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Visitor reviews for Bansko Ski Resort
April 11, 2013
Jacob from United Kingdom
Nice to see so many snobs giving the place a bad review because you have all 'skied all over the world' and expect to pay less than half the price for the same standard of resort you would see in Canada/The Alps.
So there are big queues. If the solution is to get to the gondola for 8am then it's a solution. If you can't be bothered to drag yourself out of bed to do that then that's your decision. You can't expect to roll up mid morning during a public holiday and not have to queue. I skied in Austria over Christmas this year and it was exactly the same situation. Why? Because people have all gone on holiday to celebrate Christmas and enjoy their ski trip as you have so of course there will be queues at peak time!
If your ski rep has told you how to get round it then either do it and enjoy your skiing or don't do it and be miserable. But if your choice is the latter, don't come on here moaning about it.
I've been to Bansko several times, the snow is usually great, the food and prices are very reasonable if you go to the right places and don't expect a 3 course meal for £5. Lets face it, you might be in Bulgaria but you are still in 2013.
I agree with the others regarding where you stay and eat etc. Make use of the traditional accommodation and restaurants Bulgaria has to offer and you will have a great time. Those big 5* hotels shooting up everywhere are lovely but they have no atmosphere and are catering for hundreds of people so the food is nowhere near as good.
Bankso is good value for money, has some great skiing and a brilliant atmosphere. If you go over there with an open mind and treat the place and its people with respect you will want to return.
Based on 106 votes. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Bansko.
Public Transport: 3.5
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Bansko, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Bansko, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 4.2
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 4.2
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Bansko.
Ski in/Ski out: 3.5
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) There are no child care facilities at Bansko, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Bansko is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Bansko relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 3.9
(1) There are no snow groomers at Bansko, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Bansko are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Bansko is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 2.5
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Bansko, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 4.1
(1) Bansko usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 3.2
(1) The staff at Bansko are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Bansko are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 4.0
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 4.2
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 3.8
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Bansko has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Bansko, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 2.7
(1) Not even a kicker at Bansko, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Bansko, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Bansko has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 3.2
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 3.4
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 3.2
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 3.4
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 3.7
(1) Overall, Bansko is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 3.9
(1) Overall, Bansko is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.
Based on 106 votes. Vote
April 06, 2013
J. Mitford from Bulgaria
Bansko is a love it or hate it resort. If you stay in an independent hotel run by a local family, eat in the old town with its cobbled streets and traditional houses, hire you gear from locals and have you lessons with an instructor, from a local company, you will have a great stay and probably come back year after year.
If, on the other hand, you pay peanuts to stay in some soulless 4 or 5 star rated package hotel with bean soup for breakfast and frankfurters for dinner and hire you gear and lessons through a budget tour operator you will hate it. All the staff you meet will be underpaid and miserable and all the services you receive will be sub standard. If you drink and eat in tourist traps expect to get fleeced.
To be fair, there are some pretty full on queues at peak times but for the other 12 weeks of the season you can just stroll onto the main gondola.
The resort has great lifts, well groomed pistes and the off-piste is brilliant. Local food, drink and services are all brilliant and very cheap.
For independent travelers Bansko is great.
April 05, 2013
Andy Flanagan-Mosely from United Kingdom
I have been out here all season as a seasonnaire and I wanted to share my views on the place.
Reading a lot of other reviews on this site, I think, gives an very unfair and undeservedly bad image of the resort as nearly everyone that has left them has come for New Year, half-term or the Greek holiday (I think this is the last week in Feb). At those times the queues on the gondola can be up to 2 hours and the pistes are quite crowded. The only way around this is to book specialist accommodation (there are plenty of small family hotels, British run chalets and guest houses) that includes lifts up to the chairlifts (not tour operaters!) Either that or to get there by 8am and you'll walk straight on. Some reviews seem to contain outright lies (like the one saying there was no snow in January) and it made me wonder who wrote them and why? I was here all January and the snow was great and the temperatures never went above -2.
Apart from those weeks I never queued more than 15 minutes for the gondola and never, ever on the chairlifts on the mountain. The season is 16 weeks long. That's 13 weeks where the mountain is like a dream and 3 when big companies have overbooked the resort. Speaking to local business owners it has been this way for the last 6 years.
