For worthwhile skiing at low, low prices, eastern Europe has no rivals. Italy may be good value, and duty-free Andorra the place for a low-cost riot, but in terms of cost, eastern Europe is in a different league. No doubt in future the chilly mountains of several eastern European countries will accommodate interesting ski resorts, but for the moment Bulgaria is the prime territory, and Borovets is its most impressive resort.

Pamporovo is a safer recommendation for beginners, with gentler runs. The skiing at Borovets suits adventurous intermediates, provided they have not been spoilt by the much more extensive ski areas of France. It doesn't have a lot to offer the expert.

Expect friendly locals, good ski schools (no language problems) and lively tour-op-organised nightlife, but primitive facilities and dreary food. Most visitors accept these limitations in view of the low prices of hotels and skiing facilities; prices for things like drinks are so low that you can almost overlook them in your budgeting.