Bansko is located in Southern Bulgaria at the foothills of the beautiful Pirin Mountains. A traditional Bulgarian town (not purpose built like many of its counterparts), Bansko is a unique ski destination. It is well worth visiting for it’s culture and tradition alone and attracts visitors keen to view its monuments, museum-houses and renowned school of Orthodox icon painting.
In recent years this dark horse of ski resorts has emerged as Eastern Europe´s best developed ski resort. Thanks to an investment of over 40 million euros by Ulen, the resort´s management company, it enjoys a new modern ski lift system and state-of-the-art snow making machines. Skiers enjoy excellent, well groomed slopes, good snow cover and efficient infrastructure.
With prices a fraction of other established resorts, a variety of ski runs suitable for skiers of all levels and beautiful alpine scenery, Bansko´s popularity with Northern European skiers is no surprise.
Bansko Express is a simple and secure online booking service for return transfers between Sofia Airport and the Bansko Resort. Bansko Express offers an amazingly low cost transfer from £12.00 per person each way (plus £1.00 booking fee).
Unlike other transfer companies Bansko Express has no hidden charges, like, fuel surcharges, out of office hours, tax, insurance etc.
It is possible to fly direct from major UK airports to Sofia, the closest airport to Bansko. Airlines which fly direct from UK include Air Bulgaria from Gatwick and British Airways from Heathrow.
Bansko is 160 km from Sofia and transfer time is about two and a half hours. There is a proposal to build a new airport in the region itself.
"The best ski resort in eastern Europe" - Olympic Ski Gold Medalist, Alberto Tomba
Bansko offers excellent skiing conditions; the Pirin Mountains predominantly Alpine in character consist of two towering peaks towering of over 2,900 metres.
An eight seater Doppelmayer gondola brings skiers to the mid-mountain area which is 1,725 metres in height, where a small network of lifts ferries skiers to the mountains´ highest point of 2,650 metres.
Presently Bansko has a vertical drop of 1,100 metres or 1,600 metres if you include the long, gentle run back to the town. The final 7km is floodlit and covered by snow cannons.
Historically, the resort enjoys a lengthy snow and ski season starting in mid December and running until mid May.
The total area of marked ski runs is 65 km with easy and comfortable access to the pistes via 8 seat gondolas, five 4 seat lifts, a 3 seat POMA lift, 6 drags and 10 baby drags.
Regular maintenance by 12 Kassbohrer snow grooming machines and 40 TechoAllpin snow cannons guarantees a high quality, crisp snow cover. Whilst a modern electronic, hands-free lift pass system ensures quick and easy access to all the lifts and prevents long queues from forming.
Skiing in Bansko is ideal for beginners and intermediates looking to learn how to ski on a budget. The majority of the runs are either red or blue, however advanced skiers are not forgotten with the ‘Alberto Tomba’ black run which was opened by the Olympic Ski gold medalist last year.
Tuition is available from the Ulen ski and snowboard school. Staffed by highly qualified English speaking teachers, there is a wide variety of courses on offer from beginners to advanced ski and snowboarding. Children are well catered for with a Junior Ski Club that has a dedicated area with three baby drags, a magic carpet and play area.
The Resort at a GlanceSki Map
Après ski in Bansko centres around the local taverns (of which there are over 100) called Mehanas. They serve tasty traditional cuisine and offer a good selection of Bulgarian wines. Once inside the ambience is warm and friendly, with open log fire, checked tablecloths and live Bulgarian folk music.
There are a couple of international après ski bars and popular haunts include Happy End and The Lions Pub. After hours the party goers head to nightclubs such as Amnesia and No Name.
Younger visitors tend to gather in the area around Nikola Vaptsarov Place to enjoy the lively bars and to sample some rakiya (plum or grape type brandy) the local firewater.
Other leisure facilities in the town include a ten pin bowling alley and ice-rink, perfect for family entertainment. Typical ski activities such as tobogganing and skidooing are also available
There are also two casinos containing the usual variety of fruit machines and roulette wheels, plus opportunities to bet on card games such as blackjack and poker.
