perfect for large groups. The entire villa is equipped with speedy internet, so you don’t have to disconnect completely (unless you want to!).

In the “holiday village,” there is a restaurant that serves an international menu — you can also have breakfast there. Private parking is also available for those who wish to rent a car or are traveling with their own personal car. Kids can also have fun at the playground nearby.

Skiers who were not able to bring equipment can rent directly at the site. However, the ski storages are not inclusive of your stay and additional fees apply. There is a 24-hour service desk in the village if you need anything, so it’s the comfort of having your own home with the convenience of a receptionist on call at any hour!

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Saint George Holiday Village here «« 

Bulgaria - Borovets - Ski Lift

Villa Elena

Villa Elena is a huge villa with 8 bedrooms that are simple, big, and clean. The villa can accommodate 20 people or more, so it’s perfect for a family reunion or giant ski trip with friends!

The kitchen and dining area are complete with anything you would need to prepare and eat your meals. Everyone can feel warm in the living room because of the fireplace surrounded by a nice sofa. Kids (and adults, let’s be honest!) can enjoy making s’mores here! Free speedy WiFi is also available in the entire property.

Both the garden and terrace are a nice place to stay and watch the beautiful views of the mountains. The patio outside is where you can gather for a nice barbeque if it’s not too cold to heat up the grill and hang out outside!

However, it will be a good idea to bring your personal toiletries, especially towels, because there is an additional fee to get them there. If you feel tired at the end of the day, you can sit and relax at the sauna inside the villa. The overall experience of guests who stayed here was great!

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Villa Elena here «« 

More Bulgaria Travel Resources

Bulgaria - Borovets - Sunny's Restaurant Stephanie

If you’re coming to Borovets for skiing or hiking, make sure to set aside some time to enjoy the town! We found that the hospitality in Borovets exceeded our expectations tremendously! Here are our Borovets restaurant recommendations for your trip. You’ll also want the directions for getting from Sofia to Borovets, as well as from Borovets back to Sofia.

Of course, you’ll want to know what to pack! We have a Bulgaria packing list which covers winter clothing for men and women here; however, since we’re not skiers or snowboarders, you’ll have to fill in your own gear knowledge if you plan to bring any winter sports equipment.

Since you’re planning a winter trip, we have some more winter ideas for what to do in Bulgaria in winter, as well as what to do in Sofia in winter (if you’re visiting Sofia as well!).

If this is your first trip to Bulgaria, read up on our Bulgaria trip planning checklist. You may also want to brush up on our guides to the Sofia airport and Sofia taxis, which will help you plan the logistics of your trip.

If you intend on spending some time in the capital before or after your trip, we have guides for things to do in Sofia, along with our Sofia restaurant and bar guides, plus where we recommend you stay in Sofia.

Going Skiing? Update Your Travel Insurance Policy

Finally, make sure you always ski with an updated travel insurance policy.  Any time you’ll be doing adventure sports and outdoor activities, you want to have travel insurance to cover you in case you get hurt. One of my best friends got in a skiing accident in Switzerland and had to be flown home. Without travel insurance, she would have gone bankrupt. However, they covered her ACL surgery in full.

For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. Important note: if you plan to ski or snowboard, be sure to opt for their Explorer plan, as the standard plan does not include winter sports! 

I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.

Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.

50 Fabulous Turkey Puns & Instagram Caption Inspiration

Are you looking for the best Turkey puns for a trip to Turkey (or a Thanksgiving pun for the holidays)? From birds to planes, here are our favorite Turkey puns.

Can’t read now? Pin for later!

Turkey Puns and Turkey Instagram Captions

The Best Turkey Travel Puns

Are you planning a trip to Turkey? Bookmark these Turkey travel puns for your trip!

Never in a fowl mood in Turkey!

Spending Christmas in Istanbul? Yep, I’m going cold Turkey

Turkey - Cappadocia

Istanbul holds the Turkey to my heart. 

I Galata get to Istanbul, ASAP!

Turkey - Istanbul - Galata Tower Stephanie

Making the mosque of our time in Turkey.

This is not my last trip to Turkey. I’ll definitely Bebek.

Turkey - Istanbul - Turkish Breakfast at Nezih

You Ortaköy know how gorgeous Turkey is. 

Kadıköy? More like Cat-iköy. 

Turkey - Istanbul - Cat at the Blue Mosque

Stay Golden Horn, Ponyboy.

Being in Cappadocia is air-mazing.

I Cappadocia believe this place.

Turkey in winter is Brrrrr-eathtaking. 

Turkey - Istanbul - Hagia Sofia in Winter - Canva

Feline just fine in Istanbul.

The Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia is truly a-stone-ishing.

Cappadocia - Turkey - Selime Allison

Turkey is for the birds.

I can’t Ephesus enough how amazing this place it.

The Best Turkish Food Puns

We love Turkish food, but we’re not above poking a bit of good-natured fun with some funny Turkish food puns!

Istanbul is such a a brew-tiful city!

You doner know.

Turkey - Istanbul - Istanbul Bosphorus Dinner - Canva

Olive for views like this.

Scoops, I did it again! 

Turkey - Istanbul - Turkish Spices - Pixabay

Turkey, I’ll definitely be baklava!

You’re my better halva.

Turkey - Istanbul - Raki and Mezze - Canva-2

You’re such a Dolma.

I falafel that I have to leave Turkey.

Turkey - Istanbul - Turkish Breakfast at Private Cafe

Am I Borek-ing you?

I’m Turkish Delight-ed to be in Turkey.

