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Seclusion and cosiness in Kartala

19 January 2015 / 15:01:01  GRReporter
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Polina Spartyanova
     Very often, a holiday in the Bulgarian mountains seems to be expensive and unaffordable but there are smaller resorts in the country that offer fans of mountain tourism good conditions at affordable prices.
     In the high defile of Rila Mountain, at the foot of Mechi Vrah, you can find the mountain region of Kartala and one of the few secluded ski centres in Bulgaria. Kartala ski park is located 27 km east of the city of Blagoevgrad and can be accessed by car, on an asphalt and well-maintained road. The resort consists of several guesthouses and bungalows that offer more privacy to their guests, the cosy chalet "Bodrost" and the small Kartala Hotel the building of which houses the first station of the only cable car in the region.

     Available to visitors are skiing tracks with a varied terrain and a total length of 5 km that meet the requirements of both beginner and advanced skiers and snowboarders. During the winter season of 2014/2015, the daily lift card in the resort during the week costs 25 levs for adults and 20 levs for children, and usually, there are fewer people on the skiing tracks on weekdays. However, over the weekend and holidays, prices are different and the daily lift card for adults costs 31 levs and for children 23 levs. Nevertheless, the cost of using the facilities in Kartala is affordable since in the larger ski resorts such as Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo the daily lift card is almost twice as expensive (55 levs) but this price does not always include the use of all skiing tracks and lifts of the ski centres.
     The mountain resort of Kartala offers its guests several skiing tracks all year round. The main one is 4,500 m long and can be defined as of average difficulty or "red." It can be reached by the six-seated cable car, the first station of which starts from the third floor of Kartala Hotel. The upper lift station, which is the starting point of the skiing track itself, is located on the ridge of the mountain, from where the view of the Pirin and Rila Mountains is magnificent. Here the altitude is 2,350 m and in addition to enjoying the beautiful panorama, tourists can take on other tourist routes that will take them to the "Macedonia" chalet or the "Parangalitsa" reserve. The terrain offers fans of extreme skiing and snowboarding alternative experiences and varied routes but they should be experienced in this field and be suitably equipped for this purpose.

     In Kartala, there is a track for alpine skiing that is 2,200 m long and of medium difficulty. You can use a separate "dish" type ski lift to get there as well as the cable car. Beginner skiers and snowboarders can use the lower part of the track, which has a very small slope and is suitable for training. The training track has a length of 300 m and here you can use a separate ski-lift with handles to facilitate beginners. Like every other mountain resort, Kartala has a ski and snowboard school that offers visitors individual or group training. Here, the daylong training or four hours in total, costs 80 levs, which is almost twice as cheap as in major Bulgarian ski resorts such as Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo, where the price is 130 levs.
     Group training, which takes place over 5 days, four hours per day, costs 140 levs and compared to large resorts, it is again twice as cheap (the cost of five days of training in Bansko is 275 levs). The resort offers equipment for rent and the full regular equipment (skis, sticks, boots) costs 12 levs whereas the more advanced carving equipment is 20 levs. The complex offers a ski wardrobe for personal skis.

     After an eight-hour ride on the slopes, there comes the time for the deserved rest of skiers and snowboarders. The majority of the tourists here prefer to stay at Kartala Hotel that offers all modern facilities and is the only hotel in Bulgaria that serves as the starting point of the gondola lift. The hotel offers 15 double rooms with an extension armchair, allowing the accommodation of an additional guest, 5 rooms that can accommodate 4 guests and 2 rooms suitable for the comfortable accommodation of 5 guests.
     The price per night on Friday or Saturday is 30 levs and during the week 25 levs, including breakfast, and children aged under 5 years stay free at the hotel. Kartala Hotel has a restaurant, which is also available to visitors of the ski resort and offers traditional Bulgarian dishes, fresh salads, a la minute dishes, barbecue and irresistible desserts. It is located at the foot of the main track and is the ideal place for lunch during the ride, and those who have come just for a walk can enjoy mulled wine and the wonderful view from the restaurant.
     The restaurant is connected to an outdoor restaurant with 80 seats, which is situated on a terrace overlooking the track and the beautiful Rila Mountain. On the territory of the resort, there is also a tearoom with 50 seats, which is located next to the training skiing track and which also serves hot meals near a burning fireplace.

Tags: KartalaMountain resortSki vacation in BulgariaBanskoRilaPirinPamporovoWinter trips
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