Last Updated November, 2021
Bukovel ski resort in Ukraine is a snow-covered dreamy place for winter holidays in the Carpathians. In the high ski season, particularly in January, it gets very crowded. There are always too many people who want to go skiing in Bukovel, come to celebrate New Year, Orthodox Christmas, or just have a romantic winter escape.
Being a very picturesque region with diverse tracks, a large selection of hotels, clean frosty air, and views that make you happy, winter Bukovel does not skimp on entertainment for all guests, not just skiers. There is always something to do regardless of age and preferences. And it is undoubtedly one of the best places to go skiing in Europe.
I have been to Bukovel during each season and loved it every single time. In winter, my least favorite time of the year, Bukovel was simply magical and helped me enjoy some of those cold snowy days in Ukraine.
If you are planning to go skiing in Bukovel or just have a winter getaway, take a look at my tips. They’ll give you a better idea of how to book a perfect holiday and get the most of your trip to Bukovel resort.
Bukovel Ski Resort Quick Overview
Bukovel is the largest and the most famous ski resort in Ukraine, in no way inferior to many excellent European ski resorts. It is located outside the village of Polyanytsya at an altitude of 920 meters above sea level.
Being surrounded by Carpathian mountains on all sides, it has unique climatic conditions where winter temperatures are comfortable throughout the season. Mountains close it from the cold winter winds and create comfortable conditions for spending time outdoors.
Among all ski destinations in Ukraine, Bukovel is considered the one with the best infrastructure and the highest number of activities. Since it is the most popular ski resort among Ukrainians (especially celebrities and politicians), it is also the most expensive vacation spot in Ukraine.
However, it doesn’t automatically mean that you can’t have a budget-friendly holiday in Bukovel. There are quite a few nice hotels for a lower budget and various free things to do.
Winter in Bukovel is, of course, all about skiing and snowboarding. But even if you are not a skier, you won’t be bored. Besides outdoor activities, you’ll find a wellness center, cinema, spas, saunas, pools, and many restaurants. Snowless winters are extremely rare but on a year when it happens, the artificial snowing of the slopes solves this problem.
When is the Ski Season in Bukovel?
Bukovel ski season depends on the year and the amount of snow the region gets. When winter comes early, the skiing season starts in November and lasts until mid-April. If there is no snow in November, then it’s pushed to December when snow cannons are used.
The period when the ski season opens and before the start of the New Year holidays is considered the low skiing season in Bukovel. Prices in hotels are already higher than in the fall but still not as high as during the following month. Also, this is the quietest time for skiing among all winter months.
The peak ski season in Bukovel is January. It is the high season with the highest prices and crowds of people. If you plan your trip for this month, be ready to stand in long queues.
The end of the ski season in Bukovel usually falls on March, but depending on weather conditions skiing can be possible until mid-April.
After all the January holidays, resort is again in the low season when prices for winter vacations (accommodation, ski passes, etc.) start falling.
If you are on a tight budget and would love to avoid crowds of people, then the best time to come to Bukovel in winter would be during the first two weeks of December or after the 25th of January.
Skiing in Bukovel Ski Resort Town – What You Get
Here is brief information about what you get in Bukovel during the ski season:
- Bukovel as one of the most popular ski resorts in Ukraine is famous for its excellent level of service of European standard. It appeared in 2001 and is developing at a rapid pace, constantly improving and modernizing.
- Bukovel boasts modern, carefully prepared 63 ski slopes of various difficulty levels with a total length of more than 60 km. Some of them are well illuminated at night.
- Infrastructure is developed at a high level and provides tourists with a comfortable, full-fledged vacation. There are numerous cafes, bars, restaurants, billiard rooms, nightclubs, discos, spa centers, massage rooms, fitness rooms, Finnish saunas, baths, a carting center, and more activities for different tastes.
- The tracks are fully equipped with snow cannons, so even if it doesn’t snow, skiing is still possible.
- Both beginners and professionals will feel comfortable in Bukovel. Everyone can find a track for himself with an appropriate level of difficulty or hire an instructor. There are 3 ski schools on the territory of the resort with experienced instructors.
- There are 16 lifts (15 chairlifts for two, three, four people, and 1 drag lift) and multiple rental points offering high-quality modern equipment for skiers of all levels.
- Accommodation is ample. You can choose to stay in a full-service hotel like Radisson Blu, apartment-type of hotel like Mountain Residence, or a smaller guesthouse.