There is a big problem here with Brits coming to Bansko having paid very little for the holiday and then complaining that everything is very expensive. I have done two other seasons in France (Megeve) and Andorra and believe me, if you think 5 Leva (2.5 Euros) is expensive on the pistes for a drink/sandwich then you'll soon be back here after trying the Alps. In Andorra the sandwiches were at least 6 Euros and in France you can't get a drink under 7 Euros anywhere! I felt embarrassed to see people from my own country moaning how expensive 55 Euros a week was for ski hire! This is the price for 2 days hire in Megeve!
Every lift in resort is brand new, the pistes are empty out of holiday times and the off-piste is fantastic. The roads in town are interesting to say the least but this isn't Whistler!
I came here with an open mind, a fun loving attitude and stayed in the old town on a little cobbled road (most package tourists never even know this exists) and fell in love with the place and the people. If you go and stay in one of the soulless giant modern hotels for New Year week and expect empty pistes and Swiss level efficiency for a third of the price then you've already put an unrealistic level of expectation on the place.
Shop around. There are places in Bansko that are amazing for 50% of the price of the packages.
They just had the permission for the second gondola passed last month so I don't know what this will do to the resort. I don't know when it will happen though but it might help things for New Year and half-term weeks with the stupid queues.
Anyway, just off to go skiing now. Bit of new snow at the top so should be great for the powder!
April 03, 2013
Angela Watson from United Kingdom
Unfortunately, we went to Bansko for the New Year; never again. Poor infrastructure, poor management , poor attitude of staff at the gondola, fights breaking out in the queues which averaged 3 hours. We were not told of any other way of getting up to the top apart from the gondola. This was our son's first skiing holiday and unfortunately, it was all so upsetting for him he doesn't want to go again which is upsetting for me as I have been skiing for over 20 years. Our rep (Crystal) very kindly told us to get up earlier and get to the gondola by 8am to avoid the queues. Unfortunately, you do not always want to get up at the crack of dawn to be able to beat the queues. When we did eventually manage to get to the top the pistes were very overcrowded and I have to say I have never seen so many accidents. I have skied in many countries and many resorts including others in Bulgaria and never experienced anything like this.
Good points - none that I can think of.
Bad points - expensive ski hire for those that need it, (my partner had to take his skis back twice as the bindings were knackered and his boots, twice, as they kept opening - also knackered.
Very expensive for ski pass - something is only good value when you get to use it. We averaged 3 half days.
The queues so bad people missed their ski lessons as they couldn't get onto the gondola.
The place is full of Russians, you can't miss them (they are the ones with the money - along with the lousy attitude, bad manners and the unwillingness to queue).
Huge resort, overcrowded, building going on on a massive scale which is unfortunate as they cannot cope with the amount of people they have.
This resort should have a warning in the brochures - 'Don't even think about going there until they sort themselves out.'
March 27, 2013
T Drewett from United Kingdom
I recently spent 3 days in Bansko snowboarding and unfortunately, I will probably never return. I have already snowboarded in France and Austria and this Bulgarian resort is nowhere near the same high standard.
We had white-out for 2 of the 3 days which didn't help matters, however, we were badly informed of the closing/closed runs. I am by no means an expert at boarding but this resort offered very little in the way of a challenge or excitement, also the number of ski schools clogging the runs was very frustrating - it is basically a beginner's resort.
Personally, I would find it boring to stay there more than a few days, the passes aren't particularly cheap, the bar staff on the slopes were ridiculously rude despite our pleasant efforts - just so unecessary. Also, probably most annoying was the fact that half of what you think is open i.e. the other side of the mountain is closed indefinitely. We were unaware of this and they still provide maps that say it's open.
I'm 27 and enjoy apres-ski. There was very little in the way of good music here, also it was pretty dead most of the time, in peak season, which was disappointing. Other night life was fairly bad, again, nothing in the way of a indie/rock band, generally terrible food and entertainment. It is also the only snow resort I've been to where you get hounded to eat somewhere.
