Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Introducing FairFX MasterCard - the smarter way to take control of your money abroad!

Balkan Holidays have partnered with FairFX to help you take control of your money and family spending when you are abroad. Do you know most banks and credit card companies charge an extra 2.75% on every international purchase you make? To help you spend less on these charges Balkan Holidays have partnered with FairFX who charge only 1.4%. You can top-up online before you travel using FairFX’s website, mobile app or SMS, then just use your FairFX card in shops, hotels and restaurants displaying the MasterCard acceptance mark or withdraw cash from ATMs.

Why should I get one?
  •     The card is FREE for Balkan Holidays customers (usual fee is £9.95)
  •     Convenient to use - just load and spend
  •     Manage your FairFX MasterCard from your mobile phone
  •     Use it anywhere where you see the MasterCard logo 

What are customers saying?

"The FairFX card was very convenient and easy to use"
"Good website and easy to top up"
"We chose the card to avoid carrying too much cash for a 6 week trip"
"I purchased my currency card after seeing the rate"

To find out more details and get your FairFX MasterCard just click here.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Join The Fun With Mr Bear's Kids Club!

Looking for a summer holiday where you can relax completely while your children are engaged in fun and exciting activities in a safe environment? Mr. Bears Kids Club in Sunny Beach might be that one thing that puts your mind at ease this summer!
With Mr. Bear's Club your kids will never get bored on your holiday.

Our Mr Bears kids’ clubs create safe, happy places for children to make new friends, learn new skills and, most importantly, to play. With a sign in/sign out policy you can be sure of your children’s safety at all times.

Mr Bear's Kids Club is based at Hotel Fenix, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria and it is open to all Balkan Holidays children, regardless of which hotel or apartment you are staying in. It is split into, two age groups, between 4-7 years “the cubbs” and 8-12 years “the bears”. The Club is FREE, however additional charges may apply for a limited number of activities.
With activities 5 days a week, 4 hours a day, Mr. Bear's Club is definitely not to be missed!

Time to get creative!

Below is a weekly schedule example of our Kids Club summer fun.

On Monday morning we enjoy various arts & crafts with paper mache, sculpting and painting. Outdoor games will be organised in the afternoon, including football, dodge ball and more.

On Tuesday, your kids can design their own T-shirts and paint them with 3D paint. T-shirts are charged at 10 Lev. In the afternoon an exciting quiz show begins to learn about the world and to find the winner of the day.

Wednesday morning is the time for garden games, such as cricket, garden Ludo, tennis and other ball games. Movie and popcorn provide the entertainment in the afternoon as the kids watch the film of their choice on comfortable bean bags.

Arts and crafts session awaits on Friday, where your kids can make their special bracelets and there is a chance for face painting as well to surprise mom and dad in the evening! In the afternoon we make our own souvenirs for the family at home.

On Saturday there is a choice between a full day Family Picnic in the village of Erkech, and activities in the resort. On the daytrip we learn about local culture, travel on horse and carts and learn how lemonade used to be made, then enjoy a picnic in the meadow.

In the resort, Saturday is the day of drama: kids make their masks and then tell a story on stage. The dance floor will be open in the afternoon for some dancing fun and music.

On Sunday morning a team quiz will test the combined knowledge of the teams, and then in the afternoon a ten pin bowling competition starts to find the best bowler in resort. This activity costs 15 Lev.

Surprise mom and dad in the evening with face paint!

reps also attend the Sun and Fun Pirates Cruise so if you were looking to take some time out and soak up the sun, the Balkan Holidays Kids Club team are on hand to take care of the little ones for you.

Book a
summer holiday to Bulgaria in the vicinity of our Kids Club in Sunny Beach resort and your kids will be guaranteed action, activity and adventure and a family holiday in Bulgaria they won't forget.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

5 Fun and Crazy Skiing World Records

When it comes to winter sports, sometimes going up and down the slopes simply isn't enough for some individuals. Whether it was by accident or on purpose, these individuals have given us some of the most unbelievable world records around and it is in this article where we will highlight five of these record-breaking achievements for your reading pleasure...
1. Most Fingertip Pull-Ups While Wearing Skis
On the 21st December 2013 in Big Bear, California, ski enthuasist Andreas Weaver set the record for the most fingertip pull-ups while wearing skis when he set a record of 13 during a holiday to improvise a workout while skiing.

Check out Andreas setting the record here
2. Most Countries Skiied in 20 days
On March 21, 2014 in Riddarholmen, Stockholm, Jamie Stevenson set the record for the most countries skiied in 20 days in order to raise money for Disability Snowsport UK. Covering most of Europe, Jamie even skiied in Spain during the challenge.

