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Resort guide for Pamporovo (Click on the arrows)



Neilson say Pamporovo is "Quite possibly the best value place in the world to learn to ski".
Certainly, in my personal experience, the tuition for both skiing and snowboarding is absolutely excellent with English speaking instructors. It is also very cheap compared to anywhere else.
The resort is situated in the heart of the Rhodope mountains surrounded by pine forest and according to Crystal Ski is  "like skiing in Narnia". It is a very pretty, Christmas card picture ski resort area. It is more Canadian in appearance than Alpine.
There are gentle slopes for the beginners. The Village Centre has a small selection of shops, taverns, bars and restaurants and an inexpensive 
apres-ski scene.


We like

  • Affordable skiing
  • Excellent tuition for beginners and children.
  • Plentiful choice of accommodation all at value prices.
  • Some ski-in/ski out apartments.
  • Rare long queues (except New Year).
  • Fast lifts and modern infrastructure.
  • Good group holiday for families and beginner and intermediate skiers.

We don't like

  • Not a great deal for non skiers. (But there is ice skating, dog sledging and snow tubing).
  • Limited for experts.
  • Food in hotel establishments is not very good - and customer service is not fantastic.  Better to self cater or eat out.



Pamporovo is situated in the heart of the Rhodopi mountains about 85km from Plovdiv (Bulgaria's second city) Airport PDV served by Ryanair and charter flights. Try Charter Flight Centre. Sofia (SOF) is bigger and about 250km distant. Sofia is served by many airlines including Easy Jet. Try the normal for price comparisons. Flights into Kavala (about 99km) (KAV) might also be worth considering.
Airport transfers to Pamporovo can easily be arranged and most establishments provide a ski shuttle service to the slopes. Many people hire cars, especially 4x4. Prices are competitive. Driving times from Plovdiv are about one and half hours, from Kavala about 2 hours, and from Sofia about 3 and half-4 hours.
Few people actually live in Pamporovo.  The centre developed as a resort. This is the hotel/restaurant/tavern/bars/shops area. There is also a plentiful supply of apartments and chalets available for holiday lets winter and summer. Pamporovo experienced a building boom, but is quite spread out. It is much less developed than Bansko, but the supply of accommodation still exceeds the demand (except during the New Year period) so there are good deals available.
There are plenty of places to visit nearby such as the Smolyan Lakes (take the chair lift). In summer visit the Wonderful Bridges and Bachkovo Monastery.  There are wonderful waterfalls at nearby Smolyan and the Devin Spa is famous. There are also the Devil's Throat Cave
and spectacular Yogodina caves.
Pamporovo has a soft winter climate with an average of about 120 sunny days.  Yet snow cover is generally good - especially compared to other value destinations  outside Bulgaria such as Poina Brasov in Romania and Kranjska Gora or Bled in Slovenia. Snow cover in 2012 was exceptional (perhaps unusually) beating Bansko for most of the winter. It even beat the snow cover for the Swiss and 
Austrian resorts and those in the USA.


Bansko map

Resort stats

Size of ski area (km) 37km
Resort height
Highest lift 1926m
Lowest piste 1650m
Maximum vertical 276m
Green runs 5
Blue runs 4
Red runs 7
Black runs 3
Lifts 13

On the slopes


Pamporovo resort altitude is 1650M and temperatures average a pleasant -3C. Ski season is mid December to early April. Average snowfall 1.5M.  During 2012 the upper slopes were covered by nearly 3 M of snow, and even over 200cm snow cover on the lower slopes. The peak is Snejanka (Snow White)  is at 1926M.There is virtually no risk of avalanche.
The slopes with overall length of 37km suitable for all ages and abilities, but being mostly famous as an excellent choice for beginners and intermediates. There is a preponderance of green and blue runs, and a few reds and a black mogul run. The resort boasts a new snowmaking system composed of 80 snow cannons covering 90% of the ski runs as well as a new 3740m long ski run serviced by unique 6-chair open lift. Queuing is rare due to a new up-to-date system of rope-ways, a product of the famous Austrian company "Axess" with capacity of 11,600 persons per hour. For the snowboarders there is a new 100m long half-pipe run, which together with the LED-lighted night run complement the ski magic.
The ski runs and gently carving slopes are suited 
for snowboarding and there is the Pamporovo Fun Park. The resort is suitable for cross country skiing and the overall length of the route is 25km. Studenets to Mugla Village
Since the beginning of Ski Season 2010/2011 Snezhanka 2 Ski Run, famous also as the wall, offers excellent conditions for Night Skiing.
Length: 700 meters
Displacement: 285
Category: ADVANCED, suitable for upper-intermediate and advanced skiers
Lifts: Tow Lift /Anchor/
Lighting: modern LED-light technology, providing good visibility even in foggy weather
Opening hours: 17:30 – 22:30

For the Beginners

Ideal with choice of green and blue runs. The gentle profile of the mountain with its rounded slopes and summits makes Pamporovo particularly suitable for beginners. 

