Bulgaria is situated in the southeast of Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Its capital is Sofia.
Open a map of Europe, find Bulgaria and look to the bottom, left of centre, and find the town of Plovdiv. Travel south, in the direction of Greece, to the town of Assenograd and then on to Chepelare.
Buses leave Sofia at 08.00; 13.00; 14.00; 15.00; 16.00; 17.00 and 18.00 for Smolyan, which is 25km beyond Chepelare. The bus station is next to the Princess Hotel. (ex Europa Novatel)
From Plovdiv, buses leave every hour from the bus station "Rhodopi", which is next to the railway station.
If you travelling by car, take care on the road between Assenograd and Chepelare. Falling stones can be a hazard on the mountain stretches. In winter be prepared for snow and ice conditions. (Snow chains are a good idea.)
If you are to stay in the Hotel Shoky, Stojan can arrange pick-up from Sofia.
The newly built HOTEL SHOKY offers 10 en suite double bedrooms, (6 with bath and shower, 4 with shower only), and 1 suite, complete with open fireplace.
Each double room is capable of taking two additional beds. Seven of the rooms have a balcony and all have satellite TVand mini-bars.
The HOTEL SHOKY also offers to its guests :a sauna, a steam-bath, massages, a billiard.
The restaurant serves traditional Bulgarian dishes and international cuisine and, also, for the long warm summer evenings you can enjoy yourselves in the beautiful and large garden where is an outdoor Bar-B-Q and dining area.
In winter, the Hotel offers ski equipment hire, ski and snowboard instructor and ski guide services. All instructors speak excellent English and are fully qualified to international standards. A transport is available to the local ski slopes.
In summer, guided cycling and walking tours in the Rhodope Mountains are available, as are organised visits to the sites of some of the regions natural wonders, like the Wonderful Bridges and Yagodina Cave,the Cliffs in Trigrad,the Devil’s Throat.
For extreme-sport lovers we can also offer you a jeep safari experience.
You also can spend your spare time at the tennis court which is near the HOTEL.
Mechi Chal (Bear Mountain) is the name of the local mountain that offers ski-ing from December through to April. The ski slopes are north facing, hence the long season. The peak is at 1873 metres and is serviced by a two-man chair lift (700 people per hour) and numerous baby drag lifts. The runs vary from black to green standard. There are two main runs, Mechi Chal 1 and 2. No 1 is black and is 3150 metres long, 2 being red and/or green and is 5250 metres long. There are mountain huts at the bottom and top stations offering excellent food and refreshments. Prices for the ski lifts, food and drink at Mechi Chal are much lower than at the nearby Pamporovo resort.
Ski school Shoky
Ski school Shoky
The Shoky Ski School offers instruction for adults and children from absolute beginner standard class A to advanced classes D and E in both the classical Alpine and the modern carving styles. Snowboarding lessons are also available. If lessons are not required, the services of a ski guide can be arranged.
For lighter moments after a hard day ski-ing, flood lit tobogganing and torch lit ski-ing can be arranged, as can horse drawn sleigh rides and ski-doo trekking.
If required, transport from the Hotel Shoky can be provided to either the local Chepelare slopes, a distance of 1 kilometre, or to the Pamporovo resort, which is approximately 12 kilometres away, towards the town of Smolyan.
One of the main attractions of the Chepelare - Pamporovo area is the safety of the snow conditions. Whilst there is deep snow, (average of 1.4 to 1.5 metres coverage normally,) there are no abrupt changes in the weather to cause avalanches and the Shoky Ski School instructors know the slopes well enough to ensure safe ski-ing for all.
Chepelare lies in the centre of the Rhodope Mountains at 1150 metres above the sea level. It is a typical Bulgarian mountain municipality and sits astride a river by the same name. Pamporovo, the famous winter ski resort, is 12km away and Smolyan, the local district authority town is about 25km distant.
The climate is mild continental with four distinct seasons, Chepelare being the sunniest place in Bulgaria with an average of 270 days sunshine. Summer is warm, colourful and bright and winter is long, snowy and white.
The population is approximately 9500 with 6000 or so actually living in the village, the remainder living and working in neighbouring hamlets and farms. 73% of the countryside is covered in forests, the remaining meadows providing farmland for cultivation and grazing. (Locally grown potatoes are much sought after in the rest of Bulgaria.)
The forests provide a haven for bear, wild boar, the grey rabbit, the fox, wild goat and deer. The flora and fauna are truly something to behold. (Pesticides and chemical fertiliser have
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