I know what you’re thinking – a post about Borovets? There’s no way this isn’t going to be about skiing. (Unless you’ve read the title. Then you might not think that.) Although it’s true that this lovely resort in Bulgaria is definitely flocked to by powder hounds every winter, that’s not all it has to offer. If you’re finished dreaming of a white Christmas and are ready to focus on an active summer adventure instead, there’s no better place to visit.
Borovets has been around since 1896, when monarchs, aristocrats and other members of the Bulgarian elite built their summer cottages here. They definitely had the right idea – the warm weather activities here are seemingly endless. If you’re a hiker, a mountaineer or a mountain biker, I’ve got one thing to say to you: pack up your gear and put Borovets on your adventure bucket list!
Hiking and Mountaineering
Level 1: Easy
These relaxed half-day tours are suitable for most ages and abilities. Lasting between two and four hours, this is a good choice for those looking to experience the magic of Rila Mountain in a laidback setting.
Recommended Tour: ‘Sitnyakovska Skala’ takes about two hours to complete and is ideal for inexperienced hikers, as well as families with children. As you are taken to the hiking area by chairlift, you’ll be privy to gorgeous panoramic views and a glimpse of Sitnyakovo, a royal summer residence.
Level 2: Medium
Slightly more difficult than level 1, these tours range from five to eight hours. You will have a chance to challenge yourself as you take in the breathtaking sights of Rila Mountain.
Recommended Tour: ‘Seven Rila Lakes’ will take you around all of the phenomenal glacial lakes situated in the Rila Mountains. The duration is around seven hours.
Top Tip: If your hike is level 1 or 2, it’s advised you bring sunglasses, sunscreen, water, a fleece, a water/windproof jacket and hiking shoes.
Level 3: Difficult
If you’re no stranger to mountaineering, have good physical abilities and are looking for a difficult yet rewarding climb, this is the level for you. Tours last from seven to nine hours and may require specific equipment, such as seats, ropes and helmets.
Recommended Tour: ‘Aleko’ is perfect for those in the market for stunning views. As you make your way up to the Aleko, Bezimen and Musala peaks, you will have endless opportunities to marvel at the gorgeous scenery along the way, including the Beli Iskar glacier valley and the Musalenski circus.
Level 4: Expert
Warning: the level 4 routes are not for the faint of heart and even harder than level 3. However, experienced mountaineers in peak shape who want to push their limits will enjoy this trek. Tours last between nine and eleven hours and you must be 18 or older to participate.
Recommended Tour: ‘Malyovitsa’ is a diverse climb. You can choose from two routes with varying levels of difficulty, depending on your abilities. However, undergoing psychological and physical training is required.
Top Tip: Level 3 and 4 mountaineers should bring sunglasses, sunscreen, water, a fleece, a water/windproof jacket, hiking shoes, a fully-charged phone, food, a small backpack and a headlamp with fully-charged batteries.
Green Routes: Easy
The green routes are quite relaxed and are perfect for inexperienced mountain bikers, those looking for a low-stress ride and families with children. The cross country/all mountain Family trail is 6.4km, takes up to two hours to complete and allows riders to leisurely cycle through a forest.
The Family Cross Country Adventure tour is slightly shorter, with completion time clocking in around 1.5 hours (and I’m sure you’ve already guessed it’s a ride… err, cross country).
Blue Routes: Medium
The blue routes are great for those who like a nice downhill ride and lend themselves quite well to mountain bikers of all abilities. For example, the 2.4km Harry Potter trail doesn’t have many obstacles, is quite smooth and isn’t too steep – perfect for beginners. Yet the twists, turns and flow make it interesting enough that intermediate and advanced riders will still enjoy themselves. The Machete is 2.6km of varied curves and a light decline. It’s still quite new and worth checking out whether your skills are advanced or average.
The Allmountain Adventure Trail tour is about 5km long and will take you around an hour to complete. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced rider, you’ll enjoy this varied route, with its changing inclines and terrain. It’s a breathtaking ride that will allow you to fly down the descents, bike uphill through a single-track shady wood and cruise along with lush meadows flanking you on either side.
Red Route: Difficult
The Need for Speed is a classic Borovets trail, with a length of 3.4km and an appeal to advanced enduro, all-mountain and downhill riders looking for some fast-paced fun. You won’t find a better route for curves and flow – and, of course, a challenge!
Black Route: Expert
The Rocky trail is appropriate for the best, most skilled mountain bikers. Gravity riders (both enduro and downhillers) will fall in love with this twisty and beautiful trail. The natural single track offers an array of jumps – exhilaration to the max!
Top Tip: If you’re looking for a versatile tour, consider the Downhill Adventure. It can fit into either the blue, red or black levels of difficulty, depending on which trail you choose – which is nice if you’re with a group of varied abilities.
Where to Stay
Rila Hotel Borovets – The Rila Hotel Borovets is the ideal base for active adventurers. It is located smack-dab in the middle of the resort and is the starting place for many of the aforementioned hiking and biking tours. Still want more? The hotel offers organised hiking trips complete with qualified mountain guides! And if you haven’t tired yourself out after all that, consider dabbling in fishing or horseback riding – the Rila makes both available to its guests.
The ambiance is modern, the style is alpine and the features include a gym, a swimming pool, free access to the spa and a multitude of restaurants and entertainment clubs. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to sit still, this is the hotel for you.
Hotel Moura – The little mountain hotel that is the Hotel Moura is a wonderful mixture of comfort, cosiness and quality. It is situated in the centre of Borovets, meaning adventure is right on your doorstep. Make use of their free onsite fitness centre, replenish your strength at the restaurant, or relax in front of a fireplace in the lobby bar. Holidaying with kids? They’ll love playing in the children’s area.
Even the most active among us deserve a break sometimes – and the Hotel Moura can offer you all that and more(a)!
How to Get There
On average, the flight from the UK to Sofia Airport (SOF) takes three hours – and such a short flight time means you won’t have to sit still for long. Once your plane touches down, the 99km journey to Borovets will take just under two hours.
I always recommend booking a transfer through Shuttle Direct, especially when the ride is so long and you’re probably going to be lugging around a bunch of hiking and biking gear. They’re my favourite airport shuttle service because the drivers tend to be locals – and if they speak English (or you speak their language), they’re usually more than happy to share insider travel tips with their passengers!
About Shuttle Direct
When it comes to airport transfers, Shuttle Direct is one of the leading companies. We specialise in fast, reliable and professional services that take our guests all over Europe and North Africa. Get rid of the stress of figuring out airport transportation by booking with us – all you have to do is choose a private or shared shuttle and we’ll sort out the rest! Let us help you get where you need to go so you can begin your international adventure.