For the intermediates

Choice of blue runs starting from peak at Snejhanka 1926km.  Choice of chair lifts from Ski Centres 1 and 2 and Middle Ski Station of Studenets. More ski runs and lifts are being developed presently. The one in Stoikite completed for the ski season 2008 - 2009. is six-seat chairlift made by famous French company with capacity of 2 400 people per hour -116  chairs of 6 seats each, with length of 2992 meters and is one of the most modern ski facilities in Europe.

For the experts

"The Wall" Black Mogul run. Snezhanka Free Ride and Snezhanka European  - used for international competition. To be honest, experts might find Pamporovo a bit limiting. Overall length of slopes is 37km compared to 425km Paradiski area of combined French resorts La Plagne and Les Arcs. Hone your skills in Pamporovo, and if you live to ski or snowboard  - and you can afford it - move on.

For the snowboarders

Pamporovo Fun Park. Choice of wide gently rounded slopes ideal for snowboarding. New half pipe snowboarding run.

For children

"The best value place in the world to learn." Neilson. Exceptional. But limited child minding. Learn here but not suited to under 4-6 years of age. Families can learn together. Husky Dog sledging and snow tubing.

Winter activities

Motor sledges – The resort offers many opportunities for walks and rides among the beautiful forests in the mountain. One of the most exiting winter activities is the motor sledge ride. This sport can be practiced outside the official ski zone along the hills and meadows in the mountain. After 5.00a.m. professional guides usually organize motor sledge tour, presenting some of the best terrains suitable for this sport. 
Ice Skating – Ice skating is also offered in the resort, on an excellent ice rink, accompanied by the sounds of  pleasant music. The ice skating rink is situated right in front of the après ski bar and the shopping centre of Perelik Hotel. Individual ice skating lessons are also offered. 
Dog sledging 
Interski Pamporovo 
Experience the amazing athleticism of our Bulgarian Huskies, by joining us for an exhilarating workout
along the magnificent forest trails.You will be able to ride as a passenger behind a team of Bulgarian
Huskies and enjoy watching the dogs working amid beautiful scenery in the Rhodopi mountains.
Price is 20 lev (BGN) per person, maximum 2 adults and four children per ride. 
Snow Tubing
Great fun - anyone can sit in a giant rubber ring and whirl down a slope!

