Borovets - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Borovets


A fantastic holiday destination, Borovets is the oldest and biggest ski resort in Bulgaria, situated on the northern slopes of the Rila Mountains at the foot of Moussala, the highest peak in the country. Nestled among old pine forests, the resort was founded in 1896 as a hunting place for the kings and gradually developed into a modern resort with luxury hotels, restaurants and a superb network of ski runs varying in difficulty. There is also a wide choice of off-slope entertainment and nightlife as well as organised trips to places of interest in the Rila Mountains. Winters are mild and snowy and the air is clean, clear and invigorating.

Information & Facts


Off the ski slopes Borovets has all the usual amenities of a winter holiday resort, and many hotels offering indoor swimming pools, saunas and gyms. Night skiing is also available from 5pm to 10pm. Visitors can also take excursions to nearby resorts or places of interest, like the Rila Monastery. Ice-skating and skidoos are also an option for chilly fun in the sun.

Bulgarian is the official language, which uses the Cyrillic alphabet, but English, German and French is spoken in resorts, hotels and restaurants.

The official currency is the Lev (BGN), which is divided into 100 stotinki. The Lev is tied to the Euro at a fixed rate of EUR1 = 1.955 lev. Bulgaria has strict currency regulations. If you enter Bulgaria with cash of any currency amounting to the equivalent of 8,000 leva or more, you must declare it to customs officials. Foreign currency may be exchanged in banks, hotels or at one of the numerous bureaux de change, however due to a common practice of misleading rates of exchange it is better to go to banks or hotels to change money. A receipt called a bordereauxis issued when exchanging currency, indicating the amount that will be given, and it must be kept until departure. Not all banks accept travellers cheques and those that do usually charge a 5% commission. Major international credit cards are increasingly becoming accepted by tourist hotels, upmarket shops and restaurants, travel agents and car rental agents, but Bulgaria is still largely a cash economy. There are ATMs in the main cities and at Black Sea resorts.


The resort is quite dated and basic. It can appear almost abandoned in the summertime, though there is good hiking.


Every night is party time when it comes to Borovets' nightlife, as it has a reputation for being one of the hotspots on the European ski circuit and a popular destination with holidaymakers. The fun is fuelled by the fact that drinks are cheap, there are long happy hours and sometimes drinks are even offered for free. All the bars, clubs and discos serve well-known international brands as well as local beers like Astika, Zagorka and Kamenitza. Beware the national drink, rakia: it is a rather strong variety of plum brandy not for the faint of heart. Recommended party palaces are Club Slide in the Hotel Mura, the renowned Buzz Bar (favoured by Brits) and the Black Tiger bar.


Eating out in Borovets is very good value, as prices are much lower than other parts of Europe. The number of taverns, eat-in pubs, take away joints and outdoor restaurants is growing in Borovets every season, and holidaymakers can take full advantage of the diverse dining scene. The choice has become very eclectic, from Kentucky Fried Chicken and pizza to traditional Bulgarian food. Establishments like The Hungry Horse cater deliciously for British tastes. Other recommendations are Mamacita's on the main shopping street where the steaks are legendary, and White Magic, opposite the Samokov Hotel, with good food and a great atmosphere. Visitors should not forget to indulge in some of the Bulgarian fine wines along with their dinner.


Shopping in Borovets has improved greatly in recent years as a burst in popularity as a winter sports wonderland has meant a boom in the town's retail industry, as well as an influx of visitors doing holiday shopping. The busy shopping street in front of the Rila Hotel is a beehive of open-fronted small shops, with a colourful market atmosphere, selling all sorts of goods from ski gear and souvenirs to cigarettes and cheap CDs. Most visitors find prices here much lower than elsewhere in Europe.

Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).

The biggest and most famous of Bulgaria's monasteries is situated in the northwestern part of the Rila Mountains and is one of the most significant monuments on the Balkan Peninsula. Rila Monastery was founded by a hermit, St John of Rila, in the 10th century, and eventually became a monastic complex that played an important role in the spiritual history of medieval Bulgaria. Having survived fire, abandonment and plunder, the monastery fascinates visitors today with its exquisite architecture, rich murals and icons and valuable museum collection, including old manuscripts, jewellery, textiles, church treasures and a library containing thousands of books. Photography is not allowed inside the Monastery.

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