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Bansko vs Andorra.
Is Bansko the new Andorra? Andorra is one of the places that have a special charm, a mix of old and modern, With many shops, restaurants, cafeterias ... it is quite elitist and many celebrities and athletes attend, also in central Europe there are exclusive ski resorts such as Chamonix in France , St Moritz and Zermatt in Switzerland, etc., However, all these cities have been a tough competitor, the city of Bansko in Bulgaria, located at 155 km (2 hours by car) from the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. This small town of about 9.000 inhabitants located at 936 meters of altitude is recovering positions year after year among the best ski resorts in Europe thanks to its recently renovated facilities and its prices much cheaper than in the expensive cities mentioned above. In Bansko the accommodation offer is varied, one can stay in an inexpensive guest house or even in a hotel 5**** (Hotel Kempinski). In addition, traveling to Bansko adds the plus of knowing a country in Eastern Europe, so different from what is known in western Europe and much more picturesque, where ancient traditions and lifestyles are still preserved…
Hiking in Bansko.
Bansko offers fantastic natural aptitudes for winter sports as it is located on the slopes of the Pirin Mountains (Pirin National Park). The Pirin Mountains in Bulgaria feature 45 peaks of more than 2.590 m high, more of 200 glacial lakes and karst massifs. The highest point in Pirin National Park is Vihren Peak (2.915 m), which can be climbed on foot, no need for climbing, All you need is gloves to hold onto the steel cable that helps us walk along the ridge of the mountain.. In Spring and Summer, Bansko is an ideal destination as a base point for hiking, climbing or mountain biking in the nearby Pirin Mountains.
Skiing in Bansko.
Regarding the ski resort, has 65 km of slopes between 2.600 and 990 altitude meters. A gondola takes skiers from Bansko town to the ski resort in 25 minutes and from there there are 13 chairlifts to the different slopes. There is lighting on some slopes for night skiing and in addition the Bansko ski resort has a spectacular track that allows an uninterrupted tour of skiing from 16 km, it is the longest ski slope in Europe and the world, equaling the French track of Alpe d'Huez with the same skiable distance, for giving another data to compare, the longest ski slope in Spain is in Cerler with 9 km.
And the best of all is that it is a ski resort that is not overcrowded., unlike most major ski resorts in Western Europe, as you can see in this video recorded this year:
Cultural tourism in Bansko.
But Bansko is not only winter tourism, has a remarkable architectural and cultural heritage in the city center, and a traditional village atmosphere. Be sure to try the rich Bulgarian cuisine in one of the taverns-restaurants in the old quarter of Bansko.
The historic center is much more extensive than that of Andorra, It is a neighborhood of cobbled streets and old houses with thick stone walls and wooden roofs., we can highlight several unique buildings in it:
- The Church of the Holy Trinity with colorful and striking mural frescoes, the whole interior is painted, of course walls, but also the columns, the pulpit and even the horizontal wooden beams.
- Home “Velyanova”, an 18th century house of a wealthy family, where you can see the way of life and belongings of the time, the entrance is only 3 takes (1,5 euros) and it's worth it.
- Casa-museo Neofit Rilski, is the house where Neofit Rilski was born (Neophyte of Rila), what was a monk, 19th century Bulgarian teacher and artist, important exponent of the so-called Bulgarian Renaissance. Wrote the first Bulgarian grammar and the first Bulgarian translation of The Bible. In this house is now the Ethnographic Museum of Bansko with the belongings, traditional costumes, tools, etc used by the inhabitants of the region in the 18th and 19th centuries, very curious to know for an entry of only 3 takes (1,5 euros).
After practicing Active Tourism, either skiing, doing cultural visits or shopping in the city center, Bansko offers the possibility of enjoying natural hot springs, ideal to relax and unwind after physical exercise. Very close to Bansko, to only 6 km, is the town of “Banya” which in Bulgarian means “bath”, It is not by chance because this small town enjoys a magnificent thermal spring where the water flows through nothing less than 72 natural sources at a temperature between 37 and 57 ºC. Your water is clean and safe to drink, contains hydrocarbonates, sulfates, sodium, fluorine and has little mineralization. It has healing properties against chronic inflammatory diseases of the locomotor system, gynecological diseases, sterility, and inflammatory diseases of the nervous system. But they are obviously also used from a recreational and relaxing point of view in the different hotels and Spa centers in town., Families and groups of friends can enjoy indoor and outdoor swimming pools with hot spring water. (not chlorinated), open both in Summer and Winter, outdoor swimming pools too since the water stays warm even in winter.
If you want to travel to Bulgaria and visit Bansko, either in Summer or in Winter, we can offer you trustworthy hotels, rental car, Spanish-speaking driver or mountain guide. Contact us and we will prepare a trip to Bulgaria for you.