News from the snow
Pamporovo (sometimes known as Pamps to its friends) is a modern resort built within spectacular pine forests within the historic Rhodope Mountains area. The earliest resort development dates to the 1960s, but was completed with more style than most ski centres created around the world in that decade. The resort was partially privatised soon after the end of the Communist era in Bulgaria in the 1990s and a majority share holding in the profitable resort was sold by the government in 2000. The result today are refurbished hotels with a great range of facilities in each. The beautiful Rhodolpe mountain area has many claims to fame in history and possibly the future. The mythical singer Orpheus is believed to have lived here, one of his songs is currently flying out beyond the solar system on the Voyager space craft seeking out new life and new civilisations. There may be something in the air here as many of the locals live to be 100+ (they manage to maintain a reputation for friendliness, cooking and singing for all that time too), or it may be just because this claims to be Europe's sunniest ski resort, averaging 270 sunshine days annually. Finally, Pamporovo is also known for it's high value skiing, shopping and après ski.
Pleasant purpose-built centre in spectacular pine forests. There may be something in the air here as many of the locals live to be 100+, or it may be just because this claims to be Europe's sunniest ski resort, averaging 270 sunshine days annually. The resort was partially privatised soon after the end of the Communist era in Bulgaria in the 1990s and a majority share holding in the profitable resort was sold by the government in 2000.
The ski area is linked to the hotels and village by a regular shuttle bus which is efficient but can get full before the last pick up in either direction at busy times.
Ski runs descend from beneath the imposing television tower at 1925m down to 1450m - a 475m maximum vertical which does not compare with the Alps but is adequate for most. Runs descend through the forested north, east and west slopes of mount Snejanka.
A new quad lift from the resort to Studenets replaced an old single man lift that was operating there, greatly increasing uplift efficiency.
It's a great resort for beginners on several levels. Firstly there's the sunshine and snow record, secondly two thirds of the trails are graded easy and third and most important, the ski school is one of the most highly regarded in Europe. Highly qualified instructors, each speaking at least two foreign languages, train beginners, in groups or individually.
Intermediate skiers have the longest runs including number five, down to Ardashla at 3.1km (two miles) in length.
The most difficult run is "The Wall", one of two blacks at the area, a steep and challenging mogul field.
There is also good off-piste skiing when conditions are right and plenty of expert guides to show it to you.
There are three cross-country runs in Pamporovo with 25km of trails in total.
There are also no less than nine ski rental and storage locations around the base of the slopes.
Traditional Bulgarian dishes such as spit roast lamb are served at the Chervemeto. Another highly recommended place to eat authentic Bulgarian cuisine is Chavone on the outskirts of town.
The Bulgarian Barbecue and Grill attached to the Murgavets hotel is very good as is the Red Sun Chinese. There's a good Italian eatery in the Perelik.
Brother's cafe is famed for its hot chocolate (with or without brandy) and its possible to go up the TV tower on top of the mountain and eat there with spectacular views, as far as Greece on a good day.
There are also plenty of other activities on offer, including the modernised bowling alley in the Hotel Perelik. Traditional Bulgarian entertainment is also to be found including walking on coals at the Bulgarian Barbecue and Grill.