I just returned from my first (of hopefully many) winter getaways to Borovets, the lovely Balkan ski resort town in the Rila Mountains. I knew I would love the gorgeous mountain views and fresh air, but I was delighted by just how good the food was. Here are my favorite Borovets restaurants for those wondering where to eat a delicious dinner after hitting the ski slopes.
Map of the Best Borovets Restaurants
Cool Runnings boasts to be the only Jamaican bar and restaurant in Bulgaria, and, while I can’t verify that to be one hundred percent accurate, it is the only one I’ve seen here in over two years. The best part? It’s both delicious and super fun.
We stopped in here because of our love of the movie, obviously, but it would have been a great time even if they didn’t have Jamaican bobsled uniforms decorating the walls. The music was chill, the food was fantastic, and the couple who take care of the place make it extra welcoming.
Our original plan was just to grab a quick drink here, but we found ourselves settling in because of the great hospitality we found inside. Five drinks and an order of pork ribs later, and we couldn’t believe just how much fun we were having.
Located by the Yastrebetz Gondola Entrance, it’s easily spotted in the middle of town. Whether you go for drinks, dinner, or both, set aside enough time to stay longer if you find that, like us, this place completely wins you over!
Another gem that took us by surprise, we originally stopped into Sunny’s Bar to grab a coffee before catching the bus from Borovets to Sofia. The owner was so kind and inviting that our initial coffee turned into a round of rakia, which turned into a bottle of rakia, mulled wine, mish mash, Bulgarian pickles, toast, and lamb.
I don’t always go for Bulgarian food, and this place is decorated to look like an English sports bar advertising a full English breakfast. But glancing at the menu and speaking with Sunny, we found that the Bulgarian fare (made by Sunny’s mother) was freaking delicious.
We ended up skipping the next three buses out of town, instead we whiled away the time by enjoying shots of homemade spicy rakia (60% ABV!) and enjoying the scrumptious food. I would not have thought we’d find such fantastic hospitality in a resort town, but Sunny’s was so warm and welcoming that we couldn’t tear ourselves away. The owner even sent us away with two more bottles of homemade spicy rakia to give to our families as gifts!
We popped into Pappa Mia’s, a sports bar designed to lure in English football fans, because we wanted to warm up by sitting near their advertised fireplace. We had welcome shots in hand within minutes, and we both ordered cocktails.
The atmosphere here was fun and relaxed. A family came in and sat nearby. The adults were offered free shots and the kids were given shot glasses filled with juice so they wouldn’t feel left out. It was adorable and so, so Bulgarian in the best way.
We watched a bit of soccer before heading out. When we left, one of the waiters offered us a second round of free shots. Another of the waiters complained in Bulgarian that we didn’t deserve two, but our waiter just waived him off. Delightfully grumpy Bulgarian waiters are part of the charm here, but we only knew what was said because my fiance speaks Bulgarian. I would have been none the wiser on my own.
Victoria is a casual dining chain in Bulgaria with restaurants in Borovets, Sofia, Plovdiv, and Bankso. I didn’t eat at the Borovets location, but I’ve dined at Victoria in Sofia and Bankso, so I can highly recommend Victoria as a great spot to eat dinner. We stopped at the Bankso location to celebrate my fiance’s birthday last year, and they loaded his birthday cake with serious celebratory candles. It’s those little extra touches that make this place a bit more fun than a typical chain restaurant.
The Terrace Lounge
Located in the Hotel Rila at the bottom of the slopes, the Terrace Lounge has great food and drinks, but the real draw here is the fantastic view of the skiers finishing their runs.
I ordered a hot chocolate with rum, and it was perfectly delicious yet strong. We also enjoyed some of the options from the bruschetta menu: pinchos and duck magret. The bread was soft enough to enjoy on its own, but the different toppings were really tasty. My favorite was the duck and the shrimp, but the mussels and the calamari were excellent, too.
We chose to sit outside under the heaters to enjoy the view, but we were slightly underdressed and a bit cold. I would head here in your ski gear if you want to sit outside. Otherwise, you can enjoy the view from the windows inside on one of the two floors of the lounge.
Note that this place is pretty popular, so don’t dawdle!
Honorable Mention: Mamacita’s Winter Mexi Restaurant
I didn’t eat here on this trip (it’s on my list for next time), but I wanted to let you know that it’s here and it has pretty good reviews. Tex Mex and tacos are hard to come by in Bulgaria, so if this is what you’re craving then you’re in luck!
Where to Stay in Borovets
Accommodations in Borovets offer a great value compared to other ski resorts in Europe. Here is a general range of what we mean by each budget category:
- Budget: A room in a hostel, usually $5-12 USD per night for a dorm bed or under $40 for a double.
- Mid-range: Around $40-80
- Luxury: Around $100 per night or more
Budget: While there aren’t any traditional hostels in Borovets, you can enjoy budget accommodations by staying a bit further away from the ski resort. The SDL Apartments Borovets Gardens are a great value since the taxis back and forth to the resort are still less than staying at the next level of accommodations. These are self-catering apartments, so you can also eat some meals in. Check rates, reviews, photos, and availability here
Mid-Range: I stayed at the Hotel Flora during my trip, and I loved it! We had a welcome bottle of wine waiting for us, and it was a self-catering apartment with comfortable furniture and a great location within a few minutes walk from the Yastrebetz Gondola. If you are traveling during peak season, book early since this is one of the more popular mid-range options in town and can sell out in advance. Check rates, reviews, photos, and availability here
Luxury: The Rila Hotel is known for its stunning views, and amenities. It’s also located right at the bottom of the ski lifts, so it boasts a location that can’t be beaten in all of Borovets. It has several restaurants and a luxury spa so guests can enjoy complete convenience during their stay. Check rates, reviews, photos, and availability here
Bulgaria Travel Tips
If you’re coming to Borovets from Sofia, here are our step-by-step instructions for how to get from Sofia to Borovets.
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 and a separate post for how to enjoy your trip to Sofia in winter, along with our Sofia restaurant and bar guides.
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. 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.
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Stephanie has been living in and traveling around the Balkans for the past three years. She’s written for National Geographic Online, appeared on CNN Arabic and in the New York Times, and ridden more Balkan buses than is good for a person.