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

March 27, 2013
T Drewett from Ski United Kingdom 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 Ski United Kingdom 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 Ski United Kingdom 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 Ski United Kingdom 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 Ski Bulgaria 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 Ski United Kingdom 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 Ski United Kingdom 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 Ski United Kingdom 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 Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Here are some recommendations from my latest "Pete`s Bansko Winter Guide" Eating out: 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: pete.phillipson@ntlworld.com and I will send you my latest guide. Regards Pete
February 04, 2013
Ryan from Ski United Kingdom 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.