Amanda's SKI BLOG
Sunday 08 September 2019
SKIING - Renowned for its exhilarating energy, fun and amazing comradery it is often referred to by customers as the best holiday ever! Well, Amanda had a fabulous invite from our travel partner Travel Solutions to accompany them on a ski holiday fam trip to Bulgaria. See how she got on in her BLOG.
SKI Holiday in Bulgaria by Amanda,
Senior Travel Consultant @ Grenham Travel
Preparation for ski holiday
Delighted with my invite I got straight into action. As always recommended, I did a little preparation before my ski trip, nothing too exhausting but it does pay off to do a little bit of exercise to be reasonably fit to enjoy the skiing.
I made sure I had the right clothing and gear to prevent frost bite!!! Bring the layers and the layer closest to the skin should be absorbent; thermal vests and leggings are ideal to absorb sweat and keep you dry. The next layer to keep warm – well I found a woollen jumper and or a fleece did the job and then the outer layer needs to be waterproof and windproof e.g. Ski/warm jacket, Salopettes. A light pair of thermal touchscreen gloves is ideal under the heavier ski gloves (Also great when you need to take the important pics), and snug headgear with ear coverings is essential. Plus warm socks, footwear, thermal leggings or tights under trousers is a good option and of course the warm scarf always a must!
One great advantage on my package was the fact the ski pack was included (if it’s not included in your package you can rent the gear out).
The SKI PACK includes:-ski equipment hire, boots, skies and sticks, Plus a lift pass for each day of our stay and daily ski lessons (4 Hours per day) with a qualified instructor.
I know you are in the sub-zero temperatures but it is so important to have a high factor sunscreen and polarized ski goggles/sunglasses, I also found my chap stick was invaluable to prevent chapped skin.
You can exchange Euros in resorts or use cash machines with great ease.
You will need a 2 pin adaptor.
Passport & Travel Inssurance
It is of vital importance to have adequate travel insurance in place before you travel. We can assist you to arrange cover and as per all insurance cover it is essential that you advise any pre-existing medical conditions to ensure your cover is valid. Failure to declare existing conditions may make your policy invalid.
NB A very important point to note is that Irish Passports have to be valid for 6 months from the return date to travel to Bulgaria…soooo check your passport expiry dates before booking
Borovets is the oldest and most popular ski resort in Bulgaria. It’s situated on the northern slopes of Rila Mountain just below the Musala – the highest Balkans’ peak.
There are 3 resorts in Bulgaria- Borovets, Bansko and Pamporovo which are ideal for skiing. We went to Borovets which is a small resort but excellent for all levels and ages. Transfer time is approx. 1.30 hrs. If you opt for Bansko the transfer time is 2 hrs and for Pamporovo it is 3 hrs.
The village has a good mix of hotels with most of them within easy walking distance of the lifts, shops, bars and nightclubs. Borovet is regarded as one of the best party hotspots on the slopes. There are lots of restaurants to choose from and they cater to all tastes whether you like a steak or prefer more traditional. Mamacita’s and Alpin Restaurants are amongst the best. Bars also serve food and can be lively and they do have happy hour ☺ be mindful though if you are toasting with the National drink – Bulgarian Rakia, it’s very potent!
The resort is also rich in culture and you can enjoy Bulgarian folklore nights, accompanied with fantastic food and local entertainment.
It is a great place to learn to ski or snowboard and the ski school is excellent. The instructors are experienced and they will help develop your skills until you feel confident to venture out on your own.
Our package included 4 Hours of lessons each day, which was divided into two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. The instructor was very approachable and patient… as I learnt new skills to take off down the gentle slope for beginners…
My team mates back in Connaught St. popped this pic on social media! Think they were wee bit envious of my work location for that week :-) :-) :-)
I was a raw beginner and felt very comfortable at this level but the resort also caters for Intermediates, Advanced and Cross Country skiing.
Beginners:- The best ski run for absolute beginners like myself is Sitnyakovo 1 (5800m)
Intermediates:- The well planned lift system includes the six-person Yastrebets gondola and has runs from wide sunny boulevards in the Moussala basin, to scenic looping trails through the trees.
Advanced:- This is for the expert skier with the testing World Cup run, one of the more challenging pistes in the Yastrebets area.
Cross Country:- 35km cross country skiing terrains are available.
For the real enthusiastic skier – you can take a night time ski from 6pm to 9pm.
4* LION Hotel
We stayed in the Lion hotel which is approx.. 8-10mins by car outside the resort; they have a free regular shuttle service to the lifts/resort, a taxi costs approx. €5 - €6 and it takes about 15 - 20mins to walk to the town centre. It is one of the more peaceful spots of Borovets as it’s nestled amongst a forest of pine trees and very scenic.
