27 Oct 2017

A Mega Ski Resort for Winter Sport Enthusiasts

October 27, 2017
Exciting news is coming from one of the top Bulgarian resorts Pamporovo. After the announcements for huge development a couple of years ago of the area, the resort is getting quite the attention.
A high speed quad “Two bridges” (Dvata mosta) was built during the ski season 2015/2016 that services Malina ski area in Pamporovo and provides a link to Snezhanka peak. The 4 seats lift costs approximately 3.8 million euro and is 1 km long. The capacity of the new quad is 2000 people per hour, allowing faster transportation and minimal lines at the slope base.

There are initial plans to construct two new lifts and launch at least two tracks to connect Pamporovo and “Mechi Chal” ski centre, creating one new mega resort. The merger of the existing resort with the nearby town of Chepelare is expected to increase the competiveness of the resort and to attract prestigious winter sport events.

As of last season, the two ski areas working together, allowing ski lift passes for Pamporovo to be also used in “Mechi Chal”. When completely unified, the two ski area will create the largest winter resort on the Balkans with over 80 km length of tracks. There will be also a greater diversity of ski slopes with various complexity and length.  The resort areas are united by a single transport with specialized ski buses serving Pamporovo and “Mechi Chal”.

Bulgarian resorts and holiday destinations are famous for being easy on the wallet and fun to visit. But price is not the only chief advantage of the small and friendly ski resort. Pamporovo is one of the sunniest places with whole lot of blue skies above its snowy slopes.  Set in the picturesque Rhodope Mountain, the resort is surrounded by thick pine forest and ample meadows. It’s no surprise that this part of Bulgaria is considered to be the birthplace of the legendary musician and poet Orpheus.

The place itself is lively in the peak season and attracts tourists from Greece, Turkey, Macedonia, Russia and UK. Similar to other Bulgarian winter resorts, Pamporovo has a reputation of a party spot. There are a handful of good restaurants and a lot of bars and clubs popular for their cheap booze prices. Pamporovo has good choice of hotels at the base of the slopes with a high standard of accommodation and quality of cuisine. The village below has a delightful charm with its stone cottages and pine-lined roads.

“Mechi Chal” is ski resort situated in the base of the eponymous peak and is 11km from Pamporovo. It features pistes of varying difficulty with a total length of 20 km. The area is suitable for all kinds of winter sports including ski, snowboard and biathlon.“Mechi Chal – 1” is the longest run for alpine skiing in Bulgaria and is certified by FIS, which can be used to host races of world rank. Due to economic difficulties in the past years, Mechi Chal was bought by Pamporovo AD in attempt to merge it with the prospering Pamporovo ski resort.

Enjoy a great value holiday to Pamporovo with Balkan Holidays this winter from only £231pp.

8 Aug 2017

Brand New Aqua Park Opens Near Sozopol

August 08, 2017

On August 1st, the village of Ravadinovo near Sozopol became home to one of Bulgaria’s largest Aqua Parks set on 18 acres of land next to the famous “Love in the Wind” castle.

The Neptun Aqua Park is home to 14 types of water attractions including a whirlwind with intermittent slides and a kamikaze – a nearly plummet slide that is suitable for adrenaline lovers. You can also enjoy two types of Typhoon slides with spiral tubes, organize a race on the slopes of the multi slide, swirl in the tornado or simply relax on the artificial river. In addition to these fantastic attractions, there are also 4 types of pools suitable for those of all ages.

For those looking for something different, the park also has a team of animators who will wow guests every day with a variety of performances at the park’s amphitheatre including a number of challenges for both young and old. There is also a fantastic range of dining options for every taste, beachwear shops and an ice-cream bar with a tasty choice of icy temptations.

The Aqua Park is now open to visitors from 10am until 6:30pm every day of the week. All-day adult tickets are on sale from 38 leva and if you enter after 2pm, the price is reduced to 30 leva per adult. Children from 90 – 130cm in height pay just 20 leva for a full day or 10 leva for entry after 2pm. If you’re under 90cm in height you’re in luck, because at the Neptun Aqua Park, your entry is FREE! Anyone who buys a ticket to the Aqua Park can also visit the nearby “Love in the Wind” castle with a discounted 20% off the entry fee.

So if you’re heading off to Sozopol with us this summer, be sure to get your family to the Neptun Aqua Park for a fun filled day in the sun! You can book your holiday to Sozopol with Balkan Holidays today from just £326pp.

17 Feb 2017

2017 Could Be Eastern Europe's Year

February 17, 2017
Respected travel website Travelzoo have predicted that 2017 will be the 'Year of Eastern Europe', increasing in popularity with many tourists shifting away from destinations affected by acts of terror in recent years.

The region is also attracting British holidaymakers in particular due to the value of the British pound. According to the number crunching experts at Travelzoo, stunning Eastern European destinations such as Bulgaria and Croatia are on average 30% cheaper than the more popular coastal region of Spain this year.

Bulgarian resorts such as Duni offer excellent value at almost 30% cheaper costs than Spain.

