On a budget but keen to get away for some winter skiing in the sunshine?
Snow sports needn't be the reserve of the elite, with resorts such as Borovets in Bulgaria offering affordable winter breaks.
It’s something of a hidden gem, with lovely mountain scenery, some good skiing and tasty food.
While Bulgaria doesn't offer the range of runs for the more experienced skier that you find in lots of popular French and Swiss resorts, it's value for money and a great place to spend a week perfecting those parallel turns.
An hour's drive from the country's capital, Sofia, Borovets is home to several good quality hotels and ski schools. The Hotel Samakov is worthy of a mention as the ski school operates from the basement of the building, meaning lessons start from the minute you've shovelled down a full English. It even houses a bowling alley and (more unusually) a shooting range, just in case you've had enough of traditional Bulgarian entertainment.
With 19 runs, the highest reaching an altitude of 2,560m, the resort offers fun and varied slopes suitable for all levels, but especially well-tailored to beginners. The resort’s instructors speak good English and have a reputation for being friendly and patient, which comes in handy with a group of wobbly ski novices.
The café huts on the slopes sell delicious brandy-fuelled hot chocolates, perfect for warming up the extremities after a morning of hard work. The après ski isn’t bad either, with fun events held in various local bars and clubs that showcase Bulgarian dancing and wine tasting, to name just a few. There's even a night-skiing event for those wanting to live on the edge a little more.
A good bet for those who've recently caught the ski bug, or first-timers, Borovets package deals are available from around £450. This includes flights, hotel accommodation, a 7-day ski pass, ski hire and morning lessons. Travel insurance is a modest but essential extra. Barclay’s single trip travel insurance, for example, includes winter sports cover as an optional extra. You can find out more about their travel insurance here.
Flights to Bulgaria depart from several airports in the UK and, depending on who you book your holiday with, transfers to and from hotels are often included in the deal.