You can watch each day of Jamie's record here
3. Most Vertical Feet Skied Uphill In 24 Hours (Female)

Dina Mishev climbed 34,546 feet in 24 hours, a new world record. Using climbing skins, she repeatedly trekked up a 1502-foot trail, checking in with officials at the top off the trail, before skiing down and checking in with officials at the bottom. She did this 23 times in 24 hours. The record was set on February 8, 2009 during the 24 Hour Sunlight Challenge at the Sunlight Mountain Resort in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

4. Longest Time To Ski On One Foot

On Mars Hill in North Carolina on January 8, 2008, experienced skiier Alex Kleinschmidt set a new world record using only one ski for 25.1 seconds. As most of us struggle to stay up on two feet, this record is certainly worthy of the praise it receives.

Check out Alex's record breaking video here

5. Most Consecutive Days Skiing

Paul Schipper's skiing "streak" began in 1981 at age 57 and continued through until 2005 at age 81. He skied every single day that Sugarloaf ski resort in Carrabassett, Maine was open for 3,903 consecutive days. He skied through bouts of cancer, pneumonia and near blindness in one eye. Sadly Paul Schipper, known as "The Ironman of Skiing" died on February 16, 2009 at age 85. Sugarloaf named a trail in his honor on April 4, 2005, by calling a section of the famous Narrow Gauge Trail as “Schipper’s Streak".

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Two Sides of Bulgaria's Heavy Snowfall

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! When the forecasters predicted a fantastic ski season for the Eastern European region back in November, no one knew for sure just how much of the white stuff was actually going to fall and when. Having already been a fairly good ski season for the Bulgarian resorts of Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo, mother nature decided to deliver a phenominal amount of snow across the resorts this week, which was beyond every skier and snowboarder's wildest dreams. 

Since Friday, March 6th the snow has continued to fall in huge amounts across much of the country layering up to 3.5m of snow on the slopes of Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo creating superb skiing conditions for those in resort. According to our latest reports the snow is continuing to fall and is expected to keep falling until Sunday, 15th March.

Whilst this is welcome news for many tourists seeking a great value last minute holiday in one of Bulgaria's premier ski resorts, a thought must be spared for the thousands of Bulgarians whose towns and cities are not as thankful for the snow and are currently having to deal with a number of emergency situations. Our thoughts are with those who have been affected by the snow conditions and we would like to voice our appreciation to the many teams of emergency workers aiding and assisting the locals as they deal with the situation.

If you're heading off to Bulgaria skiing this week, please take care on the slopes and enjoy your time in the snow but please do not go off piste as there is a significant risk of avalanches due to the snowfall.

Here are some pics of the recent snowfall in Bansko and Pamporovo plus a superb short slow motion video of Borovets:

Holidaymakers walk through a tunnel dug in the Bansko snow

Bansko resort has seen up to 3.5m of snowfall this week

A holidaymaker in Pamporovo is covered waist high in snow

These cars in Pamporovo do not look like they're going anywhere


3 reasons to put Montenegro on your to do list

There's a lot to love about the country of Montenegro, the very name of which sounds as though it has come straight from a fantasy novel. Find out why we think it's one of the most magical places on Earth.

1. Because some of the colours here don't exist anywhere else

Sometimes there's a vibrancy to a green that can only be described as emerald, or a flair to a red that more closely resembles crimson. Throughout Montenegro's wild gorse-coloured mountains, Adriatic beaches and enticing cities, you'll find aquatic blue waters, vibrant violet flowers and terracotta orange roofs. Everywhere you look, there are incredible hues, spectrums and sights - this is a photographer's dream.

2. Because there is much to be done here

Despite being less than half the size of Wales (the country, not the sea creature), Montenegro certainly packs a lot in. Deciding where to start is likely to be your biggest problem. With a landscape that plunges and soars like a drunken dragonfly, there are plenty of adrenaline-inducing experiences abound. White water rafting through the Durmitor national park is certainly a highlight - the narrow free-flowing valley is fringed with stunning trees of exactly the shade of emerald we mentioned earlier. Then there are glittering beaches to lie on, unique cities to explore and a one-of-a-kind culture to experience. One thing is certain - you won't be bored here.

3. Because the beaches are worth the flight alone

Spectacular stretches of coastline are something of a trademark for Montenegro. The resorts of Budva, Petrovac, Sveti Stefan and Becici attest to this in terms of extraordinary beauty - picture stunning white sand shelving away into a clear-turquoise ocean. Lying here, surrounded by nature and yet catered for by the modern amenities of a modern resort town, you'll feel completely at ease with yourself and the world - which is surely the best feeling a holiday can give you.

