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The gateway to the Pirin mountain region, Bansko is now considered to be the best ski resort in Eastern Europe. It has the best snow record and the longest ski season of all Balkan ski resorts. A superb, modern lift system gives access to a wonderful variety of terrain.
The medieval town is on the UNESCO List of World Natural Heritage Sites and is crammed with around 120 cultural and historical monuments. Just four kilometres from Bansko the remains from ancient fortresses can be found in the Staroto Gradishte site and also in the Yulen locality, along the Demyanitsa river.
Beginners are well cared for by the English speaking ski school. 'Learn to ski' packages are very good value for money. The slopes of Todorin Vruh feature long gentle runs. This is an ideal starting place to learn and practice your newly acquired skills.
There is superb scope on the varied terrain for all intermediates. The perfectly groomed trails and the long scenic runs create the most enjoyable skiing. Try the 12km downhill run from the top of Todorka Peak all the way down to the base of the gondola. At Balkans fun park, you can take full advantage of the present artificial bumps and jumps or simply build your own.
Shiligarnika has some of the best runs for advanced skiers. Both slalom and giant slalom tracks are available in this area. The Alberto Tomba black run will challenge the most expert. For snowboarders, the half-pipe suits all styles and abilities and you can also take part in the competitions on the new piste on Shiligarnika. The skiing reaches an altitude of 2500 metres and there are 44 Technoalpine snow cannons covering most of the slopes, which ensure the ski season lasts longer.
The resort offers a Junior Club ski kindergarten, for children from 4 to 7 years old, featuring three baby drags, a Wonder Carpets baby track and a Carousel.
You will still find local people dressed in Bulgarian national costume welcoming you in to their traditional Mehanas (taverns). Once you're inside, the ambience is as charming and quaint as you could hope for. You can enjoy a variety of Bulgarian and international cuisine at very cheap prices. Wine bars and pizzerias are on the rise and The Happy End and The Lions Pub are popular for international après-ski, while the Torino cabaret bar attracts weekenders from Sofia. No Name and Amnesia are the most popular late-night clubs.
|Andorra ski season||December – April|