Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Five Reasons Why Skiing in Bansko is Unforgettable

Nothing quite compares to slicing your way down the mountainside on your skis, admiring the stellar views and getting a serious adrenaline rush at the same time. Quite frankly, there's no better place to do it than Bansko, widely considered to be Bulgaria's most modern ski resort. Here are five reasons why it's the best place to be if you're into the sport.

Location

Situated as it is at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, you're lucky to have a whole UNESCO World Heritage Site to explore at your leisure. Bulgaria's landscape is at its wildest here, and you're bound to be impressed with the local scenery, which looks as though Mother Nature really decided to let her hair down and enjoy herself.


Modern touches

The modern touches make skiing here better than ever, with the resort's new ski lifts, hotels and other fantastic facilities winning international acclaim. You can be sure of being completely comfortable while also being able to get hold of the most up-to-date equipment during your stay here. Bring on the pistes!


Apres ski

Nestled amongst the beautiful cobbled streets of the resort, you'll find hundreds of little bars and restaurants serving up their own brand of party atmosphere. They're uniquely Bulgarian and often referred to as 'mehana', even by international visitors. Party with the best of them late into the night as you enjoy Bansko's lively apres ski culture.


Price

Despite being internationally raved about, Bansko somehow manages to remain one of the cheapest resorts in the world for a sport that is notoriously expensive. You'll get the best equipment, accommodation and overall experience for the best price - a win-win situation.


The pistes

It wouldn't be worth turning up to Bansko for all this if it didn't have excellent slopes as well. Luckily, the resort excels expectations, with more than 70km of fast-paced piste that will put you through your paces. There are options for beginners, intermediates and advanced skiers, so there really is no excuse not to give this amazing sport a try in an amazing destination.


Balkan Holidays offer unbeatable ski deals to Bansko starting from only £271pp. To find out more or to book your ski holiday to Bansko visit our winter ski website.
Balkan Holidays offer unbeatable last minute ski deals to Bansko starting from only £203pp. To find out more or to book your ski holiday to Bulgaria click here. - See more at: http://blog.balkanholidays.co.uk/2012/11/tripadvisor-bulgaria-one-of-europes.html#sthash.RIEBiNRl.dpuf
Balkan Holidays offer unbeatable last minute ski deals to Bansko starting from only £203pp. To find out more or to book your ski holiday to Bulgaria click here. - See more at: http://blog.balkanholidays.co.uk/2012/11/tripadvisor-bulgaria-one-of-europes.html#sthash.RIEBiNRl.dpuf

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

4 Reasons Why You'll Love A Holiday To Croatia

Few places are as mind-numbingly unforgettable and extraordinary as Croatia. A journey here isn't something you're likely to forget in a lifetime (or three), and if you're looking for proof, here are our reasons below.

1. Follow in the footsteps of the Starks and Lannisters

There are lots of reasons to visit Croatia, but judging by recent press releases from the nation's tourism office, this will be number one for many of the people flying to Dubrovnik this summer. Unless you've been living with your head underneath a rock for the past half a decade, you'll know this is one of the stunning shooting locations for the immeasurably popular TV series Game of Thrones. Wandering the beautiful cobbled streets of this stunning city, it's easy to imagine training your own Direwolf here or trekking to the fictional region of Qarth (incidentally filmed at the island of Lokrum and the Dubac Quarry located near to the city).


2. Food that is out of this world

Have you ever had salad so fresh it tastes as though it's only just been removed from the soil? What about goulash so glutinous and gloopy it practically massages your throat as it slides into the stomach? And seafood so inventively prepared - sea spider salad anyone? - that you'll be begging the chef for the recipe before you leave the restaurant? Croatian cuisine is, simply put, mindblowing.


3. Landscapes that will leave your breathless

Ever seen a photo of Zlatni Rat in Bol? Enough said, in our books.


4. Towns and Cities that love to have fun

You know you're in for a good time when you travel somewhere that has festivals about folklore, pirates, klapa music, folk music, the pop scene and many more. Beyond this special celebrations, there are exciting nightlife centres - particularly in Dubrovnik and Split - that are well worth a nosy.

