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Banavie-Scotland | Exciting Stays Close to Ben Nevis and Neptune´s Staircase.

Banavie is a small centre but in in all its beautiful essence is a great stunning representative site showing the most enchanting wild and picturesque image of Scotland, a very scenic place offering the unique opportunity to spend exciting stays close to Ben Nevis and Neptun´s Staircase on the iconic Caledonian Canal respectively the highest peak and the longest staircased lock of Great Britain.

That splendid Scottish village situated at 178,0 kilometres north of Glasgow and just 6,0 kilometres  from Fort William is one of the most attractive small  places of that striking land,the boasting a stupendous scenery reflecting in a nutshell all the beauty and charm of a territory packed by natural attractions unforgettable landscapes and reminding the epic and suggestive stories, narrations and legends of a land among the most fascinating and captivating of the world.

The Gaelic name of Banavie is Bainbhidh, it was since many centuries ago a relevant  stronghold of the Picts, an ancient Celtic population who established in its current boundaries one of their most important cultural seats, confirmed later by the presence of descendants  as the powerful Clan Cameron who according to historic documentations was also linked to the Royal family of Denmark with a son of that noble Ecandinavian  Monarchy who assisted the restoration of King Fergus II of Scotland.

Those old rulers established  a strong influence in a large territory in Lochaber and in the major parts of the lands surrounding the Ben Nevis and at  less than 2,0 kilometres from the village you can admire the ruins of the iconic Tor Castle.

Also that former medieval fortress is closely related to that, originally held by the Clan Mackintosh but seized, conquered and rebuilt by the Camerons in 1530 using it as defencive bastion against the several attacks of one of their historic rivals, the famed Clan MacDonald of Keppoch direct descendant of the emblematic Alistair Carrack MacDonald son of John Isley King of the Scottish Isles.

That site for all the events in which was protagonist became a sort of icon all around Scotland because was the emblematic symbol of one of the most distinguished dynasties of that land and desired by another and once in that area you can also enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the Loch Lochy which extends up to South Laggan another image to keep imprint in your most pleasant memories.

All the historic stages of that hamlet which was in that suggestive past a focal point of the marvellous Gaelic culture  has always been linked to the most important chronological events of Fort William and the other nearest small centere called Corpach including to the famous and legendary trip by train connecting Fort William  to Mallaig on which Banavie is one of the great intermediate stops along that spectacular iconic journey.  (I wrote posts about those two other destinations)

If the nearest and bigger centre of Fort William is linked to many legends, epic and historic narrations also Banavie despite its reduced size next to the famed previously mentioned historic events has others. One in particular says that it is the birthplace of St.Patrick emblematic Religious figure who is especially linked as an icon to the marvellous Republic of Ireland where he spent many years of his life but that village in 389.

The legend is connected to a possible presence of a hypothetical or real father of Roman origin,  an officer of the Empire sent to Scotland as diplomatic before that the Legions of the Roman Emperor Flavius Honorius Augustus left the old Britannia 21 years later in 410.

The dilemma between true history or legend with tangible evidence turning it into reality was documented by some recorded scripts with a pretty detailed explanation  in the 19th century in the History of Celtic Placenames redacted by William J. Watson, a famous historian and toponomyst from Milton, Easterrn Ross

That eminent figure specialist in Gaelic history and former excellent student in  prestigious Universities as Aberdeen and Oxford confirmed that the Saint was born in a concrete site called Bannah-Venta which was the ancient name of Banavie enhanced by an original letter of St. Patrick who mentioned that settlement of the Scottish Highlands at the foot of the Grampians.

The centre of the village is developed in proximity of the shore of the Caledonian Canal and along the Road A 830 which entirely crosses its boundaries. North from there is situated Old Banavie Road and along that artery you can find some accommodations while south of the waterway at the corner of Ardgour Road and Kilmallie Road is situated the Railway Station.

That latter road also corresponds to the main exit to the southern side of Banavie  continuing running along the River Nevis and reaching the outskirts of  Inverlochy and Fort William.

The Ben Nevis is certainly the most important attraction of Banavie,the giant of the Highlands and Great Britain and that tiny centre is the closest agglomeration to that high peak which does not need any introduction for its iconic name and for the stunning silhouette well known all around the United Kingdom to be the highest mountain of the British islands.