Top Tips For You Bukovel Trip in Winter
Winter in Bukovel is the time of a real fairy tale as well as fantastic outdoor activities. Every year, more and more people come to this part of the Carpathians, so the resort becomes very busy. If you want to get the most of your trip, do the following:
- Make reservations with a lot of time in advance to be able to get your preferred accommodation. A lot of time means at least 5 weeks in advance. Often hotels get booked 2-3 months before the visit. Some people make reservations even earlier, starting in summer. If you are planning a winter vacation in Bukovel in January then definitely book your stay 4-5 months before the arrival date.
- Don’t be afraid to rent a car to get to Bukovel! Roads from Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Kyiv are all new now. In winter, they are well cleaned. Use VIP cars to find a budget-friendly rental and read my guide to what to know about car hire and driving in Ukraine before you hit the road.
- To be able to save on ski passes, purchase them early in the morning before 9 am. If you are living in Ukraine and have a physical address, purchase ski passes online in advance. This is a real opportunity to save up to 40-50% of their price. The amount of discount always varies, so check prices on multiple occasions.
Purchase a special club card. With it, you’ll be able to save more on ski passes and on some restaurant and wellness treatments. There are three types of club cards in Bukovel: Vip Brilliant, Vip Ski Pass Gold, and Discount VIP cards.
With the first one, you get up to fifteen percent on accommodation in hotels as “Bukovel Hotel”, “VIP-residence” and “Edelweiss” as well as on meals in their restaurants. The card also saves up to 60% on ski equipment rental and provides the right to freely pass through VIP turnstiles.
Vip Ski Pass Gold Card enables owners to receive privileges similar to those provided on a VIP Brilliant club card with the exception of the use of lifts. Discount VIP cards provide another type of savings – the right to use promotions and discounts on ski passes.
Things to Do in Bukovel in Winter Besides Skiing
Bukovel is famous not only for skiing. There are truly more entertainment options for people who don’t ski.
If you prefer staying mainly indoors, you can soak in wood-fired baths (called ‘chany’) with herbs or use Finnish saunas, visit SPA centers and fitness clubs. At night go to play pool and bowling or spend time in nightclubs and discos.
You can visit the VODA club (which works in the SPA format in winter and has an outdoor pool), undergo massage, and aromatherapy.
For outdoor activities besides skiing, check the following:
Visit Hutsul Land
Hutsul Land Ethno Park is an open air museum behind the Lake of Youth with 200 year old houses that tell a fascinating story about local ethnic groups.
Besides the museum, there is a mini zoo and creative space with workshops, where you can observe and learn folk crafts, try locally made cheese, grind wheat flour in a millstone, weave a carpet on the loom and even take part in a theatrical performance of a Hutsul wedding.
During the time of holidays, Hutsul Land has decorations and short thematic performances.
Go on a Husky Ride
An incredible and fun entertainment in Bukovel in winter that will be interesting for everyone. You can try what sledding with husky dogs is like and for that, you don’t need to go to Finland. Just come to Bukovel! Winter Kyiv also has this activity, so if you are spending a few days there, don’t miss it too.
You can order the service at the equipment rental shop located near ski lift No. 14 and ride with 4-6 dogs. It is available only until 15:30 on tracks 2 and 5 km long.
Go Skating or Snowmobiling
Bukovel also has its own outdoor ice rink with a few equipment rental points nearby. You can find the schedule of the rink and prices on this website.
Renting a snowmobile is possible in Bukovel too. Snowmobiling or quad biking is a great opportunity to admire the beautiful scenery and get an adrenaline rush. Experienced instructors are responsible for training and safety.
Other Things to Do
Among other things are snowtubing (available in any weather due to the artificial snow), zorbing (descent from the mountain in an inflatable transparent ball), rope jumping, ziplining (including one on a bike), rodelbahn sledding, and even flying on a hot air balloon.
Where to Stay in Bukovel
There are a lot of choices of where to stay in Bukovel. You can choose a full-service hotel, chalet villa, or a room in a guest house.
According to your budget, you can live in a chalet right on the slope, near the descent of one of the slopes and with a lift 50 meters from it. One of our favorite places to stay was an apartment-style hotel Mountain residence and chalets and Chalet CrepeChine.