Summer activities

In the summer there is horse riding,mountain biking and walking/hiking. Quad Biking. There is also fishing, canoeing, hunting and bird watching. Places of interest:-rock formations (eg the Miraculous Bridges , near the village of Kosovo; the "elephant" near Devin and "the maiden" resembling a standing woman on the outskirts of Shiroka Luca). The Yagodinska Cave/Yagodina and the Buinovo Gorge. The Trigad Gorge - the most impressive natural sight in Bulgaria where you will also find The Devil's Throat Cave. Chudnite Mostove rock formation in pine forest. Smilian and Arda are spectular mountain valleys and the Uhlovitsa Cave. Rockclimbing; river activities; roman ruins; caves; fortresses; monasteries; churches and chapels - four churches are considered artistic cultural monuments of national historic significance.
The Rhodopes is home of the mythical singer Orpheus and the clan of guards of the sanctuary of Dionysus.
Archaeological excavations date back to the 7th century BC. There are remains of Thracian fortresses which guarded an ancient Thracian road from Abdera, on the Aegean coast, to Istros on the Danube. The churches and chapels date back to the Bulgarian Revival period (1762-1878) when cultural and educational life flourished in the region. 15 chapels are considered of regional historic significance. The Bachkovo Monastery is a must see.
The Rhodopes are a haven for bird watchers,and contain over 200 species - many of which are rare. You may see Golden Eagle, or dippers and kingfishers by streams. The highland lakes are really beautiful blue. There are lush meadows home to an abundance of wild flowers - many are not found anywhere else on Earth. According to legend the flower Silivriak with its pink petals (spring) bloomed out of the blood of Orpheus after he was dismembered. Silivriak (heberlea rhodopaensis) is the symbol of the Rhodopes. The region is famous for mushrooms and herbs.The Rhodopes are one of the few mountain ranges in Euirope where Brown Bear and wolves still live. There are guided walks on the wildlfe,birds and the rare plants and flowers and lovely walks and excursions into the Rhodopi mountains. The ski lifts run in summer.
Pamporovo is the southern most ski resort in Europe and the sunniest mountain resort in Bulgaria. Summer temperatures range from May 10C -20C with similar temperatures at the start of October.This is the time for hunting wild boar - excursions can be arranged. The autumn leaves are spectacular (New England Fall but in Europe).July and August can reach an average high of 24c and low rainfall July through September (about 30mm during each of these months, August being driest).
Car Hire during summer is recommended to take advantage of exploring the beautiful mountain area. A small family car would be adequate around £170 per week. The drive from the airport (Sofia) to Forest Nook takes about 3 hours and the scenery is lovely.
Witness the rural splendor. Visit the "emerald eyes" of the Rhodope mountain area - the Smolyan Lakes. The deepest and most beautiful of the seven lakes is Muddy Lake (not muddy!). Devin Spa is famous and you could treat yourself! The Yagodina Cave is the longest cave in Bulgaria and is several storeys high in parts. You can take a tour which highlights the remarkable stalactites and stalagmites, which in places resemble curtains. Neolithic settlers lived in the caves in the 6th millennium BC. There is a spectacular underground waterfall 42m fall in the Devil''s Throat cave - so called because objects allowed to flow in do not flow out. The Trigradska River flows through the fantastic Devil's Throat Cave . Stretching 7,000 meters the water forms eighteen waterfalls and exits onto a canyon. It leads to the Trigad Gorge, a breathtaking natural phenomenon. Its incomparable karst formation is the most impressive natural sight in Bulgaria.
Ancient Plovdiv is contemporary to Troy and there are Roman ruins and Roman roads. There is a Roman amphitheatre still in use today. The lovely old town has been restored to its mid 19th century appearance. Plovdiv is definitely worth a visit. Modern Plovdiv is Bulgaria's second city. The children would appreciate a visit to the water park, Aqua Land in Plovdiv.
Zlatograd is an outdoor museum of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries - the Enlightenment period in Bulgaria.

Off the slopes

Apres Ski
Pamporovo has apres ski with value prices. Of note are:
  • The underground nightclub and discotheque at Forest Nook 3
  • BJs bar in the lobby of Hotel Perelik
  • Dak's Bar on the ground floor of Hotel Snejanka
  • Night Flight in Hotel Rojen. A new disco, the largest in Pamporovo. Very good party Spider Night Club
  • The White Hart Pub in the centre of Pamporovo. Traditional pub good for party, good for food from pub grub, bangers and mash to T bone steaks. Vegetarian pizza ande pasta dishes.
Restaurants in Smolyan offer excellent value. Try a traditional Bulgarian evening out at the Bacchus
restaurant with excellent food and staff in traditional dress and music. For good food at value prices
try the restaurant Rhodopsi Kat in Smolyan.

Local tips


  • Restaurants in Smolyan are much better value than those in Pamporovo.
  • Smolyan is also good for leather goods - especially leather boots.
  • Late deals in March - not just for accommodation but for even more reduced ski lift passes.  Free lift passes on 9 and 12 April 2012.


Resorts nearby

Other ski resorts in Bulgaria that you may like to consider:




About the author

Ski guide provided courtesy of Ski Jacobs


Ski Chalets set in the forest near Pamporovo Ski Resort. Set away from it all in a wood near to Pamporovo, Chalets at Pamporovo Village is a picturesque holiday village of 38 chalets (Large groups can be accommodated in neighbouring chalets) surrounded by mountains, forest and lots of snow. It really looks like Narnia and is very popular with the children and the romantic and young at heart. This chalet is 121 sq metres.In summer it is a mountain villa with pool. Rural retreat or active.
Most people hire a car but there is a shuttle service to the slopes. We have a new sauna and massage treatments may be booked.

The images used were provided by Yavor Dinkov

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