“ Bulgaria. „
Pamporovo - In Summer!!
Most people visit this resort in winter for the skiing and snowboarding. However we like to be different so we went in August to see what the area had to offer. It's a great place to go as prices are cheap and it's outside of the Euro zone.
Friends had bought an apartment in the next village of Stoykite which is close to the new ski lift and offer us the use whenever we fancied it.
Flights into to Sofia (via Easyjet) late at night saw us and our 17 month old decide to spend the night in a Sofia airport hotel. Next morning we collected our hire car and set off after lunch.
For a summer trip car hire is essential. Public transport around the area is poor. Bulgarian roads are not for the faint hearted and speed limits only seem to apply to us. You need your wits about you. It took us about 4 hours to drive up into the Rhodope Mountains. The route goes via Plovdiv and Bachkovo monastery (where we explored on the way back).
Pamporovo in summer
.... Is closed! While the major hotels are open and some of the restaurants are the town appeared to be sleeping. It's best of avoid it and stick to the other areas of the mountains.
Highlights of the Area
We went with our toddler so maybe looking for different things. We enjoyed
1. Shiroka Laka - a traditional Bulgarian village
2. The food - really good and cheap
3. The beer - as above
4. Smolyan - a traditional mountain town
5. Walking in the mountains - lots of walks along well laid out tracks
6. Picnics by the rivers and streams
7. A walks up the Devin gorge
8. The Trigrad Gorge (We didn't go in the caves)
9. Beautiful views
10. The chair lift up to the TV tower
Anybody who has been on a summer holiday to Austria or Switzerland will have some idea of what to expect. While it's not as high and you have to be prepared to be more independent in terms of making your own itinerary it's worth taking a look at.
Having visited Pomporovo 3 times now I can recommend it for others. The ski-ing and snowboarding facilities are of a good standard, the runs being better for imtermediates and beginners and the more experienced might find it less challenging. However the apres dki is second to none. Having discarded ski-ing for snowboarding I will be returning next year, to brush up on my newly learnt sport. My friends run the snowshack there and have a web site that is worth visiting for further info. www.geocities.com/gobulgaria All the facilities are within easy reach and a free coach transports you to the slopes. The main hotels have a shopping and restaurant and bar complex underneath them, so if you are in one onf these hotels you don't have to venture out into the cold night air. Cost of living is so cheap for us, a beer costing about 30p and spirits about 50p a drink. This is expensive to the locals! Entertainment is laid on by most of the reps and there is a real communtiy feel. A group of my friends and I go in January and have a hell of a time.
after having visited pamparovo six times and having the best fun on and off skis I feel that I am fairly well placed to recommend it. We have found the instructors to be fun and friendly, the mountain bars extremely hospitable particularly the snow ram inn on the top of the mountain. The prices for everything can not be beaten. The ski-ing is a bit limited for experts but for beginners and intermediates its great. the accomodation is average but then you only sleep in it (if your not out enjoying the apres-ski) its advisable though to take a good supply of loo roll as the local stuff is a bit harsh !!!!