We were on a half board basis and had a choice of 4 mains each night in the Traditional Mehana restaurant; the food was good and really tasty. One night we ate at the Green King restaurant which serves Bulgarian National Cuisine, it was scrumptious.
Indoor pool, steam room, gym, newly refurbished wellness/massage centre and an area with relaxation pods where you can have a snooze; a great way to relax the muscles after the slopes!
The many fireplaces of the lobby bar with the chatter and craic was mighty and a lovely way to end the day.
The rooms are a good size and decorated in simple but modern style.
Each hotel room features a TV, a minibar, a telephone and private bathroom with a bathtub.
Wi-Fi and a safety deposit box are also available.
We also visited a some other hotels in the resort to get a flavour of the different ratings / locations etc.
4* Hotel Rila
If you like to be right in the centre of a resort, then this is an ideally situated hotel for you. In fact it is referred as the ski in/ski out hotel. It has a very impressive alpine-style ambiance.
The terrace Lounge has spectacular views of the ski slopes and offers an authentic apres-ski experience. It’s a great place for those who do not ski as everyone joins in the fun.
3* Hotel Ela
The Ela hotel is located at the centre of the picturesque Borovets resort. It’s on the main street beside the Gondola lift and of course an ideal location to visit the local bars and restaurants, This is a charming hotel with a cosy friendly atmosphere and has a very distinguished pyramid shape.
Hotel Ela is also near the station for the lift to Yastrebets and the Musala peak and is 300 m away from the ski drag lifts. The hotel has a restaurant, lobby-bar with fireplace, billiard club, table tennis, electronic darts, fitness, saunas, steam bath, relax area, internet club, kids's corner, ski wardrobe, and free Wi-Fi.
3* Hotel Samokov
Very popular hotel located in the centre close to the gondola lift and nursery slopes. It has easy access to the resort amenities and the lively night -life. The hotel has its own ski room with close access for equipment and lessons. The Samokov Hotel has indoor bowling, Table tennis, Billards, arcades, a great swimming pool
and spa and even a shooting gallery. Great spot for families
The Samokov also has a nightclub on its premises, so again ideal for those who like a lively holiday. Great choice for groups, couples and families.
3* Hotel Iglika Palace
This hotel is a lead in price, centrally located, has a friendly atmosphere and comfortable accommodation. Wi-Fi is available in public areas and of course it has the usual indoor swimming pool, Spa & Wellness centre, Sauna, Massage & safety deposit boxes.
Restaurant • Lobby bar • Indoor swimming pool • Spa & Wellness centre • Sauna • Massage • Safety deposit boxes • Ski storage room • Wi-Fi in public areas
Points of information
*All properties have ski storage rooms for people who bring their own gear.
* Free use of swimming pool & Wi-Fi in public areas in most hotels (some hotels have free Wi-Fi throughout) Other facilities such as spa, massage, wellness centre may have a local charge)
Other activities to enjoy are Skidooing, Sleigh rides and Hot springs all bookable through the Rep locally.
The Reps live locally and speak good english - therefore can help with any issue should anything arise.
I can honestly say this ski trip lived up to all my expectations of what a ski holiday is all about:- challenging ones skills on the slopes (for all levels of skiers), the apres ski is great fun and the atmosphere is one of relaxation, friendliness and great camaraderie, the facilities in hotels really add to the enjoyment with wonderful spas, massage and chill out areas.
Something that struck me also was the fact you don't have to be a skier to enjoy yourself, for the non - skier... you could join your friends on a ski hol and while they are sking you relax and use the amenities of the hotel, explore the area, absorb the wonderful scenery and of course join in the apres ski and soak up the social aspect!!! Take an excursion...
You can take a full or half day trip to Sofia, Plovdiv or the fascinating Rila Monastery. A Skidoo Safari is great fun. A trained operator takes you through the wood trails of the resort, after that you can have a go! Please book all excursions through your local representative. Children aged 2-11 get a reduction on selected excursion.
My ski fam trip holiday was a wonderful experience and I would highly recommend it. You get good value for your hard earned money with the package hols e.g.
The lead in price in 3* Accommodation / Bulgaria is €599 pps.
- Return flights from Dublin to Sofia, Airport taxes & security charges
- 1 piece of checked luggage 20 kgs
- Transfers from the airport to your hotel and return
- 7 Nights at your chosen accommodation
- Ski Pack (including ski equipment hire, boots, skis and sticks)
- A lift pass for 6 days
- Daily ski lessons with a qualified ski instructor ( 4 hours per day)
- Services of an experienced resort based representative.
Departing Dec 2019 - March 2020
Food and drinks are also a lot less expensive than here so it's a win win on all levels.
Please contact me if you would like more information and tips, I love chatting about this trip and will be very happy to share my experience and answer any questions you may have.
@ Grenham Travel Ph 090 649 2028