Head to Uzana, just north of Gabrovo and the geographical centre of Bulgaria, for a cheap and less crowded ski resort which hasn’t been completely saturated by tourists yet and so it’s mostly local people who holiday here. It won’t appeal to experienced skiers, given its size and smaller pistes, but it’s perfect for kids and us novices. The choice of accommodation will suit any budget from hijas (hostel-type accommodation) to affordable hotels, many of which offer lessons and have smaller slopes to practice on (and they let the dogs stay too!). Ski passes, clothing and equipment are a fraction of the price you’ll pay for at Bansko.
If you don’t fancy skiing, there are amazing walks and plenty of other things to do in the surrounding natural park and the views from the Stara Planina Mountain range are stunning. For cultural reprieve, the nearby cities of Gabrovo and historical Veliko Tarnovo are well worth days out.
On your travels: most restaurants will serve the homemade brandy (rakia) which is traditionally drunk with their delicious salads but be careful, if you drink too much of it you won’t be back on the slopes in a hurry! Or try a guvech: food cooked in a traditional clay oven pot, either with meat or cheesy vegetables, all washed down with good Bulgarian plonk. Happy days!
It’s an hour and a half by car from Veliko Tarnovo to get to the low-key ski resort of Uzana. A perfect place for children, novice skiers and those of a nervous disposition who still want to give skiing a go. Lessons are approximately 25 leva (£12.50) an hour including ski’s, poles and boots. There are no funicular lifts because the runs are short but there are those mad pulley sort of arrangements to get you back up to the top of the slopes. Uzana differs from Bansko and other ski places in south east Bulgaria by being quiet, refined, small and charming. Good hot chocolate from the resort hotels too.
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