Although Spain, France, Germany and the USA still top the list of destinations British holidaymakers plan to book this year, the Travelzoo Spring 2017 Travel Trends Survey shows that nearly 50% of British holidaymakers are avoiding traditional Western European destinations because they're worried over safety. For 17% of those surveyed, the weakness of the British pound is the biggest influence on their choice of destination in 2017.

With millions of British holidaymakers preferring to travel abroad rather than holiday in the UK, the survey shows that 13% of holidaymakers plan to visit Eastern Europe this summer with interest in Croatia more than doubled since February 2016, making it the most popular destination in Eastern Europe.

Croatia's stunning beauty and great value has made it the most sought after destination this year.

Travelzoo also predicts that UK tourists could pay up to 10% more for their 2017 holiday due to a weaker pound and rising cost of oil. Travelzoo’s General UK Manager, Joel Brandon-Bravo, said "Seven months on from the Leave vote it's encouraging to see Britons considering Eastern Europe as a travel destination in 2017. As flight bans to Sharm el Sheikh and Tunisia continue, and with uncertainty over the value of the pound, countries such as Croatia and Bulgaria, which operate outside of the Euro-offer better exchange rates and value for money to British tourists."

Although the survey shows Croatia as the most sought after Eastern European destination for 2017, Bulgaria is also proving to be a popular holiday destination this year with 45% of Britons considering travelling there admitting they would have never thought of travelling to Bulgaria before.

Bulgaria's most popular resort of Sunny Beach is a favourite amongst British holidaymakers.

Joel Brandon-Bravo continued by saying: "UK tourists who are now looking further east won't be disappointed. If you take the Balkan Peninsula for example, the coastlines of Croatia and Montenegro are close to the very popular east coast of Italy. They boast the same warm weather and beautiful beaches, lakes and mountains, but holidays in this region are on average 30% cheaper than popular resorts in Spain and Italy."

In finishing, he said: "The fact British holidaymakers are considering alternative, more affordable travel destinations this year is certainly positive news for the travel industry too-particularly after what has been a turbulent 18 months. Last year we were right about 2016 being the year of the US, so we're confident in our prediction that 2017 will be the year Eastern Europe secures its place as a popular destination for British tourists."

Breathtaking Sveti Stefan in Montenegro is slowly becoming a must visit destination.

You can secure your summer 2017 holiday to Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovenia or Montenegro today with Balkan Holidays, prices start from just £227pp. Call 0207 543 5555 or visit balkanholidays.co.uk and discover just how much you can save on a holiday to one of these stunning Eastern European destinations.

The survey for Travelzoo's Spring 2017 Travel Trends Survey was conducted among 1,266 consumers in the United Kingdom, who completed an online questionnaire sent out by third-party research agency Toluna. The questionnaires were completed between 2-3 January, 2017.

17 Jan 2017

Top 5 Activities for Kids in Sunny Beach

January 17, 2017
These are just a taster of what you can do in Sunny Beach with kids. If you’re looking for a great value holiday destination with cuisine that caters to the British taste, Western European conveniences at cheaper Eastern European pricing, plenty of sunshine and beaches, then Sunny Beach is the resort for you. Over 1 million holidaymakers visit each year, so there must be something to it...

1. Sunny Beach Aquapark

The Action Aquapark boasts an impressive number of flumes, slides and crazy rivers sure to make your day at the park one to remember. Tickets to the park are pre-bookable locally with the Balkan Holidays representatives which saves you having to queue upon arrival at the park. There is also a free shuttle bus which takes you from resort directly to the park helping you get your visit to the Aquapark off to a hassle free start. As the only Aquapark in Bulgaria to feature its very own farm with horses, rabbits and sheep, the park is a popular choice with holidaymakers to Sunny Beach.

Location - Action Aqua Park is situated in the western part of Sunny Beach just 5 minutes away from the resort's centre.

2. Khan’s Tent

The dinner and cabaret style show at Khan's Tent is a unique night, set at the top of a hill several kilometres north of Sunny Beach. The secluded wooded setting with beautiful views of the coast was supposedly where Khan Krum had a military encampment in the 9th century. The stunning interior is the venue for superb traditional food, served by costume-clad waiters, with music and a brilliant live show. The kids will love it!

Location – On northern hill overlooking Sunny Beach (all taxi drivers know where it is)

3. Resort Pools & One HUGE Beach

Most, if not all, resorts and hotels in Sunny Beach have a pool. Not a day will go where your kids will not want to go for a swim. On top of that, the beach is not far either. Many Balkan Holidays properties in Sunny Beach have a great location just a few minutes’ walk from the beach itself. There are many lounges and umbrellas available at a local charge or if you prefer, you can sit in one of the many restaurants or bars on the beach while the kids build sandcastles.

Location – Wherever you choose!

4. Offroad Adventure

Treat the kids to a unique holiday experience with a rugged Jeep ride up and down the hills of the Balkan Mountains which includes a visit to a small animal farm with magnificent views unfolding from the mountain tops as you roll along. The offroad adventure is definitely a fun way to explore the countryside and experience Bulgarian hospitality.

