Sample Bansko's slopes

Sample Bansko's slopes

Frank Nadler, originally published in Sofia Echo's Culture Shock

Everybody who has been to Bansko knows why it is among the most popular getaways for Bulgarians - and increasingly for foreigners who live here. So far it is not really involved in international tourism - but that will come. For most visitors Bansko is just a synonym for having a good time. And it really has a lot to offer: its location and its people. Situated at the foot of the Pirin mountain range on the southern edge of a circular plain that is surrounded on all sides by mountains - Pirin, Rila and the Rhodopes - Bansko offers some spectacular views and is an ideal starting point for all kinds of excursions in summer and for skiing in winter. In winter skiing is the main pastime. The main tracks are 10 km outside Bansko and you will need a car with snow tires or the bus shuttles that many of the hotels provide to get there. At the moment there are huge efforts on the way to finish a new cabin lift and new tracks at the southern end of Bansko by the end of December 2002. And, listening to the helicopters that fly the building materials up to the mountains like busy bees, it looks like they are going to manage on time. Bansko boasts 5 four star hotels and a lot of others. The latest addition is the German owned hotel Tanne that just opened in September with double rooms starting at 109 euro (on the southern edge of Bansko near the new lift). It looks like one of the luxurious places in the Austrian Alps. They have sauna, pool and two restaurants. Its location makes it a bit cumbersome to walk to the center where the action is in the evening. Hotel Glazne - 4 stars: Luxurious hotel with pool, sauna, fitness, massage, restaurant, mehana and "sky bar" from which you have a brilliant view of the mountains. It is in a quiet location next to the Glazne river that flows down from the Pirin mountains. They have mainly spacious, tastefully decorated apartments (absolutely up to Western standards) starting at 88 Leva (depending on the season). Highly recommended are their six townhouses, with their own mehana, fireplace, sauna and garage. They come with two bedrooms, and are the perfect place to rent if you want to party with some friends. Sometimes you will meet people like Foreign Minister Passi here. In winter they have ski and equipment rentals and their own bus service to the skiing lifts. It's about a 10-minute walk to the old city centre. The best value for money at the moment is Hotel Pirin. This recently completely renovated hotel has lost any resemblance to its communist origin. It boasts the same amenities as Glazne. The pool is bigger and the fitness equipment is newer. On the other hand they have mainly double rooms which are smaller than Glazne's apartments but nicely furnished. Bathrooms are a little bit small but sufficient and spotless. The location is perfect if you plan to explore all the mehana's and old parts of Bansko. A nice feature is breakfast in bed (included in the room price). Prices start at 55 $ for a double room. Ask for a room with a view of Pirin mountains (they also are more quiet) How to get to Bansko? The distance from Sofia to Bansko is 170 km. There is a public bus and two private bus operators that service Bansko from Sofia. They all leave from the bus terminal in Ovcha Kupel several times a day. Tickets are 6 leva one way. By car it will take you about two hours. You can book a car from Profi Tours/BulgariaSki.com at the price of 55 $. If you are driving by yourself you head towards the town of Pernik and then shortly before Pernik turn south towards Kulata. After passing Blagoevgrad you have to watch out for Simitli where you turn off the main road and then go east through some smaller mountains about 35 kilometers to Bansko. You will have beautiful sights on the way. Don't forget to have your snow tires on the car in winter. Food and drink: Babugera, 9, lane Sandanski Str. Sirleshtova Kushta, 12, lane Sandanski Str. tel. 07443-4668 Motikata (on the road from Bansko to Todorka mountain). They have a lovely garden where you can sit under fir trees in summer. Nightlife: There are about 4 discos in Bansko. The most popular one is "No Name" on pedestrian street Tsar Simeon. 3 leva entrance fee, from 10pm to 4am. What to see: Old Bansko town Church, Velianova Kushta, Icon exhibition, Bansko Cultural House. Bansko map: available here or you can buy from souvenir shops in Bansko at price of 3 leva.

     
  • Tony From Wales
    Sent on 13 February 2013
    Great place, great people and fantastic skiing. Just wondering if Dimitry is still a ski instructor there... Looks like I am going back to find out..
  • serge From Russia
    Sent on 01 August 2012
    Wonderful world of Bansko. February 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYbKJvsbPHU
  • jonathan ellul From malta
    Sent on 09 July 2012
    my friend and i went to bulgaria last april and we stayed there for two weeks. We stayed at family hotel bisser 16 el tepe street 2770 bansko. We would like to thank the staff and especially mamma and her daughter velina too for their help and excellent service i would recommand that hotel coz its cozy,clean,staff really cheerful and helpful and breakfast was wonderful. During the day we go eat at momini dvori restaurant. Food there was wonderful and service thanks to our waiter dimitri and his crew we enjoyed being there everyday and welcomed like kings. The rest bulgaria is a wonderful place which i recommend for a relaxing holiday.
  • Erik Rooze From Netherlands/Greece
    Sent on 28 January 2012
    We have spend this winter (2011/2012) holidays in Bansko and where really delighted. It is so nice and friendly and clean. Normally we go to the Alpes, but for our young daughter (7 years) this is really nice. Because I'm 60 years and the wife 35 years we do not care that there is not much of after ski. The resort is really cheap, which I like as a Dutch man. I could not spend all my hard earned monies in Bansko. As we live in Greece now, on the island of Aegina near Athens, it it a nice drive by car. I can reccomment this area to you all!
  • Erik Rooze From Netherlands/Greece
    Sent on 28 January 2012
    We have spend this winter (2011/2012)hollidays in Bansko and where really delighted. Is is so nice and friendly and clean. Normally we go to the Alpes, but for our young doughter (7years) this is really nice. Because I'm 60 years and the wife 35 years we do not care that there is not much of after ski. The resort is really cheap, which I like as a Dutch man. I could not spend all my hard earned monies in Bansko. As we live in Greece now, on the island of Aegina near Athens, it it a nice drive by car. I can recomment this area to you all!
  • josh brown From belfast
    Sent on 28 March 2011
    skiing was good brailliant loved it!But fel a couple of times but it was amazing. loved to come back.
  • carl jones From wales
    Sent on 16 March 2011
    Just got back from a weeks skiing in Bansko the weather was hot but we had a dump of snow on the Monday grate skiing i wasn't sure about going there but glad I did, I have skied for 8 years some of the slopes were testing its not a vast area you could ski the lot in 2 days but the scenery made up that beautiful, I stayed in the Lion Hotel I would recommend staying there the rooms were big and the food was very good very friendly people. there was a mini bus from the hotel to the lifts and back every day no walking, the hotel is a 5 minute walk to the lifts if you wanted to walk, if you wanted to eat out i would go down to the old town very cheap 55p a pint and 35p for a glass of wine or 1.50 for a bottle of wine there was 4 of us we had 4 big meals wine and beer for 3 hours it cost us 34.00 total if you want to party stay top end prices 1.60 a pint up there I had no problem with the lifts passes i read that they stopped working after a few days the passes were fine I will be going back next year holiday 8 out of 10 only 1 thing you need to get to the lifts early or you will have a wait for 30 minuets other than that grate holiday PS Got 2 sets of skis fully serviced for 37.00 nice and cheap don't worry about going there you will have a good hoilday.
  • kezdevil From UK
    Sent on 16 March 2011
    Went to Bansko 7-14 March 2011 - had a fantastic time. Snowed on first day so had powder to play on though by the end of the week conditions were not quite as good. Had to work hard to avoid goggle tan as it was so sunny! We had read worrying comments about gondola queues but really didn't see any when we were there. Weekend was a bit busier on the lifts than the weeks but nothing major. We got up and out early. The gondola starts at 8.30am and we were on it by 8.40 most days. We stayed at Eagles Nest Apartments and would stay there again. Good facilities, well equipped kitchen (we did self cater a couple of nights).
  • Jacob From Israel
    Sent on 10 March 2011
    Don't go to the "Pirin" hotel, Bansko ski resort, Bulgaria My family and I stayed at the "Pirin" hotel in Bansko, Bulgaria from the 28th of February till the 6th of March. We enjoyed the mountain resort and had great time skiing and snowboarding. One of our rooms had only one bathrobe, but we didn't pay much attention to this, and used only one bathrobe when we went to the pool. As we were leaving the hotel, the receptionist told us that we are missing a bathrobe. We told her that we didn't have two bathrobes to begin with, and we absolutely don't need to take a bathrobe with us home. At this moment she told us that she wouldn't give my sisters' passport back unless we pay 70 lv( which is approximately 35 euros) We tried to explain that we didn't hide or burn or do anything with the bathrobe, and we didn't even use it because we didn't have it in our room. "You should have reported it as soon as you got the room", well, it's not my job to count various objects in the room, and report my findings to the receptionist, I told her. "It is impossible to have only one bathrobe" was the only answer I got, and after threatening us by calling the police, and showing off their security thugs, I had no choice but to pay for the bathrobe I never even used. It was a very embarrassing experience, and a very bad way to end a great vacation, needless to say 35 euros were stolen from me with nothing I could do about it. But the most amazing part was that I spoke to another couple, on the way to the airport, who stayed in this hotel, and they said that the hotel staff did the exact thing to them! I really enjoyed Bansko, the atmosphere there is amazing, the ski slopes are great and the people are very friendly, but if you ever go there DO NOT stay and the Pirin hotel! They lied and stole my money.
  • Tibi From Romania
    Sent on 08 February 2011
    Hey there guys, Just got back from Bansko ski resort.We were there for 7 nights and here are some facts: --the waiting line at the Gondola is at least 30 minutes...we stood there 1 hour and a half... --very big and boring waiting time to get your ski-pass.... --the apres-ski almost doesn`t have music at all and there`s no fun happening there.... --the slopes were pretty bad at 12 o`clock even though they had been prepared....(it did not snow at all one week, only snowguns) --too many injured people....a lot of idiots on the slopes --people there speak english just a little... --I RECOMMEND Friendly PUB!!!!! Great place --don`t go to Panorama hotel....they don`t speak english and it really ain`t a 4 star hotel.... Not what i expected from this ski resort...last year i was in Borovets and had lots of fun there!!!!!
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