Bansko is a gem of a town positioned at the base of the beautiful Pirin Mountain, Bulgaria and one of the most popular holiday destinations on the Balkan Peninsula. There are 8 airports located in close proximity. The closest ones are Sofia’s airport at about 150kms and Plovdiv’s airport-160kms, both in Bulgaria. The next closest in proximity are Thessaloniki’s airport in Greece located at about 220kms and Skopje in Macedonia situated 245kms away from Bansko. The farthest ones are Bulgaria’s Burgas and Varna airports at about 410kms and 520kms and the airports of Turkey’s Istanbul and Romania’s capital Bucharest both located around 600kms away. By all means we would advise that you check the travel conditions before your plan your journey and close to if not during the actual journey, especially so if you are travelling in the winter.
The resort offers excellent ski and snowboarding conditions as well as facilities and has increased in popularity over the last couple of years. All for a reason! Yet despite the fame, Bansko has somehow been able to preserve its authenticity and has continued to attract tourists from all over Europe and beyond the old continent.
The town itself is situated at 925m above sea level. You can either take the lift to get up to the tracks or you can go by car directly. If you choose to go up by lift you don't have to bother to wait for it on the way back, as the ski road will lead you directly to the city in no time (it takes about 3-5 minutes).
The resort is well suited for the intermediate winter sports enthusiasts since most of the tracks are blue and red, ranging in altitude from 1600m and up to 2500m. To be more precise, there are 15 slopes, 6 of which are blue, 8 red and 1 black. There are 14 lifts and the ski pass is priced at 58 Bulgarian levs (approximately £26 or €29). However, if this is your first visit you will need to pay 5 Bulgarian levs for the actual physical lift pass, which you can reclaim at the end of the day or re-activate upon your next visit.
In terms of the actual accommodation there is plenty of choice ranging from luxurious hotels to private apartments and rooms. The night life is great and there is plenty of choice between traditional Bulgarian taverns called, where you can experience some authentic Bulgarian dishes and warm up with a glass of Rakia (traditional Bulgarian spirit drink) after an intensive day on the slopes. In addition, there are modern nightclubs that have hosted some of the world’s most famous DJs, so having a great night out does not require too much effort.
Bansko offers a number of summer activities as well in case you are not an avid winter sports practitioner. These range from hiking, to high-adrenaline mountain biking, horseback riding or simply a picnic in the mountain. Climbing Pirin’s highest peak Vihren (2,915m) is a great experience and a fantastic opportunity to have a look at Bansko and its surroundings from an eagle-eye view perspective. You can also visit the Dancing Bears Park, located not too far away at the outskirts of the town of Belitza.
Bansko offers a bit of everything, so whether you are winter sports enthusiast or prefer climbing in the summer this is the place to be! Whatever you do, always remember to respect the mountain as it can be cruel too, so make sure that you are well equipped in terms of your outerwear and provisions when hiking. Researching the available climbing routes, shelters and huts is a good idea, even best if you have an experience guide that can lead the activity.