Good points: good snow, cheap food and drink in main town, pretty blue home run (although lots of tiring flats at the end but do-able)
Bad points: massively long transfer from airport, hugely expensive on slopes, rude staff, terrible gondola at bottom causes queues for hours with no real system to it, bad nightlife, ugly town, expensive ski-pass for limited slopes.
I'm sad to give such a bad review as I was really hoping this was going to be amazing. Unfortunately, I have been nothing but disappointed.
February 19, 2013
Mooshmoosh from United Kingdom
Here in Bansko right now and am very happy with the skiing. There is loads of snow and the resort runs have improved a little since the last time I was here. Bansko is still a relatively small resort but there is enough to challenge most people here for a week and it's a brilliant place for beginners. Everyone I have spoken to has been really happy with the ski schools anyway. There are 3 or 4 really nice reds and 3, maybe 4, blacks that are good fun for the experts. Food and drink are great value, ski pass just about ok considering the size of the place and childcare very good through Ulen at the top gondola. Don't even try to book it before you get here though as you'll get no reply to e-mails or calls. Our 5 year old is happy but the skiing she does as part of the daycare is very limited and we've had a lot of problems getting her some extra tuition; they seem to think she is too young! The queue for the first gondola of the day is an absolute joke but, as we have our daughter, we are able to take the VIP route which is normally 30 minutes. The actual queue has been terrible every day and I imagine may take 90 minutes or more to get up the mountain; that is just not acceptable but Bansko has too many beds and not enough skiing infrastructure. Someone here really needs to take note!!
February 19, 2013
Mark from United Kingdom
Just returned from a short 5 day break in Bansko. Stayed in a friend's apartment just across from the Kempinski so a nice short walk to the gondola. Queues were long in the morning, for the gondola, but no queues on the mountain for chairs. Tip: use the locker storage for boots, 5 lev for 24hrs and join the queue at the bottom of the gondola stairs. Pistes were good and wide, but became chopped up and mogely in the afternoon due to the amount of people on them. Across to the left of the mountain the runs were a little quieter so better. The long run back down to the gondola is ideal for timid skiers to get an hour's continuous skiing without queuing for the beginners poma. Resort is definitely for beginners/intermediates but plenty big enough for a few days. Mileage hungry skiers would be better at some of the linked Austrian/French resorts. Restaurants in town very good, although disappointed with the food and service at 'Euphoria'. People in shops and bars very friendly and helpful, and never really felt hassled by the reps outside bars etc. Bansko definitely needs a 2nd gondola.
February 08, 2013
steve from United Kingdom
We are out here at the moment. Don't worry about the snow, it's put a huge amount down in the past 24 hours and still coming down with loads more forecast. Lift can be very busy up until about 10.30 but there are other options such as free shuttle bus or taxis! Some of the more commercialised bars are a bit more expensive this year , however, it's still stunning value on the whole and there are some fabulous eateries and bars: Victoria and Hadji George being a couple of our favourites. You can make your stay in Bansko into whatever you want it to be. Enjoy, we certainly are.
February 06, 2013
Daniel from Bulgaria
I have been there "hundreds and hundreds of times" not because it is such a great resort with super friendly staff but because the other resorts in Bulgaria are even worse. And since I live in Bulgaria I can't afford to go to the Alps every weekend. Simple.
February 05, 2013
matt from United Kingdom
I was in Bansko in January 2011 and it was so warm all the snow was melting and there was not much of it, bearing in mind this was January and supposed to be the coldest month. Also, if one looks at the latitude of Bansko one can see it is far south of the Alps. The mountains are not as high and I believe in global warming. In 10 years time there will most likely not be enough snow to be a viable resort. The resort looks like it is totally over-developed, to such a degree the properties are all but worthless. I will never go there again. It is a shame, it could have been a nice place but due to global warming and total over-development they have ruined the place.
