Million and one resort wishes

Million and one resort wishes

The attempt of transforming Bulgaria in Switzerland on the Balkans is entering its final faze. This is the summery that can be made from the dozen of projects for the building of ski resorts in Bulgaria during the last couple of months. After Bansko became too crowded from the huge tourist interest, Razlog and Dobrinishte also came out on the market with their own tourism product. The rest - Berkovica, Sapareva Banya, Teteven, Chepelare, Velingrad and other small resorts that want to find their place on the tourism map of Bulgaria, followed their initiative.

“We need more winter resorts than we have now - for example the whole Pamporovo resort has the same number of beds as three hotels on the sea”, said the mayor of Chepelare. The competition shows that the resorts which are satellites to the already existing ones will have a certain advantages. Perelik, Mechi Chal around Pamporovo and Razlog are bright examples of that. They can both use the image of the already existing ones and the process of their expansion. A grand project, called “Perelik”, plans to connect the Perelik peak in Pamporovo with the Mechi chal peak near Chepelare. According to the mayor of Smolyan, the realization of the project will form Rodopi Mountain as a tourism center with three main tourism bodies - Mechi Chal, Pamporovo and Perelik. The territory plan of the new resort is ready. The assessment for the environmental impact has already received the approval of the Ecology Ministry. “We hope that we will start the realization of the project during the summer this year and will finish until 2007”, said the Mayor.

The Perelik project is stressing on the building of ski pistes and equipment for around 55 million euro and the hotels will be build in Smolyanski ezera and Raikovski livadi sites. At the moment Pamporovo resort has almost 18 kilometers of ski pistes and 4 920 beds. The plan is additional 29.8 kilometers ski pistes and the equipment to be constructed and the number of beds to increase with 8000. There is still no real contract for investments, but the Mayor claims that the investment interest is huge. Chepelare municipal helped the Perelik project by introducing the plans for Mechi Chal. It includes 27 kilometers of new ski pistes and 12 kilometers of lifts, 15 kilometers ski run pistes and biathlon, plus a stadium. At the moment Chepelare has 12 kilometers of ski pistes. According to the plan of the municipal administration the now existing base of 1200 beds should increase three times and the project will be build on private lands and forests. The mayor announced that many private companies are interested in the project although there is still no contract signed. Vitosha also has ambitious projects in spite of the fact that it is a little bit behind the other resorts.

The already existing ski equipment are owned by the ministry of youth and sport, the ex-privatization fund “AKB Fores” and “Ferainingte Bergbanen Bulgaria” LTD, owned by Peter Schroksnadel who is a president of the Austrian ski federation and a personal manager of the three times Alpine ski champion Herman Mayer. Schroksnadel bought the lifts “Vitoshki lale 1” and “Vitoshko lale 2”and invested around 2 million euro in the pistes that now can be used for skiing during the night. The Austrian firm announced its intensions for the construction of a new two-seated lift “Aleko-Rezena” replacing the already existing drag - known by the skier as “Zaeka” (the rabbit), reconstruction of hotel Shtastliveca and a complete renovation of the region.

Pistes for alpine skiing, ski runs and ski schools for kids and etc will be built. The total amount of the planned investments is 22 million euro, said Schroksnadel. The fact that Bansko is full to the brim is a good news for the near by situated towns. That is why people in Razlog rely on this fact, when planning the development of “Kulinoto” ski resort. The first stage starts this year and plans the installation of four- seat lift and the construction of a 2 km long piste with snow cannons. The mayor said, that he expects investor from abroad to take part in the project which is for 30-50 million BGN. Dobrinishte is also preparing a project for ski zone, but everything is still a nice idea. According to the mayor, they want one cabin lift to start from the village up to the mountain and then another three lifts to take tourists to the ski pistes that will be 5 kilometers. The hotel part will be based mainly in Dobrinishte and just ski equipment to be placed up in the mountain. Near by the village a lift and a ski piste existed in the past but after the privatization they do not work.