Let Balkan Holidays treat you to an experience of the senses this summer with a holiday to Croatia starting from just £343pp. Visit our holidays to Croatia website today for more info or to book. - See more at: http://blog.balkanholidays.co.uk/2014/04/croatia-destination-like-no-other.html#sthash.hhfzbfjH.dpuf

Let Balkan Holidays treat you to an experience of the senses next summer with a holiday to Croatia starting from just £329pp. Visit our website today for more info or to book.
et Balkan Holidays treat you to an experience of the senses this summer with a holiday to Croatia starting from just £343pp. Visit our holidays to Croatia website today for more info or to book. - See more at: http://blog.balkanholidays.co.uk/2014/04/croatia-destination-like-no-other.html#sthash.hhfzbfjH.dpuf
Let Balkan Holidays treat you to an experience of the senses this summer with a holiday to Croatia starting from just £343pp. Visit our holidays to Croatia website today for more info or to book. - See more at: http://blog.balkanholidays.co.uk/2014/04/croatia-destination-like-no-other.html#sthash.hhfzbfjH.dpuf
Let Balkan Holidays treat you to an experience of the senses this summer with a holiday to Croatia starting from just £343pp. Visit our holidays to Croatia website today for more info or to book. - See more at: http://blog.balkanholidays.co.uk/2014/04/croatia-destination-like-no-other.html#sthash.hhfzbfjH.dpuf

Skiing in Bulgaria: Which Resort?

When it comes to skiing in Bulgaria, you may well be bowled over by the level of choice. Three major resorts stand out - but which one should you opt for? While Borovets, Bansko and Pamporovo all make efforts to cater to all visitors, they all have unique aspects that may do well in enhancing your holiday. Take a look below and see if you have an easier time making up your mind.

Bansko


Perhaps the best-known of the three, Bansko has attained international acclaim for its ultra-modern facilities and incredible 70km of invigorating slopes. But despite its popularity, it manages to retain its small-town atmosphere, which is charming in itself. Where the pistes themselves are concerned, it's a good all-rounder, catering for the beginners and intermediates, as well as those adrenaline-hungry black run hoggers. Its reputation means that it attracts great instructors from across Europe.


Borovets

If there's a certain aspect to the ski lifestyle that Borovets is particularly known for, it is most definitely the nightlife. The apres ski here is the best you can get, with a plethora of bars just begging to be discovered. Start your night at Buzz Bar where you can enjoy a traditional Bulgarian beer and an international atmosphere before getting your groove on in a nearby club. The skiing itself is also good - beginners and intermediates are likely to be particularly impressed with the variety of runs.



Pamporovo


If you come away from the spectacular slopes of Pamporovo and haven't been touched by the stunning scenery, then you're not human. The sheer splendour of the surrounding mountains is genuinely jaw-dropping, with everything covered by a soft layer of glittering snow. As you strap on your skis, you can be comfortable in the knowledge that you're about to go through some pretty heart-racing runs - indeed, these are some of the most challenging slopes in Bulgaria, with those loving a challeng
e are likely to be very satisfied by the number of red and black pistes. Good luck! You're going to need it.


Balkan Holidays offer unbeatable ski deals to Bulgaria starting from only £241pp. To find out more or to book your ski holiday to Bulgaria visit our winter holidays website.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Top activities to do in Sunny Beach

When it comes to enjoying your time in Bulgaria, you won't be disappointed by what Sunny Beach has to offer. From adrenaline-inducing thrills to super-relaxing activities, there is something to please everyone at this picture-perfect holiday resort. Here are some of our favourites.

Outdoor Karting

Not even a mile away from Sunny Beach's vibrant centre, you'll find a karting track surrounded by the beautiful Bulgarian countryside. It loops and gybes, with thrilling long straights and nerve-wracking curves. Great for families, friends and everyone else.


Sunny Beach Paintballing

Embrace the team camaraderie required by paintballers to be successful in their goals. If you've had one too many days on the beach and are aching for some excitement, this can be the perfect activity. Use strategy and intelligence to outwit your opponents.


Action Aquapark

Kids and adults will be in agreement that there are few things more enjoyable than an aquapark. Dive in for a swim in the pool. Rocket through the slides on a two-man boat before crashing into the water at the other end. Or just relax in the quiet pool while working on your tan.


The Beach

After all, we couldn't talk about Sunny Beach and not mention the main attraction. The local coastline is stunning. At either end of the bay, rough and ragged rocks give way to a splendid stretch of sand that scythes across the ocean. Pull up a chair and allow all your worries to float away on the gentle breeze. Perfect.


Dancing

Sunny Beach has got plenty of decent nightlife hotspots, giving you ample opportunity to dance the night away should you feel like it. Many are located near popular drinking spots and restaurants, meaning you won't need to walk far from where you've been eating or drinking. Under the strobe lights, you'll hear the latest songs played by superstar DJs as you let your feet move with the rhythm.


Sunny Beach Holidays offer you the opportunity to explore a new destination packed with culture, history and beauty. Visit the resort next summer with prices starting from only £239pp and see just why couples, families and singles return to this popular Eastern European destination year after year.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Rakia: An introduction

You've arrived in Bulgaria, found your resort and unpacked your things. Now you're just sitting down to enjoy your first proper meal in this incredible country when you spot the word 'rakia' on the menu. You are in for a treat, my friend. Here are some reasons why we think you will adore this very special alcoholic drink.