With its 1344,0 metres of altitude, Behinn Nibheiss as it is called in  Gaelic  language, that denomination means the mountain of the sky a name probably took by the ancient Celtic pagan tribes believing in different divinities including related to nature and they had the habit in several occasions to compose determined words naming concrete places.

Apart its charm and captivating silhouette conquering in a while many people for a scenic shape unique in its kind, the Ben Nevis offers several  chances to practise many activities such as trekking, hiking,skiing and the opportunity to enjoy several wild and captivating paths such as the Touristic Route, Pony Track,the Mountain Track.

You can get up to the CIC Hut a shelter located at 680,0 metres of altitude and that term CIC means Charles Inglis Clark Memorial. The building is a property of the Scottish Mountaineering Club which organises several interesting activities, it provides advises and suggestions depending your plans of visits and itineraries and all the information you need about that mount and its immediate surroundings.

The giant of the British country is located at the end of eastern side of the Grampian mountains in the Lochaber and its summit is characterised by a sort of cupola, a collapsed domed section of a volcano. On the top you can see the rest of a former Observatory which started its activity in 1883 but ended to te functional just 21 years later.

The first recorded ascent is dated on 17th August 1771 performed by an Edinburgh botanist called James Robertson who wanted to reach that summit simply to collect some botanical specimen useful for his profession and the second climb took place three years later by John Williams, a climb mainly focused to a specific study of the geological formation of the mountain.

The Ben Nevis a massif which also included other "little sisters" called Munro´s Tables located at 1221,0 metres of altitude and the Càrn Mòr Dearg with an altitude of 1020,0 metres and also those places offer the opportunity to ski,climbing and ideal destination for trekkers.
At the foot of the mountain inLochy Bridge worth a visit the famous Whisky Distillery Ben Nevis one of the most legendary and famed establishments of Scotland considering that traditional drink was created in 1825 by that famous figure John McDonald well known with the nickname Long John.

The history of that iconic establishment started in the 19th century when the water for the production of that distinguished liquor was collected by the flows of the waters of the Allt a Nhuilln which has its source from the glacier of the Ben Nevis and it is still used today.

A visit to that place is something unique for its position,history and because it is a very distinctive symbol of Scotland, an emblem extremely rooted in the local culture which has in that product the national beverage known worldwide and with centuries of traditions.

Banavie is situated on the famous Caledonian Canal,that masterpiece of engineering developed to link several places through approximately 100,0 kilometres of waterways flowing across different basins such as the Loch Ness, Loch Lochy,Loch Oich and Loch Dochfour connecting the west coast of the West Highlands from Corpach in proximity of Banavie to the city of Inverness in the East Coast.(I wrote a post about that destination if you are interested)

That superb creation was by a Scottish engineer, Thomas Telford the inventor and who designed, projected and arranged that incredible master work with a study focused on connecting lakes and waterways through 29 locks,10 bridges and 4 navigable canals something simply great in its kind if you take a look to a geographic map of Scotland or simply thinking in the conformation of its territory and also the difficulties related to the formation of the territory.

The result of that "chef d'oeuvre", was not an isolated case because another superb work by Telford was made in Scandinavia consisting in the famous Gota Canal in Sweden which connects the city of Göteborg on the western coast of that huge Nordic Peninsula to the Baltic Sea through two lakes as the Vanern and the Vattern,one river the Göta and crossing a canal called Trolhattan.

Eight of the 29 locks of the Caledonian Canal were developed in the territory of Banavie and that group was called the Neptune´s Staircase,a well known mythological name connected to the name of the God of waters and seas worshipped in the Ancient Rome.

Telford projects and works started in 1803 and ended in 1822 and that masterpiece officially started to work and to be active in 1847 immediatelyly high regarded for the efficient system which since then permitted a comfortable navigation and those links among different sites of Scotland which just some years before nobody could think to connect.

A navigation on the Caledonian Canal is a must if you are visiting that corner of Scotland,it is to admire that territory from another perspective crossing four lakes,under the majestic silhouette of Ben Nevis,a unique experience very suggestive thinking that you are crossing four magnificent waters basin transmitting special feelings and for someone including exciting with that magnificent emotion that after one will come another.

