The Pirin Mountain village of Bansko has recently grown into an interesting tourist resort and today is Bulgaria's most popular ski resort.
The town of Bansko is situated in south western Bulgaria at the foot of Pirin Mountains. The name comes from an old Bulgarian word “ban” which means “master”. The town itself is situated 925 metres above sea level and the ski resort areas rise to a maximum of 2,600 metres. The Pirin Mountains are very Alpine in character and the highest peak is Vihren at 2,914 metres.
Bansko boasts an abundance of historical sites and is also a good place for nightlife. With a variety of traditional taverns and restaurants, many with live music, and night clubs that stay open until twilight, Bansko will suit all tastes.
As the newest Bulgarian winter resort, Bansko has recently been discovered by foreign tourists. The Pirin Mountains form part of a beautiful national reserve that is included in the World Heritage list. The Pirin National Park is the largest protected site in Bulgaria and just over 1/3 lies within the borders of the Bansko Municipality.
Bansko is Bulgaria’s premier ski resort. Over recent years huge investment in the area has created the best and most modern ski centre of all Bulgarian ski resorts. There are many new hotels and resort facilities under construction in the area.
In addition, Bansko has the best snowfall and the longest ski season (15 Dec – 15 May) in Bulgaria. 44 techno-alpine snow cannons cover most of the slopes and ensure the ski season lasts as long as possible.
The ski pistes are located in two main ski centres, the first being Chalin Valog, at 1,100 -1,600 metres and Shiligarnia at 1,700 - 2,500 metres. They are located approximately 10 kilometers above the town of Bansko on the northern slopes of Pirin and are easily accessible in approx. 25 minutes on the new Gondola lift starting from Bansko. The total length of the marked pistes is 65 kilometers.
There are eight ski runs consisting of Todorka, Balkaniada, Shiligarnika, Platoto, Tzurna Mogila, Chalin Valog and Bunderitca.
Bansko is not only a ski resort of national significance, but also a popular starting point for excursions into the mountains in summer.
An Emergency Ski Patrol service operates 24 hours a day. Ambulances and a clinic (with doctor and nurse) are available, as well as first aid services, on all ski slopes. Pharmacies, dentist services and fully equipped, modern hospitals can also be found in Bansko.
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