Bansko is the biggest and most popular ski resort in Bulgaria. Located 160km south of the capital Sofia which is home to the International airport.Â It is 900m above sea level, at the gateway to the beautiful Pirin Mountains; Bansko is a charming medieval town.
Bansko has hundreds of years of history and culture, and with a population of 10 000, is a bustling thriving town all year round. There are cobbled streets and timber framed stone houses, many shops and 120 cultural & historic monuments, it is listed on the World Heritage site for its unique village centre.
Over the last 10 years Bansko has established itself as Bulgariaâ€™s premier ski resort, the small mountain town is easily competing with the traditionally popular resorts throughout Europe. This is due to a number of factors; firstly a weekâ€™s skiing costs much less than resorts in France & Austria, secondly the ski runs & aprÃ¨s ski are excellent.
Its location, to the south of Bulgaria means that it is one of the sunniest and warmest ski resorts, with a long season running from December until April.Â Bansko is also popular as a summer resort, the weather is usually hot, dry & sunny & the mountains are very popular with walkers, cyclists & horse riders.
Food & Drink
It has around 150 cosy â€œmehanaâ€ (traditional restaurants), which serve local and international cuisine, and numerous bars & clubs, many providing live music making it the best aprÃ¨s ski in Bulgaria. Bulgarian cuisine is among the most delicious in Europe. The food is prepared using fresh and ecologically pure products, grown in their natural environment.
The traditional Bulgarian dishes use vegetables and aromatic spices. The meal starts with a salad made of fresh tomatoes and homemade white cheese. This is followed by a meat dish cooked in an earthenware pot over a slow fire. There are of course many fish & vegetarian dishes available as well as burgers & pizzas for the less adventurous!
There are also several local wine grape varieties as well as a popular traditional Bulgarian drink Rakia, a type of brandy made of grapes, plums, apricots, pears. In winter, Rakia may be served hot, and in summer â€“ ice cold.
The prices of food and drink are much cheaper than Western Europe & the portions are usually large.
Things to do in and around Bansko
A weekly Sunday market is held all year round in the town & is extremely popular with both locals & tourists. This market offers clothes, shoes, souvenirs, hand painted earthenware typical of the region, rugs, various wooden carvings utensils and plus a wide range of local produce (and the occasional bit of Rakia) even small electrical items can be purchased.
It is not necessarily the place for designer label hunting but with plenty on offer I am sure you will enjoy
The Rila Monastery is the most famous & also the largest Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. It dates back to the 10th century with later additions up to the 14th century. The buildings are in fantastic condition & visitors are amazed by the beauty & grandeur of this medieval monastery. It is well worth a visit whilst staying in Bansko.
The spa town of Banya is situated just 4km from Bansko & is the oldest town in the Razlog Valley. It is famous for the many mineral springs & the old baths date back to 1735. There are open air swimming pools with hot mineral water reputed to have excellent therapeutic qualities.