Tucked away in the heart of Pirin Mountains, Bansko is a unique gem with captivating nature, snowy slopes and charming architecture. With its modern facilities, versatile runs, cosy and lively atmosphere, the town ranks among the best resorts in Eastern Europe. If value for money is what you are after, then Bansko ski resort will definitely live up to your expectations. You can find package holidays, lift passes and equipment hire half the price or less compared to the expensive Alpine resorts and you can still receive satisfying level of service.
Bansko is approximately two hours away from the capital Sofia. You have several options to get to the town from the airport – rent a car, use the public bus services from the central bus station in Sofia or book pre-arranged transfers. You can also travel to Bansko from Plovdiv, but you will need to plan for longer trip (around 3-4 hours).
There is a hub with apartments, hotels and shops in a ski-in/ski‑out location by the gondola station. The town below the village resort offers a sheer variety of accommodation options. You can find four and five stars hotels with wellness area including a large pool, hot tub, sauna, steam bath and gym or pick less luxurious, but much cheap guest houses.
In the last few years Bansko has been completely modernized with a smart lift system, and a hands-free pass system. The resort’s slopes stretch across two mountains that can be accessed through a state-of-art gondola, 14 lifts including a six‑persons chair and four quads. The eight-seat gondola ferries go up to the main mountain Bunderishka from the top end of town. A blue piste with floodlighting and snowmaking leads back to town. From Bunderishka, you can reach the north-facing slopes at the highest point of the area through the two successive fast quads chairs. There are few nursery slopes near the mid-station of the gondola. The runs are well-maintained and usually quiet. Given that the snow conditions are good, there are plenty of challenging pistes suitable for both beginners and experts.
On the other hand, snowboarders can enjoy the first on the Balkans Fun Park. The place allows to snowboard over artificial bumps and jumps or to customize the layout. In addition skiers and snowboarders can boast their skills on the half-pipe situated near the Bansko’s famous snow towers.
With the development of the resort town, the utalitarina cafes and small shops give place to trendy restaurants, boutiques and wine bars. Hide away from the chilly weather and the roaring wind inside one of Bansko’s many “mehanas”. These typical Bulgarian taverns will welcome you with a warm blaze in an open fireplace and the traditional Bulgarian hospitality. Don’t be surprised if there is live music to add up to the cheer. While there, don’t miss the opportunity to try local cuisine dishes such as “Banski starets” and ”Kapama.”
The prices are generally low, making it a fun place for wild après. The lively night life has gained Bansko the reputation of a party town. Go out for a drink at the Lions Pub or The Happy End at the base station of the gondola. The most popular night clubs in town are No Name and Amnesia. You can pick from a wide selection of bars, live music and piano bars such as the Torino that is usually attended by weekenders from Sofia. If you fancy a quieter night out, you can go to the Bowling arena in hotel Strazhite.
Off the Slopes
To experience the most of Bulgarian sights and nature, visit one of the most popular tourist locations – the Rila Ministry. The area around Bansko is notable for its mineral waters, making the region an attractive all-seasons SPA destination. Trips to Greece can also be arranged because of the close proximity to the border. Those who prefer to stay in-town can explore the local landmarks and museums. Have a glimpse at the Bulgarian heritage properties and visit the richly painted 18th-centrury mansion – the Velayn’s house. Behind the thick stone walls of St. Trinity Church lies an astounding interior with multicolour marvel and beautiful frescoes. Most of the popular locations are situated close to each other, making it easier for the tourists to see as much as possible while enjoying the town.
Bansko has a relaxed and colourful vibe that makes it popular among the tourists. The town is an extraordinary blend of old traditions and contemporary style. You can take a walk around the cobbled streets and beautiful historic stone buildings in the town centre. The unique ethnographic houses listed as a World Heritage Site give Bansko a distinctive and picturesque look.
Bansko may be a small town, but you can dig out some interesting gems. Explore the old centre for traditional items and local souvenirs for your family and friends back home. You can also buy less expensive ski and snowboarding equipment, jackets and pant from the local stores. However, beware of any fake/imitation brands with non decent quality.
- Winter season starts in mid December and usually lasts to the mid April with regular snow downfalls.
- Bansko has a unique 16 km uninterrupted run starting from Todorka Peak (the highest point in the area), with various pistes on the way down to the base station of the gondola.
- Keep in mind that during the peak season, Bansko can be quite crowded, which means busier pistes and longer queues at the gondola. It’s best to avoid the period between Christmas and February.
- Aside from skiing and snowboarding, you can also try paragliding, ice skating snow-mobiles, skidoos and snow trekking. Want to relax after a long day at the piste? You can unwind in a natural thermal bath.