Find out more about our range of Montenegro Holidays or book by visiting our Montenegro Holidays page.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Sites in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a popular holiday destination, well known mostly for it's beautiful ski and seaside resorts offering incredible value for money holiday opportunities. Every year millions of tourist are attracted by the sun-drenched golden sands, blue waters and white mountaintops of Bulgaria. However, there is another side to this small, but rich in history and tradition country. There are a number of interesting historic and cultural sites to discover while on your holiday to Bulgaria, nine of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Below is a small selection of these beautiful attractions.

Boyana Church
The medieval orthodox church complex in the outskirts of Sofia has been a world heritage site since 1979. The church is one of the best preserved and most complete example of medieval arts. It consists of three buildings and it was built in three stages. Its oldest parts are from the 10th century, then some parts were added in the 13th and in the middle of the 19th century. The frescos in the middle church from 1259 depicting 240 human figures, are some of the best examples of medieval painting. The frescos were restored and cleaned between 1912 and 19, then again between 1939 and 1944. The church was closed for renovation between 1977 and 2000, when its historical monuments were also conserved.

Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak    
The burial site, discovered in 1944 near the town of Kazanlak has been a world heritage site since 1979. It is part of a Thracian necropolis, and for its size, it was probably a burial site of a richer family within, from around the 4th century BC. The frescos on the wall of the tomb chamber are the best preserved masterpieces of Hellenic civilisation in Bulgaria. The original tomb chamber cannot be viewed, only its accurate replica.

Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo
The complex of rock-hewn orthodox churches, chapels and monasteries near Ivanovo, 20km from Ruse, has been a world heritage site since 1979. Its medieval frescos are especially precious. Monks lived here from the 1220’s until the 1700’s, they created chambers in the chalk and later connected these chambers by corridors. The complex was closed between 1980 and 2002, the frescos got conserved by 2002.

Rila Monastery
The monastery, founded by St John of Rila in the 10th century, has been part of the UNESCO world heritage since 1983. This is the most sacred shrine oth the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, and one of the most important, most famous cultural, historic and architectural monuments and tourist attractions of Bulgaria. It is located 65km to the south from Sofia, 1147m above sea level. The monastery is situated in a breathtaking scenery: high mountains, creeks and forests surround it. It was destroyed by a fire in 1833, but got rebuilt between 1834 and 1862 in renaissance style. Its area covers 8800m2, it consists of  the main church, a four-storey residential building and the monastery museum.

Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari
The tomb chamber is 2.5km from the town of Sveshtari. The tomb from the 3rd century BC was discovered in 1982 and became a world heritage in 1985. Its architectural d├ęcor is unique.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Exceptional Winter Holidays in Bulgaria

Ski holidays to Bulgaria are fast becoming a popular choice for holidaymakers and this is evident with Bulgaria being one of twenty worldwide countries recently nominated in the World Ski Awards.

Not only are ski holidays to Bulgaria great value for money but they also offer something for every type of winter sports enthuasiast. Pamporovo and Borovets have some amazing runs geared at Beginner and Intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Where as Bansko has some nifty and challenging runs for the Advanced skiers and snowboarders. Nether the less all of Bulgaria's ski resorts still cater for all levels of ability.

For non skiers and non snowboarders there is plenty to offer from Spa treatments, Skiddo's, Winter Fishing, Horse Riding, Monastery visits are just a few of the day excursions offered along with the various apre-ski excursions. There is something for everyone to be kept busy throughout their stay.

Just one and a half hours from Sofia airport, Borovets has the shortest transfer time making it an ideal resort for families with young children looking to get off the plane and checked in as quickly as possible. Although Bankso and Pamporovo have longer transfer times, many customers would agree that once you arrive, surrounded by the picturesque breathtaking scenery, the longer transfers are definitely worth it.

Bulgaria have not switched to the Euro and still use the Leva currency meaning your money goes further when in resort with fantastic prices on everyday holiday items like meals and drinks. Ski holidays to Bulgaria also provide great value on pre-bookable ski extras with a Pamporovo Learn to Ski Pack starting at only £115.00. Learn to ski packs include lift pass, ski hire, boot hire and lessons (4 hours a day) for 6 days. Its also worth noting that these ski extras prices are a fraction of the price that you would be expected to pay in many other European ski resorts.

Flying from Bristol, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Manchester, East Midlands and Newcastle and offering a vast range of accommodations that suit all customers requirements, Balkan Holidays are your number one winter specialist to Bulgaria so ensure you visit our winter holidays website today to find out more or to book your next ski or snowboard holiday to Bulgaria.