Reviews of Bansko, Bulgaria

| Write a Review...
Reviews
  3 of 5  (13 reviews)
5 stars:
(2)
4 stars:
(2)
3 stars:
(5)
2 stars:
(2)
1 star:
(2)
Website
http://www.bulgariaski.com/bansko/index.shtml
Review By
Sort Reviews By:   Rating      Review Rating      Date of Review    
b4rn5ey
Reviews: 1
    3 of 5,  "Bansko 2013"  27/02/2013 @ 12:45
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Price Paid
£410 (including flights and lift pass)
Booked Trip Through
Private Owner
Times Visited
Just Once
Review Detail
I have given it a 3, in reality i would want to give it a 3.5 ish, overall a "good" resort, with MASSIVE potential!


Where we stayed:

We stayed in an Apartment Building called Todorka Views, ownded by a private owner however ran by Alexander Services. 2 bedroom apartment..Looked effectively brand new, very clean, not too cramped, had everything you need, it cost us £95 each (2 of us) for the week!! Value for Money, Great! Alexander services were extremely helpful with any issues we had, and one poor fellow even stayed up to 4am to give us our keys and still greet us with a big smile on his face! (We had Luggage issues but that was Frankfurt's fault not Sofia)

The big issue though was location! Bansko is a bigger town than it looks on the maps, and several of the locals said Hotels and Apartments tend to exaggerate how close they are to the Gondola. We were assured it was only a 10 minute walk to the Gondola from our apartment.. Yeah if we were Usain Bolt maybe... By the time you are in Boarding Boots, carrying a board etc, its all uphill (obviously) and took us anywhere from 30-40 minutes to get up the Hill.. plenty of Hotels around us or a few extra minutes up the road too who i saw advertising "5-10" minute walks. If you dont mind the walk fine, but after a long day boarding it was exhausting, and at night didnt exactly feel too safe as you got further way from the centre. On the positive taxi's were about a fiver before midnight, between £6-7 after, which wasn't too bad considering petrol prices appeared to be pretty steep in the local area!

The Slopes and Resort:

Bare in mind i am comparing this to the 3 valleys as all my previous visits have been there:

First off, we went from February 19-26th. We avoided the slopes the last 2 days as it was torrential rain, the roads had very poor drainage so we were effectively walking through rivers, other than that though the Snow conditions were fantastic, most nights there were small dumpings of fresh snow, and it stopped the slopes from becoming icey or slushy! Some of the runs were PACKED to the point you didnt feel too safe on them however!

As far as the slopes go, i wouldnt suggest coming as a complete beginner, or an expert to be honest! There are no simple beginner slopes, no green runs. There are a few smaller runs used by lessons which im sure would be great to learn on but otherwise thats pretty much it. For experts, only one small black run, and 3-4 moderately challenging red runs, you would probably get board very quickly.

However, for someone like myself who had taken a few years out, started up again this year, can comfortably link turns etc and just wanted to build my confidence back up to progress.. Perfect.. some long lovely blue runs you can take from the very top of Todroka all the way to Bansko totalling a total of a 17km run, none of the runs are too thin, so plenty of spaces to really pull out those massive turns and plenty of space to correct yourself if you slip up!

The big downfall ofcourse, that ruddy Gondola! if you wanted to even hope to get on the slopes by 10am you would need to be down by the queue at 8am latest! The first 2 mornings we arrived around 9am, first day we got to the slopes at 10:20.. second 11:40... half our day wasted stood in a line and etting Up the mountain! Baring in mind last lift is also at 4:30pm. On the positive though this last week there was the news a second Gondola has been given the go, so over the next few years that should creep up and hopefully some new slopes with it!

I would also say the lift pass price (£136 when we went for 6 days) is far too expensive for the size of the resort!

Bansko as a town (around the main centre anyway) was lovely, plenty of places to eat and drink out, and prices were so cheap, i was paying around £15 a meal for two courses and several Pints. In the Supermarkets you could get 2 litres of beer, some bread and butter for about £3!! Almost every restaurant/bar had a doorman, which most of the time was great, very helpful, very polite, would watch our boards etc! Only downside is they all try to convince you to come in, which can get pretty annoying after a week, to the point to tend to avoid certain sides of the road because you know you will just get harassed.

The only negative i could say about the town really would be it didnt have that 'magical' ski resort feeling! The snow on the slopes was several metres deep..2 gondola rides away, in the town there was none. At times it felt as if you were sat outside a very cheap eastern European holiday resort in the freezing cold..and then you realised you were!

If your going for a cheap holiday, and want some long simple runs to really solidify your technique, cheap meals and alcohol, this is your place!