All that is highlighted by unforgettable natural environment,a great experience to enjoy a land so packed of magic places which can be admired along that special waterway and appreciating that work which is unique in its kind in the entire country permitting people to live something of wonderful during that boat trip.

Beautiful is also to enjoy a walk along the shore of the Caledonian Canal if you spending a stay in the village with the chance to see the pleasant  Banavie Marina Basin,the  Swing Bridge and the locks all that alongside a relaxing straight with the opportunity to admire the structures and the boats in transit with their manoeuvres.

Around Banavie there are so many things to do and what it is more exciting and very pleasurable is its very calm and peaceful atmosphere,silent places and in many cases you will notice that the time stands still in those lands and also that transmits something of very suggestive and that is secret of the real, true and magic atmosphere which surrounds Scotland all around its magnificent territory bewitching a myriad of visitors.

Several are the outdoor activities to enjoy there apart the previously mentioned on the Ben Nevis, it is a great place for wonderful excursions cycling or walking along the legendary Great Glen Way a stunning route inaugurated in 2002 with also well known with its the Gaelic denomination Sligghe a`Ghlinne Mhòir.

Developed on a length of 127,0 kilometres it retraces the historic old path from Fort William leading to Inverness transiting for suggestive sites as Fort Augustus,Grotaig,Cluneg Forest and also for Drummadrochit the village which pay homage to Nessie the legendary monster of that iconic Scottish lake.

Along that route other sites of extreme fascination and extremely attractive are also Gairlochy Clunes and the Loch Lochy which are pretty close to Banavie and obviously the last section of that magnificent path ending in the city of Inverness  after a scenic trip along all the the western coast of the wonderful Loch Ness.

Apart a visit to Fort William very recommended are also the villages of Corpach and Caol. The first place is very famous for a battle between the famed Clans Cameron and MacLean which took place which took place in 1470.

 In a more contemporary era it was also a base of the Navy of the United States of America and seat of the HMS St.Christopher, a headquarter of training of the Royal Navy Coastal Forces and some structures related to that still exist.

In that place you will have the opportunity to see a lock Canal on the Loch Linnhe basin with the waterway leading to the Loch Eil close to the western sea entrance of the Caledonian Canal.

The environment is  very attractive surrounded by an uncontaminated nature and that mystical and legendary air so special of the Scottish Highlands by other mountains of over 1200,0 metres of altitude.

Caol is a small place between the Loch Linnhe and Loch Eil and its Gaelic name means narrow because it is located on the narrower water in the middle of those two basin and just like Banavie is crossed by the Caledonian Canal. 

Other destinations to feel the magic air and sensations of the magnetic charm of Scotland is also Aonach Mor,a scenic mountain with an altitude of 1221,0 at approximately 3,0 kilometres from the Ben Nevis and on its western side is developed a ski complex and that area hosted in many occasions stages of the Mountain bike World Cup and one edition of the World Championships.

Oban is another destination showing the most captivating wild face of the land  with a fantastic scenery composed by mountains, high plateaus and a beautiful bay to immortalise in thousands of pictures with also the splendid views of some picturesque islands such as Mull, Lismore and Kerrera which complete a striking scenery. Another mandatory is the famous Jacobite train all that is a splendid incentive to live 100% that Scottish paradise.

The presence of several comfortable and cosy B&B is another very attractive aspect to plan from that village a very captivating tailor made tour of the Scottish Highlands considering it as great and peaceful base with radial excursions day by day,whether for a planned specific itinerary of that corner of Scottish territory depending of your interests and preferences.

The strategic geographic position of that small place permits all that and much more and the existing presence of those accommodation naturally is a relevant detail to take in high consideration.

The local gastronomy will be another special feature which will delight you during a stay with the best of the Scottish cuisine. You can enjoy there an always fresh and excellent salmon and very suggested is also the smoked highly appreciated by a myriad of people.

Several are the rich and delicious venison meat stews and you can taste the traditional porridges,Bannocks,Haggis, different kind of pies and fabulous beef steaks, that kind of meat is among the best in all the United Kingdom and also baked lamb is extremely suggested for its notable reputation.

The delicious fresh seafood is another gastronomic highlight and obviously you can taste the local Whisky which is the icon of the Highlands and if you like that kind of beverage you will be delighted by different kind of brands.

