Skiing and snowboarding trips are exciting holidays that many of us love. Whether it is because of its sporty nature, nature its self, the beautiful scenery, the relaxed atmosphere and the fact that drinking all day and all night is a normal thing to do when skiing! It could be all of the above. But those who enjoy a skiing or snowboarding know that these holidays can be particularly expensive. Bansko in Bulgaria however is a little bit different…About two weeks ago I went skiing with my family in Bansko, Bulgaria for the first time in my life. I have been skiing since I was four years old. Granted…at four I probably wasn’t so good but that is when I first put on my skis and got on the kiddy slopes. I am now 21 years old and have been skiing in quite a few places around Europe. I have been to lots of places in France, Italy and Austria. All of which have been the usual overly expensive skiing holiday prices. As a student, (or a human being who loves to travel) I often find it hard to justify spending so much money on a skiing holiday when I can go traveling for months for the same price. But Bansko, Bulgaria opened my eyes, and I now realise that I can go skiing for an actual decent price.
The Bulgarian currency is ‘Bulgarian lev’ and it is worth approximately half the English pound. 1 lev = 0.44 British Pound.
Food in Bansko is cheap as chips in the town, especially if you go to the right places (less touristy spots as usual). And the lift passes are shockingly cheap too!
Lift pass prices as follows;
- Children under 6: free
- Children age 7-12: 1 day (40 leva), 5 days (140 leva), 9 days (220 leva), 13 days (325 leva)
- Student: 1 day (58 leva), 5 days (252 leva), 9 days (450 leva), 13 days (630 leva)
- Adult: 1 day (58 leva), 5 days (280 leva), 9 days (500 leva), 13 days (700 leva)
In comparison to other ski resorts around Europe these lift pass prices are very cheap.
After five days in Bansko we realised that our skiing trip cost us around half the price of what it usually does in other ski resorts in Europe.
The town Bansko its self is very pretty. Its old-fashioned buildings give the town lots of character, and make it very photogenic. But don’t stray too far from the centre as Bulgaria is in general quite a poor country, and it could be dangerous to walk around alone late at night in the poorer areas.
The slopes and the skiing in Bansko were really impressive. When I looked on a piste map I thought to my self that it looks quite small and only really thought about the disadvantages of that. However there was a large variation of runs and some great black runs as well so there is no need to worry about that. Because the resort is quite low down, Bansko is also really good for off-piste skiing too, which for me at least, is the best part about skiing! Another advantage of skiing there is the fact that almost all the runs lead to the same place so you don’t need to spend much time looking at piste maps or worrying about the fact that you might get lost. Disadvantages though are, if you’re going to Bansko for more than one week then you might get bored of the same runs, because although there is a nice variation of runs there isn’t loads of them. When skiing for a long period of time it can be nice to explore, and have a change of scenery. There is not much exploring to do in Bansko if I am honest.
I do think that Bansko is definitely worth visiting, especially if you are on a budget! I will also say that I noticed a lot of young people there (21-29 ish), and that the slopes in Bansko are full of exciting bars full of happy people dancing to the loud music. These are bars that you will ski past on you way down. From about 4pm they blare out music and you will not miss them. Bansko is especially worth a visit if you are young and poor just like me!
Places I recommend in Bansko
- The Irish Harp – a traditional Irish pub with a nice chatty landlord
- Euphoria – a bar and restaurant, great for a few drinks after a long day
- Matsurev Han – a traditional Bulgarian restaurant
- Le Retro – a lovely little French café