February 05, 2013
Seankata from United Kingdom
Well, I suppose a reply to another reviewer is required so I will repeat what I put in my earlier review: Bansko is a small, underdeveloped ski resort that will not appeal to skiers looking for a lot of variety. The infastructure is poor, they still seem to be building like crazy and there is already overcapacity for the amount of skiing. Roads and paths can sometimes disappear and the gondola can often be a pain, particularly at peak times or days. Lift passes have gone up and the resort needs to watch out here because what used to be good value is close now to being not. Where we disagree can be put down, I think, to our different attitudes to the things Bansko is and isn't and it does need to be said that if it is bad why go there "hundreds and hundreds" of times? What is good about Bansko, in my opinion, is the people and the value. It is still cheap by comparison to most of Europe, the food is generally great and the attitude of everyone I have met has been excellent (and remember my wife is originally from Bulgaria but rarely advertises this when we're there).
[note from the editor : reference to other reviewers are not included in submissions]
February 04, 2013
lewis from United Kingdom
Another reviewer has it spot on when he talks about the number of pistes, queues and value for money. He also didn't mention that when the top of the mountain is closed by frequent winds you lose a good 30% of piste. Recently one of the T-bars was closed for weeks(?still is).
Bansko needs more piste before a second gondola.
February 04, 2013
Pete Phillipson from United Kingdom
Here are some recommendations from my latest "Pete`s Bansko Winter Guide"
The names here are the English equivalent as some are written on the traditional old Mehanas in the Cyrillic alphabet. I have indicated my favourite places with a *
Zehtingievata House Mehana* – St George Kovachev 11 - Past the Lions Pub, down Pirin st, to the 3rd crossroads, there is a big illuminated sign on the right hand side of this junction advertising this Mehana as 50m down that road. Popular with locals. Chicken liver starters very good, The Pork Knuckle (in photo) here (27 Leva) is excellent and comes with homemade chips and gravy and is enough for around 3 people with say a Vegetable Sache. Very acceptable local red wine. They sometimes have live local music which is not too loud. An atmospheric old Mehana with oak beams and a lovely log fire where prices are very reasonable. 00359 899 559 599 / Wi Fi key: 888... (as many 8`s as you can get in)
Banski Han* - Located down the bottom of the town on the opposite side of the road to the petrol station by the big supermarket. Consistently good food & service. Chomlec (veal stew in photo) excellent, try with Garlic Perlenka, flat bread (photo) & their home made chips. Chicken with Rockford sauce & pork fillet both very nice as is the House red & white wine. Sometimes they have a very pleasant local band. Wi-Fi 6565656565 (65 X 5) Tel: 00 359 888 990 663
The Log House* – Down from the traffic lights turn right just along there on the left. great for lunch, soups, chicken, tripe, bean etc are only 2.50 leva, have with Perlenka flat bread. Also recommended for dinner. 00359 88 902 0201
Victoria* – Opposite the Kempinski Hotel, “Italian” very popular so best to book, nice atmosphere, excellent ribs with teriyaki sauce for starters, beef medallions recommended. nice deserts, Pizzas,
Tel 00359 (0) 887 761 500
St Ivan Rilski Hotel* - c1.5km to west of the gondola, We went here one night when our vehicle was snowed in at St Ivan, Christmas 2011 and were pleasantly surprised. The pork cutlet chops were very big, char grilled and excellent, 12.60 leva plus 1 leva for wild mushroom sauce. Excellent homemade chips. For desert I can recommend the pancakes with apple and cinnamon, that come with nice ice cream and you get 2 big pancakes which is enough for 2? I did not like the cheesecake here. Nice house red but served to us very chilled!
Bistro Pirin* – Just up from & opposite the ice skating rink. Wooden fronted building with big glass windows and nice log fire in Winter. V Nice chicken soup 1.80 leva, try the fried rice with chicken (makes a nice change) 8 leva, my lads like the breaded chicken fillet (v big) 10 leva. Proper homemade chips and you get a big plate full. This place is not posh but great food, popular with locals, very reasonable and good service.
For more information e mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you my latest guide.
February 04, 2013
Ryan from United Kingdom
I have just returned from a week in Bansko and just wanted to offer a few thoughts. Having been to the resort before, I was happy to return as the accommodation available best suited our needs.
We stayed at the Lucky Bansko Aparthotel as it has a lovely pool and Spa. It also offered a free kids club and creche. The hotel is brilliant and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone with a young family, though you might want to hire a car as it is the opposite end of the town from the gondola. All in all, the hotel offered great 5* facilities with excellent service for a very reasonable price.
