The biggest and best of the Bulgarian resorts, Bansko leads the way for cheap, cheerful ski holidays. Budget flights to Sofia (three hours away) have made Bansko attractive to Brits, and while it attracts a young crowd, it’s not unpleasant. There is a range of après and food, hotels with really nice spas, upmarket bars, and traditional Bulgarian tavernas with open fires, hearty fare and cheap rooms. The new hotels are near the lifts, while the tavernas are in the old town, a few kilometres away.
The mountain is 2600m at the top, and the resort is just under 1000m, so there’s the opportunity to get a few long runs in. The 75km of piste are best for beginners and intermediates, and there are good nursery slopes, a fun park, and night skiing from mid-mountain. The snow is pretty reliable for Bulgaria, helped by the north-facing slopes, and decent snowmaking, which the resort is adding to all the time.
With the right attitude there is snowy fun to be had – there is tree-skiing between the pistes and some off-piste to be had. Find a guide for the latter though, avalanches are common, and there are hidden cliffs and dead-ends with very long hikes.