Things to do Between Slopes in Europe

For all the snow-loving thrill seekers and dramatic scenery lovers, Europe is one of the best skiing destinations in the world. Here, great skiing experiences are intertwined with amazing local discoveries, from mysterious caves and rocks to stunning castles and local entertainment. What we love the most about skiing in Europe is an opportunity to combine the best skiing experience for your money with historically and culturally rich adventures. You can stay the entire holiday at a ski resort and you can easily get out to explore more.

To help you plan your skiing holiday in Europe, we’ve put together a list of our favourite things to do in Bulgaria, Austria and Romania in between the thrilling slopes here.

Borovets Skiing in Bulgaria and Things to Explore

Borovets is a modern ski resort located in the Rila mountain. It is an Alpine type resort, providing very good conditions for snow sports during the winter: skiing, night-skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, ski jumps and biathlon, ski-doo, etc. This is a famously inexpensive and entertaining après ski and nightlife scene, with a great range of restaurants. The 58km of skiing in Borovets is spread across three distinct ski centres – all linked by lifts from the centre. The pistes carve their way through pine forests, so there’s good visibility even on heavy snow day. There’s been heavy investment in snow-making equipment, just in case mother nature isn’t feeling generous.

Although it’s a really great place to indulge your entire holiday, Bulgaria has so many great things to discover, many of which isn’t well known in Australia.

Buzludzha Monument

Dive into the local history as you enter the now abandoned Buzludzha Monument, over 200 km away from Borovets skiing resort. The hill on which this monument is positioned was the site of a battle between the Bulgarians and the Turks. The so known Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 ended with the establishment of an independent Bulgarian state in 1878. In 1891 a group of socialists lead by Dimitar Blagoev, the founder of Bulgarian socialism and of the first social democratic party in the Balkans, met on the peak to plan for Bulgaria’s socialist future. To celebrate these events, the government in power during the height of Soviet influence decided to erect a monument commemorating socialist communism. This somewhat eerie place is one of the regular history buffs visits.

Belogradchik Rocks

About 200km away from the ski resort lays the city of Belogradchik. Here you can meet Adam and Eve, The Schoolgirl, The Bear, The Shepherd boy, The Dervish, The First slabstone, The Camel, The Mushrooms, The Cuckoo, The Red wall, The Madonna, The Horseman, The Monks, The Mental stone, Rebel Velko, The Pine and a few others. These are not some odd nicknames of the locals but bizarrely shaped rock formations. Yes, each rock here has a name! And a bizarre story. Among these legends, there is one of the most famous and most curious ones surrounding the rock is that of the Madonna. In the legend of the Madonna, a beautiful nun falls in love with a man on a white horse, gets pregnant, is cast out by the monks and as she is leaving the nunnery, day turns to night and all, Madonna, monks, man on the white horse are turned to stone forming the rocks. These story-rich rocks are called the Belogradchik rocks and they are a 3 km wide and 30 kilometer long strip and some rocks are 200 meters in height. They were formed at the bottom of a sea as the product of compression (they began 230 million years ago as sediment at the bottom of a shallow sea) and then erosion over the last 45 million years. This is a fascinating spot to explore during your skiing holiday in Bulgaria.

Explore Sofia

If you’ve never been to Bulgaria before, Sofia is the place to start your journey. Only a 100km away from the resort, Sofia is a treasure chest for travelers. Bulgaria is one of the remaining European countries that is still shrouded in a proper aura of mystery. Steeped in history and dotted with incredible historical sites, this alluring destination boasts cultural influences from the Greek, Ottoman, Persian and Slavic empires. Home to many of Bulgaria’s finest museums, galleries, restaurants and clubs, Sofia may persuade you to stick around and explore further. We highly recommend to jump on one of the city tours to take in it all at once. Once you have a little bit of a feel for this city, visit the St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the second largest cathedral in the Balkan region, St. George Rotunda, ancient red brick church was built all the way back in 300s., Vitosha Boulevard, with all its posh shops and restaurants and of course Serdica Amphitheatre – Sofia’s own Roman amphitheatre that wasn’t discovered until 2004. This is just scratching the surface of all the treasures you can uncover here, in Sofia.

If you want help planning your trip here, just give our team a call on 1800 242 353.

Popular Innsbruck Ski Resort and Lesser Known Austrian Adventures

Chosen as the site of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympic Games, Innsbruck considers skiing part of its city’s life, and is one of the few resorts in Europe with a snow guarantee. Free buses shuttle you from downtown to the nearby ski areas. Among them Igls and Mutters will appeal to the novice and intermediate skiers with long, wide-open trails; Patscherkofel at 7,490 feet and Hafelekar, reached by a series of lifts at the edge of town will offer steep, challenging runs for the more advanced skiers. Dress up warm here! Because the skiing fun in Innsbruck continues long after nightfall. The floodlit ski areas ensure the best vision for nighttime downhill skiing, and many of Innsbruck’s resorts are ideal for evening visits for those seeking a different skiing perspective.

