Bansko is a quiet, rural town in Bulgaria nestled between the Pirin and Rila mountains. And it’s a bustling ski resort from late December until end of March. Bansko literally has two faces shaped by the seasons and finding their expression in two markedly different parts of the town: the old town (or downtown) and the are close to the gondola.
Although Bansko is offering very good skiing conditions at a low price we’ve come to prefer the off-season Bansko from April until December. Summer can be more beautiful than Winter – and is definitely more quiet.
You can get everything you need for daily life (or a retreat) right inn Bansko. Cost of living is at 50% or less of the level in Scandinavia, France, the UK or Germany. A longer stay is definitely affordable. You can get the same as in Austria or Switzerland or Germany’s Bavaria in terms of nature, mountains, hiking, mountainbiking, recreational and cultural activities – but for much less money. Bulgaria and Bansko are a real affordable treat.
But don’t just our word for it! Others have found their way to lovely Bansko, too. And they have written up great guides to lots of activities and sight seeing locations in and around Bansko.
- “23 things to see, do and eat in Bansko, Bulgaria (besides skiing)” by Maria
- “Bansko Summer Activities – Off season in a ski town” by Sarah and Nigel
And should you not mind travelling a couple of hours then you can make trips to Sofia (2+ hours car ride) or the Greek coast or even Turkey. It’s all pretty close by and worthwhile a trip especially in summer.
And here are some suggestions from out landlord Miro. He’s a local and totally convinced of Bansko and Bulgaria in general being a highly underrated travel destination (or location for getting things done).
Miro likes to say “On ten different days you can do ten different exciting things in Bansko!” For example:
- Day 1: Mountain hiking
- Day 2: A trip to the Rila Monastery
- Day 3: Mountainbiking
- Day 4. A trip to Belista Bear Park
- Day 5: Horse riding
- Day 6: A trip to Melnik for some wine tasing
- Day 7: (maybe take a break today?)
- Day 8: Rafting on the Struma river
- Day 9: Play some golf
- Day 10: Visit local museums in old town
Additionally in the summer there’s almost every weekend some cultural event happening in Bansko e.g. a jazz festival or a balkan fold fest.
In case you were wondering where Bansko is on the map: it’s in the south of Bulgaria.
You can easily get there by flying in to Sofia and then rent a car or take a public bus or use a shuttle. The highway and roads to Bansko usually are not crowded. Driving in Bulgaria is easy going (unlike in Germany, for example).