Inverness International Dalcross Airport is situated at 117,0 kilometres from that Scottish centre and in less than two hours driving via A82 Motorway you will be at destination.

Despite its small size Banavie has a lot of attractions and that is the beauty of Scotland which also in small places like that offers a multitude of beautiful things all around their boundaries.

The natural beauty and landscapes are also all what makes Scotland a truly unique place so special transmitting ann immediate desire to discover and enjoy metre by metre every corner of its territory and also that is why is so easy to fall in love with that land.

That little centre is something absolutely special in its kind,a visit and spending holidays to Scotland including in your plans that little gem part of the patrimony of that fascinating place is certainly a brilliant idea.

Simply the views during a stay close to Ben Nevis and Neptune´s Staircase emblematic point of the Caledonian Canal will be something more than exciting and all around you that sublime image packed by marvellous landscapes so difficult to forget and that is the real and enchanting Scotland in all its splendour.

Francesco Mari

Recommended Accommodations in Banavie area.

Carinbrock Guest House
Dontra Log Chalets
Braeburn Guest House
Hotel Moorings 

Useful links

Pamporovo | Great Skiing Vacation Idea in Southern Bulgaria.

Pamporovo is certainly a great skiing vacation idea in Southern Bulgaria living a brilliant experience enjoying winter sports in the heart of the Balkans in a magnificent corner of Southeastern Europe delighted by a more than captivating resort elevated for its stunning services and facilities as Top destination about those sporting activities at an excellent level reaching in the last decade very high peaks in terms of Incoming tourism with a multitude of people coming from Northern and Western Europe to enjoy the fabulous piste that site offers all around its boundaries with in addition a more than positive feedback.
Located in a very strategic geographic position in the fascinating province of Smoljan at just 82, 0 kilometres south of the historic city of Plovdiv, the third largest centre of the country, the attractive Capital Sofia is 240, 0 kilometres away and landing on their airports boasting excellent connections from different International points  is a magnificent chance to visit also those splendid cities well known to have an rich patrimony consisting in fabulous monuments erected in different periods and a large network of superb museums and very interesting exhibitions.

That splendid destination is situated in the middle of the Rhodope mountains dominated by the scenic silhouette of the Snezhanka, a fascinating peak which with its 1928, 0 metres of altitude is one the main local highlights and symbol of that site furthermore flanked by other charming mounts which all together form a stupendous crown in a marvellous territory characterised by wonderful landscapes with a multitude of wild, intact forests and valleys absolutely stunning.

Considered one of the most representative Ski Resort in the entire country at an altitude of 1650,0 metres next to the classical Alpine Ski which is the speciality more practised and highly very appreciated for the great preparation and development of its tracks Pamporovo boasts a magnificent network of of ski lifts complexes and many spaces to enjoy other trendy activities such as snowboarding, freestyle and acrobatic ski

All that found a magnificent habitat in that site which not a long time ago to enlarge further flows of tourism established a vast area dedicated to  Ski Cross Country thanks to several kilometres of scenic tracks developed in a virgin environment becoming a Mecca for many people fans of that sport very rooted in the Nordic countries but with many fans in many other Nations.

In addition the local Institutions and new investors thanks to a constant and increasing demand year by year have created in the local boundaries an excellent network of accommodations with very comfortable Hotels of different categories simple impressive and despite the small size in terms of square kilometres of the municipal boundaries providing over 8,000 beds with establishments ready to satisfy every need and the major part of them elevated at a very short distance from all the most important slopes.

All that since the beginning became something extremely tempting and high appreciated thanks to that large choice which permits a visitor to select a stay in base to position, comfort, services and naturally budget.

Worth an special additional mention that Pamporovo is a perfect destination for all the tourists who are searching peace and relaxation and recharging batteries all year and they can find that place very appropriate for the large natural uncontaminated spaces highlighted by peace and serenity.  

Furthermore for those who desire Spa treatments, that great Bulgarian reality very sensitive to that niche of tourism developed several establishments very well equipped and extremely trendy with all the most important therapies with many  centres hosted in some Hotels.

Next to that more than great hospitality offer a notable presence of  of bars and restaurants which serve a delicious local and International cuisine are other special features to take in consideration delighting all the most varied tastes and preferences also in terms of gastronomy.

