Bansko is the most modern Bulgarian ski resort, situated at the foot of Vihrin, the highest mountain in the Pirin range, which lies just above the town. It has benefitted from recent investments in the skiing area and also the accommodation and facilities. The ski resort is rapidly expanding and offers great skiing for beginners and intermediates in particular with some more challenging runs, while maintaining its traditional character.
Bansko lies at 925m above sea level with the altitude range of its skiing area being between 2000-2600m. The Pirin mountain range is quite Alpine in character, but there are a number of wide ski runs down through pine trees. Bansko has an excellent snow record with the season being the longest of the Bulgarian ski resorts, from December until May – with snow cannons on hand to cover the slopes to make it last longer.
There are 65km of marked piste, with 14 lifts to accommodate large numbers of skiers. The longest run in the area is 7km and there are 9km of cross country runs. There is also a large snowpark suitable for snowboarders of all abilities.
There are a number of facilities suitable for families and children in Bansko. The nursery and ski school can look after children and can also help them improve their skiing abilities. Bansko has an efficient lift system and well maintained ski tracks, making it an enjoyable location for all skiers.
The town itself is an interesting mixture of old and new, with its clock tower over 150 years old and its old residential houses. Bansko’s town centre is a designated World Heritage Site, boasting over 120 cultural and historic monuments to explore. These sights are set right next door to modern hotels and contemporary establishments, making the town an intriguing mix and the perfect place to stay for those who like their home comforts in a place full of character.
There are many other activities to keep you busy around Bansko if you feel like a day away from the slopes. Besides skiing you can spend some time ice skating or maybe go for a swim and there are also plenty of shops to have a look around in the old town, where you can buy some souvenirs. One place of interest near to Bansko is the National Park Pirin, a UNESCO site for cultural and natural sightseeing. It is a beautiful place to explore, consisting of waterfalls, caves, trees and other interesting historical sites.
If you would like to venture further afield, you can head to the country’s capital, Sofia. Here you can find many things to see and do, as the city has many historical buildings, museums, churches and other architecture to explore – not to mention the variety of shops. Another worthwhile excursion is to the Rila Monastery.
Founded in the 10th century, it is one of Bulgaria’s key tourist attractions and one of its most important monuments. The architecture is fascinating and some of the interior decorations are stunningly intricate.
Bansko offers a great variety of local restaurants and places to eat out. The local restaurants, or ‘mehanas’, serve some fantastic local Bulgarian cuisine as well as offering some international foods. Traditional Bulgarian food includes many fresh vegetables, meat, stews, soups and sauces. A typical three course meal is usually great value. You can buy great pizzas for around .50 and the ‘Baryakova’ restaurant offers a nice atmosphere and vegetarian dishes as well.
There are also plenty of places to drink in Bansko, such as two friendly English style pubs, the ‘Friendly Pub’ and the ‘Lion Pub’. ‘Oxygen’ bar in the old town is a good place for some drinks and music and the ‘Happy End’ has some nice decor and even has some table dancers.
Bansko is a rapidly growing ski resort and the facilities are being developed all the time. Its slopes are well maintained and the snow record is excellent, making skiing in the area enjoyable for all. Bansko’s location in the Pirin mountain range gives it some stunning views and provides the perfect base to explore the local area and the historic sites there are to see.
It is not just a resort, it is an old town as well and is therefore also a nice place to explore on foot and to experience some of the Bulgarian traditions as well as the cuisine. One of the best things about Bansko is value for money, making it a fantastic holiday for everyone.
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