As a ski destination, Bansko in Bulgaria has a lot going for it – especially for those who like their adventures to be a little different from the norm. With 75km of pistes and great snowfall in the ski season, the credentials of this resort aren’t to be doubted, but it’s what goes on around the town that makes it a really unique and interesting place to take your next ski trip. It’s situated between a heritage site and a national park, and will host the 2021 Ski World Cup.
The resort has a well developed ski environment that has all the attractions you’d expect, including modern restaurants and hotels. But the uniqueness of the location makes Bansko one of the few ski resorts around to boast so much ancient history.
Hitting the Slopes
The main reason people take skiing holidays is…to ski! And Bansko has some excellent slopes for doing just that. While there are other resorts boasting more pistes, the ones here in Bulgaria are really in a class of their own.
From Beginner to Expert
There are plenty of slopes in Bansko, with some geared for beginners and some for the more discerning skier. With six for beginners and 11 red and black slopes there is something to suit any level of skill, and plenty opportunities to improve while you’re there. The slopes are served by a great network of chair lifts and there is a nice long run (10 kilometres) that goes all the way down to the town. Get there in peak season and the snow-cover won’t be a problem.
There are also some good options for off-piste skiing, with a 14 kilometre route from the top of the slopes to the town providing the opportunity to get to grips with the basics. You can go further off-piste, but only with a tour guide as there can be the risk of avalanches in warmer weather.
If you’ve never skied before arriving in Bansko there’s no need to worry. There is a dedicated ski and snowboard school that will have you slaloming down the slopes in no time. You can also hire all the gear you need in town.
Après Ski Highlights
With a UNESCO World Heritage site and a national park nearby, there is no shortage of fun activities to do once you’ve finished on the slopes for the day. Couple that with an excellent range of bars and restaurants and you might find Bansko is one of the best spots for après ski that you’ve ever seen.
The central village is a charming and atmospheric place to spend some time. There is beautiful architecture, lovely restaurants and some quaint shops. The town also contains an entirely unique selection of shops and restaurants when compared with other European ski destinations, with traditional Bulgarian crafts available to buy. You’ll also find a much wider range of restaurants and bars than on the mountain, catering to almost every predilection. You’ll find the prices a lot more reasonable in town too!
Pirin National Park
From the slopes of Bansko you can see the vast Pirin National Park, which is home to a large proportion of Bulgaria’s flora and fauna. Going for a wander among the trees can be a delight and a truly breath taking experience in perfect weather. This is a glorious spot to take in some of the natural beauty of the country in your downtime from the built up ski resort.
Top Tip: Although it’s more expensive on the mountain than in town to grab some food and a drink, it’s not too pricey when compared with other popular ski resorts throughout Europe.
Where to Stay
Korina Sky Hotel – Typical of the traditional architecture of the town, this hotel provides a great location for the main commercial district in Bansko, as well as proximity to the ski lift.
Trinity Apartments – Decorated to create a relaxed and cosy atmosphere, Trinity Apartments are perfect for groups looking to do some self-catering.
How to Get There
You can reach Sofia in about three hours, flying from the UK with a number of different airlines, including some budget options. With around fifty flights per week there should be timings to suit most.
I would recommend taking a pre-booked Shuttle Direct transfer due to the quality of their service and their reliability. There’s no better way to start a holiday than having nothing to worry about when you arrive at the airport. The transfer is around three hours, and it’s a great way to get some wonderful views of this unique and interesting country.
- UK to SOF Flight Time: 3 hours
- SOF to Bansko Distance: 177 kilometres
- Shuttle Direct Transfer Time: 3 hours
About Shuttle Direct
At Shuttle Direct we provide the peace of mind that comes with a hassle-free holiday. Book one of our transfers from an airport, train station or a number of other locations, and get direct to your accommodation in no time. We have a team of professional drivers who will get your holiday off to a great start.