My family came for a ski vacation and after some searching they found out about Ski complex Kartala. They’ve got a Bulgarian website with some information where I found an e-mailadress and a phone number. With my good behavior I decided to call them. Well, that didn’t go so well. The woman didn’t understand me and as I tried to rephrase my question I lost connection.
A Bulgarian friend of mine offered to call and got us a reservation. I just had no clue where I made this reservation. My father asked me if I could go there to check if everything was okay and so I went with another friend of mine who’s a taxidriver (saved me some money, sometimes it sucks having no drivers license!)
After driving 30 km uphill through beautiful mountains with trees covered with snow we arrived. There’s a parking lot right in front of the hotel where we parked the car. We walked the stairs and entered the hotel at the cafetaria and found out that the hotel has 4 floors. On the 1st floor you can rent ski supplies. On the 2nd you’ll find the hotelrooms with a little (strange sort of) reception. On the 3rd floor, where we came in, is the cafeteria where you can have breakfast, lunch, diner, a beer and a cup of coffee. The 4rd floor impressed me (I haven’t seen that many skihotels before) because there was the ski lift station!
Everything is connected by a big stairway that circles around an elevator. So, after you had breakfast, you go change in your hotelroom, get your skies at the skirent and take the lift to the 4rd floor where you get in the lift! On top of the hill you get out and ski down, all the way to the lift entrance at the 4rd floor. I must say, for those who aren’t that advanced, the skipiste is a little bit hardcore. Thankfully there’s a beginners piste aswell. You’ll find it as you cross the parking lot and walk up a little bit. Accompanied by a cute cottage with a fireplace (only open in the weekends) and a ‘babylift’ where you can learn all the basics and improve your skills.
They don’t speak English, which can be difficult. You might need to use hands and feet to communicate!
Oh, and do NOT order the french fries. They are horrible. I can recommend the sautéed potatoes (картофи соте).
Adress: After ± 30 km on Reka Bistritsa (River Bistritsa).
Coordinates: 42.043269, 23.359774
How to get there?
When you’re driving on the E79/1 between Sofia and the border of Greece take a left (or right, if you’re coming from south) at the junction close to ‘Mr. Bricolage’, a big job shop. You will get on boulevard Sveti Dimitar Solunksi (булевард свети димитър солунски), where you will take a right when you’re in front of cemetery next to Kaufland. After a roundabout this will turn into street Aleksander Stamboliiski (улица Александър Стамболийски). Keep following this road until you see a sign ‘Ski park Kartala’.