Major investments in the tourism industry The leader among all these projects would have been “Sutka”- from Velingrad municipal if of coarse it was realized. However the project did not receive approval - firstly, because it was denied by the Ministry of Ecology and Waters, and secondly because of the quashing of the local mayor elections. The project was planed to be released by the “Sutka 2000” association, with the partnership of the municipals Velingrad, Rakitovo and Pazardjik, of coarse using private capital. Two variations of the project were offered, says the head of the municipal council in Velingrad. The first variation planned 14 ski pistes to be built from Sutka peak to the Kachakov Chark site, where hotels, tea- bars and restaurants were supposed to be built. This plan would have cost 500 million BGN. The second plan excluded the hotels and cut the number of pistes. The project is closed for now and Velingrad municipal is orientated mainly towards the development of spa tourism. According to his words the municipal will continue to develop winter tourism, but not in such grand dimensions.

Even now Velingrad has pistes above the town, before the Undola site. After the Sutka project was stopped, Sapareva Banya municipal took the first place for the realization its ski resort project. The municipal administration already takes part in a private company and now is working on the architectural design of the future resort called- “Panichishte - Ezerata- Kabul Peak”. Everything started a year ago when “Rila Sport” AD decided to build a resort and bought 200 decares land from the municipal. The municipal takes part in the project, which is supposed to cost 30 million euro with the additional terrains. On the first stage, that should be realized this summer the removal of one old lift with a brand new is planned. The investors do not announce information about the next stages of the project. This is due to the fact that everyone is waiting for the completing of the project that is done by the Austrian company “Ecosain”. The equipment will also be Austrian from the Dopplemayer Company, the same one that installed the equipment in Bansko. The idea of the investors for the future resort is to divide the resort according to the buildings - a part with luxurious hotels from famous hotel chains and part of the resort to be with family houses and another part with restaurants. Another ski resort is planned by Teteven municipal. According to the intensions of Teteven municipal administration, Ribarica and Divchovoto, at the foot of the Vejen peak constructed can be constructed ski pistes and drugs, together with the needed infrastructure for around 20 thousand tourists per day. Investors are the municipal and “Frontier” AD. The total cost of the project is 150 million euro. The municipal also participates in another company together with “Apricon AD” for the exploitation of a future sport tourism complex at the foot of Bogoia peak. The local management plans another company together with “Super Borovets” Ltd, which will build a hotel complex in Teteven. If all this gets realized the resort should be ready for 2008. The western parts of Stara planina are also trying to catch up with the others. The priority development of the tourism is written in the strategy of Berkovica municipal, explained the mayor.

According to the plans a cabin lift will be constructed from Berkovitca to Kom zone which is about 16 kilometers east from the town. At the moment the zone offers one ski piste with a drug- lift and three tourism bases with a total number of 100 beds. The plans of the municipal are to make the piste twice as large and to recover some old pistes so that the total length of the ski pistes will become 15- 20 kilometers. Berkovitza municipal for the moment offers around 600 beds. The idea is on the upper station of the lift to be built a hotel with 100 beds and the rest to be built on the lower station in the town. According to the Mayor, the number of hotels depends on the investor’s intentions. Now the municipal is negotiating with three companies, but still has no contract with them. The huge interest of the municipal administrations towards the development of the ski tourism can be explained by the serious economy problems of the local management. Tourism is easy to sell, many people are needed in the sector and can make a living from it. The new resorts give a chance for development to the nearby-situated towns.

The realization of the “Perelik” project will give a chance to culture, crafts, and folklore. The first symptoms of economy development can be seen in the future tourism centers - almost everyone from the local management expects rising in the property prices. The prices in Berkovica rose with almost 50 % during the last year. Similar tendency can be seen in Smolyan, where prices went up several. The prices of property in Chepelare rose five to seven times.