The town itself features a good variety of local shops, while souvenir hunters would be advised to head to the historic old town. There are plenty of opportunities to shop after a day on slopes, since many establishments stay open until 8p.m
Crucially Bansko satisfies the key investment critieria of being popular as both a summer and winter resort.
As a summer resort it offers a myriad outdoor activities such as hiking, shooting, fishing, canoeing and horse riding.
Bansko is also set to attract the golfing fraternity with the construction of an Ian Woosnam designed professional 18-hole golf course currently underway.
In 15 years time, there will be 40 golf courses in Bulgaria... attracting buyers... Welshman Woosnam was in Bulgaria last November when building work commenced on two courses he designed - Lighthouse near Balchik and Pirin, near Bansko. Woosnam’s Pirin and Lighthouse projects are both valued at about 118 million euros.
Source: Sofia Echo
Sporting activities aside Bansko and its surrounding area offers several historic towns, traditional villages, castles and churches to visit. A popular attraction is the ancient fortress remains at Staroto Gradishte, only 4 km from Bansko.
South of Bansko lies the Pirin National Park. The largest nature park in Bulgaria, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the unique flora and fauna, beautiful lakes, waterfalls, caves, ancient trees and various historical sites that can be found there. It is possible to hike and trek freely in the park.
Four million tourists are expected to visit Bulgaria this winter season with 800,000 of these alone choosing to visit the south-western ski resort of Bansko.
As Bansko becomes an established destination prices are sure to rise, so this is an ideal opportunity to buy property in a resort that serves as a winter and summer home.
THERE IS A FANTASTIC GOLF COURSE JUST A SHORT DRIVE AWAY.
Golf courses inside Pirin Golf and Country Club
Bansko golf course is a Championship, 18-hole (par 72) layout, designed by the winning European team 2006 Ryder Cup Captain , Ian Woosnam OBE. To be precise, the entire golf infrastructure is located within the territory of Razlog municipality and for this reason it is frequently named as the Razlog golf course.
The Ian Woosnam 18 Hole golf course are both incorporated in the award winning Pirin Golf and Country Club , a 5* "residents only" golf-ski-SPA resort , which spreads on more than half a square mile under the highest Pirin mountain peaks.
The site of the Ian Woosnam and the Pine course has the optimum location at the foot of the forest covered mountain slopes of Pirin mountain, with marvelous views of Pirin, Rila and Rhodopa Mountains.
On Bansko scenic Pirin golf course , one will play amidst crystal mountain creeks, tranquil lakes and lush meadows. Mountain stream water comes into play on 5 of 18 holes and its fairways are accented with wildflowers and flanked by towering pines and white firs. This is a memorable place for picturesque play in the bowl-like Bansko - Razlog valley, just underneath snow covered peaks that rise steeply up to 8500 feet. Pirin Golf course real photos in all four directions give excellent idea about the place.
Bansko's Pirin golf course construction phase I (first 9 holes) was successfully completed in September 2007. 6 October 2007 was a historic date for Bansko Razlog golf - the first "Family & Friends Tournament" was organised under Vihren peak . The new 18-hole Pine course inside Pirin Golf & Country Club was officially announced during the event. Those who invest in Pirin Golf & Country Club and those who use their properties will have exclusive access to the entire golf infrastructure under Pirin mountain - one of the largest golf playing grounds in European ski resort.
Pirin Golf & Country Club courses will be as beautiful to look at as it will be challenging to play. The par 72 Ian Woosnam signature golf course is physically demanding, not only because of the rugged terrain, but also because of its design - strategically located bunkers which guard the landing areas and large, undulating greens. It is widely believed that the first Pirin Golf tournaments will be played in 2010.
In 2007 a new, intermediary Masterplan with the 27-hole layout showing the location of the Pine course was made public. Please note that this is not the final layout of the golf complex with 36 holes golf under Vihren peak.
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