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Introducing Pamporovo

Pamporovo (Pam-por-ovo), 6km south of Chepelare, is one of Bulgaria’s four major ski resorts. As with Bansko, rampant expansion has left the place – full of cranes, stacked building supplies and the skeletons of characterless, identical luxury apartments – looking like one monstrous construction site. However, unlike Bansko, there’s no settlement, just a decentralised resort. Pamporovo is increasingly popular and thus more expensive; it's also expanding deeper into the forests, with almost 30km of new trails connecting Pamporovo with Chepelare (the 35,000-sq-km ‘Perelik project’) and dismaying local environmentalists.

Although there’s good nearby hiking, most of the town closes in summer. Other nearby villages have more atmospheric accommodation, which means that Pamporovo is only recommended if you’re on a planned ski holiday. Otherwise, you can pass it by without feeling much guilt. The main cultural event for locals, the Rozhen Folk Festival (late August) occurs in the Rozhen fields between Pamporovo and Progled.