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Opportunities in Ski Resorts
Updated: 2005-12-08

Opportunities in Ski Resorts

27th November 2005
The Sunday Business Post

Bulgaria's ski resorts have been attracting an increasing amount of attention from overseas property investors over the past couple of years.

Such property is traditionally very expensive if you travel to any of the mature, big name resorts across Europe, but this is where Bulgaria has a distinct advantage, being far more affordable than France, Italy or Switzerland.

Although its resorts are not yet up to the highest standards they have plenty of potential, and the signs are that at least some of the Bulgarian resorts will be developed to a reasonably high standard.

There are several resort areas which are attracting the attention of Irish buyers, including Bansko, Borovets, Pamporovo and Vitosha. Bansko is the country's fastest developing ski resort, with around 2,000 new apartments currently under construction. Located around two hours' drive from Sofia, the resort offers 65 kilometres of runs, two snowboard runs and a half pipe. At present the runs are served by a lift which can carry 2,500 skiers per hour, but a second gondola is now under construction and will be completed in time for next year's season.

Despite the current building boom, Bansko remains a traditional Bulgarian village, with plenty of cosy taverns, an Orthodox church dating from the mid 1800s and traditional village houses. Robert Jenkin believes Bansko is an area which could suit buyers who want to use their units themselves, but who also want to generate some rental income.

“You can get rental yields of 7 per cent in Bansko, but you need to remember that it will take a couple of seasons for your property to mature - you won't get that yield straight away,” he said. Bulgaria's other popular ski resorts include Borovets, which is located 1,350 metres above sea level and is easily accessible, being just 73 kilometres from Sofia and 126 kilometres from the country's second city, Plovdiv.

The largest of Bulgaria's ski resorts is Pamporovo, located 260 kilometres from Sofia and 85 kilometres from Plovdiv. Pamporovo is reputed to be the sunniest winter resort in Bulgaria and is currently attracting a great deal of interest from foreign investors. The resort has excellent runs including a racing ski run for giant slalom, as well as a good ski lift system. There is also an international ski school with more than 100 qualified instructors.

Mount Vitosha is the most famous peak in Bulgaria as it is located on the outskirts of the capital, Sofia. The mountain is home to two wildlife reserves, three climatic zones and its highest peak is Cherni Vruh at 2,286 metres. This is a popular mountain resort for winter holidays and skiing, is easily accessible via Sofia airport and is being upgraded rapidly so it is likely to be one of the more popular resorts in the future.

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