Despite Bulgaria is mainly known as a leading summer and cultural holiday destination for its beautiful and sunny Black Sea seaside resorts and those iconic Orthodox monasteries which since a long time ago represent a notable attraction also offers places as Pamporovo which apart winter sports offers a vast combination of proposals.

Smolyan province of which geographically that resort is part it is a fabulous land highlighted by  a picturesque scenery and the atmosphere you can breathe in that enchanting corner of the Balkans is delighted by an uncontaminated nature with a total absence of pollution making it a great climatic destination.

The presence of small lakes in the immediate vicinity in a magnificent rural area totally surrounded by towering mountains  is a further inviting temptations for those who love to admire fantastic natural spaces in a stunning territory in which historic villages and small towns situated on enchanting hilly areas reachable by unforgettable paths also have consecrated Pamporovo and its surroundings as a paradise for all people fond of trekking and hiking.

Many other tourists found and find that kind of tourism absolutely enjoyable van enjoy different fabulous protected areas and it is also an ideal destination also for who is as fervent fan of trip adventures exploring and discovering stunning wild hidden corners.

History and art are also protagonists in a land which saw during its long history the landing of several important civilisations which all together left important imprints visible in many centres of that province which also a land able to conquer the visitors with a cultural, architectural and historic patrimony more than relevant.

That resort thanks to its very strategic position also provides very good communications, in a short time from that Bulgarian area you can reach Greece,certainly a further wonderful incentive to visit a Nation offering treasures unique in the world.

 In just a couple of hours driving you can visit the stunning Thessaly Region and fabulous cities such as Thessaloniki and Kavala enjoying a striking Mediterranean coastline until the frontier with Turkey facing that spectacular Aegean Sea packed by astonishing islands and islets with a horizon which reminds myths and legends of the most captivating suggestive Hellenic literature admiring unique images simply magnificent.

Many people visit and use that geographic during many months a year a strategic base for radial excursions enjoying a Fly & Drive with a planned tailor made tour and others are simply enchanted for the chances to practise cycle tourism and we have not to forget  that area is an Eden for Mountain bikers and cyclists on road.
Thanks to all that vast fan of attractive proposals the resort was transformed in a sort of universal destination very demanded reaching an excellent reputation and prestige and not just in winter but for all what it offers for the joy of a myriad of visitors who also decided to return once again.

Also the history of the local territory is highly interesting started many centuries ago in prehistoric times with the discovery of prehistoric caves in the Rhodope Mountains. Historically linked to Smoljan since ancient times Pamporovo was a stronghold of Thracian tribes and that presence was  confirmed during archaeological discoveries some years ago with the founds of artifacts attesting important settlements of that civilisation.

Colonised by Greeks who developed in that land a flourishing route of trade leading to the motherland and later by the Romans who conquered that area with the Emperor Claudius in the 5th century, the current province had a notable relevance under rule of Trajan in a period of golden ages of that Italic Empire with the land of many Patrician families who established their residences in that Eastern European land protagonist of a very active cultural and social life.

Other rulers and settlers in different chronological stages occupied those places such as Byzantine Empire and the former Bulgarian Kingdom during the Reigns of the Tsars Boris I and Simeon I.

It was in those times when born the current Bulgarian-Slavic name of that centre deriving from the word Pampor which means caravan.That name because that area was a well known stage used by several merchants using that kind of transport in trips starting from the Greek coast in that era under Constantinople influence through the Balkans leading to Plovdiv and other market places of  Southern Bulgaria.

Tumultuous centuries characterised by numerous clashes with the Ottoman Empire which was expanding its domains in Europe, the advent of the Turkish domination was highlighted by a secular rule started in the late 14th and ended five centuries later.

During the occupation by the Turks that area continued to be a notable cross point  mainly dedicated to spices and carpets trades following the itineraries previously traced by the Hellenic merchants and in addition as relevant historic date the area of the Rhodope mountains was a territory which had the major Islamisation of the entire country.

The Turkish domain ended in 1878 but left deep marks in the local culture, many people embraced the Islam as Religious faith continued to keep that faith and also other marked imprints as in architecture,local  traditions and gastronomy were strongly inherited by the former rulers in many small centres. 

The events of the Balkan wars and the independence of the country changed the local destiny which started to live in a former Monarchy State with Aleksandar I and in the 30's  during the Reign of the Tsar Boris III the current resort started to be a sort of winter sports Bulgarian pioneer.

