Arriving home after an extended trip away is the most bittersweet things about travelling. On one hand, the feeling of being in your own bed, having a home cooked meal and seeing your friends and family is fantastic. But when all that excitement is over you sit there wondering why you ever had to come home in the first place.
What better way to give yourself a temporary fix than by booking a holiday? Especially if you live in Europe. It’s all so close, so cheap to get to and so diverse. So to cure my backpacking blues my best friend and I booked a week-long holiday to the mountain resort of Borovets in Bulgaria.
It was my first experience with a package holiday and I was hesitant to spend all that money just to have someone else book it all for me, but it was wonderful. No stress of organizing flights, or transfers to and from the airport, or finding the best deal in a crappy hostel, or even worrying about food. If you have the cash then treat yourself once in a while!
We booked the holiday through Thomson who helped us make up our mind on where to go and the cheapest option. They booked everything with Crystal Ski and we stayed at the Hotel Flora with breakfast and dinner included every day, buffet style. This means you can eat as much as you want and sneak a little out for lunch too. They also had a pool and hot tub which is perfect after a day on the hill!
We visited the resort in February, the mountain seemed empty during the day and the town was lively in the evenings. If you’re a skier then this place is great for you. Wide, sweeping runs, well groomed and a million miles of cat tracks. As a snowboarder this place is hell. Seeing another snowboarder is like seeing a unicorn, and it’s flat. So, so flat. Be prepared to give your back leg a workout.
The elevation is 1300m, there are 58km of pistes across three separate areas: Martinovi Baraki, Markudjik, and Yastrebets, with the latter being the best. A 6-day lift pass with rentals and lessons will set you back €220 (£160) compared to €373 (£270) in Verbier for only the 6-day lift ticket. There are plenty of tree runs if you want to get technical and 12 lifts including a gondola and a lot of short drag lifts.
The après in Borovets is typically Eastern European. Cheap beer. Cheap vodka. Cheap everything actually… It was happy hour 8 hours a day and it was always two-for-one, plus an endless supply of free shots. We joined in on a bar crawl one night and most people ended up doing body shots off one another and running half-naked in the snow. There are a few great restaurants and bars to choose from.
There are also plenty of other things to do in Borovets. You can go night skiing which is always hilarious, a ticket is €22 (£16). You can go snow-tubing for €16 (£12), this involves being pushed down the hill connected to a load of people all in inner tubes as you fly down the mountain towards a crash pad. You can even go on a snowmobile safari into the forest for €30 (£22) per person.
If you’re looking for a cheap place to hit the snow this winter then I would definitely recommend Borovets. The snow may not be the best and the mountain may not be the biggest, but it is insanely cheap and really good fun. You can live, eat and drink better here than you could ever afford to in Switzerland, Austria or France.
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