Bansko can trace it's history way back in time to the 9th & 10th centuries. The settlement developed through the ages into a very important trading hub with links to many ancient groups of people. This trading history brought wealth to the town and the creation of many fine buildings. It is this blend of magestic mountains and the many beautiful ancient town centre buildings that cannot help to draw you to this wonderful place. It is well worth a walk into the old part of town to check out the cobbled streets and elegant stone houses. There are many examples to see located near the main church just above the town square.
The town of Bansko is located at the base of the Unesco World Heritage Site of the Pirin National Park, officially recognised in 1983. The World Heritage property covers an area of around 40,000 ha in the Pirin Mountains and overlaps with the undeveloped areas of Pirin National Park. The diverse limestone mountain landscapes of the property include over 70 glacial lakes and a range of glacial landforms, with many waterfalls, rocky screes and caves. Forests are dominated by conifers, and the higher areas harbour alpine meadows below the summits. The property includes a range of endemic and relict species that are representative of the Balkan Pleistocene flora.
Bansko now also boasts the biggest and newest ski facilities in Bulgaria making it a uniquely fabulous holiday destination for both the summer and winter seasons.
The residents of the old town still enjoy their traditional, rural way of life. Taking a walk down the side streets will open your eyes to a whole new world, with almost every backyard having a productive vegetable garden and livestock wandering around. It is not uncommon to see the cow and goat herds passing by the apartment in the morning and evening as they move from pasture to their own homes in the town, a truly awe inspiring sight.
There is a wide selection of traditional taverns, possibly over 100, known as Mehanas, located in Bansko. Many are housed in the old style traditional buildings filled with character and charm, with huge log fires to keep you toasty warm in the winter months. Whilst in the summer months the gardens of these Mehanas offer a rest bite from the mid day sun and a fine place to take a refreshing beer or bite to eat. They serve a large variety of local specialities, besides some international style dishes at very reasonable prices. A family evening dinner including wine or beer should not be too much more than £10 per head!
Ski prices are similarly low, especially compared with the more traditional western European resorts of the Alps or Pyrenees. So whatever time of year you visit, you will be pleasantly surprised how little you will spend compared to other holiday destinations.
Bansko is well set up for a wide range of other activities too. Apart from the skiing or boarding in winter you could hire skidoos or try tandem paragliding. In summer, the Pirin National Park has some of the best hiking in Bulgaria, it even boasts Bulgaria’s second highest peak, Vihren at 2914 m.
Vihren (Bulgarian: ) is the highest peak of Bulgaria's Pirin Mountains. Reaching 2,914 metres (9,560 ft), it is Bulgaria's second and the Balkans' third highest, after Musala and Mount Olympus. The peak is located in Pirin's northern parts. The easiest route is from the Vihren chalet (2,000 m), reaching the summit from the south. Other routes include those from Banderitsa chalet (1,800 m) or across the ridge Koncheto from the north. A number of Pirin's lakes are located around the peak. This is a must do hike with outstanding views from the summit.
Fantastically warm summer days through June, July and August give Bansko a unique mountain atmosphere. Glorious sunshine through the day with mid 30 centigrade not unusual but that wonderful mountain freshness in the evenings. Sit out in the town square for a beer or meal with friends and family with no more than a T-shirt & perhaps a cardigan for the shoulders later in the evening.
With 3 mountain ranges to discover on the doorstep, Pirin, Rila and Rhodope, there are miles of exploring to be done.
Mountain biking paradise is an understatement. There are miles of fantastic mountain biking trails to ride and discover, from single track through the forest to fast logging trails and mountain roads leading to hidden gems. This is epic mountain bike terrain, wild and untamed!
Close by there are centres for horse riding and archery, fishing, white-water rafting, golf, off road buggies and jeep safaris up into the mountains. Then again perhaps all you need do is to rest and relax, Bansko and the nearby towns of Banya & Dobrinishte offer many venues for all manner of spa treatments, a perfect way to unwind. Many excursions are also on offer to other fabulous places and attractions nearby.
Bansko offers a whole host of things to do and see. If you are an adrenalin junky or a R&R specialist (Spas, pools & cocktails) we know Bansko has plenty for everyone to enjoy!