In 1933 Pamporovo was already a pretty famous holiday destination when many people started to discover the passion for winter sports and some years later born the first significant movement linked to official Alpine Ski spaces dedicated to that activity on snow. Those times were pretty important because the current resort reached a popularity pretty close to Bansko, Borovec, the Rila Massif and Vitosha, the latter immediately outside of the capital Sofia, places which started to receive notable flows of Alpine Ski fans.

The former village year by year reached much more notoriety with a good number of tourists coming from different towns who found in that mountainous land a small paradise, ideal to spend holidays in a more than beautiful region packed by large pine forests combined with an uncontaminated air and superb climatic conditions with several sunny days and naturally the chance for skiing.

The proximity of the small picturesque Smolynski lakes with unforgettable escapades from the city spending short breaks in a striking Eden combining tourism and a skiing vacation in a place so rich of natural attractions and very suitable to enjoy a multitude of outdoor activities were a winning key for the most relevant incoming operations.

Thanks to a massive demand the former resort needed accommodations which was in that time mainly focused in local flats and houses to rent. The increasing request generated the constructions of new buildings and villas added in a short time giving that place a major capacity to respond to new enquiries.

The first structure classified in terms of official hospitality exercise was built by Nikolaj Chinovski and called Stenata while the first official ski track was created during the period in which Bulgaria was living the Socialist regime  in the 50's  during the times of the notorious Pact of Warsaw in the infamous period corresponding to the Cold War as a satellite country of the former Soviet Union.

Some years later was also erected the first Hotel and since the 60's the trendy desire to enjoy holidays at the foot of the Snezhanka mountain have already conquered a very high index of interest

The 70's were the years in which skiing in Bulgaria was a pretty consolidated activity loved by several people and in winter season due to a demand constantly increasing with many stunning spaces to develop new ski slopes was an automatic incentive for the local Institutions to work much more to create something similar to the western European resorts despite in a Socialist regime was all planned under the rigid control of the Party as was usual in all the industry and economy in those times.

Those operations were managed with a sort of strategy with a veiled optimism hoping to have a determined visibility abroad trying to capture different foreign markets conquering a positive feedback and naturally a revenue with very competitive rates which could help the State in the case of an economic collapse and the tourism was a notable resource despite in the hands of the State.

The Rhodope mountains have not the high of the Alps or neither of the Pyrenees but the local pistes are very challenging and some tracks have a relevant coefficient of difficulty, pretty steep and those features are all what an Alpine skier searches.Many sections with a good variety of bends and sharp curves are very suitable for splendid slaloms and  including for very good giant slaloms. There are in addition some long straights very appreciated also because they offer the chance to develop Black and Red slopes which are also the image of a relevant Ski Resort.

Having those appropriate tracks large spaces and some structures which year by year were acquiring a dimension apart the hard work of the tourist Institutions managed by the Socialist Party those mountains to have a kind of International call and more appeal needed a sort of Ambassador.

A character who was a sort of emblem and who played an important role in the promotion and consolidation  of skiing in that corner of Southern Bulgaria was a professional skier called Petar Popangelov, record man and legend of Alpine Ski in that country who won 26 national titles.

That very competitive athlete with a professional career in the 70s and 80s with several podium placements and one victory in a stage of the World Alpine Ski Cup. winner of the European Cup in 1977 a competition which was the natural passage for the young promises to move to the most important panorama attracted with his brilliant performances many people also because never a Bulgarian athlete had reached those prestigious results.

Popangelov competed next to celebrated stars such as Ingemar Stenmark, Phil Mahre, Bojan Krizaj, Piero Gros, Gustav Thoeni and Klaus Heidegger who were in those times of the International Alpine Ski Elite expressed at the maximum level by those champions.

All that was undoubtedly something which captured the interest of journalists, reporters, foreign Televisions and curious tourists fond of winter sports that started to visit the Bulgarian Winter Resorts including Pamporovo.

The Rhodope mountains since the became a destination more popular  for that people to see the places in which that man grew up skiing on those challenging tracks and in the meantime appreciating so much the splendid landscapes and including some of them since then decided to return there in other occasions.

