Smolyan & Pamporovo
Winter Sports Paradise
Smolyan lies at the heart of the Rhodope Mountains, both, in terms of location, as well as in spirit. It is the epicenter of modernization in this region - a process, which has been adding cultural and administrative facilities to the city itself, and continuously developing nearby winter resorts Pamporovo and Chepelare.
A city of 30,000 inhabitants and a municipal center, Smolyan is located in the middle of the Rhodope Mountains, in the very south of the Bulgarian Republic. The rivers Cherna (black) and Byala (white) cut through Smolyan and unite at its eastern edge.
Inaugurated as a city in 1960 based on three existing villages, Smolyan has been developed into a modern industrial, administrative, and cultural center of the Rhopodes. It is situated in a mountainous area with only small sections of even land in the city center. Thus, Smolyan stretches over roughly 25 km, making it the longest Bulgarian city.
Smolyan is home to the Rhodope Drama Theatre with various cultural events held predominantly in summer. A planetarium based in Smolyan is operated by the Rozhen Astronomical Observatory, the largest one in Bulgaria. In addition, a large-scale modern Orthodox church, the Cathedral of Saint Vissarion of Smolyan, was erected in the city as recently as 2006. Due to its proximity to the ski resorts Pamporovo and Chepelare, Smolyan too, offers a large number of hotels and guest houses.
Pamporovo is the southernmost ski resort in Bulgaria, located 20 km north of Smolyan and situated amongst imposing pine forests.
The resort is set at an attitude of 1,620 m, with its highest peak, Snezhanka, at 1,926 m. Pamporovo boasts 55 km of ski runs and 40 km of cross-country tracks, which are serviced by 18 modern lifts with a capacity of 13,000 persons per hour.
Winters in Pamporovo are mild with around 120 sunny days during the ski season from December to May, but still have roughly 150 days of snowfall per year. In addition, a number of snow-levelling machines and snow cannons ensure optimal snow availability throughout the season. Pamporovo is a sought after destination in summer too, offering a suitable setting for hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking.
Chepelare is a town of around 5,000 inhabitants situated on the banks of the river of the same name, 20 km north of Smolyan. While located in viewing distance of Pamporovo, it is a popular winter resort in its own right, offering 28 km of ski runs, including the longest one in Bulgaria.
With its altitude of 1,232 m, Chepelare is one of the highest towns of the country. It is surrounded by Rhodope Mountain slopes, Tavanchika to the east and Karabalkan to the west. Proximity to Pamporovo, as well as the concerted development of nearby resort Mechi Chal over the last decade, make Chepelare a prime destination for winter sport enthusiasts. In addition, a factory of ATOMIC has been producing skiing equipment in Chepelare since 1981, further strengthening the town's unique commitment to winter sports.
Chepelare has much to offer even beyond winter sports, most of all authentic Rhodope atmosphere and culinary treats. Two noteworthy Orthodox churches are located here, St. Athanasius was constructed by the townspeople in 1834 within only two days, while Assumption of Mary dates back to 1935. The famous natural phenomenon Marvelous Bridges, large rock arches formed by water erosion, are located 30 km to the north-west of Chepelare. The largest one is up to 45 m high and 96 m long, followed by two smaller arches that are impassable to tourists.
The area around Startsevo is well-known for its raw natural beauty. You can find various animals and many endangered plants here.
The peaceful surroundings, a speedy Internet access and various comfortable working spaces make our guest house in Startsevo an excellent retreat to get things done.
Startsevo is remote, yet at the same time easily accessible by car, as the nearby road infrastructure has been substantially improved in recent years.