Bansko is the most frequently visited Bulgarian winter resort offers numerous and various ways of entertainment for its guests both during the winter and the rest of the seasons of the year.
Bansko is a town that impresses with its own past and style in architecture, history and lifestyle. Walking throughout the town you can visit the numerous clothing, souvenir and other kinds of shops; workshops, where local craftsmen present the national crafts; countless cafeterias and traditional restaurants, disco and night clubs. You can admire the wonderful and unique architecture and style which have been preserved for centuries and have been transferred into the look of all newly-built houses and hotels. The museum – home of Nikola Vaptzarov *a famous Bulgarian poet* is among the most frequently visited places of interest and the original wall-painting and wood-carving of the Velenov’s house turn it into a cultural phenomenon. You do have to visit the “Holy Trinity” church with the bell-tower, which was built in 1835 with its amazingly beautiful wood-carved iconostasis and original icons all over its internal walls. It is worth seeing also the icon exhibition called “The Art school of Bansko”, which is shown at the oldest and one of the best preserved buildings of Bansko, also known as Hilendarskija Metoh /Convent/, where you can follow the development of the Icon School of Bansko. These wall-paintings, including wall-paintings from the Rila Monastery, are exhibited in 6 galleries. A typical model of the architecture of Bansko is “Beninata kasta”, the home of the founder of the Bulgarian educational system in those days – Neofit Rilski. Of course it will be interesting for you to see the archaeological remains and ancient fortresses in the “Staroto Gradishte” and “Yulen” areas. You can have a trip in the “Yulen” nature reserve with an area of 3200 hectares where there are over 30 routes developed specially for hikers, there are also places for cliff hanging and protected natural sights like “Banderishki skok” waterfall, “The Wedding” rock formation, “Banderitza” cave or some of the century-old trees.
The Rila Monastery is the most magnificent Bulgarian monastery, which is listed from UNESCO as a part of the worldwide cultural and historical heritage. It is only 100 km away from Bansko. It is also the largest and most impressive monastery in Eastern Europe and numerous groups of Bulgarian and foreign tourists bow their heads to its grandeur and magnificence every day.
The beauty of Melnik, the smallest town of Bulgaria, but the most significant monument of Bulgarian culture from the Middle Ages and the National Revival, waits only 70 km from here or 1 hour drive from Bansko. Melnik is famous both for its fascinating architecture, the houses seem to have perched on the rocks as birds, and its lovely wine, a gift from the gods, which is kept in cellars, dug in the cliffs. Only 6 km away from Melnik is located the Rochenski monastery, both Melnik and the Rohenski monastery are claimed a natural reserve of cultural and historical importance. Only 15 min. drive from Bansko you can reach the village of Belitsa famous for its reserve for dancing bears called “Four paws”, founded and sponsored by Brigitte Bardot. All throughout the year the hunt and fish lovers can visit the numerous places suitable for fishing and hunting.
You can visit OFF-ROAD and Jeep-safari or devote yourself to touring or hiking. You can stroll the endless wilderness of the beautiful Pirin Mountains, which is registered in the UN register of national parks and nature reserves, visit the Geyser Lakes, Bezbog peak, Vihren peak /2914 m altitude/, or some of the five lakes around. For the winter sports fans there are endless options for fun. Bansko has 17 ski-runs with different level of difficulty which are always kept in perfect condition due to the 30 snow-producing cannons and the 12 snow-cleaning machines. The most difficult ski-run made for experienced skiers is called “Tomba”, but there are several other famous ski-runs like “Shiligarnika”, “Todorka”, “Banderitsa” and “Platoto” which are suitable both for beginners and advanced skiers. The ski resort is secured with a perfectly organized network of lifts and rope-lines which allow quick and easy access to any of the ski-runs. For the snowboard fans there is another specially constructed facility with various attractions and for those of the skiers who do not get tired easily there is a ski-run for night skiing. There is also a winter skating ring in Bansko.
Jazz festival of Bansko
The summer Jazz festival of Bansko is a traditional fest gathering many national and international popular bands and singers. During the nice August nights, right under the stars of the Pirin sky, you can enjoy wonderful jam sessions performed in the open theatre. For a whole week thousands of fans and guests from all over the country are delighted to hear their favourite songs and tunes, and to sense the aroma of flowers and pines, brought by the mountain breeze. In the village of Ognjanovo /10 km away from Bansko/ there are two swimming pools supplied with hot mineral water, one of which has Olympic size and we recommend it to those of you who practice swimming as a sport. In the village of Dobriniste you can enjoy the hot waters of the old and authentic but preserved village bath.