Over the years we’ve come to realize that a week away skiing can mean very different things to many different people. Some enjoy waking up at the crack of dawn and skiing all day. Others simply like to kick back and treat the holiday as exactly that. Either way, we’ve got you covered, with early breakfast and lifts to the gondola, or a more leisurely start with breakfast left out for whatever time you decide to wake up.
As Winter in Bansko has a lot more going for it than just skiing, we’ve made a little list that has something for everyone.
1. Wander around Bansko’s Old Town
Just a short stroll from our Bansko chalets you’ll wander into the charming cobbled streets of Bansko’s old town. This UNESCO World Heritage site will take you back centuries, with beautiful stone buildings winding off in all directions. With many of the buildings still residential, some run as Mehana’s (traditionally decorated taverns serving food and drinks), whilst others house museums or the notable Holy Trinity Church which is well worth a visit and can be spotted by its 30m tall bell tower.
Pirin street is one of Bansko’s main streets and where you’ll find the church. This street is lined with shops and restaurants that if followed will eventually lead you to the main skiing gondola.
2. Treat yourself to some traditional food at one of Bansko’s Mehanas
For us, there’s no better way to enjoy Bansko than to spend an afternoon in one of its many Mehanas. These taverns are a great experience with traditional dishes being served, often with a backdrop of Balkan music and dance. If you’re looking for ideas of where and what to eat take a quick look at our list of foods to try in Bansko. Whilst the Bulgarian diet definitely has a tendency to be meat-based you’ll also find some cracking vegetarian options.
3. Sample some local Bansko wine
Regardless of the time of day, for us, it’s always worth trying the house wine. If it’s not homemade it’ll likely be very local, very tasty, and always accompanies whichever food is being served. As an added bonus, if you find yourself out later into the night sampling some local wine it’s likely to help limber up the body before attempting the Horo, a range of traditional dances which are great fun.
If you’d like to learn a little more about some of the great wines Bulgaria has to offer we also offer in chalet wine tasting sessions which will run you through all the classics accompanied by some tasty local mezze options.
4. Relax and enjoy some of Bulgaria’s geothermally heated pools
Whether you’re skiing or not, sitting back and relaxing in a naturally heated pool is a must. Every week we arrange and run excursions to a small village just outside Bansko which boasts geothermal springs which are thought to have an array or healing properties. Either way, enjoying a nice cold drink whilst relaxing in luxuriously warm water shouldn’t be missed.
We highly recommend and run all our excursions through Izgreva, a Spa and restaurant in Banya that offers great food, blissful massages and the opportunity to swim in warm water whilst being surrounded by snow. If you’d like more information on the excursions we have to offer in Bansko just get in touch.
5. Visit the Rila Monastery
If you’re looking to go a little further afield and fancy some history, visiting the Rila monastery is a great option. Dating back to the 10th century this orthodox monastery is one of Bulgaria’s most important cultural and historical landmarks. To date it still attracts thousands of pilgrims each year. As the monastery’s roughly an hour and a halfs journey from Bansko we’d recommend putting aside a day to really soak up the rich history this monument has to offer.
6. Snowshoeing in Bansko
Snowshoeing is a great way of getting out and enjoying the beautiful Pirin mountains without having to lug around skies or snowboards. If you’re looking to get away from the crowds and see the mountains from a different angle we’re here to help. From our chalets we arrange weekly walks that can suit any group. From a casual stroll to the Pirin’s oldest pine tree (Baykushev’s pine) to a more adventurous walk in the neighboring resort of Dobrinishte.
7. Ice skating in Bansko
This is one for the families whose children haven’t already had enough snow or simply want something different. Bansko’s ice rink is located on Pirin street and costs 12 Bulgarian lev for 2 hours making it a nice affordable option.
8. Try Mountain Biking in the Pirin mountains
Bansko sits at the foot of the Pirin mountain which over the past few years have seen a sharp increase in the number of bike trails being set. This, as well as the close by and accessible Rila mountains make mountain biking a great option if the weather permits. As well as being a winter option, mountain biking in Bulgaria is much more popular in the summer with endless options available. We’d recommend reading a blog by Maria (Travelling Buzz) if you’re looking for ideas or inspiration. As always, if you’re need a little help arranging some biking whilst in resort we’re happy to help and advise.
9. Visit on of Bansko’s escape rooms
This might not be the first thing you think to do when on a skiing trip to Bansko but it is something you should definitely give a go. Whilst an escape room isn’t something you’ll find in most ski resorts, Bansko has two that run right through the winter. If you’re looking for some more info click here.
10. Check out Bansko or Razlog’s local markets
This has always been one of our favourite activities and is where we source a lot of the produce we use in the chalets. Every Sunday, Bansko has its main market which is followed by Razlog’s (neighboring town) local market on Monday. In both you’ll find a whole host of characters selling a huge variety of products from home made rugs to local rakia (spirit) and wine.
If you’re looking for culture this is a great place to find it whilst also getting the chance to try some of Bulgaria’s best homemade products. As we’re such big fans we’re always happy to take you along, just let us know when you arrive.
Above we’ve only listed 10 possible things to do in Bansko if you’re not skiing or snowboarding or simply want a day off but the list is endless. If you do want more info just give us a shout or ask when you get to us.