We are on the threshold of the winter season. If you are planning a winter vacation, it is the right time to start thinking about the destination and ski resort that you will choose for your winter vacation. And how to find the right place? It is not that difficult for people living in the Balkans.
Affordable prices and excellent conditions for winter sports fans – these two terms may seem incompatible for tourists from Western Europe, but not for us. In the Balkan countries, there are a number of very good ski resorts that you can visit without some astronomical money, even in the middle of the season. That is why ski resorts in Serbia and neighboring countries are becoming more and more popular among tourists from all over Europe.
The entire stretch of the Dinaric Alps, which stretches from Slovenia, through Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, to Albania, as well as the nearby Sharplanina and Pirin Mountains in Bulgaria, provide excellent conditions for winter tourism and extended winter season from November until end of April.
The ski resorts in the Balkans are solidly equipped, the ski slopes are well maintained, all the necessary equipment for skiing and snowboarding can be rented. There is all the other infrastructure that will meet the needs of even the most demanding tourists: well-equipped accommodation facilities with comfortable rooms, swimming pools, spa, and wellness programs and many other facilities; top food restaurants; shops; medical clinics, etc. And another important factor: you can reach all these destinations in just a few hours.
In this article, I give you my list of 7 ski resorts in the Balkans, and it is up to you to decide which destination is the most suitable for your wintering.
Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
Kranjska Gora is a tourist place that is popular both in summer and winter. Due to its location, not far from the border with Austria and Italy, there are a lot of foreign tourists in Kranjska Gora and it is more visited than other ski resorts in Slovenia. During the winter, the highest quality ski competitions in slalom, giant slalom, downhill are organized here, and the governments are especially interested in ski jumping. The nearby ski jump on Planica is one of the best and most popular in the world.
Kranjska Gora is a real paradise for skiers and snowboarders. A total of 18 trails cover all categories, from trails for children and those who are just learning to ski, to more dangerous ones, intended for top professionals. The accommodation offer includes various facilities, including those made in the shape of Eskimo igloos.
Although Kopaonik will not win our vote for convenience, this beautiful mountain is a great choice for skiing in the Balkans. Due to the large snowmaking system and an average of 200 sunny days a year, skiing under the blue sky and on a fresh snow cover is almost guaranteed, no matter what time of season you come. Kopaonik has about 54 kilometers of groomed ski trails, as well as 20 km of Nordic skiing trails. As the resort is a bit fragmented, accommodation near the ski slopes is quite limited, so it is best to book a room or apartment earlier.
Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia’s largest ski resort, just a 40-minute drive from downtown Sarajevo, hosted skiing events during the 1984 Olympics. Today it is a modern center of winter tourism, with many ski slopes and ski lifts. There is also night skiing on the Poljice trail, 1.6 km long. On Jahorina you can rent accommodation that guarantees top comfort and better prices compared to most other winter resorts in the Balkans.
The quiet mountain town of Kolasin also offers great skiing. The lack of snow-making capacity makes it quite difficult to predict the peak of the season, but when it is running at full capacity, the resort offers about 16 kilometers of groomed ski slopes that you can really enjoy, and there is also a toboggan run.
Even though the snowfall limits the number of trails on which you can ski, there are still many possibilities that will occupy your attention in the winter months. Kolašin has a beautiful, renovated resort and spa Bianca with an indoor pool and first-class spa facilities. There is also the possibility of renting equipment for walking on snow, so if you like a top snow adventure, you can explore the nearby mountain Komovi.
Bansko does not need to be presented in particular – the cheapest winter resort in Europe attracts tourists by offering them a breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea and affordable prices. There is a wide range of different types of ski trails that are easily accessible with the help of lifts and gondolas.
Bansko is one of the largest and most popular ski resorts in Eastern Europe. With two main ski areas – Čalin Valog and Šiligarnika – Bansko has trails of varying degrees of complexity (from amateur to extreme); the largest (blue trail) is 16 kilometers long. The tourist infrastructure is well developed, there are numerous hotels and restaurants.
Popova Sapka, Macedonia
High above Tetovo on the Sharr Mountains is the Popova Sapka ski resort, Macedonia’s main winter destination. Popova Šapka is not just a ski resort. A stay at a winter resort includes the Popova Šapka Hotel and other accommodation, a shelter called Smreka, and a weekend resort located on the opposite side of the ski slopes and lifts.
The ski slopes on Popova Šapka are first class and start at 1690 meters above sea level, and are connected by cable cars and ski lifts. The snow that falls here is stable enough and can guarantee quality skiing from December January to the end of March. With only 9.6 kilometers of groomed ski trails, Popova Šapka is suitable for beginners and those with a medium level of skiing, but the real challenge for freestyle skiing fans and adrenaline junkies is the large area outside the marked trails.