The fall of Berlin wall in 1989 and the collapse of the block of the Socialist Eastern European countries in the early 90's with the former President Zhivkov leaving the charge of leader in the country were the times in which in the resort new investors and entrepeneurs gave a new life consolidating that place you can see nowadays as a Top destination for Winter Sports of International level.

The centre of the resort is very small and all it is concentrated close to the ski complex and the Hotels area which occupies a big surface of the local boundaries.

A captivating attractions apart the natural paradise of the mountains encircling that stunning place is the imposing Snezhanka TV tower and a visit reaching the top is suggested to enjoy magnificent and unforgettable views.  That majestic structure is 156, 0 metres high was erected using reinforced advanced materials and its towering position fascing Snezhanska Mountain and surrounded by a scenic pine forest gave it a monumental image.

It is in its kind a great attraction because on the top was established a panoramic Cafe-Bar and a space with an observatory deck with the great opportunity not only to see the peaks but you will have the superb chance to be delighted by marvellous views towards the Rila Massif, the Pirin Mountains and including in  very sunny and clear days a beautiful view on the Aegean Sea.

The Bulgarian Tourism Board, the Local Institutions and furthermore and different businessmen have created a sort of little empire with the establishment of modern structures, apartments, chalets and several catering establishments consisting in fine restaurants cosy cafes and a good number of stylish bars.

Notable are many facilities with easy connections to the ski areas which have blue, red and black ski tracks giving the chance to all people from the beginners to experienced skiers to enjoy all what that well organised complex offers.

Different Ski Schools and over 100 licensed masters are a very good offer for a resort not too big. Many of those teachers speak different foreign languages, such as English, German, French, Italian and Russian and all that is undoubtedly a further incentive to take lessons without problems of communication.

Extremely considerable is the ski lifts complex with 18 lifts and it is enough to think that two important and prestigious European Ski Resorts constantly present in the FIS Alpine World Cup Calendar such as the famous Kranjska Gora in Slovenia has 20 and the famed German Garmisch-Partenkirchen 21 are not so far making that place stunning also for that. (In the case you are interested I wrote posts regarding those two other destinations)

All that excellent network can move approximately 8600 people per hour and also that is a great detail and the access to all the slopes is very fast and extremely comfortable  because the development of the Ski Area is pretty compact.

Pamporovo boast 55, 0 kilometres of slopes, certainly a great feature with large spaces perfect for Snowboarding and Freestyle activities and all that form an outstanding and unique setting beloved by a myriad of skiers.

The beginners can use many pistes in the areas of Studenets and also Turisicheska which is over 5, 0 kilometres long is highly appreciated. Those tracks have a moderate gradient, tthe easier to move the first steps on skis is a piste called The Dam and it is approximately 1700, 0 metres long. Others offers some interesting points to find step by step the right coordination and confidence to move later to the red pistes and they are always very well prepared so there are not risks to damage materials and sheets.

The tracks of Snejanka are very attractive are subdivided for different levels depending of the skier’s experience. Those who have intermediate skills can enjoy the area of Smolyan Ezera towards the lake and also Ardashla is another appropriate site. 

They have some sections pretty steep and some of them boast ample curves before to enter in a straight very suitable for those who love the slalom speciality with fast movements and changes of direction, those pistes has an alternance of straights and bends and for that they are excellent offering those different features ideal to improve the coordination for that variety of mutations during the descent.

The most experienced and masters can have the chance to test their talent and capacity in different places with different coefficient of difficulty such as Malina, Dvata, Mosta, Evtppeiskata and another one is Cteha.

Also the slopes in proximity of the TV Tower are considered among the most challenging of the resort and there is a track which is pretty impressive, it is just 1100, 0 metres but extremely steep and challenging and it is called The Wall.

The quality of the snow preparation is not a problem there, the tracks are well maintained by efficient machines, an efficient service permitting to have always a perfect surface on which the ski does not sink with a perfect adherence and no sections in which you can find that kind of "flour" which brakes the ski edges and which often affects the movements. 

Those positive results are also due to the splendid climatic conditions in winter when the average media of temperatures in the month of January is -2º, - 3º degrees.

Another relevant aspect partially similar to the Swiss Ski resort of Crans Montana (I wrote a post about that great destination close to Sierre) without a technical comparison is related to many sunny days in winter season and Pamporovo has 120/130 sunny days a year so it is great often enjoying skiing under a warm sun.