It's never the same...

Rakia is an umbrella term for a delicious fruit brandy that is enjoyed across eastern Europe, but don't be fooled. While the fundamental nature of the drink remains the same, tastes, fruits and even the length of fermentation vary wildly. For example, the rakia you drink in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, and what you consume in Dubrovnik, Croatia, might taste completely different. In Bulgaria, grape rakia is the most common, although keep an eye out for Slivovitza, which is rakia made from plums. In Croatia, however, anything goes and you might find the beverage made out of anything from truffles and olives to apples and pears.


It's homemade...

It is not uncommon for restaurants and families to brew their own rakia - something that unites Croatia and Bulgaria. This only adds to the possible varieties of the drink, with some people preferring to create stronger or clearer vintages than others. If you were to ask someone who brews the best rakia, they would be united in their answer: "I do."


There is an etiquette around drinking...

Be sure to observe the etiquette of the country you're in. In Bulgaria, the 'cheers' is perhaps the most essential part. It is important to wait before this moment to start drinking, and don't take a sip until you've made contact with everyone in the group. You may also find it is regularly served as an accompaniment to salad. In Croatia, things are a little less formal. Glasses of rakia are passed around the table, acting as a social lubricant and inspiring conversation. Remember - if the drink burns your throat as it goes down, it's a bad one. If it burns your chest, it's a good one.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Discover 3000 Years of History in Ancient Nessebar

Bulgaria is famed for its beautiful Blue Flag beaches, fun resorts and family holidays, yet just around the corner from Sunny Beach, is the ancient port of Nessebar which can claim to be one of the oldest towns in Europe, dating back an impressive 3,000 years.


A UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the old quarter of the town has been preserved as a living museum, displaying cobbled streets and the remains of 40 ancient churches from the medieval and other periods in history.

The city’s remains, which date mostly from the Hellenistic period, include the acropolis, a temple of Apollo, an agora and a wall from Thracian fortifications. There is a windmill dating back to the Ottoman Empire, which has become the symbol of the town.


Offering a choice of good restaurants, bars and well priced shops selling local art and crafts, Nessebar is a perfect destination for couples seeking a bit more of a cultural experience. The pretty harbour, with its excellent fish restaurants is the base for many interesting excursions, including a day trip on a luxury catamaran.


Other reasons to book a break in Nessebar include a good climate with summer temperatures averaging 25 to 30 degrees and a beautiful sandy beach. Plus the resort is conveniently located close to Sunny Beach where you can go and spend a fun evening out easily and cheaply.

A seven-night break at the three star Hotel Victoria, Nessebar, on a bed and breakfast basis, costs from £392 per person, including return flights from London Gatwick to Bourgas departing 14 September.



For bookings and details of excursions go to www.balkanholidays.co.uk or call Reservations Tel: 0845 130 1114 or contact your local travel agent.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Three things about Croatia that will surprise you!

One of the most frequently said comments about Croatia is, 'It will surprise you'. We at Balkan believe this to be very much true, so we've compiled a list of aspects that will simply sweep you off your feet when you venture into this stunning country for the first time.

1. There is Roman architecture here, and plenty of it


People usually go to Rome or Greece to get their fill of Roman architecture, but did you know Croatia has more than its fair share of amphitheaters, palaces, and other structures? Within Split and Pula in particular, you'll find an extraordinary plethora of well-preserved historical wonders that date all the way back to a time when this magnificent society held power over the globe.

2. The locally made wine is delicious


In Croatia, people are proud of their locally made wines. Across rolling fields on both the mainland and the island as far as the eye can see, witness well-maintained vineyards where the magic happens. To this end, you'll find plenty of local vintages on menus throughout the nation, and it's worth sampling as many as your metabolism will allow during your holiday. Wines aren't the only alcoholic beverage to consider, however. Be sure to try the local specialty maraschino, a liqueur made from cherries that is produced in Zadar.

3. The food is even better!


Croatian cuisine really is something special, as you'll realise the first time you sit down at a restaurant. But to really understand what you're eating, you have to get the culture. Chefs put a serious emphasis on freshness, and meat and vegetables are often locally sourced. Preparation is key - some dishes undergo a 24-hour preparation process before they reach your plate. And to accompany your meal, why not opt for some of that superb local wine we mentioned in the previous point?

Book your holiday to Croatia today with the UK's number one tour operator to Croatia, Balkan Holidays and experience a place unlike any other destination in the world.