A modern ski resort in the heart of the Rhodope Mountains, at an altitude of 5,413ft (1,650m), Pamporovo is a popular ski holiday destination with a sunny climate and powdery snow. The town provides a variety of excellent ski runs covering all degrees of difficulty, most of them starting from the Snejanka peak above the resort. With plenty of easy slopes, the resort is ideal for beginners and families, and the ski school is considered one of the best in Europe with highly qualified English-speaking instructors. The unique Mediterranean climate is thought to be extremely healthy and provides excellent conditions for climatic therapy and health tourism all year round, and there are a variety of excellent spas within the resort. Off the slopes there are loads of opportunities for entertainment and plenty of interesting tourist attractions. The Rhodope Mountains have long been the source of legends and stories, including the mythical singer Orpheus, and the region is full of rich folk traditions and culture. Pamporovo is a two and a half hour transfer from Sofia airport.
Although Pamporovo offers skiing for all levels of experience, its nursery slopes are particularly good and beginners soon flourish. There are more than 100 well-qualified instructors available fluent in a variety of languages at the ski school centre. All the main runs start from the peak of the Snejanka at the TV tower. The most difficult ski piste is 'The Wall', a black run which offers an exciting challenge. Some great off-piste skiing and snowboarding is also on offer, but this is not really a destination for advanced skiers. Snow conditions usually excellent throughout the season.
The main shopping centre in Pamporovo, containing mostly boutiques, souvenir shops and sports gear outlets, is attached to the Hotel Perelik and should amply satisfy the shopping urges of holidaymakers. There is also a shopping centre at Murgavets Hotel. Many stores sell traditional Bulgarian souvenirs, and there are a variety of shops that stock ski equipment.
Pamporovo restaurants serve a wide variety of cuisine, but most holidaymakers favour the local folk taverns like the Chevermeto, where whole sheep are roasted over open fires and dancers in traditional costumes provide colourful entertainment. Lively pubs selling international staples like steak and pizza are numerous, and those looking for more upmarket dining will find a few restaurant options worthy of the fine Bulgarian wine.
The nightlife in Pamporovo is lively and incredibly cheap, with plenty of options to choose from, whether you're the kind of holidaymaker who prefers sipping wine in a quiet bar, heading to one of the many pubs, or hitting the town until the early hours. Many of the most popular entertainment venues are attached to the big hotels.
Ski season in Pamporovo comes hand in hand with a full programme of events and activities for holiday visitors to enjoy, ranging from bum-boarding to a raucous ski-instructor's show. Bowling is offered at hotels, ice-skating, skidooing and tobogganing are popular pastimes.
This is not a ski resort for experienced skiers, while there is the odd black slope, most of the skiing is gentle and unchallenging. There are plenty of pubs offering cheap booze and a good atmosphere in Pamporovo, but the après ski is not as lively as in other Bulgarian resorts.