Getting the best from the cheap ski holiday in Bulgaria
Ski trips to Bulgarian resorts draw a significant chunk of the U.K ski & snowboard market. We're attracted by the promise of low prices & encouraged by incredible package deals with flights to Sofia departing from a range of U.K airports.
In this article we'll look at Bansko, the most popular resort with us Brits.
A quick Google search for "Bansko Review" will serve up a variety of sites full of reviews, mostly very positive.
- Great lifts
- Incredible prices
- Good food
- Quality accommodation
- Plenty of night life
You'll find some bad reviews too, reading between the lines it seems that some accommodation isn't great and the town at night can be rough at times. Other common complaints involve difficulties in organising lift passes, confusion on arrival & difficulties finding the right information. Bankso offers many visitors so much but leaves a few dissatisfied, so how do we get the best from Bansko?
I visited in Jan 2013 staying in a self catered appartment a short walk to the town & even shorter walk to the gondola. I had a great time on and off the slopes. Investigating the area & talking to the locals & local Brits in the ski industry offered a little to light the way. A bit about my trip...
Most worthy of note:
Our transfer driver, Philip was a fantastic guy and the 3 hour transfer to our accomodation just flew by. When we got into the car he gave us short tour guide review of the area and seemed genuinely interested in us as people and not just paying customers. He drove us back to the airport as well & was just as helpful.
As for where to eat we found Victoria restaurant very good value for money, with good service. It serves a good range of food from pizza and pasta to meats, fish and chicken and also a children's menu.
The Queen Pub was also a nice place to eat and go for a drink. It has a lovely atmosphere with a good range of music, friendly and helpful staff, is very nicely set out with American diner style tables, pool tables, darts boards, TVs showing sports and two PS3s with a small range of games. Needing to work for a day they let us use their WiFi and power supply all day, though we did have lunch and dinner and many drinks.
The slopes are great for begginers & intermediates with few advanced pistes, I had a lot of fun but wasn't challenged. They weren't crowded, the ski schools seemed organised & family groups could ski in their own space & I found it easy to naviagte through. To give the slopes a better review I asked my girlfriend Jo, who came with me on her first snowboarding trip, to have a go.
Beginner Snowboarding in Bankso - by Jo
Lets describe the slopes, they were beautiful! We didn't have perfect weather the whole time but it was pretty awesome most of the time. The mountain was stunning, so beautiful and loads of slopes to chose from. I didn't experience any of the black pistes being a beginner but I went on blues and a few reds which were very exciting and very well maintained. It helps that the piste layout is simple, it's hard to get lost for long. We had some good snowfall & so had a good mix of fluffy soft powder and slippery ice. The snow road was bit tricky for me to handle at first with some flat & uphill sections and narrow steep drops but nothing I couldn't manage. At the lifts we rarely found queues but at the bottom gondola it's every man for themselves, expect to be poked with skies and elbows! Although it's no matter once your on top of that mountain looking down at the 16 kilometres of beautiful white snow.
Jo completely caught the bug in Bansko, returning a competent snowboarder champing at the bit for more. So Bansko is great for beginners & good for intermediates.
All the rumours about great prices are true too, you can get a beer (750ml), sausage & chips on the piste for about €9. In the restaurants and the supermarket the value continues. Self catering can be done very cheaply & with plenty of perks. One thing to mention was a lack of fresh fruit, although an oasis was found on the main street at a stall. You can order freshly squeezed orange juice with lemon and pink grapefruit, we found them delicious in the morning.
Ski chalets in Bansko, Bansko ski chalet & apartment accommodation options I'd reccommend include
Catered luxury chalets run by Brits with everything as you'd expect. There are some fantastic chalets available with everything taken care of and all the benefit of great local knowledge. A top scorer on trip advisor is Chalet Isabella one of three chalets and an appartment run by a nice man called Matthew at Bansko Chalets.
Right in the centre of the action in Bansko is the Chalet Hotel Valentina Heights. Just a few meters from the lifts and local ammenities, this flexible, comfortable catered ski hotel is great for convenience at a great price.
Modern self catering apartments, I stayed at Royal Bansko Appartments & found them modern, comfortable & with great communal leisure facilites. When it comes to ski acccommodation fantastic prices can be found in dealing direct with the owner, www.chaletfinder.co.uk & many other sites offer access to a range of options.
When you get it right, Bansko has got to be the best value for money you can get as a Brit and especially for families & beginners.