Location - TBC

5. Sun 'N Fun Pirate Cruise

This cruise is perfect fun for the kids with the whole day revolving around them, from the programme of games and fun to face painting and the meatball/salad lunches. Adults may struggle a little for something to do, so bring a book for the lazy cruise and don’t forget your swimsuit for the swim stop!

Location - A bus can collect you from your hotel and delivers you to Nessebar port, where the boat departs. You are then shuttled back afterwards.

All excursions are sold by Balkan Holidays Services, who are acting as an agent for the relevant suppliers. These trips should be booked through your Balkan Holidays Representative only. Although every care has been taken when producing this article and the descriptions are believed to be correct at the time of writing, Balkan Holidays cannot take responsibility for any changes/withdraws in some resorts. In different resorts excursion programme may vary so ask your Balkan Holidays representative for specific details, prices, child reductions and free places availability as per your resort.

30 Dec 2016

120 Years of Borovets - The History of Bulgaria's First Mountain Resort

December 30, 2016

The birth of Borovets dates back to 1896, when the Bulgarian King Ferdinand commenced the construction of a hunting lodge in the Rila Mountains called "Royal Bistrica". After its completion it quickly became a favourite spot for summer recreation of the royal family.

The royal family's example was soon followed by many entrepreneurs, bankers and wealthy families from the capital city of Sofia, who also built villas in the surrounding area. Little by little, this part of Rila became a regular summer getaway destination for many and in 1928, the number of villas has grown to a staggering 74. The destination became so popular that in 1903, a regular bus line from Sofia to Borovets via Samokov was established.

The owners of the villas gradually began to return in the winter months too, but it was only in the 1930's, with the advent of skiing, that the resort really began to develop as a place for winter recreation and sport. It all started in the hunting grounds of "Royal Bistrica", were a number of foreigners worked, hired by the royal family as engineers, meteorologists and botanists. They brought with them skis that were used when they carried out their tasks on the grounds during the winter months.

The family of one of the workers, Michael Krashnyak, settled in the nearby town of Samokov after 1919 and Michael's son, Michael Krashnyak Junior was one of the first people to demonstrate downhill skiing to his classmates. A number of students from the American University also owned skis and encouraged the younger generation of Samokov to try out this new sport. Getting inspired was one thing, but obtaining skiis back in those days was something completely different - it almost impossible!

The only solution for the locals was to produce the skiis themselves. A number of local carpenters tried producing their own version and this resulted in a a few quirky models coming to life. Some even tried to use the arcs of wine barrels to ski on. (This gradually developed with time and the city began producing its own ski brand "Slaveevki.")

In 1924 the Director of the Samokov School Ivan Velchev, iniciated volunteers to build a tourist hut or "Musala". One of the participants in the construction - Dimitar Vajarov wrote in his memoirs: "With director Velchev, several other teachers and the Student's Travel Club we identified the perfect place for the hut during a recent winter hike in the deep snow.

he king not only allowed us to build the hut on royal property, but also ordered the governor to release a platoon of his soldier guards to help us with clearing the area of pine trees. We, the students, were camping nearby every Saturday and Sunday to help carry out the cutting down of vegetation, before locals would take them away with horses..."

On 16 February 1930 Juniors Tourist Union Branch "Rila", organized the first ski race in Bulgaria. The competitors would hike up the hill and then race down through the woods from Sitnyakovo to Borovets. Michael Krashnyak Junior was the first descendant to outline the path for the others.

(An interesting fact is that, in January 1936, a new law came out that required ski owners to declare their skis and pay excise duty in the sum of up to 50 levs. The aim is to raise funds to allow the Bulgarian skiers to participate in the more and more frequent international competitions. These plans however never came to be and membership began to decline. Throughout the season not a single skier from Samokov paid their excise duty and the failed law was cancelled.)

The glory of the resort came in 1970's and 1980's, thanks to the success of the Bulgarian ski legend Pepi Popangelov from Samokov and the efforts of his father - Peter Popangelov senior. From that point on the resort has been continuously developing as an international ski centre. Since the time it first appeared on the map in 1974 until today, Borovets has hosted 2 international and 12 European Cups, numerous FIS alpine ski and international snowboard competitions. Today, one of the runs is named after the legendary skier Popangelov.

These days, Borovets welcomes tourists from all over the world by providing world class recreation and sport facilities and opportunities. The palace "Royal Bistrica" is open for visitors and attracts many tourists every season.

This season, work on a massive investment project worth 40 million euro will continue to develop the resort. Thanks to this project a modern state of the art system of 175 snow cannons was build, with an artificial lake and pump station which will allow great skiing even if the winter season fails to bring much snow.

In addition to the resort's three interconnected ski zones, this season there will also be a dedicated kids sled zone, night skiing on 8 freshly groomed interconnected runs and two fun parks which once again will bring together freestyle skiers and snowboarders to practice their tricks.

No matter what level of ability you are, you can be assured that a fantastic ski holiday and incredible value for money await you in Borovets this winter. And if the success of this season is likely to come down to weather, than things are looking good for the Eastern European resorts with a significant amount of snow having already fallen across all resorts offered by Balkan Holidays.