Visitor reviews for Bansko Ski Resort

Bansko Ratings

Overall: 3.7. Based on 187 votes and 343 reviews. Vote

Snowsure: 3.9

(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.

Variety of pistes: 3.9

(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.

Off-piste: 3.5

(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.

Scenery: 4.1

(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.

Access: 3.5

(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.

Accommodation: 4.5

(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: 4.3

(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: 3.6

(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.

Childcare: 3.4

(1) There are no child care facilities at Bansko, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.

Snowmaking: 4.2

(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.

Shelter: 3.8

(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: 2.6

(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: 4.2

(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: 3.3

(1) The staff at Bansko are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Bansko are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.

Crowds/Queues: 2.7

(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: 4.1

(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: 4.3

(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.

Beginners: 3.9

(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.

Intermediates: 4.2

(1) No intermediate terrain at Bansko, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.

Advanced: 3.6

(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.

Cross-country: 3.1

(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.

Luge/Toboggan: 2.0

(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: 3.4

(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.

Eating: 4.2

(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.

Apres-Ski: 4.1

(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: 3.5

(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.

Entertainment: 3.6

(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: 3.4

(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): 3.8

(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): 4.0

(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.

Show all 35 ratings

January 09, 2014
John Dempsey from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Out here at the moment; took a two week break. Snow conditions aren't that great but considering the lack of snow fall they have done very well with the artificial snow. Around 60 - 70% of pistes are open. New Year was pretty quiet. We got to the gondola every day at around 9am and queued for around 20 minutes. No queues when we were on the mountain even during the New Year rush. Much quieter now; very sunny!
January 03, 2014
Plamen from Ski Bulgaria Bulgaria
Funny that those who defend Bansko talk mostly about how cheap food, alcohol and accommodation are but they do not talk much about skiing! I personally prefer skiing than cheap booze and food but that is probably just me.
January 01, 2014
Peter from Ski Bulgaria Bulgaria
Another reviewer only talks about food and drinks. Lets talk about skiing; things like length of season, number of slopes and lifts, ski pass prices/km of skiing etc. [note from the editor :some text edited for the sake of absolute relevance.}
December 29, 2013
Simon Burke from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
I've been going to Bansko for the last 5 years with a group of 8 and we have always eaten out at restaurants that we have got to know and have never had a poor meal and have had some fantastic nights out. The price for skiing for one week is cheaper than France, Spain or Italy, and if you can be bothered to get up early, as we always do then you may have to wait 5-15 minutes to get on the gondola. Tell me all you people who moan about Bansko, where can you get a pint of beer for £1-00, a traditional Bulgarian meal for £4-00. You obviously haven't been to France and paid £8-00 for a pint of beer and £15-00 for egg on toast, and £6-00 for a coffee.
December 12, 2013
Deyan from Ski Bulgaria Bulgaria
To those of you who defend Bansko and insult other reviewers, here's the latest news from Bansko showing that you have no idea what you are talking about: - this year Bansko will not be offering a season pass. Instead, they will offer a 40 day pass costing €750. €750! For that kind of money you can buy a proper ski pass anywhere in the Alps and ski 150 not 40 days. Try to defend that. - The prices for regular ski passes are not yet announced. That is 2 days before the official opening of the resort! That must be the only resort in the northern hemisphere which is in this situation on 12th of December! - check Bansko's fan page on Facebook. See how many unhappy people there are there. Then see how their questions and issues are completely ignored and sometimes removed. Fans are often banned from commenting because they ask the right questions. What does that tell you? So, before calling other people snobs, make an effort and think a bit. Maybe here in Bulgaria the locals understand the situation a bit better than you. The fact that some things are cheaper in Bulgaria (food, alcohol, accommodation, not ski passes) does not give Bansko the right to behave like a post-soviet bully.
October 21, 2013
Amy Proudfooot from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
I stayed in Bansko in January last year and stayed in a wooden chalet in the actual town area. I can't remember the name of it. The skiing was good and the food on the pistes was ok. In the chalet it was much, much better. One day we went out to a little taverna and we had amazing roast pork and great homemade red wine. It had much more atmosphere than Avoriaz, where we went last year, because people lived there year round. I would go again because it was very, very cheap and the ski area was just like in France with fast lifts. The snow was too deep one day though as it didn't stop snowing for 2 days! We just had hot wines all day instead.
April 11, 2013
Jacob from Ski United Kingdom 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.
April 06, 2013
J. Mitford from Ski Bulgaria 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 Ski United Kingdom 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 Ski United Kingdom 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.'