  • Mario Domínguez From España
    Sent on 23 December 2022
    I have received the best service imaginable, with great flexibility, I have never received such excellent attention as that received with this company
  • Ana Whitton From UK
    Sent on 06 March 2019
    I wanted to write a proper review of our hotel and experience while in Pamporovo, so this is the addition to my email. We flew to Sofia and the pre booked taxi transport was waiting for us. The driver (Kosta) was wonderful and we felt really safe with him driving. Our flight was late and we arrived to the Dafovska hotel after midnight. The reception was open and they were waiting for us. We were given sandwiches and water and shown to our room. The rooms were spacious and warm, the beds comfortable, bathroom lovely and clean. Plenty of hot water, the towels were changed every day and bins emptied. The hotel has Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room which is 12 leva per person with towels. I would have liked the water in the Jacuzzi to be a bit warmer. We went in every day after skiing, apart from one when we tried a different hotel. Snezanka hotel has a swimming pool too. Its ok but it was too busy for us and we decided to stick with ours. Their changing rooms are very very small and you have to pay extra for the towels. We chose half board. There was many things to choose for breakfast, hot food, pancakes, fruit, cereal & toast. Apple & orange juice as well as many teas and coffees. I have to admit I always take my own tea bags . Not having to cook dinner after a day skiing was very welcome. There isn’t really a great choice for strict vegetarians, but I always managed to find tasty food to eat. You can buy drinks from the bar, or bring your own. There is a free shuttle bus that takes you to ski centre Malina. Very busy ski centre. We met with the representative Nelly there. I would have preferred to have the information on what time to be where when we arrived. Nelly organised our helmets (you need to rent this separately, 5 leva per person), ski equipment and our instructor. Well! I cannot give more glowing review for our instructor! Alex was amazing, very patient, very friendly and knowledgeable. We had lessons in the morning, then lunch, which he was very good to organise with the local bar, then another set of lessons. The food in the bars by the ski school and at the top of the slope was very good. Big portions, quickly delivered. I only needed soup at lunch time which were homemade and delicious. Staff, at the ski centre and gondolas, didn’t always speak a lot of English or smile enough but they were never the less very helpful especially with children and beginners. We skied on our last day too and we were picked up from the hotel by a taxi to be taken to the airport. This taxi driver was not so careful and good at driving and we could not wait to get to Sofia and get out of his car. The whole organisation of our trip with BulgariaSki was excellent! Thank you all
  • Richard From England
    Sent on 10 February 2019
    Have just spent 5 nights at the hotel for the second year. Still same high standards. Had a after ski massage with Kateriua, spot on girl knows her stuff. Highly recommended her.
  • Tommyboy From Scotland
    Sent on 07 April 2018
    5th time skiing in Bansko, have been here over Xmas period and Easter break, hasn't always been a lot of snow but enough to ski for five days. It is a good value for money skiing holiday for those on a budget, food very good value and varied depending on taste, some restaurants better than others, again depending on personal taste. Not to sure what the nightlife is like as we stay in our timeshare resort The Balkan Jewel which is 3 > 4 miles out of Bansko, they operate a free shuttle bus but the last one back from town is at 4.30pm therefore going back into town would require the use of taxis. I am sure we will be back in the future.
  • Mitko From Bulgaria
    Sent on 28 February 2018
    Dear all, Borovets is a nice place to be, but it is risky to ski there. The slopes for advanced skiers are crossing the slopes for beginners and the slopes are negligently prepared with icy spots and snow heap places. This all is a precondition for accidents. The ski lifts are maintained all on the surface, they stop frequently and the gondola had to be scrapped years ago. So be careful when skiing in Borovets!
  • Lene willsea From N.i
    Sent on 28 February 2018
    I love Pomporova. Its our home from home.We first went in 2008, the airport was a portacabin and the lifts were a dangling wooden chair.. The place improves year on year. I would highly recommend it. VERY CHEAP once ur there. But with all upgrades the prices to travel are clinbing. Jumped 200 in two yrs.
