Sapareva Banya

Filed under: Places to Visit — TheSkiBug February 11, 2017 @ 6:01 pm

After a week of dealing with sewerage problems and with the weather rather murky and dreary, we decided to treat ourselves to a day at a mineral spa. This time we opted to drive the 20 minutes to Sapareva Banya, on the road to Dupinitsa from Samokov. Its an easy drive on a fairly good road (once you get past the slightly pot-holed bit heading out of Samokov) and the spa baths are easy to find. Just turn off the main road for Sapareva Banya (or you can take the first turning through the village of Sapareva) follow the road through the centre of the town. You’ll pass the natural hot geyser on your right and just past there you will see a the mineral spa baths. You can usually park on the edge of the road just a little further along or there is paid parking just down below the pools. 

Sapareva BanyaYou can either go down through the gates to where the main ‘treatment’ area is and there is a building on your left with glass doors, giving access to the indoor and outdoor pools and where various other baths and treatments are available. Or you can follow the sign the the outdoor baths entrance and go down the steps to the kiosk there. It is 14 levs for access to the indoor and outdoor pools, or 8 levs for access to just the outdoor pools. And a lev deposit per key for the lockers and access key. 


Dolna Banya Hot Mineral Spa

Filed under: Places to Visit — TheSkiBug December 29, 2016 @ 8:36 pm

As the weather was not so good we decided to try one of the various hot mineral pools in the area and opted to drive over to Dolna Banya hot mineral spa, on the other side of Borovets to Samokov. It was snowing pretty heavily as we made out way over the mountain past Borovets and the road was not cleared or gritted. Of course this did not stop the Bulgarians trying to overtake. The journey took maybe around 45 minutes to reach Dolna Banya. Its not the most attractive of towns and there is little on way of nice traditional restaurants. 

Dolna Banya hot mineral spaOne of the Dolna Banya hot mineral spa pools is at the Motel, which is right on the edge of the road leading out of Dolna Banya towards Kostenets (on the left). There was plenty of parking in front of the hotel. We opted to have lunch first. The restaurant maybe lacks any real atmosphere but the food was good, if the service was a little slow and the prices were very reasonable. It was around 20 levs for 3 plates of food a couple of drinks. 


Emberger Alm – Fantastic little ski area

Filed under: Places to Visit,Snow & Piste Reports — TheSkiBug February 29, 2016 @ 5:32 pm

We drove up to this little ski area of Emberger Alm a couple of years ago with the intention of ski-ing there for a few hours, but it was later in the season and the lifts closed at around lunch time, so we ended up arriving only half an hour before the lifts stopped and opted for a picnic on the piste instead.

road to Emberger AlmThe road to Emberger Alm is a sharp turn up by the Billa supermarket in Griefenburg. Its a long windy road up, more or less single track most of the way and so a little hairy after a dump of snow as not the best cleared road! But the views from the top are worth the drive. There is no resort as such, its just a collection of a couple of guest houses and hotels and a handful of chalets and mountain huts.

There is a decent amount of parking and then its ski’s on and down the road to the ski piste. There are 3 drag lifts taking you to the top of the mountain, two T-bars and a button lift, all fairly steep. From the top there is a good run down that splits into two tracks, both coming out at basically the same place.  The ski area is popular with telemarking and so need to keep an eye out for people skinning up the track. There are good wide runs down by the drag lifts and of course a couple of nursery slopes. And would be some good off-piste ski-ing down from the top.


Turracher Höhe ski resort

Filed under: Places to Visit,Snow & Piste Reports — TheSkiBug February 26, 2016 @ 12:04 pm

Turracher Höhe, Austria ski resortTurracher Höhe is situated on the border of Carinthia and Styria, in southern Austria. The Turracher Höhe pass and lake are situated at about 1700 metres above sea level and the small ski resort goes up to about 2,200 metres. There are 42 kilometres of pistes served by 14 lifts. The ski region is split into two areas, on either side of the lake and during the ski season a “See Taxi” (or Gator) drags skiers across the frozen water, although you can also use a rope tow to pull you up a slight incline under the bridge to get from one side to the other.