Unfortunately, I don't think the same can be said of Ulen who own the ski lifts/resort. Lets just start with saying that the staff are generally pretty rude and unhelpful. I agree with all the other reviews: the gondola is a choke point (lengthy queues) and causes a lot of frustration at the start of the day. With regards to value for money, I paid £150 for a 6 day lift pass (which is only £120 in advance through skibansko.bg) but had a couple of days where the top lifts were closed early without any warnings. On my last day pretty much all the lifts were closed, again without any warning or indication. Having skied in the USA and across Europe previously, i know the weather does play a factor, but other resorts do offer updates/explanations instead of just leaving you stranded. It just seems to me that Ulen are doing their best to get as much money as possible and don't care about whether you have a good time. Why else would they not bother updating the piste map which shows a red run (on the far right) that has not been operating in the last 10 years?
In conclusion, the town itself is being heavily developed and the resort is getting busier. Unfortunately, as the ski resort is in a nature reserve they are not allowed to add additional runs. At some point the slopes will just get too busy and stop being attractive to anyone who wants to actually ski/board rather than drink cheap Zagorka beer.
February 01, 2013
Artid from Albania
Been there for New Year's Eve 2013. Ski slopes are good with a lot of variations, nice small city with descent restaurants, also good food, good hotels with spacious rooms, but, man, so many queues, queues, queues everywhere.
You want to take the gondola, 1-1.5 hours of queue, if you decide to drive up there, two hours of queue to get to the parking (there is this lady that first takes the money from you than walks to her kiosk to bring you the change than walks back to the kiosk to take the receipt, than walks back to give it to you), then they tell you you have to park 1 km from the ski center and walk there, then two to three hours of outdoors queue to get the ski pass (that was the most terrible) and even if you arrive to the window they surprisingly tell you you should pay in local currency which you have no place where to exchange but the black market. So another queue and to end, the perfect "queue day" you get the lady's toilet queue. I'm serious, I was glad to be a man that day watching my wife waiting about 30 minutes for the lady's room.
So I'm definitely not going there again. Not recommended absolutely! At least not on days like this.
January 22, 2013
Daniel from Bulgaria
To the reviewer that finds my comment about mostly lower class people liking Bansko insulting - whether it is insulting or not, it is 100% true.
The fact that you have or haven't experienced something somewhere does not make it the norm. Your comment is about personal experiences in Bansko (positive experiences) and France/Italy (bad experiences). However, I am talking about the bigger picture here, I am talking about the norm. And the norm is this:
1) most of foreign tourists in Bansko are lower class British who are interested in the cheap food and alcohol. I do not want to offend anyone - poor, middle class or rich, everyone has the right to have fun. But by attracting mostly such people you end up with lots of positive comments about Bansko for the wrong reasons - cheap food, alcohol and strippers.
2) Bansko has terrible queues very often. Not always but often to annoy people badly.
3) The number of pistes is not sufficicent for any decent skier who wants to be entertained for a whole week
4) The ski seaon is rather short and that, combined with the number of slopes, does not justify the high prices which are comaprable and often higher than top resorts in the Alps.
5) Most of the staff are super rude - I have lived in Bansko, skied there hundreds and hundreds of times so I think I am qualified to make such a jujdement better than anyone. Of course, I have experienced some great service in Bansko too. But again - I am talking about the norm here not some exceptions
6 ) Apart from the old town, Bansko is very ugly. I have been to some of the French mega resorts and they do not look good either with their appartment blocks from the 70s. They feel like a ghetto. But at least they do not have muddy roads, sometimes even lack of roads and pavements, terrible infrastructure, dozens if not hundreds of unfinished buildings, hundreds of cheap plastic kiosks, people stopping you every 10 meters asking you to go to their restaurant/club/pub/erotic bar etc etc.
Now, anyone tell me - which part of all this is wrong!
[note, to reviewer, from the editor: small amount of text removed for the sake of relevance]
January 15, 2013
Mark Cummings from United Kingdom
I like Bansko, but the conditions here at the moment are very poor. Very icy and patchy snow, lots of rocks and gravel sticking through even on the upper slopes. Needs several days of consistent snow.