The Best Thanksgiving Puns & Turkey Puns

If you ended up here looking for Thanksgiving holiday puns and NOT puns about Turkey (the country), here are a few of my favorites. 

Thanksgiving Puns

Can’t wait to get basted.

Pour some gravy on me.

You can’t make this stuffing up.

Because I’m all about that baste.

Thanksgiving around here always turns into a clusterpluck. 

Turkeys gobble but they don’t fall down.

Flying home to see the family on Thanksgiving. I used my frequent fryer miles.

I’m a huge tryptophan of Thanksgiving. 

I want to quit eating, but I can’t go cold turkey

I’ve got ninety-nine problems, but a bird ain’t one. 

Pour me some more wine in my gobble-let.

If anyone harasses you on Thanksgiving, tell them to go pluck themselves.

Talk turkey to me.

You want a bit of my pie? No clucking way.

The chef must be disgruntled. He’s always flipping the bird.

Ottoman Puns

Love some good puns about the Ottoman Empire? Here are a few of my faves.

Sultan you believe how beautiful this place is?

If someone asks you is Turkey safe, tell them they Ottoman up.

Turkey - Istanbul - Mosque

I’d wear a Vizier, but I don’t want to look like a tourist.

Byzantine Puns

Here are a few of my favorite Byzantine Empire puns. I hope their straightforward enough for you!

I Constantipole how beautiful this place is.

I’m Justinian in love with this city.

Turkey - Istanbul - Hagia Sophia - Collab

Checking out Roman sites in Pammukale. It’s impossible to ruin this view! 

Turkey’s so romantic. It’s the best place to spend Valentinian’s day.

Turkey - Istanbul - Basilica Cisterns

Your photo is gorgeous! It’s perfectly in Phocas.

I got lost Rome-ing around Constantinople, because the streets were so Byzantine.

5 Things to Bring to Turkey

Greece - Crete - Heraklion - Old Venetian Harbor Luggage

We’re working on our full list of what to pack for Istanbul, but here are five things you definitely want to bring with you!

The Lonely Planet Turkeya good guidebook can help you with the kinds of safety tips you need if you’re out in the city and feel a bit lost, especially if you don’t have internet or a cell signal. These also have specific neighborhood information that will help you in different parts of the city, and it’s a great supplement to blog posts like this one!

Unlocked Cell Phone: Stephanie and I both have unlocked cell phones that we bought in Europe (I use a Samsung and Allison uses an iPhone). This allows up to get sim cards when we travel so that we always have the internet. This has gotten us out of so many jams! If you don’t have an unlocked cell phone that can use a Turkish sim card, you can buy a cheaper unlocked phone online and bring it with you!

Pacsafe Citysafe or Other Anti-Theft Bag: This is the bag both Stephanie and I use for all our travels. It has a pouch with RFID technology so our credit cards can’t get scanned from afar, interlocking zippers to make it harder to pickpocket, and it’s roomy enough to be a perfect sightseeing day bag, yet it’s still quite stylish for all of its security features. If you’d rather bring something smaller, you can pack a money belt instead. 

Grayl Water FilterWhile the water is *technically* safe to drink now, I would still avoid it. If you don’t want to be buying millions of plastic water bottles, you can get a reusable water bottle that comes with a water filter so that you can stick to the tap water and reduce your plastic waste. If you’ll be traveling outside of the major tourist centers, check if the water is potable locally.

Seabands: If you get seasick easily, pack some Seabands or seasickness pills so you don’t miss out on the best parts of Turkey – being on the water! A trip to Turkey isn’t complete without a cruise or at least a quick boat trip, so make sure you’re prepared to enjoy it to the fullest!

More Turkey Travel Resources

Turkey - Istanbul - Stephanie Ortakoy Mosque

We have a ton of resources to help you plan your trip to Turkey!

If this will be your first time traveling to Turkey, check out this guide to planning a trip to Turkey (including visa information) and this guide beautiful places to visit in Turkey. You can also check out our Balkan currency guide, which explains how the Turkish lira works and guidelines for tipping in Istanbul.

If you’re heading to Istanbul, we have you covered. Start with our essential Istanbul Travel Tips and guide to staying safe in Istanbul

We’re working on our massive things to do in Istanbul post, plus you can check out our guide to the best Instagram spots around Istanbul, tips for shopping in Istanbul, the best Turkish food to eat, how to plan an Istanbul honeymoon, and what to do in Istanbul at night.

If you will be visiting in winter, we have a special winter in Istanbul guide plus an overview of Istanbul weather in January.

If you want to be in the city for just a few days (four or less), check out our Istanbul city break guide, which breaks down the best of the city so you won’t miss anything!

Headed to Cappadocia? If you’re curious about the most Instagrammable places in Cappadocia, we’ve got you covered. We also have posts on the best things to do in Cappadocia, and how to plan a perfect 3 day Cappadocia itinerary, plus how to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul.

We have tons more Turkey and Balkans resources, and we publish new content nearly daily. Bookmark our Turkey and Balkans travel pages so you can find any new resources that come out before your trip!

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, make sure to travel with a valid travel insurance policy. While we feel safe in Turkey, it’s a good idea to be covered in case of an emergency. Travel insurance covers you in case of theft or an accident, which can save your trip if there’s an incident.

For travel insurance, Allison and I use World NomadsI’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.

>>Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.<<

Pin these Turkey Puns & Turkey Instagram Captions for Your Trip!

Turkey Puns and Turkey Instagram Captions

 

Planning a trip to Sofia? Check out our best free trip planning resources