Borovets ski resort is only just over an hour away by car. The closest major ski resort to Sofia is also a lovely place to visit at any time of year. In the heat of the summer its majestic pine forests provide welcome shade. In the winter the resort is fully focussed on ski and snowboarding.
The spa town of Bankya is half an hour's drive to the west of Sofia. The town is famed for its unique microclimate, rich in negative ions, and its mineral water - one of the most popular brands of bottled mineral water is Bankya. There are still several hospitals in Bankya for people suffering from heart disease and respiratory problems, though the central mineral baths has been in disrepair for some time. The soft hills of the Lyulin mountain range provide ample opportunity for walking and mountain biking, with the 'Pateka na Zdraveto' (the Path of Health) being perhaps the most popular. It is a marked path that runs from the central park along the side of the former residence of Communist leader Todor Zhivkov and up to the Gradoman residential district, circling back down to the town centre via Mihailovo district.