As skiing enthusiasts look to the new season, which starts this weekend, the Post Office Travel Money Ski Resort Report* has looked at the prices for 27 European and North American resorts, using research by holiday operator Crystal Ski. It found that, for the sixth consecutive year, the Bulgarian resort of Bansko came in as the cheapest for a six-day break, costing £264.52 for items including ski pass, equipment hire, ski school plus food and drink.

As well as having the best snow record and the longest ski season (15 Dec – 15 Apr) of all Bulgarian resorts, Bansko is a friendly resort that welcomes visitors with a warm hospitality, offering a range of recreational activities and a lively après ski scene. 

The resort also has an excellent ski school and equipment hire facilities. Bansko is ideal for beginners, there are English speaking instructors at the many ski schools. For intermediates the ski area is fantastic with fabulous views and many well-maintained wide tree-lined runs. The advanced skier can try the famous black run named and used by the legendary Alberto Tomba.

Skiers and snowboarders will also have fun at the fun park in Platoto.  Paragliding and heli-skiing is also available locally.

70km Downhill Pistes: 2 nursery slopes, 8 blue runs, 11 red runs, 1 black run.
16km Longest Downhill Route
9km Cross Country Trails
16 Ski Lifts
2560m Highest Lift
45 Snow Cannons
Night skiing, paragliding, Fun Park with rails, bumps and jumps for extreme skiers and snowboarders.

Getting There

Bansko's nearest airport is Sofia which is 160km away (about 2 1/2 hours). Alternatively fly to Plovdiv which is a little further. Flights from London - Sofia are around 3 hours.

• Easyjet usually has the best flights to Sofia, they fly from Manchester, Gatwick and (from the 16th Feb 2013) from Stansted.
• British Airways have flights from Heathrow to Sofia and are worth checking as they do have some good offers on at times.
• Wizzair flights can be a very good price from Luton to Sofia but beware the anti-social flight times.
• KLM, AirFrance and Lufthansa offer flights to Sofia with a stopover from most UK airports but be aware of the length of stopover. Too short and the luggage may not make the transfer plane, too long and it may be overnight stay.
• Balkan Holidays fly from East Midlands, Newcastle, Bristol, Manchester, Gatwick and Edinburgh but it’s hard to find really good value flights.
• Air Bulgaria fly from Heathrow but as above, their flights tend to be quite pricey.
• For Plovdiv, Ryanair fly from Stansted. Your transfer might be a bit more expensive but if you can get a good deal on the flights, it’s worth it.

Car Hire/Transfers

You can either rent a car and drive to Bansko or hire a transfer company to collect and return you to the airport.

Transfer Companies:
Transfer companies usually charge less than £30 per person for a return trip in the winter months. Also note that the more people you book for the cheaper it seems to be.


Based on Post Office Travel Money Ski Resort Report*

Ski pass (6 days)  £106.00
Ski/boot hire (6 days)  £66.00
Ski school (5-6 half days)  £80.00
Ski total    £252.00

Coffee (large)    £1.01
Coca-Cola (small)   £1.15
Wine (50cl)    £2.30
Beer (25cl)   £1.15
Lunch on the slopes   £6.91
Food/drink total    £12.52
TOTAL COSTS   £264.52

As a guide:    1 Bulgarian Lev =  0.37 GBP          0.51 EUR         0.74 USD

Bansko eating

The local eating places are called 'Mehanas' and there are almost 100 in the area. Often you will find that these have been created from old family homes and the owner is also your waiter - therefore, they are proud to present their dishes and happy to recommend a menu for you. The menus are nearly always translated into English but be careful, the translations can be a little misleading on occasions!

It is extremely easy to eat well and for a very reasonable price - all over Bansko. A 3 course meal with can cost as little as £10, including a glass of wine.

The local drink is 'Rakiya', my only advice – beware, your head may feel it the following morning!

Where to stay

There are many hotels in Bansko but nothing beats staying in a self catering apartment where you can enjoy the comfort of your own living area, kitchen, bedrooms and bathroom in a complex which is 300 yards from the main Gondola. The apartment has all the home comforts and after a hard day on the slopes, what could be better than enjoy the indoor swimming pool, sauna, spa, Jacuzzi and hot tub before heading out for a cheap beer and good food.

For more information or to enquire about renting an apartment please visit website

If you ever do go to Bansko, I hope you enjoy it as much as me!

*Source -