A group of us have just returned from a ski holiday in the super snowy ski resort of Bansko in Bulgaria, and I just wanted to express what a grand week we had. Having always skied in Italy, we were reluctant to book Bulgaria as we presumed it’d be too basic. However, as money was tight this year, we were willing to be flexible, knowing we weren’t going to be able to afford our usual resort of Sauze d’Oulx, especially after its recent publicity boost upon successfully hosting the 2006 Winter Olympics. So after the travel agent at the Holiday Hypermarket told us he’d been to Bansko and could recommend it, we took his word, and we were glad we did!
We chose to stay in the Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena, which turned out to be stunning. It had a prime position directly at the bottom of the slopes – pretty much ski in ski out! It had superb facilities including a spa, plush bedrooms was also within easy reach of the town’s amenities. As intermediates we were more than happy with the resort’s runs and ski facilities, which were modern (including the state of the art lift system), and also Bansko’s atmosphere. We chose to have lessons, and our instructor was great. He really knew his stuff and he improved our technique no end on the challenging red and black runs.
Although completely exhausted from a full day’s skiing, we just managed to summon up the energy for a night out or two, or possibly three, which were great. We found a couple of cracking bars with great atmosphere to grab a bite to eat and more importantly – to watch the footy in! When we went out we ended up in Amigo’s bar, which was buzzing. The music and lighting was really good, and the effect was topped off by everything from flame throwers to air horns. You name it they had it! The people in there were a friendly bunch and we had a really good night each time we went – although we paid for it the following mornings!
In some areas in and around the town, Bansko is still under development, but this didn’t particularly detract from the holiday experience. Personally I think it’s a prosperous sign, so good luck to them. Like many other resorts, the town itself wasn’t purpose-built for skiing, and means that everything is quite spread out, though it’s better than having everything crammed in one tiny place! The old cobbled streets add a nice traditional feel, and the place has a good vibe.