Also the prices continue to rise both in the town and on the mountain. Prices are now about 3 times what they were 5 years ago.
January 12, 2013
Achille from Greece
Καλό βουνό ,πίστες μέτριες μετά τις 11το πρωί έχει πολλά βουναλακια και θέλει μεγάλη προσοχή ! Μεγάλη ουρά στην γονδολα . Ακριβό το Bansko για φαγητό . Μέτριο φαγητό από ποιότητα ! Σέρβις γενικά με άριστα το 10 θα έβαζα ένα 6 . Αυτά .
January 08, 2013
Jonathan Buxton from Bulgaria
We are currently on holiday in Bansko staying in one of the catered ski chalets. This is our second time here but our first during a peak week. The only problem is with the gondola. The lift queues up the mountain are non-existant compared to Austria (the only other place we have been for NY) but the gondola queue has been terrible for the NY week. It was fine before and now it's fine again. I think it's a shame that the majority of Bansko guests come during NY or half-term holidays and don't witness it out of these weeks when it's a pleasure to ski. Anyway, a bit of advice - get to the gondola for 8 and you'll be fine! Otherwise, stay in one of the chalets and they give you free lifts up the mountain to the first chair (about a 5 minute drive) all inclusive in the package.
I don't know how many companies there are but I'm pretty sure there are at least 8 in town that offer this service.
January 07, 2013
Seankata from United Kingdom
Just back from a last minute weekend in Bansko and had a great time again. I've read a few recent posts on here and agree in part with some of it. Anyone looking for advanced skiiing down a wide variety of pistes will not find it in Bansko. For a complete novice or new skier or people who don't judge everything by size Bansko will appeal. It is fair to say there are realistically around 10 different runs down the mountain and many of them end in the same bottleneck but the piste quality was uniformly excellent and there was enough to keep me happy and I would describe myself as an advanced intermediate. I've skied much of Europe and would agree that there are many better places to go if a big resort is what you're after. Bansko really needs that fabled second gondola! The prices for lift passes etc have definitely gone up and I agree again that they will need to be careful here because it won't take much more to drive people away; you can't charge 3 valleys prices for 1 mountain!! Where I disagree is the notion that the resort will only appeal a certain lower class demographic and find another reviewer's post of early December a bit insulting. What is in Banskos favour is the after ski stuff being generally excellent value and quality. My wife is originally from Sofia and we've never experienced rude staff or poor or expensive drinks and food but we both speak French and Italian and have heard plenty of insults from staff in other European resorts where they don't know we understand them. Anyway, I'm back again on the 14th Feb and personally can't wait.
January 05, 2013
Dimitris - Maria from Greece
We regret to say that we agree completely with another reviewers remarks. We fell in love with the place some years ago and bought a small apartment. However, it is not a joy to us any more. The horrible queues at the gondola, the high price of the ski pass, the huge amount of rubbish around the town are some of the drawbacks we've witnessed.
January 01, 2013
David Cummings from United Kingdom
I would just like to concur with Daniel's view of Bansko, posted last month. I have been to the resort every year since 2008 and the prices have gone up and up every year beyond reasonable justification. Bansko needs to be aware that there are other places that can attract our money and if not careful will drive away the regular visitor and only attract one time tourists. Prices in the restaurants are very expensive compared to similar meals found in restaurants in Razlog. As for customer service, that is also something that will eventually be resolved maybe in 15 years or so.
As for the building boom, well that bubble did not last very long and many people have had their fingers burned through that one (mainly the Brits). Happy days. Will be back on the slopes in a few weeks.
December 30, 2012
Phil from United Kingdom
True, Bansko has its faults but the town has been there for centuries and has such character; we are returning for the third time. The snowboarding is good and the apres-ski is very good and cheap and the restaurants are full of character and great value for money.
[note from the editor : this post has been edited in order to remove the name of another reviewer and maintain relevance]
December 27, 2012
Marco from United Kingdom
Why bother with Bansko when you can have much better skiing holidays in many Austrian little resorts?
December 12, 2012
Daniel from Bulgaria
Bansko is a good resort if you are an uneducated Englishman from Liverpool who judges a resort by the price of a pint of beer or if you are a Bulgarian who has never been anywhere in the Alps and compares Bansko to the other shitty resorts in Bulgaria.
