Monday, 21 August 2017

When to go

The town of Bansko, located in the Pirin Mountain in south-western Bulgaria, is a popular destination for both winter and summer. Its many and varying ski slopes and its well-developed infrastructure make it Bulgaria’s most popular resort for winter sports. In the summer, the Pirin Mountain provides ample opportunities for hiking, while the international jazz festival that takes place in Bansko each August attracts the cultural aficionados crowd every summer.

How to get there


By Air

Most foreign visitors reach Bansko via the Sofia Airport, with the bus ride from there to the resort lasting about 2.5 hours. International and Bulgarian airlines fly to Sofia Airport from most of the major Western European cities, from which farther destinations can be reached. In addition to regular airlines, several low-cost companies now also fly to and from Bulgaria’s capital.

By Rail

Although no Bulgarian skier would use the trains to reach Bansko, it is in theory possible. It might even prove to be an adventure, as – because of the mountainous terrain, the rail lines to Bansko are narrow-gauge. Trains connect Bansko’s railway station (++359-7-443-2215) to the nearby towns of Septemvri, Dobrinishte and Velingrad and from there to larger cities around the country. Trains connect Sofia to Bansko once a day, with a change at the Septemvri station. The entire trip, according to the official timetable, lasts about 7:30 hours, one of which is spent waiting for the second train. More information on trains and their timetable can be found at the Bulgarian National Railways’ official website.

By Road

Bansko is about 150 kilometres away from Sofia (driving time – about 2:15 hours), 160 kilometres away from Plovdiv (driving time – 2:30 hours), 420 kilometres from Burgas (driving time – 5:30 hours) and 530 kilometres from Varna (driving time - about 7 hours). Regular bus services also connect Bansko to Bulgaria’s major cities (Bansko Couch station ++359-7-498-8420).

Bansko is also not far from some of the bigger cities in the Balkans – it is only 240 kilometres (3:30 hours) from Thessaloniki in Greece, 280 kilometres (4 hours) from Skopje in Macedonia , 565 kilometres (7 hours) from Bucharest in Romania and 540 kilometres (6:30 hours) from Belgrade in Serbia.

Where to stay

Bansko’s rapid development and sprawl in recent years has afforded great diversity in the kinds of accommodation available to tourists, ranging from luxurious, five-star hotels to renting a room in a private house, with everything in-between. Renting an apartment or house for the whole winter, or even purchasing property, is also a possibility for those who intend to come back to Bansko repeatedly during the ski season.

Hotels Five Stars

Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena

Whether visiting Bansko for business or leisure purposes, the Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena is the ideal base from which to work or explore all that the town has to offer.



Hotels One Star

Bio-Hotel Moravsko Selo

Entirely among nature and close to Bansko, the quiet, calm and cozy Bio-Hotel Moravsko Selo provides excellent conditions for a complete escape and a relaxing vacation.



Where to eat

Because of the big tourist influx, there is a tavern at pretty much every corner of Bansko’s winding cobblestone streets. Although most places overwhelm with their “authentic” atmosphere –


Balkan Culinary Wars I: Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece in a Ruthless Fight over a Greasy Snack

A dozen modifications of the same dish are at the bottom of a deep culinary dispute on the Balkans. The Bulgarian banitsa, the Serbian gibanica, the Greek pita, the Macedonian maznik


complete with waitresses in national costumes, dishes serves in traditional pottery and blaring folk music, some of them actually offer quite delicious food and some dishes special to the region. Grilled meats, red wine and rakyia prove a pleasant end to a day spent on the slopes. Menus are generally overprices, but some cheaper options are also available.