mountain resort in Sofia Province, Bulgaria

Borovets is a ski and mountain resort in Central Western Bulgaria, on the slopes of the Rila mountain range close to the town of Samokov. It's one of Bulgaria's most popular ski resorts and one of the starting points for hiking to Musala, the highest peak in Rila, Bulgaria and the Balkan Peninsula.

View towards some of the ski slopes
The royal residence at Tsarska Bistritsa

Get in


As the crow flies, Borovets is about 50 km (31 mi) south from the capital Sofia and 95 km (59 mi) west from the second largest city, Plovdiv, but the mountainous terrain increases road distance. The town of Samokov, the centre of the local municipality (obshtina) is in the valley below, 10 km (6.2 mi) to the north.

Sofia, the closest airport, is served by a number of budget airlines including Wizz Air and Easyjet among others. If booked early, you can pick up a really cheap deal. Also, British Airways and Bulgaria Air can offer extremely good deals and provide more comfort. Lufthansa have several daily flights to Sofia, with connections from many countries through Munich Airport or Frankfurt Airport. Most hotels are fully prepared to provide transfer services with booking.

Holidays to this area can also be arranged via tour operators with package holidays available from a variety of companies including Crystal, First Choice and Balkan Holidays.

By bus


If you are in Sofia, independent travel by bus is the cheapest option, but not very easy or comfortable for foreigners because of the first step - getting from Sofia to Samokov by bus. Samokov and Borovets are connected by a shuttle bus (about 20 min) that runs at least once an hour between 08:00 and 18:00 from Samokov's Bus Station. In Borovets, it stops in front of Hotel Samokov.

  • 1 Borovets Bus Stop.

Get around

Map of Borovets

Also make sure to check out the sights in Samokov.

  • 1 Tsarska Bistritsa Palace. Th-Su: 09:00-17:00 (closed M-W). Palatial hunting lodge of Bulgaria's royalty, built between 1898 and 1914 by Tsar Ferdinand, the second ruler of modern Bulgaria, and later used by his son, Boris III. Several buildings surrounded by a small park. In 2020, ownership was restored to the son of Boris, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, but the complex remains open to visitors. Adults: 6 лв, children and pensioners: 4 лв.    
  • 2 Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Храм "Преображение Господне") (in a wooded area on the southern side of Road 82; there's a small, oval parking lot). Small wooden Orthodox church built in the 1930s. The feast of the Transfiguration is celebrated on the 6th of August.

Skiing and snowboarding


The ski area in Borovets is split in two; a smaller area with runs down into the main resort is serviced by 2 chairlifts and a number of drag tows and consists of nursery slopes; a couple of short black runs; 1 long blue run and a number of short reds. The second ski area is accessible via a Gondola and is much larger with a number of long blue and red runs. Black slopes are available at this resort but it must be noted that despite the high quality of the red and black runs this resort is considered to be mainly for beginners and intermediates. The resort has several good ski schools and a wide range of apres-ski activities.

Snowboarders share the same area as the general skiers and have a wide range of slopes available to them. Borovets is also the only resort in Bulgaria to offer cross-country skiing (???).


edit map zoomed in on Borovets; downloadable Garmin maps with place names in Latin letters.

Most restaurants on the pistes are relatively expensive (by local standards) and average quality. Some however do offer very good food.

  • Alpin Restaurant. Here you can sample tasty European and Bulgarian national cuisine specialties until midnight. In summer, you can spend time relaxing in the garden, cooled by the fresh air from the waterfall and cascades. There is also an outdoor barbecue where the chef will prepare specialties, grilled on live coals, right in front of you.
  • La Bomba a local grill restaurant, with tasty and reasonably priced food. Try pork on the spit roast and the local bread, baked with butter and salt.
  • The Blue Steak House/restaurant in the center of the town, great steak and other dishes.
  • 1 Yastrebets Stone Hut (from the top station of Yastrebets gondala it is 50 m on left towards main ski area, down a failry long set of stairs). A traditional mountain hut that offers good local cuisine. Indoor and outdoor seating. Accommodation is also available.



There are many bars and restaurants in the resort where you and eat and drink to excess until the early hours.

  • The Golden Chicken aka Bobby's Bar A place to grab a beer and talk about a day on the slopes. Predominantly English speaking. Everybody seems to be friendly and up for a chat so if you're after a good social experience or any info on the area this is a place to start. Has a couple of quiet periods between breakfast and lunch and between lunch and about 16:00 when people start to roll in off the slopes.


  • 1 Rila. A large hotel refurbished in 2016 on the lower slopes; rooms are comfortable and clean. The hotel has a swimming pool and a large lobby bar. The food provided in the restaurant (in the season anyway) is not to be recommended, although this isn't a huge problem as there are a number of reasonably priced places to eat in the town. Lower rooms on the ski slope side can be noisy because of the late night bars.
  • Bor. The original hotel of Borovets, but interior is modern and comfortable with a mini bar, restaurant, games room and lounge. Prices at the bar are significantly lower than that of the main Rila hotel, and rooms are usually offered at half-board allowing for a buffet system breakfast and dinner. The area around the Bor is scenic and quiet, however the Bor hotel is outside of the main Borovets area, so allow 15 minutes walking time (between leaving the hotel and arrival at the slopes) or put aside 10 lev for a horse-drawn carriage ride which can be found outside the lobby's main entrance.
  • Iskar Hotel & Chalets. Small, modern family run complex with a hotel and 5 chalets on the outskirts of Govadertsi village. It has its own ski run nearby and is about a 30-minute transfer to Borovets. The rooms are all nicely decorated in a modern style, each has an ensuite and the majority have balcony views of the Rila Mountains. There is a large dining room and lounge with real log fire and bar. It's a really relaxed environment. The hotel is half board, with breakfast and a three course evening meal each night, prepared by a British cook. The family that own the place also organise all your transport and ski hire, and are really knowledgeable of the local area so able to help organise other activities. It's ideal for big groups and families, and the quiet rural setting can be a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of Borovets at night. There is room for up to 30 people and they offer group discounts.
  • Villa Stresov, Sitnyakov Ski Lift Rd. and Hwy. 82. Villa Stresov was rebuilt in 1996 as Borovets' only five-star villa by the Marianne Djidrova Nielsen, a granddaughter of the Stresovs, now living in Chicago, Illinois with her husband Philipn. While only 600 meters from the center of Borovets and ski lifts, the villa is secluded among towering pines at the foot of Mt. Musala. Each of the Villa's four upstairs bedrooms can be rented individually, or the entire Villa is available for up to ten adults. There is a landscaped garden in the back, with a building for a six person hot tub, and another large BBQ house. A gazebo sits in the back corner overlooking the gardens.
  • 2 Euphoria Club Hotel & Spa, Shiroka Polyana 216, 2010 Borovets, Samokov, Bulgaria, +359 75099100, . A modern alpine style luxury hotel. It is in a forest away from the main resort. Food in the restaurant is pretty good. It has an indoor pool, sauna, steam room and outdoor Jacuzzi. Transport to and from town is available for those without cars. There is an underground car park. Wireless internet is high speed.

Go next

  • Samokov - another major tourist center for winter sports
  • Semkovo - go skiing

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