Bulgaria’s as good in the sun as it is in the snow: Sasha Arms urges you to get in quick before everyone finds out.
If you’ve cottoned on to Bulgaria as a winter sport resort, then well done. Borovets – the cheapest and most dated of Bulgaria’s ski resorts – offers cheap and cheerful packages, hotels that back directly onto the slopes and cheesy, neon nightlife to rival any ski resort in the Alps. Bansko is the better option for the more discerning winter breaker – a small town of cobbled Bulgarian charm as well as a ski resort – complete with accommodation options that are much better than basic. Stay in the Kempinski directly at the bottom of the 75km of ski slopes or the Lucky Bansko aparthotel in the town, both of which have spas to wend away afternoons after mornings of ski slope action.
This is all useful information if you’re already planning your ski breaks for the next season, but many-a-traveller is overlooking the fact that Bulgaria is one hundred per cent a summertime destination too. Ski lifts and gondolas transform into transportation modes for hikers, bikers and Sunday strollers to take advantage of stunning scenery and some of the freshest mountain air you’ll have tasted. Not to mention the sun. Last year’s winter temperatures of -30°C were too cold for even the most hardcore among us. Try a balmy 27°C in July or August and all is right with the world.
Then there’s the largely unknown town of Sandansky – always a few degrees higher than the rest of Bulgaria, so positively Mediterranean in the Bulgarian summer. Famous for its mineral springs, Sandansky is the place to spa in the country. Spa experiences don’t get much better than at the five star Pirin Park Hotel. With a resident doctor on-site, indoor and outdoor facilities and a menu card of treatments that will keep you going for a year, you’ve probably never had a spa experience quite like it. Those with specific ailments such as asthma can also receive bespoke and medically-rooted treatments to help them, and people flock from far and wide for the healing benefits.
Bulgaria is one hundred per cent the place to be, especially now during the build-up to the 2019 Sofia Capital of Culture. Whether you’re in it for the winter wonderland or summertime strolls and sun, Bulgaria is a destination that’s hot-off-the-press.