European country with £1.17 beer and ski resorts named unhappiest place going

Despite being touted as an up-and-coming holiday destination for Brits, one European spot with cheap £1 beer, gorgeous ski resorts and plenty of charming towns has been named the unhappiest place on the continent.

Bulgaria, in the Balkans, has grown in popularity in recent years thanks to its great value holidays – but the locals aren’t as cheerful as the tourists.

It’s home to Borovets, one of the cheapest ski resorts in Europe, where beers are just £1.17 and lift passes can cost under £30 a day. The resort in the Rila mountains is a real all-rounder with gentle beginner slopes, higher routes for the diamond skiers and a buzzing nightlife for those apres ski moments.

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Borovets isn’t just all bargain booze though it also boasts incredible views, forest surroundings and you can also hike the glacial Icy Lake. Ski and snowboard runs cover the mountain – 24 trails to be exact – for you to speed down and the resort is one of Bulgaria’s most popular ski destinations, at the foot of 9,500ft Mount Musala, the highest peak in the Balkan region.

Ski passes start from just £29 per day (£143.75 for six days) working out hundreds cheaper than some of the more expensive resorts, not to mention ski rental for that time costs around £60.22. Your accommodation is fairly cheap too at a price from £52.45 per night – although we found a studio on from a tiny £29 per night between two people which is just £14.50 each.

Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, is also a stunning destination to explore filled with rich history and plenty to do. It was named the best city for remote workers earlier this year – Plus PintPrice claims that a pint costs just £1.10 in the city.

The 2000-year-old city boasts the Vitosha Mountains, St George Rotunda Church and the National Opera and Ballet Centre. Plus, there are dozens of clubs and bars, a Christmas market in December and incredible hikes. The food is often super fresh with soups, kebabs, fried fish, meatballs and fried breads all being popular dishes.

You can stay in Sofia pretty cheaply too. You can find rooms on from just £19 a night for two people – that's just £9.50 each. Alternatively, those willing to splash out can get a King room in Maison Sofia – MGallery with a swimming pool, fitness suite and luxurious interior for just £101 a night – or £50.50 each.

Despite this, Bulgaria was found to be the unhappiest country in all of Europe in a poll that analysed levels of life satisfaction across the region. Eurostat asked Europeans to rate their satisfaction with life on a scale of 0 (very dissatisfied) to 10 (very satisfied), but sadly for Bulgarians every nation but them was rated above a six.

The Balkan country had an average happiness score of just 5.6 putting it at the bottom of the table behind other countries like Sweden, Greece, Germany and Portugal. Interestingly, Romania, which borders Bulgaria, was the second happiest country tied with Poland and Finland.

At the top of the list was Austria which boasts stunning mountains and lakes, gorgeous cities and towns that inspired the setting of Disney's Frozen. The quality of life between Austria and Bulgaria can be quite vast though as the average gross salary in Austia is a huge £45,635.35 while in the Balkan nation it's just £17,521.48.

Eurostat’s ranking of the EU’s happiest countries in 2023:

  1. Austria
  2. Poland, Romania, Finland
  3. Belgium, Netherlands
  4. Denmark, Slovenia
  5. Czech Republic, Ireland, Malta, Sweden
  6. Estonia, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg
  7. Spain, Lithuania
  8. France, Portugal, Slovakia
  9. Hungary
  10. Croatia, Latvia
  11. Greece
  12. Germany
  13. Bulgaria.

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