If your going for a first time family ski holiday, or are looking for that picturesque scenery while having your meals out, id pay more for the bigger more well known resorts!
Strengths
If you want a budget holiday, this is perfect!
Most staff in the resort are very friendly and helpful!
Every building in the resort is relatively new, appears clean and well managed.
Beautiful Views When on the Slopes
Hot Spots
Euphora Bar and Grill
The Lion Pub
Pirin 75
Weaknesses
Gondola Queue Times
Lack of flexibility on the slopes
Pricey lift pass for what you actually get
Very dull views when not on the slopes
Alot of the cheaper hotels/apartments are further away from the Gondola than advertised!
  Reload  Top
Beanie
Reviews: 8
    3 of 5,  "Ok, so it ain't Whistler, but don't dismiss it!"  02/04/2012 @ 19:05
Price Paid
£350 per person inc. lift pass
Booked Trip Through
Balkan Holidays
Times Visited
Just Once
Review Detail
We picked Bansko for a late season last minute break with some reservations, but seeing as the snow conditions were reportedly reasonable and we got a good deal we felt it was worth a go. Neither me nor the husband had been to Bulgaria before, and we really were not too sure what to expect, especially after reading some pretty dicey reviews. It wasn’t so much the mountain we were worried about, more the infrastructure and the whole experience. I am glad to say we were pleasantly surprised.
I’ll start with the mountain. For a week, for me (an intermediate with not much talent), I was perfectly happy with the slopes on offer. The runs are wide and quite forgiving, there are a few steep bits on the blues, and some flats too, but enough to keep me amused. I think if you are a very experienced or talented snowboarder, you may get bored, but I guess it depends on what you look for. If you go to Bansko expecting 100s of kilometres of runs you will be disappointed. With my lack of skill and talent I didn’t get down most of the reds, blacks or off piste, but found Bansko a good place to do laps to work on technique, trying to do the runs faster and better each time. If you go with an open mind, prepared to dodge snowplowing skiers then you should be fine. There is a park which seemed to have a reasonable variety of kickers and rails, but again that isn’t really my thing so I can’t comment any further. It was very warm when we were there, which meant we had freeze thaw conditions (rock solid slopes in the morning, slush in the afternoon) but again, not a complaint, it is what you are likely to get at most resorts in mid to late March. We found the lifts on the mountain to be good, generally efficient with little in the way of queues. The gondola is slow, and if you hit the queue at the wrong time you will have a wait, and it is a bit like a scrum so sharpen your elbows! If Bansko wants to grow as a destination I think the gondola does need improving. That said, the longest we waited was 15 minutes, so not too bad.
Bansko is not a pretty town. You will not get quaint little alpine chalets for your apartment/hotel. There is clearly a lot of building work going on, and the roads are shocking! Our accommodation was fine, adequate, but nothing more. We weren’t in the room that much though, and for the price we paid I was satisfied with the standard. The pack of stray dogs living near our hotel that barked on and off overnight were a pain though.
We had a few good meals out, I was worried about the standard of food from things I’d heard, but my concerns were largely unfounded. In the evenings you will be approached by people bugging you to go to their bar, irritating but they weren’t too pushy. We were lucky enough to have a couple of places recommended to us by Bansko regulars (Thanks winterfunman and others) and I would urge anyone who wants a nice meal to go to the Victoria Italian restaurant opposite the Kempinski hotel near to the Gondola. A truly fantastic three course meal for two with a litre of wine for about £27 including a good tip. Other than that I think beer has gone up a little in the last couple of years but still totally bargainous compared to France with 500ml local beer for 3 – 4 lev, so about £1.80. Be aware, beer on the mountain is more, 6 or 7 lev, and food more expensive up there too. If the gondola had not been so slow I would have been tempted to grab something in the town, where you would get better value. The ski road run from the Gondola down to the town down to the bottom was very patchy by midweek, so I wasn’t prepared to risk my board going down it.
Bansko is not Chamonix, Whistler or Breckenridge, but that does not mean you should dismiss it as a destination. If we found another good deal we would certainly go again, but perhaps a week or two earlier to try and catch some slightly better snow conditions. All in all we had a great time.
If there was a 3.5, that would be my score.
Strengths
Price
Lift system actually pretty good
Hot Spots
Didn't really go on the lash, we went for a chilled break. Were also there late season so not so much going on. That said, we liked the Euphoria bar and grill and the Victoria Italian.
Weaknesses
Gondola slow
Doorstep pub 'muggers'
Similar Resorts Visited
Soldeu, Valmeinier, Crested Butte, Jasper
  Reload  Top
eurotraveler
Reviews: 1
    1 of 5,  "No tourist in Bansko never again"  28/12/2011 @ 14:47
Price Paid
500
Times Visited
2-5 Times
Review Detail
Because I want to prevent someone from thinking that I am prejudiced, I want to state that we were in Bansko at November with a big company and it was very nice. Because of that we arranged our Christmas vacation to be in Bansko. If I was prejudiced, I was positive prejudiced.

