I’m just came back from Bankso in Bulgaria, I’ve not been skiing for a couple of years and so it was great to get out there and be back on the slopes. I also had my wife and two young kids with me, 8 and 10 years old. All three of them have only been skiing twice before for the wife and only once before for the girls. We went to Meribel in France back in 2015 and the girls started skiing their first time at the ski school there.
Anyways back to Bankso – the first impression I had of Bulgaria was that the country was still pretty poor, it had a lot of issues coming out from under the Soviet Union and reading on Wikipedia before I travelling it was clear that there had been long periods of economic contraction. However since joining the EU things have slowly gotten better. There are positive signs, new roads, new buildings but at lot of indications of decay and decline. The country is nice however with good countryside and wonderful scenary.
If you closed your eyes between landing and arriving in the resport then you would not notice any difference between Bansko and any typical European ski resort. All the lifts etc and made in Austria and the hotels are of a very good standard.
Service in the hotel and on the slopes was good, there remains a little bit of the Soviet Attitutude to services. For example avoid buying a ski pass in the morning as I had to wait an hour in the queue only to get ot the front and see that the reason for the slow progress was “chatting” between the cash desk staff. On a busy day, Christmas Day for example the Gondola queues can also be an hour long, and there are actually petitions on the desk calling on the Minister of Tourism to build another Gondola.
The slopes are fine though, nicely groomed, not so many maybe 30 in total covering 74km of slopes.
If you have beginners with you, then Bankso is a good choice its friendly, nice atmosphere and good people.
The biggest boon though is the price, for a package of four people we paid GBP 1,480 which included; Flights, Transfer, Airport Parking, Ski Hire, Lift Pass, Hotel half board (4 star), when I compare that the Meribel where we paid nearly £3,900 for the same there is no comparision, Bankso is far far better value for Money.
I saw a fantastic hotel also – Kempinski Grand Arena – which was literally on the slopes. Our hotel St Ivan Rilski was a 5 min minibus trip away, but the hotel has its own free shuttle than runs every 15 mins.
Shopping in town was good, there are plenty of souvenir type of shops and even a good sized open air icerink – in the middle of the main shopping street.
Overall 4 stars from me – I recommend a trip to Bansko
Don’t worry at all about taking a holiday with Young Kids, its a good enjoyable holiday destination and because its high 2,500m there is a strong chance of good snow, we travellined 19th December to 26th December 2017 and had no problems at all, good snow when we arrived, a little snow on a couple of days, then a big dump on the Saturday, anyway snowmaking makings everywhere – even too many of them as you get dusted all the time on the way down the Piste!
Ski holidays are a great time to dream up new ideas, I had some good ideas whilst on the piste and a few of them are appearing from my other blog which includes a range of my sites not just ski ones
Links to Official Sites
Bansko Tourist Board http://visit-bansko.bg/en/