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Covid Information For Bansko And Bulgaria

We hope you are all doing well out there wherever you are in the world. We also hope a winter off the mountain last season hasn’t been too painful for those who couldn’t travel.

On a positive note, we’ve been busy at Snomads HQ planning and the team are super confident that 2021/22 season will be able to go ahead without too many problems

Bansko was one of the very few ski resorts open in Europe last winter and was especially popular with locals due to the great snowfalls (Not sorry for mentioning it!).

Another obvious bonus was that the slopes were particularly quiet due to the anti-epidemic measures put in place by the managing company of the resort – ULEN, In fact, an inspection by the RHI from Blagoevgrad, which was conducted on the 31st January 2021 at Ski Center Bansko, stated the successful implications of all anti-epidemic measures, people could peacefully enjoy winter sports and the nature of the Pirin Mountains.

We had lots of requests from potential guests from all over the world who were planning their ski holiday in Bansko, however, most of them were unable to come out due to respective lockdowns in their native countries. With the way things are currently looking in the UK and Europe, we think this season is looking much more exciting.

Negative PCR Test To Enter Bulgaria

If you are planning your trip to Bansko or Bulgaria in general, from  Friday 29th of January 2020 all people arriving in Bulgaria must supply a negative PCR test on arrival, with a result up to 72 hours before entering the country.

Exceptions are allowed only for professional drivers, ship and aircraft crews, border workers and those transiting through the country. Bulgarian citizens and foreigners with permanent residence, as well as members of their families who do not present a document will be quarantined for 10 days.

You may also need a negative PCR test  for returning home. A fairly easy option is to get to the airport early have your test done at Sofia international where a 24-hour certified laboratory for PCR and antigen test for Covid-19 has been established at Terminal 2. The price when writing this article is 84 Bulgarian Leva for a rapid PCR and 45 Bulgarian Leva for rapid antigen test.

Current COVID-19 Situation In Bulgaria

Everywhere in Bulgaria has been very close to normal since mid-June 2020. This improved the mood, but we missed seeing many foreign tourists coming to Bansko for a summer break. 

Cities are bustling with activity, with bars and restaurants often more busy than ever before. Right now, there are no restrictions apart from the requirement to wear masks on public transport, as well as in shops and all public buildings.

As for the infection levels, these are reported as rising in Bulgaria in general. Year to date total excess fatalities are now edging up above previous years having been lower than normal for the first four months. Compared with the lockdowns being implemented in Northern Ireland and the North of England it’s all calm. we get our local facts checked from www.sofiaglobe.com

Covid Insurance

Apart from travel restrictions, there is a risk you may not be able to travel due to contracting Covid, or a member of your household falls ill. Which? has produced an in-depth guide for UK nationals to Covid insurance cover: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/10/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-your-travel-insurance/#cover. It’s worth thinking about insurance and the cost which, for some categories, has increased in price for 2021/22. An issue compounded by, it seems, make sure you check the details on the new GHIC card scheme which replaces the EHIC model post Brexit.

At the time of writing only Nationwide covers you if your destination restricts its borders before you travel for reasons relating to the pandemic — and you need to bank with them and buy an annual policy. For most travellers, this eventuality is uninsurable.

Flights

In short, if you just book your flights now (and they are cheap) then your downside is limited to the cost of the flight. Our accommodation comes with a Covid refund policy and all stays with Snomads include return airport transfers, bed and breakfast or fully catered accommodation in Bansko, in-resort transfers along with many other special treats during your stay.

If you are more of a risk taker, then it could be worth booking cheap flights, hoping that quarantine restrictions are lifted by the time you travel. If travel restrictions are lifted, then flights could become expensive rather quickly — it’s a tough call.

The best ski booking strategy for you is one where you’re not worried about anything, including a financial loss that could cause you long term problems. For most, it will be a case of making a booking immediately when restrictions are lifted. But delaying your booking could prove an expensive mistake. 

One under-reported fact is that about 200 000 Bulgarians have come back to Bulgaria from around Europe where they had been working. Most have stayed here, due to fewer jobs and country travel restrictions. The pent-up demand for flights is not just for tourism but also for outbound travel. All this will push up return airfares.

Our team will make sure to keep you updated through our blog & social media channels for any new covid measures for Bansko and Bulgaria.

Stay safe until next season, see you on the hill.

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