Bansko is Bulgaria’s number one destination for winter sports enthusiasts. It is located at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, 160km south from the Bulgarian capital Sofia. Home to picturesque streets and meyhane restaurants, it is becoming more and more visited by tourists.
We had been willing to adventure ourselves in skiing or snowboarding for a really long time, so last February on the day of our 3rd year anniversary we took a bus from Sofia’s Central Bus Station to Bansko. We arrived at 11:30 in the morning and we checked in at Hotel Bojur & Bojurland Apartment Complex Hotel.
Hotel Bojur was an excellent choice. Nothing went wrong. The breakfast they served was incredible, plenty of options to eat or drink, we could have as much as we wished for. The room wasn’t super fancy, or anything like that, it was a regular room, but it was clean and it had a view of the street and the mountains. It had a Spa Center with a Swimming Pool and Jacuzzi, Turkish Bath, Sauna, everything we could have asked for. The price? Incredible. I loved it, she loved it, my wallet loved it… I’m ready to go back at any moment next winter.
We didn’t do much the first day. I believe we spent so much time in the pool that after having something for dinner at this place named “Cafe Ebar” we went straight to bed.
Snow had covered the floor during the night and it was still falling. It looked perfect for our first and only snowboarding day. As soon as we approached the Gondola Ski Lift we saw hundreds or thousands of people. I had never seen so many people standing right next to each other. We rented everything we needed and then we purchased our lift pass tickets that included the gondola and the seven kilometer slope that would bring us back down. The admission prices can be found on the official Bansko Ski website.
At first when I heard “7 Km Slope”, I thought…”piece of cake, we’ll be down in less than an hour…”, but it turned out to be totally different from what I expected. We took the lift to the Ski Center, we had some french fries, we equipped ourselves and we got ready for a new experience. The place was very crowded, I had never seen such a crowded place in Bulgaria. When you live in Sofia, you’re not used to hear people speaking foreign languages all the time, but there, in Bansko, it was as if English was its official language.
I do not recall how long we spent going down the mountain. It was snowing, the view was majestic, mountain streams were frozen, the pine trees were covered in white but snowboarding all the way down was just impossible. I started thinking we would never get to the bottom. Every single time we tried to get on our snowboards we would fall after sliding for ten or twenty seconds. When you slide down on a snowboard, your speed increases so fast that the only way of stopping it is by either falling or throwing yourself to the ground. I had watched several videos on how to break while snowboarding, but I don’t think they were very helpful. You’ll need a lot of practice before attempting such a long slope.
We were getting very tired and we ended up quitting. We sat on our snowboards and we slid all the way down. All I wanted was a proper shower and a few hours of sleep.
At nightfall we went for a stroll along some of Bansko’s most touristic streets. In every corner you’ll find yourself a pub, a restaurant and Christmas lights spread all over the place. After visiting several souvenir shops, we ended up buying some equipment for next year’s winter, two helmets and snow goggles. I am not sure if we’re visiting Bansko in the months to come, but I am one hundred percent sure that skiing will be checked off of my bucket list in the near future.
Next morning we enjoyed our last moments before going back to Sofia. We had our last spectacular breakfast and we spent half an hour swimming in the pool before checking out from the hotel.
We walked to Stari Grad (the Old Town) to visit a few attractions before heading to Bansko’s Bus Station. There are a few museums downtown that we didn’t get to visit. We were carrying our baggage and the time was short. We visited the Holy Trinity Church, the Monument Paisiy Hilendarski and we shot a few photos. In no time we were back to Sofia and our weekend was over. It is for sure a place that I’m willing to come back to and a destination that I strongly recommend.