Hochrindl Ski Area – Carinthia, Austria

Filed under: Places to Visit,Snow & Piste Reports — TheSkiBug February 23, 2016 @ 4:05 pm

Hochwild ski resortThe Hochrindl ski area is a short drive from Badkleinkirchheim and is a lovely small resort. There are three parts to the area, Hochrindl-Alpl, Hochrindl-Keger and where the main car park is at Hochrindl. There are 20 km of pistes and 7 lifts. Its not that high ranging from around 1500 m to 1800 m above sea level, but even with poor snow conditions, the pistes had been kept in good condition and it was a very pretty area, with runs amongst the trees.


Falkert Ski Area – “Heidialm”

Filed under: Places to Visit,Snow & Piste Reports — TheSkiBug February 19, 2016 @ 5:13 pm

Heidialm- Falkert ski area, AustriaHeidialm ski park – Falkert is at 1700 to 2300 metres and has 12 km of slopes and 5 lifts, although one of those lifts is a carpet lift for kids and beginners and the other is a drag lift that is not connected to the main ski area. It is billed as being a family friendly, snow sure little ski resort, although when we visited, it resembled typical ski-ing in Scotland on a poor snow year with grassy tufts and mud showing through everywhere.


Badkleinskirchheim & St Oswalds Ski Area – Carinthia, Austria

Filed under: Places to Visit,Snow & Piste Reports — TheSkiBug February 14, 2016 @ 12:24 pm

Guest House near BadkleinkirchheimWhen we were first looking for property in Carinthia, Badkleinkirchheim was one of the areas we considered, mainly because it is one of the larger ski areas in this part of Southern Austria. Well we finally made it over and spent a few days ski-ing the area, as we managed to find a dog and house sitter for a week.

We booked into a great little guest house just up the road from Gnesau, and only a 10 minute drive from Badkleinkirchheim. It was fairly basic but did allow us to take two of our dogs with us and the food was pretty good.


Ankogel-Mallnitz – Retro resort

Filed under: Places to Visit — TheSkiBug January 30, 2016 @ 9:19 pm

We first visited Mallnitz back in April 2013 when we were searching for property in the area. The ski area had officially closed at the time but there were still some hardcore dudes telemarking up from the car park to ski down. Now close to 3 years later we have finally got back to ski the small resort. And its so ‘retro’. We felt we should be slipping into a neon coloured onesie and strapping on some long pencil ski’s.

Ankogel-Mallnitz ski area
Ankogel-Mallnitz is in the Hohe Tauern National Park and is one of the higher skiing places in Carinthia with the base area being at around 1300 metres. Its just over an hour’s drive very pleasant drive from our place in the Gitschtal valley and having had a leisurely morning we pulled into the car park at the bottom of the ski area at around 11am. Ski gear on we headed to the bottom of the cable car. There was also two drag lifts by the bottom station servicing a fairly wide beginner’s slope. Our season Top Ski pass covered this ski area as well.


Villach Thermal Spa

Filed under: Places to Visit — TheSkiBug January 27, 2016 @ 8:33 pm

We have been talking about going to the thermal spa resort for a while. And seeing as we seem to have missed out on the snow much of there best of Europe has had, but mainly because we have been redecorating the bathroom and so not able to have a decent wash for a few days, we decided to head to the thermal spa at Villach.

Villach Thermal Spas

Photo from Facebook page of the spa – kaernten therme

First impressions….not great…..we followed the signs on the edge of Villach, parked in the car park and then where to go…..we wandered around and eventually decided to head for the train station and saw a sign pointing to the thermal spa on the other side of the under-pass. Then we were a little confused by the ticket options. You could either just pay for a ‘fun pass’, which seemed to be just the pool and slides and was around 21 Euros for the day or you could have the ‘fun and spa pass’ which was close to 30 Euros each for the day. We opted for the latter and were given a ‘watch’ each to wear and told we pay on the way out. This it seemed was a type of scanner to get you into various areas.


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