Pirin is known as one of Bulgaria’s best mountains and, as such is an extremely popular winter destination for many local and foreign mountain enthusiasts. This ski resort benefits from many fast lifts on the mountain, allowing skiers and recreational hikers quick access to the mountain and its slopes. The lifts work from morning until sunset, around 16:00 and it is advisable to arrive at the gondola as early as you can to skip the morning peak queue, or just buy a half day tickets because it might be the case that you have to wait for 2h before boarding and being on your way to the slopes.
Less known tip: book your stay into a 5* hotel and get the exclusive VIP Ski Pass so you don’t ever have to worry about queues and time.
The Pirin National Park is rich and mostly noted for the vast variety of flora and fauna, rather than dramatic mountain scenery. Thus it makes a great destination for a mountain retreat during other seasons as well. Lying in the Pirin Mountains and close to the Macedonian and Greek border, Bansko can gift you some amazing views of the Aegean Sea, when the days are clear.
The popular ski resort has had multiple investments come its way and is able to claim a good snow coverage along all of their slopes, thus enabling a pleasant skiing experience. Bansko ski resort has many snowmaking machines that cover most of the slopes and creates good skiing conditions according to the Bulgarian norms.
The resort offers mainly blue and red type of slopes including two black slopes. One of the most famous black slopes is named Tomba, after the famous Italian skier and goes a long and steep way down to the Banderitsa, where the end stop of the gondola lift is.
The Todorka top offers some of the best views over the surrounding landscapes, and at the most clear days you are able to spot a good view of the Aegean Sea. The slopes from Todorka are marked red and usually, when there isn’t enough snow just a few of those trails are open (2-3). The red and black slopes are usually sparsely populated, as many novices find them more challenging. However the blue slopes are very busy and the densely population, with novice skiers, makes them more dangerous than the red or even black slopes sometimes.
The Plateau is another stop for great scenic views of the town village and the flat Bulgarian landscape bellow the mountain end. From the Plateau you can also admire the grandiose view of Todorka up close with its sharp steep sites. The Plateau is usually very busy and could be hard finding a seat if you decide to relax before going down your next slope run.
Overall, you could get the impression that this is a resort mostly tailored for 18-25 year olds, with loud music and disco platforms on the Plateau and Banderitsa.
Ski in – Ski Out
There are very few hotels which could give you this luxury in Bansko, and those are Kempinski Grand Arena Hotel and Sport hotel, which are right next to the ski road. However only in Kempinski you can literally ski in right inside the hotel’s ski storage room.
As soon as the sun starts to set and the lifts begin to close, we head down the ski road to our hotel. As the temperatures plummet, we relax in the spa facilities before getting ready for dinner and wine.