Here are few facts which can't be denied:
1. Bansko hasn't got enough slopes - you can do all of them in one day.
2. Food, drinks and acccomodation in Bansko are cheap but lift passes are not. If you compare Bansko to other similar sized resorts in the Alps, Bansko's ski passes are actually more expensive. Yes, Yes, it is true. Go and compare them yourselves. But do not compare Bansko to giants like 3 Vallees or Val d'Isere, compare it to smaller resorts with 15-20 slopes and you will see.
3. Bansko's staff are very rude. Often, foreign tourists do not even realize it. More than once, I have witnessed situations where staff members talk to each and insult tourists in Bulgarian so that they do not understand the insults. "Fat British cow" or "Stupid Englishman" are the norm. Same with bar and restaurant staff. So next time when someone is smiling at you, think twice.
4. The queues are terrible. Not always but very often. Just terrible. Full stop.
5. Bansko's season pass just went up by 50% compared to last year. 50%! Go figure. No new lifts, no new pistes but still - 50% increase. The season pass now costs 750 Euros for 4 months of skiing (yes, this is how long, at the most, the ski season lasts in Bansko) for 75 km of slopes. Quick comparison: Val Thorens in 3 Vallees season pass - 850 Euros. Season duration: 6 months. Solden, Austria - 550 Euros. Season lasts 6 months, 150 km ski slopes, 2 glaciers.
As you can see, I am only stating hard facts here. I know that people can have a good time no matter how shit a place is. This is why I am not trying to convince anyone whether they should go or no. Just stating hard facts.
April 02, 2012
John Doyle from Bulgaria
In Bansko for late season skiing - it's sunny, there's plenty of snow still and the pistes are open and there is a distinct lack of crowds..
No gondola queues, therefore...
Food is good, Bansko is full of places to eat
No snow in Bansko town itself and the snow trail back to town is shut but that's not surprising
Locals are friendly - ski school excellent
So far it's highly recommended
March 29, 2012
Chris from United Kingdom
Please be aware that the run marked on the right of the piste map does not exist. It hasn't been in use for at least ten years, and in fact has many 40ft trees growing out of it.
Criminally, the Bansko management still show it on the piste map after it was taken out of use so long ago...
March 28, 2012
Seankata from United Kingdom
Just back from a long weekened in Bansko and was really impressed since the last visit (Christmas 2009). Two new lifts, one a much needed replacement and the other replacing a slightly scary button lift right at the top is great news as investment in the skiing is needed to keep pace with all the accommodation being built. Slopes were generally in excellent condition and seem to be better than last time too. Plenty of variety for all but the hardend black runner or boarders looking for off-piste paradise. Town still quaintly tatty and some great eating and drinking places are still easy to find. Food quality uniformly excellent, particularly if you're up for any of the local cuisine. Value for money is incredibly hard to beat with a meal for 4 plus drinks costing less than 2 pints in places like Les Arcs! Have yet to spend more than 3 days on the slopes in 5 visits but will be back next year for a couple of weeks; maybe the long awaited new gondola will be installed by then?!?
March 20, 2012
Lee Hailbury from United Kingdom
What a stunning holiday we have just returned from. The old town of Bansko is a very pretty old world type place with many little inns and coffee houses. The more modern area around the ski gondola is where we stayed in Bansko Royal Towers. This is a complex of privately owned apartments which seem to have everything you need for your holiday. The complex also has a spa and a restaurant. We booked through BamroHolidays.com an UK run operation and they had staff on the ground to meet us and attend to any issues while we were there. Great service. The mountain is small but has plenty of skiing for a family of intermediates. The prices generally in Bansko are very competitive with other European ski resorts even on the mountain. We loved it and will be returning on a regular basis.
March 18, 2012
Slavica from Serbia
Bansko is really an amazing place with soul. People are nice and kind. I came back January 4th this year. Ski runs are totally awesome, I enjoyed every day, I think I will come there next year too. I've been in Austria and France and actually, people are kinda cold there. I mean, they must be nice but they're not. I think Balkan really has some power, there are countries with soul, so Banskoo, wait for me next year!