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Bansko is a town at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, part of Pirin National Park, in southwest Bulgaria.
A cheap mountain town, suitable for skiers and snowboarders alike, this place is often busy. I’ve been multiple times over the past 7 years and stayed in various hotels, mostly with no issue. This post is essentially just a photo dump from past trips with my tribe.
I’m returning to Bansko solo within the next 2months so keep an eye out for another blog post.
Beer in the vending machine will forever be a novelty for me. Perks of roaming the streets include friendly cats and dogs, interesting antique shops, and copious instant coffee machines.
Acting as a sensible snowboarder, I implore you to factor in additional money for food up the mountain and make sure you pack suitable snacks such as granola bars and water. Wear your base layers, wear your snow gear, and keep your helmet on. Weather can change at the drop of a hat, prepare to be caught out by a snowstorm.
On the mountain, my friends and I often meet up at Bar180 as a checkpoint. Sometimes you just need a hot wine or a Baileys hot chocolate to settle the nerves after an adrenaline inducing run. There’s also the cosy Goat bar as you leave the chairlift to the top blue run. Word of warning, don’t play fight and slip on the ice here… I ended up with a black eye before I’d even done my first run! There are a couple of restaurants on the mountain, though none particularly cheaper than the other, so we usually buy as little as possible and bring our own food up.
Opposite Hotel Strazhite was a tiny little place that did the most amazing chocolate crepes, I think we went there every single day instead of eating dessert in the hotel. I don’t know the name, its sign just said Pancakes and Hot Dog.
I’ve always opted for half board at the hotel to help reduce food costs though it is cheap to eat down in the Old Town. Many a good Mehana can be found, or if you want fast-food, try a kebab.
Some of the hotel food can be a bit bland, on a certain holiday you will be served cold beans, and you can’t always bite the cookies because they are too hard but, generally, we all found food we were happy to eat.
Dude, where’s my Erol?
After a good friend got slightly drunk at the airport and didn’t make it up the mountain the next day, it became an inside joke to quote “Dude, where's my Erol” if we couldn’t locate someone.
We all ski and board at varying levels so inform each other of our routes and give rough estimates of timings. Whilst it’s a great excuse to rest your legs and stop for a beverage, it is wise to keep tabs on your crew - mountains can be unforgiving. I’ve had friends seriously injure themselves and it was lucky we all knew roughly where the others were to find them when they didn’t arrive as expected.
There are tracking apps that may prove useful, but my phone had limited signal so I can’t validate their use.
Looking for somewhere cheap and cheerful, hotels with spas and pools? Thermal baths just a short trip away? Bansko offers something for every budget and additional fun on top. There’s an ice-skating rink, bowling alley, daytrips out to Sofia or local thermal baths, and a few of us chose to ride the skidoos up the mountain.
Overall, plenty of activities, which I love about Bansko and can’t wait to return. I hope you find it as fun as my friends and I do. Happy travels!