But, after what we faced, I can say only one thing: NONE IN BANSKO, NEVER AGAIN.

It proved in more than one occasion that Bulgarians have hostile intentions against the foreigners. I can't say why is that. Maybe, now that they have put some euros in their pockets (5-6 years ago they were starving to dead) they are showing their true character and not the fake servile they showed before.

Bulgarians are total barbarian and uncivilized people. I think that it was a big mistake that we accepted them in the European Union. Just imagine that, when we were there, we saw doormen in clubs hitting women! That kind of brave men are the Bulgarians.

The behaviour of the waiters and the staff was offensive and absolutely rude. And the prices were the same like in Greece and sometimes even higher.

To say the truth we went in some restaurants / clubs that the behaviour was barely acceptable. In 1-2 occasion it was even fine. But that was the exception.

I recommend that for the next 10 years, no tourist from other country must go to this hostile to the tourists Bulgarian village. We must show them that their rude, hostile and uncivilized behaviour will not be accepted.

No tourist in Bansko.
Strengths
beautiful nature
Weaknesses
uncivilized, hostile and rude people
  Reload  Top
Waynehead
Reviews: 1
Nottinghamshire
    3 of 5,  "Just OK, thats all"  22/05/2010 @ 11:11
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Price Paid
£500ish all in
Booked Trip Through
Holiday City
Times Visited
Just Once
Review Detail
Ok the reason I decided to go to Bulgaria was purely to keep the costs down and find a decent resort which would suit beginners for my girlfriend.

The Hotel - We stayed in the Lion Hotel which is a 4* hotel and a 5 min walk from the gondola. The hotel to be honest was faultless, a good location, impressive rooms, open log fire in the bar and shuttle bus running every couple of mins. I would recommend this hotel who is wishing to go to Bansko.

The Town - You can clearly see from just walking around that Bulgaria's property market has also crashed and plenty of builders have gone out of business half way through projects. There is a large amount of unfinished hotels and apartment blocks up for sale "as is" not the prettiest of places.

Crystal / Thompson - Again faultless the rep Vladimir was a top bloke, It was my girlfriends Birthday while we was out there we asked him for some advice on where to go and he arranged to pick us up and take us to his favourite spot and then even came back and fetched us. When ever we was in and around the hotel he was always at hand.

Nightlife - I didn't really explore to much at night, we had the occasional meal out and then ended up back at harry's bar for the odd drink. Harry's bar is one place that I would recommend trying nice atmosphere and snowboard movies played on the big screens.

Instructors - I decided to take lessons with my girlfriend so I could stick with her, and to be honest it was a bit of a shambles. We had one instructor for one hour (who was a top bloke and actually taught me quite a few things such as fall lines and avalanches) then for the second hour we went with another guy who was useless. a different women the second day, and someone else on the 3rd day. I think it was a one off with us, as some other people I met had the same instructor through out the week, were as we just felt like we was tagging along.

The slopes- The snow conditions weren't actually that good at the start of the week but things got a lot better towards the end. There are loads of snow canons all over the slopes which are on through out the night so there was always some snow. To get to the main ski area you have to get the main gondola from bansko, now I had read many review of people complaining about the size of the lift queue, which was a real concern for me when I booked this holiday. But now that I have been I can say that if you DON'T want to queue just get there for 8.30am or 9am and you wont, couple of min at the most. The ques are massive at 10am to 11am but that's nearly half the day gone in my eyes, so just get up slightly earlier.
Because I was with my girlfriend I stuck to mainly to the blue run,which there are some nice ones from the top going down. What I didn't like is when you get towards the bottom you have to take some narrow runs which are stupidly busy to get back to the gondola, its not a very nice run to do and my girlfriend hated them as someone went straight into the back of her creating a trip to the hospital for us.
on the last couple of day I venture slightly off piest, there are some nice runs under the chair lifts, but they took me all week to find a safe way to them but it was worth the wait.
There was enough to keep me busy for a week but I would of been bored by the second week.

Hospital - My girlfriend woke up in the morning with her shoulder looking out of place, so I asked at the hotel reception for the nearest doctors and she said one would come and see us in the room. 30 min later a doctor knocked on the door had a look and insisted that we would go to the hospital and that the ambulance was out side waiting. I WILL NEVER EVER CRITICISE THE NHS AGAIN, this place was a sh*t hole, the true colours of Bulgaria was beginning to show , I had seen abandoned factories in the uk in a better state than this hospital, thank god it was only an x-ray needed. Anyway to cut a long story short we had to pay £250 cash in hand for an x-ray and they expected us to claim it back from the insurance. we paid for 3 doctors opinions, it was just day light robbery as they knew we had insurance which would cover it. I would say don't see a doctor unless you can't wait to get back to the UK.

