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.
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!