Located at the foot of the Pirin Mountain, in South West Bulgaria, Bankso, is renowned as one of the best ski resorts in Eastern Europe. The resort has everything the modern skier requires, including good transport connections, a great range of accommodation and excellent infrastructure. It’s no wonder then that Bansko has become one of the most popular areas for property investors looking for a sound long-term investment.
The resort itself is situated 160km from the capital, Sofia, and just 6km from the nearest town, Razlog, which has all the facilities you would expect for a small-town, including healthcare facilities, shopping malls and excellent transport connections. The town sits on the banks of the Glazne river which runs down the Pirin mountains that form the heart of the Pirin mountain national park.
Bansko is the gateway to a number of skiing areas in the region, including the Todorka Peak and the famous Tomba run. There are also a number of hiking trails in the area which navigate through the stunning mountain scenery, forested ridges and beautiful lakes in the Pirin national park. In this Bansko resort guide, we hope to show you why this charming resort could represent an excellent investment opportunity in the next few years.
Living in Bankso and Things To Do
The town itself is quite a large town for a ski resort with a year-round population of 12,300 people. This means there are plenty of things to do in Bansko besides skiing, and a lovely culture to apply yourself to.
The actual ski slopes themselves are located on the northern side of the Pirin mountain range and are centred in two main areas, the Shiligarinka and Chalin Valog. These are both situated around 10km above the town itself and provide access to more than 70km of pistes. These include around 3780m of pistes suitable for beginners. 4860m of pistes are suitable for intermediate level skiers and the 2567m Tomba run is regarded as one of the most challenging runs in Europe.
The resort also provides access to the Bansko Ski Zone, which is an exclusive area for advanced skiers. This area offers amazing conditions for night skiing and is available every night from 18:30 to 21:30. Snowboarders and freestylers are also well catered for with the Balkans Fun Park, which provides a purpose-built obstacle course with facilities including a half-pipe, artificial bumps and jumps for snowboarders and skiers to practice their freestyling skills.
The snow in Bansko is excellent quality, with snowfall starting in December and lasting until April. One great thing about the resort is that snow tends to fall at night which leaves the slopes covered in fresh snow every morning. The higher peaks get the best coverage and provide excellent deep packed snow which is perfect for more advanced skiers. Up to the minute weather reports in Bansko can be viewed on our Bankso resort guide here.
February/March typically see the most snowfall, with 150/450cm of snow falling during these months. Other months in the ski season typically receive between 10/100cm. Snow cannons are also available on all the slopes which ensure there is always good coverage throughout the season. Skiers can check the latest snow report in Bansko here.
Leisure and Culture in Bankso
The resort is split into two distinct districts; the old town and the new town. The old town dates from the medieval period and is where you will find smaller guesthouses along with a wide range of boutique shops and family owned restaurants. This area has a particularly alpine feel, and anyone who has spent time in the more prestigious alpine resorts such as Courchevel will feel instantly at home.
The new town is where you will find excellent shopping facilities, along with some large hotels and apartment complexes. This area has seen multi-million-pound investment over recent years with the construction of a number of luxury hotels, along with a new high-speed gondola lift to speed up access to the slopes.
Investment Potential in Bankso
Bansko has seen more than €130 million invested in its infrastructure over the past five years. This has improved access to the slopes, attracted new investment from hotel groups including the luxury Kempinski Group, and created an incredible range of facilities which rival any resort in the Alps.
The downside of all this investment means there is often building work going on in the town. But this is good news for those looking at buying a property in Bansko, as there are a number of new apartment buildings being constructed close to the ski lifts which offer good value compared to similar apartment complexes in the Alps. These should provide excellent yields throughout the season and can be purchased for a fraction of the price of a similar property in the Alps.
Transport to Bankso
Bansko is around a 2hrs drive from the international airport at Sofia, the airport is served by most low-cost airlines including EasyJet and Wizz Air, who provide onward connections to cities around Europe. Ryanair also serves Plovdiv airport from London Stanstead, with the airport around a 3hrs drive from Bansko. Private connections are available from both airports to Bansko and Razlog with a bus service also operating throughout the ski season.
Trains depart from Sofia to Bansko three times a day, with a single train in the morning, afternoon and night. Passengers have to connect to the narrow-gauge railway at Septemvri which takes them directly to Bansko. This railway passes through the Rhodopes, Rila and Pirin mountain ranges and is one of the most picturesque rail routes in Europe. The journey takes approximately 7 hrs during the day and 8 hrs at night.