Airport - DO NOT TRAVEL TO BULGARIA WITHOUT A LOCK ON YOUR SUITCASE. On the way bag someone had been through our case and stole 200 fags. its not worth risking it.





Strengths
Cheapish
Some Nice Restaurants
Hotel lion
Weaknesses

Hospitals and robbing doctors.
Thieving airport staff
Very busy narrow slopes at points
Limited runs
Lessons that we received
Similar Resorts Visited
Romania- Poiana Brasov
Andorra - Arinsal
  Reload  Top
Elysium
Reviews: 1
London
    4 of 5,  "Good Beginners Resort"  19/02/2010 @ 22:35
Price Paid
not sure - was a present from my dad!
Booked Trip Through
Neilsen
Times Visited
Just Once
Review Detail
Ok, so as my dad has now retired, he wanted to try something different and when he asked my brother and I where we would like to go on holiday we decided to finally take a trip to the slopes and learn to snowboard.

We went to the ski and snow show in London, and after much looking around and asking various reps - and my dad's mate - we decided on Bansko.

We landed in Sophia, and got on our transfer coach, little did we know it was a 3 hour transfer to the resort! Lukily we are all used to long journey's so didn't really bother us, but if you hate long coach trips, then it might be one to avoid.

We stayed in Hotel Pirin, which for the price we paid was quite a good hotel. Relatively close to the main town, and right on the edge of the old town - where all the traditional Bulgarian restuarants and bars are - everything we needed was in walking distance.
The hotel itself had all the facilities we needed - free swimming pool and sauna/steam room, table tennis and games room, bar, sports shop, and half board all you can eat breakfast and dinner.
The food at the meals was pretty much the same everyday, but wasn't anything wrong with it.

The room was cleaned everyday, new towels etc, and the staff were friendly and answered all questions as best they could.

We went for a week and being our first snowboard holiday we decided to book six 2 hour lessons (1 a day) for the week. We had a talk with our instructor who basically said he will teach us enough to get us on to some blue runs, and if we want to carry on with the lessons we can, otherwise let him know and we can do our own thing.

As the resort only has one mountain, and the mountain is relatively small compared to other ski mountains, there are a lack of ski lifts/gondolas and thus the queues can be massive, and some mornings we had an hour or more wait just to get on the first gondola to get up to the first runs.

As well as lack of ski lifts, there are also limited runs, although there is a pretty easy going run that goes from top to bottom, which was a nice way to round off the week. The lack of runs does mean that the slopes can get crowded and there is quite a lot of places where ski lessons seem to cut across in front of the boarders. Whether these are problems everywhere I don't really know as this was my first experience, and I don't really have any ski/boarder mates.

Overall I was relatively impressed with the whole resort.
Staff were friendly and helpful. Although the resort is small, the runs seemed to be a good length - at the least the ones i went down, and there is a good selection for the size. As a beginner, I would recommend it to other beginners and first timers... whether i would go back as an advanced rider I don't think I would... but maybe if a group of mates wanted to go over of mixed ability, with some beginners.
Strengths
Small resort - everything in good location
Friendly staff
Locals are friendly
Everything is cheap from Bulgarian currency to the UK pound
Weaknesses
Small - crowded slopes, lack of runs
Not great for advanced boarders
  Reload  Top
Subscribe using any feed reader!
Read more reviews for resorts in BULGARIA.
Search for a Product
Advanced Search
Latest Reviews Latest Reviewed Products RSS Feed
- Burton Motion (00/01)
- Alpbach, Austria
- Les Deux Alpes, France
- Trysil, Norway
- Zell Am See, Austria
- Notre-Dame de Bellecombe, France
- Christchurch Ski & Leisure Centre, Dorset
- Big White, Canada
- 49 Degrees North, WA, USA
- Arinsal, Andorra
- Les Arcs 2000, France
- Chalet Chardons (Tignes Les Brevieres, France)
- La Clusaz, France
- Jasna, Slovakia
- Val d'Allos, France
- Le Seignus d'Allos, France
- Never Summer Raptor (13/14)
- Salomon Sick Stick (09/10)
- Oakley O-Frame (06/07)
- Northwave legend (11/12)
Get our Newsletter
Your E-mail Address
More Details
Find us on Facebook
© 2001-2019 GONEboarding.co.uk