On another visit (not in winter but in fall), we also stayed in Sevenei hotel which would be great for people on a budget or anyone else who’d love to experience a small village vibe.
It is a small family-owned guesthouse on a hill near Seveney mountain. It has breakfast included and incredible views of Palyanytsya village. I would highly recommend it to anyone who prefers a quieter stay away from the center. Also, this property works best for those who have a car and are willing to drive to the center of Bukovel.
But I really have a long list of beautiful Bukovel hotels for our future stays:
Amstel Ski hotel – a mid-budget hotel in a very convenient location. It has a stylish interior, snow-white soft linen, quality plumbing, and delicious food.
Old Truth hotel – one of the most instrammable hotels in Bukovel with fantastic views of snowy mountains from the balconies, stylish rooms, and a panoramic pool.
Since June of this year, Old Truth hotel combined with a few nearby properties (former History hotel and Vykrutasy) and operate as one property. So there is a chance to stay in a private villa, modern-style hotel room, or themed house. Also, they offer an open-air jacuzzi with incredible views that you can book in advance to have for yourself.
Shpytsi Hotel & Spa – not really in Bukovel, a bit outside it, but this hotel offers great breakfasts, a nice location in a quiet village, stunning views, and excellent service. They pride themselves on a nice indoor pool with views of the mountains and two well-installed jacuzzis. There is also a fireplace room and bar. Breakfast is
If you are a budget traveler, I suggest looking into accommodation in the surrounding villages. In fact, if staying in a guest house, you’ll experience an authentic stay with breakfast and dinner from the hospitable Carpathian hostesses who know exactly what the skier needs. Prices for guest house stays start from €10 per person, and also increase during the New Year period and weekends.
The villages closest to the Bukovel ski resort are Polyanitsa, Yablunytsya, Lazeshchyna, Yasinya, Tatarov. And it is definitely more convenient if you have a car.
Where to Eat in Bukovel
You definitely won’t be hungry in Bukovel. The range of various restaurants and cafes is wide. From delicious street food at the markets to thematic restaurants of Ukrainian, Italian, and other cuisines, you can choose whatever your heart desires.
My favorite places to eat (outside the hotels where we stayed) are Restaurant Museum of Football (they have really big portions), SALO (more pricey but has a wide menu of traditional beautifully served dishes), Varvar Food Bar (burgers, stuffed pita bread, salads and more), Hora (restaurant with views, tasty food, and great service), and Kolyba (with a big choice of traditional Hutsul food).
Among places where to have coffee and Ukrainian desserts (like syrniki, stuffed crepes, or cakes) I personally like a restaurant at Chalet CrepDeChine hotel (they have very good food too), Filvarok (there are a few locations) where besides coffee and tea they also have great mulled wine, Panorama Lounge on the top of a mountain where you can get by chair lift, and Lviv Handmade Chocolate.
How to Get to Bukovel
The Bukovel ski resort is located near the village Polyanitsa of the Yaremche city council, 30 km from the cozy town of Yaremche, and 10 km from the village of Tatariv.
If you are already in Ukraine, you can either fly to Ivano-Frankivsk airport from any major city or take a train. There are multiple trains and some of them go overnight. It’s very easy to get by train to Ivano-Frankivsk from Lviv and Kyiv. From other cities in the east or south, it takes more time and you need to change trains.
Once in Ivano-Frankivsk, you need to take a bus to Bukovel, which is in route 2.5 hours and costs €3.
If you are based in Lviv, you can also hop on a bus. The trip takes 5 hours and costs about €7.
Our favorite way is to go by car. I just don’t think that traveling by train is very convenient. Other ski resorts like Slavske and Pylypets are easy to reach by public transportation but Bukovel not so much.
The road from Lviv and Kyiv to Bukovel is new and the drive through the settlements of Ivano-Frankivsk, Nadvirna, Yaremche, Mykulychin, and Tatars is very scenic with traditional villages of that region.
More Ukraine Travel Resources
If you are planning to travel in Ukraine outside the Bukovel ski resort, I have some resources to help you get the most of your trip. First of all, s
If you are traveling to Ukraine from Poland, take a look at my Krakow to Lviv transportation guide.
If you will also be spending time in Kyiv, check out things to do in Kyiv in winter, day trips from Kyiv, and breakfast places in Kyiv posts to help guide your way through the city I called home for many years.
Looking for more winter travel inspiration? See more of my posts: