One of the top winter destination in Bulgaria, the Bansko Ski Resort captivates the interest of the media every season.
It is the place to be every winter, with slopes for experienced skiers, but also for beginners. Plus, if you have never tried a pair of skis in your life, there’s a ski and snowboard school that offers training for all ages, for a bargain fee – a six day pass is 272 BGN (about 139 €).
The ski season opens in December and may last until late April, giving skiers plenty of time to enjoy the white magic of the slopes. The resort has 260 snow cannons covering 90% of the ski slopes, meaning that it provides optimal skiing conditions during the entire season. A unique 16 km ski run with a vertical 1600 m drop, suitable for intermediate skiers and snowboarders, covered by snow cannons and lighted, connects the highest ski run to the town. Tomba and Tomba’s sleeve are the slopes for true pros, but beginners will enjoy the main Bansko slope, but also Plato 1 and the connecting slopes. Intermediate level slopes like Banderitza and Todorka are marked in red on the map, while beginners should look for blue, and pros should follow the black marks. Safe gondolas, drags, and lifts, carry skiers to the highest points of the slopes.
Because Bansko is a world class resort, the atmosphere is always lively and the meadows at the foothills of the slopes are usually busy. There are many restaurants where the weary skiers can relax after a run, like the Vip ROOM Club Italian restaurant at Banderishka with its magnificent panoramic views, or the Cafe Chajnika on Banderishka Poliana, for skiers who enjoy a hot drink before or after their adventures on the snowy tracks.
Comfort and service go beyond the slopes and into the hotels ready to pamper hundreds of guests every day. From them, award-winning Kempinski Gran Arena is an oasis of luxury and style, with a spa-centre that offers all kinds of treatments and perks, like float tank, serial bath, dry float spa, hammam, caldarium, aroma sauna, Finnish sauna, indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools, kids swimming pool, and much more. All other hotels offer sauna and fitness facilities, but none with so many amenities as Kempinski. Plus, this hotel is also highly recommended for its dining offer, with alluring themed buffets, and exquisite Mediterranean cuisine at the Gallery Restaurant, which offers the richest breakfast in town.
The area is never boring. If you are not into skiing, there’s still plenty to do and to see. There’s an apres-ski bar to keep you dancing or a cocktail lounge with live music for a more relaxing ambiance. There’s also a modern open air ice rink, illuminated after dark, which offers you the opportunity to practice your skill at any time of the day.
The Pirin Street of Banko is a lively hub by day and in the evening. Lined up with restaurants and pubs, this is where to for a picturesque view of the Pirin Mountains and to take in the authentic vibe of the town. Don’t miss a visit at Velyanova Kashta, home of 19th-century painter Velian Ognev. The house is located near the central square of the town and is a monument of culture of national importance. Next to the house, the 19th-century Holy Trinity Church is another must-see attraction. While you are in the area, the Neofit Rilski House Museum is also worthy of attention.
It is easy to conclude that Bansko is a great winter destination, for sports, but also for cuisine and wellness.