Category Archives: history

10 things that we love about Bansko!

Bansko is well known it’s inexpensive ski holidays but we think that it has so much more to offer. Read on for 10 more reasons to visit Bansko:

1. It’s different from the norm, where else do you find a snowboarder clad in all the modern gear crossing the road at the same time as a herd of goats, a goat herder and his dog? Traditional life is still carrying on in Bansko, despite the brand new ski resort that popped up above the town in 2005.

Old men in Bansko

Bansko locals watching the world (and the snowboarders) go by.

2. Something for everyone. If you don’t fancy skiing on every day of your holiday there are museums, a narrow gauge railway, paragliding, 4×4 safaris, micro-lite flights and an abundance of 5 star spas for some serious relaxation.

3. A huge choice of restaurants. Ranging from traditional taverns to pizzerias, steak houses or quick and easy bar snacks to fine dining in elegant surroundings, Bansko has them all.

4. Bansko’s Old Town is a UNESCO protected heritage site, we never get bored of roaming through the cobbled streets, finding atmospheric hidden taverns and hand made pottery shops around every corner.

Photo showing the snow in a street of Bansko

The meandering streets of Bansko’s Old Town.

5. Nightlife, Bansko might not have as crazy an apres-ski scene as some resorts but it if you want a lively night out it has plenty to choose from. There’s the quirky little renovated house ‘Bash Bar’ that is popular with locals and seasonnaires, ‘Amigo’s’ have excellent live music and bar staff that like to do a bit a flame throwing, the more chilled out bar ‘Pirin 75’ and new for the 14/15 season is ‘The Hub’ which promises to have something for everyone with performers already lined up for the season…. watch this space!

6. It’s great value for money. We couldn’t leave this out – a round of 5 drinks in Bansko will easily cost less than £15 which is great for your holiday spending money fund!

7. Fast new lifts, Bansko’s current infrastructure was all new from 2005 onwards meaning that the ski lifts are modern and fast (except for the three man that was leftover from communist ski holidays – it’s best to only use this one if you need a nice long rest).

8. Good variety of pistes. Beginners have several gentle slopes to choose from and can gradually work their way around the mountain on increasingly challenging runs and snowboarders can easily avoid most of the drag lifts in resort if they want to! Intermediates have some fantastic wide slopes to cruise on and advanced skiers can try out the World Cup blacks.

Photo showing the runs on-piste and off-piste in bansko.

Wide piste and great off-piste tree runs in Bansko.

9. Accessible off-piste. There is a huge amount of amazing off-piste in Bansko that can be accessed from the lifts, without having to hike. It ranges from easy open runs to technical, steep tree runs and we love it!

10. Stunning scenery on the Bansko mountain. As a UNESCO protected area, building is limited on the mountain which means that you wont see any high-rise monstrosities looming over you during your day on the slopes.

Our first impressions of Bansko

We arrived in Bansko on a cold night on the 2nd of December, after a 2 hour flight and 2 hours in a taxi. The Chalet is really well located between the old town centre and the gondola station, 5 minutes walking distance but in the dark we could only see the small, winding streets and we did wonder where we were!

Bansko is a town in southwestern Bulgaria, located at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, 927 m above sea level. The local population is around 9000 people but amazingly this number doubles during the winter season because of Bulgarian and foreign tourists. Bansko is the biggest and newest ski resort in the country and appeals to both keen skiers and beginners, due to the diversity of the slopes and the lengh of the ski runs.

Bansko has been called, “The New Andorra”, but we would say that Bansko has something else: history. A walk to Bansko is like a tour through the past. In the Old Town there are fortified houses and taverns within the cobbled streets. Close by, Thracian burial mounds were discovered and just southeast of Bansko are the remains of late medieval basilicas.

Bansko locals and snow

Bansko offers a lot of history as well as great skiing.

When we first went out, the streets seemed deserted and so quiet. Except around the Gondola, where all the shops and restaurants were under intensive work preparing for the season. In a couple of weeks, everything unbelievably came to life, illuminated and busy as ever just in time for the Christmas arrivals!

But when we arrived, we just took time to admire the amazing white landscape. The Pirin Mountains are incredibly beautiful (especially at sunset) and it was lovely to enjoy the ‘calm before the storm’.

“Mehanas” (traditional Bulgarian taverns) are found all over Bansko and look so enticing and cosy; it was so hard to choose which one to try first! We enjoyed our first Bulgarian mezze meal and as we didn’t know what to order we ordered a lot… It was so yummy but we were so full!

Now we know all the best dishes to try and when you visit Bansko we can tell you our favourites!