The new multi-million Euro investment in the ski area has provided Bansko with one of the most advanced ski centres in Europe. The highlight of this being the direct 8 seater gondolas which carry skiers and snowboarders from the town, right up to the nursery slope. There is also a fun park and half-pipe available.
For the more athletic, there is 9 km of cross-country ski tracks.
The Bansko ski area offers its guests a unique 16-kilometer uninterrupted ski run, starting from Todorka Peak at the highest point, all the way to base station of the Gondola lift. The last 7 km of the slope are floodlit, and the entire run is equipped with artificial snow machines to ensure a great skiing experience even in warmer condition. You can even ski into the evenings on the last 7km from Banderishka Polyana down to the gondola station as this is floodlit between 18:30 and 21:30.
A 30 second stroll will take you into the Happy End bar opposite the gondola!
Bansko town is situated at 936m with the altitude of the ski runs at 1100-2560m. The marked ski runs are 70 km long and the slope exposure is north. There are 7 four chair lifts by Dopelmeyr, 6 drag lifts with the longest ski run of 16 km long, which runs from the upper Gondola station to the first Gondola station. The runs are roughly divided into the following levels: 35% beginners, 40% intermediate and 25% advanced.
The Gondola lift carries passengers from the outskirts of the town up to the ski runs but DONT get off the gondola when the doors first open at the first dro p off point, as this is just a short red run back into town! The main ski area is clear to see and takes about 25 minutes to reach.
Bansko is on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites for its natural beauty and is the gateway to the Pirin National Park, with access to spectacular mountains, waterfalls, glacial lakes and wildlife including Black Bear!
The old town centre has traditional Bulgarian stone-and-timber houses, open public squares, cobbled streets and winding roads. Worth visiting are the dark, peaceful Sveta Troitsa Church (ploshtad Vuzhrazhdane) with its 30m- (98ft-) high clock tower built in 1835, and the Icon Museum (ulitsa Yane Sandanski 3), which houses works by local 19th-century painters. The magnificent Rila Monastery can be visited in a day trip by car or bus.
INFO, MAPS & THINGS TO DO
Ski lift is bottom left, with Belmont to the right.
THINGS TO DO APART FROM SKIING/BOARDING:
10 pin bowling
Ice skating rink
For younger kids, Babini (ulitsa Bratya Veleganovi St 14B) is a craft centre and cafe offering DIY pottery, painting and sock-knitting in a cosy atmosphere.
Black bear park
Apre`s ski: Instead of chic après ski, Bansko offers a more earthy, traditional Bulgarian night out. In addition to the plethora of mehanas where the local wines flow with the food and music, a smattering of down-to-earth bars and clubs are located around ploshtad Vazrazhdane in the old part of town.
Happy End (ulitsa Pirin, next to the lift station) is a large, lively bar attracting a wide range of skiers straight from the slopes, with occasional live music.
Amigo Bar (ulitsa Pirin) is a good place to go and serves great cocktails.
The Lion bar opposite Strazhite Hotel on Pirin is a very English pub and has
Sky Sports channels on several TVs.
Bowling alley: Very modern, next to Strazhite hotel on Pirin Street.
Caving: There are about 4620 known caves in Bulgaria..Most of which have been explored and many available with guided tours. The most popular being the Yagodinska cave.
Fishing: Surrounded by lakes, Bansko has some excellent locations.
Golf etc: In the nearby Ian Woosnam designed 18 hole course set at the foot of the impressive Pirin mountains There is also a new sports complex to include a football pitch, 2 tennis courts, volleyball and baskball courts, horse riding centre, spa centre, mineral water swimming pool, sauna, shopping centre, restaurants and cafes, along with hydro massage baths and a wide range of alternative therapies designed to relax. a shopping centre and numerous restaurants and cafes.
Hiking: See towering peaks reaching up to 3 000 meters, century-old pine forests, sharp slopes with racing torrents and lots of high alpine places with their regally-rising peaks and deep-blue, ice-aged lakes.
Horse riding: Situated on the left shore of River Mesta in the upper part of the beautiful southwards opened valley, Bansko offers great opportunity to explore an untouched piece of nature by horse, because the valley itself is nestled amid three of the prettiest Bulgarian Mountains - the Pirin, Rila and the Rhodopi. The horse ride will lead you through a wide diversity of environments. This will include lush green meadows, open pasture clearings, amazing rock formations and through tall stands of century-old pine forests. The Bansko hoteliers will provide you with happy, healthy horses for safe enjoyable riding, regardless of your age and level of ability, so you really do not have to bother about riding gear - you will be provided with everything here!
Ice skating: The rink is along Pirin Street.
Mountain biking/Cycling: Hundreds of kilometres of forest and valley trails.
Mountaineering: Pirin, is one of the most rugged of all mountain ranges on the Balkans, which provides an amazing variety of mountaineering terrains. These mountains, with their craggy skylines have inspired generations of alpinists to challenge themselves. Pirin peaks, ridges, and valleys will provide even the most demanding tourists with an unforgettable mountaineering experience - the Rock Sites of peak Vihren - 2914 m, Sinanitsa - 2516 m, Georgiytsa - 2589 m, Glavnishki Choukar - 2670 m, and around peak Okaden - 2475 m offer various courses of different difficulty for all mountaineers. There will be instructors who could introduce the beginners into the techniques of and enjoyable rock climbing and safe alpine behaviour. Here you will find more than 100 km of marked alpine routes, situated in the Pirin National Park which will please even the most demanding mountain fans.
Paragliding: Accompanied by a pilot, your flight will take you from the top of the Todorka mountain down to the nursery slopes at the bottom with incredible views and a very real sensation of free flying. See www.skynomad.com
River rafting: Early summer provides some spectacular category 2 - 5 white water rafting on the Struma and Mesta rivers, as the snow from the mountains melts and flows along these main rivers. Rafting day-trips are available on both rivers with guide and lunch provided.
Shopping:The Sunday morning market (ulitsa Tsar Simeon) is one of the liveliest in southern Bulgaria, selling cheap clothes, shoes and souvenirs.
Souvenir shops dotted around the town sell distinctive hand-woven striped rugs, colourful cloth bags, hand-painted pottery, huge cow bells.
The street-stalls in the middle of ploshtad Nikola Vapstarov have a good selection, and the Crafts & Textile Exhibition, adjacent to House-Museum of Nikola Vaptsarov (ploshtad Nikola Vaptsarov) has hand-embroidered clothing and fabrics. Although not the place for fashion-label hunting, there are plenty of clothes, sunglasses and jewellery shops along ulitsa Pirin.