Swarovski Kristallwelten

Whenever you are not skiing explore many great places in Austria. If you love Swarovski gems or have never been a huge fan, this place is going to surprise you. It might sound like a tourist attraction with a huge gift shop. In reality, this park is rather magical. There are 16 rooms in Swarovski’s Chambers of Wonder, each designed by great artists from around the world. The crystal dome made up of 595 mirrors is one such room. In this room, everything is reflected, the colours keep changing, and you truly feel like you are being enclosed in your very own crystal. Many other fairytale alike rooms will certainly amaze you as well. In winter, you can also enjoy a spectacular Lights Festival here.

Riegersburg Castle

If you are not skiing you are exploring! This centuries old castle atop a dormant volcano houses museums devoted to both women and witches. While most medieval castles have a long, male-dominated history, Austria’s Riegersburg Castle is better known for its wealthy and powerful women and the tragic fate of those beneath them. The beginnings of Riegersburg Castle started in 1122 when a knight built a small keep on top of the dormant volcano. Later, the Baroness Katharina Elisabeth von Wechsler took control of the estate in the 17th century that the castle gained its current identity. She was a strong and brutal woman making her place in the male world. The baroness was known across the Styrian region for her witch hunts. This is a fascinating piece of history many travel to to explore. Visiting Riegersburg Castle might be a nice addition to your skiing holiday. 

Aqua Dome Langenfeld

From the cold mountains tops to the hot Austrian baths, this relaxing paradise is only an hour away from Innsbruck. Ice turns into outdoor pools at this spa in the Tyrolean Alps. The area has been used since the 16th century. At the Aqua Dome, officially approved as a mineral spa under Tyrolean spa law, warm spring water rises from below. While the area is known for its great cross-country skiing, the Aqua Dome is loved for its saunas, baths and steam rooms to help you soothe your tired body after a long day of skiing.

If you want help planning your trip here, just give our team a call on 1800 242 353.

Poiana Brasov Ski Resort and Other Enigmatic Landscapes of Romania

Located right in the heart of Romania, 2.5 hours north of Bucharest and 13 km from the medieval town of Brasov. This internationally renowned and highly regarded ski resort is one of the best value for your money in Europe. This purpose built resort has developed an enviable snow record over many years. The resort offers great skiing and snowboarding combined with an outstanding cultural experience. In addition to an amazing skiing experience here, the resort attractions include swimming, sauna, scenic sleigh rides, and walks through the pine forests, discos, and cabaret, tobogganing, paintball, ski school party, excursions to Dracula’s Bran Castle and Sinaia with its fairytale Peles Palace; and of course Brasov by night is simply stunning.

Dracula's Bran Castle

There is so much to do at the resort you might want to submerge into your skiing holiday completely. However, if you want to explore more of this great country, Dracula’s Bran Castle is the first place to start with. Depending on what account you read, Vlad Tepes, known as Vlad the Impaler, may have spent a night or two in this 14th-century fortress as a prisoner, or he may have attacked it once. Irish novelist Bram Stoker loosely based his fictional toothy vampire on this historical 15th-century prince, whose fondness for skewering enemies on stakes as a public warning earned him his nickname. Now visitors from all over the world descend on rural Transylvania for a chance to experience some of the eerie thrill of Stoker’s novel.

If you want help planning your trip here, just give our team a call on 1800 242 353.

The Sinca Veche Temple Cave

Apart from the 5 amazing experiences in Romania we wrote about some time ago, we highly recommend to check out the Sinca Veche Temple Cave. No one knows who built this strange cave of worship or exactly why, which makes it all so much more interesting. This Temple has been home to a number of different religious tenants, as evidenced by many different religious symbols that have been carved into the walls of the temple. You can find a Star of David here, a Chinese yin-yang symbol there, but strangely no Christian crosses, despite the fact that there is other evidence of Christian habitation. The monastery is composed of nine different rooms, two of which act as separate chapels. This mysterious site will leave you buzzing trying to solve the secret of this Romanian Cave.

Constanța Casino

Constanța Casino is one of Romania’s most beautiful abandoned buildings. Commanding a dramatic location right on the waterfront of the Black Sea overlooking the ancient port at Constanța, the Casino was a triumph of the Art Nouveau movement, and quickly became the symbol of the city. Worsening circumstances in Romania over the 20th century saw it gradually fall into disrepair, briefly used as a hospital during World War II and eventually repurposed by the communist regime as a restaurant. Maintaining the elaborate structure quickly became prohibitively expensive, and the building was closed in 1990. It’s been left alone on the coast since. It’s a dramatic and absolutely beautiful building worth a visit.

We are now offering flights as well. Whether you are flying to Romania, any other city in Europe or world, we can help you find some of the most competitive fares. Book online or give our team a call on 1800 242 353.