  • Neo From United Kingdom
    Sent on 15 February 2018
    The hotel it’s a brilliant idea however there are aspects you would be surprised to stumble upon We arrived late at night about 10pm. Greater by a very polite hostes she kindly provided us with prepacked sandwiches as the restaurant closed at 9pm ( we called in advance to ask if such is possible especially when you have young ckranky from long travel hours in multiple travel vechicles The room very spatious. Bed cover had some suspicious sticky stains that absolutely horrified me at the thought that my children could possibly put their tiny hands on to that. One of the bath robes provided had a black stain on its back, the other bath robe had its pocket thorn out and just hanging. There was a massive flaky, mouldy, damp patch in the corner on the ceiling. The toilet was leaking on the floor. Breakfast food was cold and rancid with a queue for pncakes quite long and very impatient as pancakes was the only food that you could have still warm. Boiled eggs were cold and so hard the yolk was dusty . Fried eggs were dry... won’t even go to details about the rest of the food. As the drinks offered to be purchased by the restaurant aren’t the healthiest of choice for children (all the juices on choice contained added multiple preserving agents and colourants) we asked if possible to have some tap water. It proved to be a terrible mistake, we were told that yes but we would have to pay for it, then told that if they bring a jug for us everyone else will be asking for it, then he brought a manager who was more rude than the server and plainly put it that even if we have children asking for water we would have to buy bottled water and she is not prepared to give us water for free, unnecessarily often stressing the ?free’ word. There are far more many good things that are good about this hotel. It’s main let down it’s restaurant staff who are poor hospitality professionals and frankly plain rude.
  • Nigel Buckle From United Kingdom
    Sent on 17 December 2017
    I have stayed at the Orlovetz for 6 out of the last 8 years and will be returning in 2018 for another week. It has become my 'Winter retreat'. A modern hotel that stands out due to its prominent position and its design. The rooms are comfortable and warm with plenty of wardrobe space and an area to relax. The safe is in the wardrobe, which is really useful for your valuables. There is a decently equipped gym, a small pool (though you can also use the larger pool in the Perelik as well) a Sauna and massage treatments, great for those aches from the first days of skiing ! The restaurant was made larger a couple of years ago and now accommodates more guests. Both breakfast and dinner are buffet style, the food, in general, is of good quality and there usually at least four different options at dinner. There is a small bar in the lobby area and a Piano Bar on the top floor that has stunning views across the surrounding district. As it is the sister hotel to the Perelik there is a tunnelway that links the two and saves you going out in the snow if you choose to use the alternative facilities provided there. One of them being 'The Pub' (previously known as the Pampi Bar) plus a couple of night clubs and a bowling alley. Also as the Orlovetz is just across from the Schnezanka it is only a short walk to Daks Bar, often used as the first mornings meeting place for your ski passes etc.,which is a lively night spot with live music and very popular. In all a great Hotel within a great small town, try it , Pamper yourself !
  • Liz From England
    Sent on 19 November 2017
    I went with my daughter January 2018. I was a cheap half board flights included and we wasn’t expecting much.... but what a fantastic week we had!! Stayed at the Lion hotel which is about a 10-15 minute walk to the slopes/town. A free shuttle is provide by the hotel. The hotel and staff are lovely. The food was always varied and hot. My daughter and I are vegetarians and in only two nights were we disappointed with the choice - but we heaped up on pudding so didn’t go hungry. Am lucky enough to be going back in 2018.
  • val From United Kingdom
    Sent on 15 February 2017
    group of us just back from borovets.we arrived 4th feb 2017 and departed 11th feb.had a great time.hotel rila was fab.great gym and was school was great.we had a really good instructor Martin Hristov.he was really good with everyone took time to try and learn everyone.we all had a great time thankyou.will be back next yearx