Bansko - Bulgaria's “Little Switzerland”

четвъртък, 12 март 2009 г.

Arriving in Bansko/Bulgaria

The nearest airport to Bansko is Sofia(the capital of Bulgaria), 150km northwest, although some companies use Plovdiv town, 150km to the east.Transfer time from Sofia to Bansko is about two hours in normal conditions, and from Plovdiv is about three hours because of the curving and tigh roads.

Sometimes takes longer at weekends because of the road traffic, or in snow weather.

Arriving in Bansko

Arriving by Foot

By foot

There are very few things that can ruin a nice evening in Bansko and getting lost ( with or without being drunk ) is one of them. Apart from making a fool of yourself, by helplessly roaming the streets in search of your hotel, in the winter it may be pretty dangerous, wet and annoying. The stone walls and look-alike houses can turn this little town into the Labyrinth of King Minos, but actually all you will need are good land marks.

There are two main streets in Bansko - Pirin and Glazne, all the rest are either parallel, or crossing them. Find your way to the main streets and remember any shop, hotel or mehana, which is at the beginning of the street, leading to your new holiday residence, or just use a map.Follow the same route every night and everything should be just fine.

Arriving by Car

By car

Bansko lies two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Sofia, although journey time can lengthen to three or four hours on busy weekends (when getting out of Sofia is often half the problem). Quickest route is to take the main E79 south to Simitli, from where a well-marked east-bound turn leads over the Predela Pass to Bansko. Parts of the Simitli-Bansko road have been re-surfaced and offer a smooth ride. Several kilometres in the middle however are still badly surfaced and can be slow going.

Construction work in Bansko itself has made it a difficult town to navigate: some roads are blocked off altogether and road signs are either non-existent or unhelpful

Arriving by Train

By train

Nobody ever takes the train to Bansko if they’re in a hurry. The journey from Sofia takes over 7 hours and involves a change of trains at the middle-of-nowhere junction of Septemvri. However the trip from Septemvri to Bansko is one of the most scenic that Bulgaria has to offer, with a narrow-gauge track, snaking its way across the western spurs of the Rhodope mountains. It’s an especially magical journey in winter, with the fir trees covered in frost, and snow-white minarets spearing skywards from the Bulgarian-Muslim villages, sprinkled along the route.

Bansko’s train station is near the bus station, an easy 10-minute walk north of the town centre. If you need a taxi and there are none in the forecourt, head for the bus station (turn right outside the train station then bear left) to find one. The train station has a ticket hall but no other facilities, although the pair of vintage steam locos, parked outside, add an air of jollity to the scene.

Arriving by Bus

By bus

Travelling from Sofia to Bansko by bus takes between three and three-and-a-half hours. Buses depart from either Sofia’s Central Bus Station (Tsentralna avtogara), near to the train station on bul. Knyaginya Maria Luiza, or from Ovcha Kupel bus station, 5km southwest of the city centre (on the route of trams №5 and №19).

Bansko’s bus station is at the northern end of town, a ten minute walk from the main square. There is a taxi rank in the bus station forecourt, and a taxi booking office, belonging to local firm Trans Taxi, inside the ticket hall. There is a public toilet, and a small shop, selling coffee, nibble-snacks and soft drinks, but no other facilities.

Bansko Tourist Information

Bansko Tourist Information
Commercial tourist information centre providing information and assistance to all tourists and local business in Bansko. Accommodation, activities, equipment hire, information on places of interest and excursions

Bansko Information Centre
pl.Nikola Vapsarov,Tel: 88580,Fax: 88633.Friendly English-speaking stuff will tell youaii you need to know abot the region and give you on locals.

Bansko Tourist Information
Ul.Pirin 70A, Tel: 0886543262. Providing information and assistance to all tourists in Bansko. Open 10:00 – 20:00

Information Centre of Alliance
Ul.Bulgaria 22, Tel: 88480. Providing information and assistance to all tourists in Bansko.

About Bansko

Bansko is the newest and top Bulgarian ski resort

Bansko is the newest and top Bulgarian ski resort, and the most rapidly developing one. It is an interesting combination between the virgin nature of the Pirin Mountains and the atmosphere of the ancient Bulgarian small town. The town of Bansko is located on 925 m. above sea level, and its skiing area is on 2000-2500 m above sea level. It attracts visitors by its 120 cultural monuments, its museums and the permanent ethnographic exhibitions. Surrounded by The Pirin, The Rila and The Rhodopa mountains, Bansko is a nice mountain resort with short summer and long winter. The skiing season starts in the middle of December and ends in mid April.

Bansko is among those Bulgarian towns which Fate had destined to play a noteworthy role in the historic development of our, nation especially during the colossal national upsurge during the Revival Period. Its achievements cannot be touched by the relentless passage of time. They lie in the unique houses of Banskalii with their tall pinewood gates and carved-wood ceilings, in the architecture and the fine iconostasis of churches, in the daring brushstroke of the icons painted by local iconographers, for over here Past and Present are interwoven in a way that is at once distinctive and original.

Bansko is an important cultural centre for the region. According to historic records, the settlement was first established about 9th -10th century A.D. on the site where ancient Thracian settlements had existed. In the 18th century it was mentioned as a large and prosperous village of thriving crafts and trade. Original fortified and artistically decorated houses have been preserved from the 18th and 19th century, built almost entirely of stone, with small barred windows, tall walls, heavy metal-plated gates and interconnected by narrow and winding cobble-stone streets. Remarkable as architectural monuments and examples of fine art are the Velyanova, Benina, Sirleshtova, Todeva, Molerova, Dragostinova, Sharkova houses. The Sveta Troitsa church, the bell tower with the big clock, the midlevel church "Assumption of the Virgin Mary" with its remarkable wood-carved iconostasis make for fine accents in Bansko's atmosphere. Also noteworthy are the museum houses and collections, souvenir shops and romantic holiday residences, hotels and taverns cuddled in the narrow and picturesque streets.

The atmosphere of an ancient Bulgarian town from the 10th century combines with its natural beauty and outdoor opportunities. Situated in the foothills of one of the country's most beautiful mountains, Bansko is known as an alpine skiing, hiking and climbing centre. The alpine character of the Pirin Mountains create excellent skiing conditions for all types of skiers and experts can enjoy some of the country's best downhill skiing. Bansko Ski Area will make you feel the bite of the crystal-clear February cold and the sensation conveyed by gentle yet whimsical March. And all this amidst the dynamics and emotions of winter sport competitions and the contrasting serenity of the first free downhill run.The skiing area comprises 11 marked ski runs and 4 ski tracks with a total length of over 25 km. Their location allows for multiple skiing combinations by offering descents of varying difficulty and slope

Since 2003, Bansko Ski Area offers the latest state-of -the -art Doppelmayr ropeways, including an 8-passenger Gondola ropeway, 4-seater chairlifts, 2-seater chairlifts, T-bar lifts, platters, etc. Existing facilities and installations are envisaged for replacement with new ones.

Bansko is a town of notable past, honourable present and stable future that brought through the centuries, preserved and developed the unique and ever-seeking spirit of Bulgarians.