Very interesting is also the presence of almost 40, 0 kilometres of tracks dedicated to the Nordic Ski so also all people who desire to practise Ski Cross Country can find there a superb place regarding that sport. In the area of Ardashla combined with that of Stoykite there are approximately 7, 0 kilometres of slopes and 2,5 excellent  kilometres are also available in the area of Studenets.

For the fans of Ski Adventure outside the official pistes there is also the brilliant option to discover beautiful wild places absolutely wonderful close to rocky vertical walls or crossing intact beautiful forests and for that I suggest you to go in direction of Smolyan if you love that kind of activity.

Bulgaria since a long time ago occupies a relevant ranking regarding that niche of tourism called Spa. Very famous are the Black Sea Resorts that for climatic situations and benign waters have developed a golden Empire very well known worldwide for their outstanding services and treatments (in the case you are interested I wrote a specific post regarding Albena) but also Pamporovo has its excellent structures in which during a stay a visitor can visit for treatments, therapies and relaxation.

That trendy tourism branch found in the resort a very fertile soil thanks to structures providing outstanding services, the Hotel Orlovetz and Hotel Belmont next to others offer great beauty & wellness sessions, massages, anti stress and anti age therapies, thermal baths and much more.

Tennis and horse riding are other brilliant options and the resort for those who love those two sports and Pamporovo has developed a multipurpose incoming tourism which also permits to enjoy cycling on road and mountain bike with very challenging routes and brilliant opportunities along several mixed and dirt trails with many climbs in an environment simply superb.

A very suggested area for that are also the surroundings of Chepelare which is also a very goos ski resort. In that place you can enjoy beautiful landscapes and that town it is crossed by the scenic course of the Cepelarska Reka river which has its source in a peak of the Rhodopes mountains called Rhozen.

Near that municipality you casn visit in a fabulous karst valley where you can admire a great marvel, the Chudnite Mostove, the Wonderful Bridges. They are wonderful natural rocky arches created centuries ago by the activity of the local river Erkyupryia and that erosion also generated the formation of some stunning caves. I strongly suggest you that place also because is very close to Pamporovo.

The nearest Smoljan, the major centre of the province is also recommended, it is a centre not too small and neither too nig, it has over 30,000 inhabitants and it was historically a former village founded by the Smoljani from which derives the name of the current municipality. According to historic documentations that population was probably one of the oldest Slavic tribes settled in that corner of Bulgaria.

You can see there different interesting monuments, such as buildings dating back the Ottoman Empire, some Renaissance or Neo-Byzantine constructions and the largest Cathedral elevated in Southern Bulgaria dedicated to St. Vissarion, a building of recent construction erected in 2006 very impressive is its size with an imposing high tower and a very large cupola.

Another destination I suggest you is Smolynski Jezero, the lakes of Smoljan, they are small wonderful water basins in a stunning virgin environment. Originally they were 20 but nowadays just seven of them are preserved and they are inserted in a marvellous protected Nature Park simply wonderful and ideal for people who love trekking.

For tourists fond of rural tourism a striking natural environment for that niche is to explore other great places such as Solishta, Stikal, Gela, Zaevita and Shiroka Luka, all small sites which have kept their original image surrounded by a large fabulous woodland and boasting a very rich flora and fauna.

Very good in Pamporovo is also the offer in terms of restaurants offering the most traditional and typical Bulgarian plates and others in particular in the Hotel providing International cuisine with menu à la carte.

Landing on Plovdiv Krumovo International Airport in about one hour and 10 minutes driving by National Road A86 via Hvoyna you will be at destination. The second option could be Sofia Letishte International Airport and from there you can reach that winter sport resort in approximately two hours and 40 minutes via Ithiman driving along A1 motorway and Strada 86 national road.

If you are planning something special and different as a great skiing vacation idea in Southern Bulgaria Pamporovo is certainly a wonderful choice, a great destination to spend enjoyable holidays in a country which boasts many pleasant surprises delighting you during a very pleasant and happy stay.

Francesco Mari

Recommended Accommodations in Pamporovo

Hotel Orlovetz
Hotel Spa Belmont
Hotel Kamelia Pamporovo
Hotel Dafovska

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