Bansko is known as Bulgaria's premier ski resort but it also has much more to offer beyond the slopes. It's a beautiful town to explore all year round and it's the perfect destination for a weekend or a longer vacation.
One of the best ways to get to know the city is to take a guided walking tour around the Old Town. This is an easy and very informative way to discover the history, language and unique traditions of this charming village.
The Old Town
The Old Town is a must-see during your visit to Bansko. It is a national monument that preserves the atmosphere of the medieval town.
It is one of the most unique settlements in Bulgaria and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can walk through its meandering cobblestone streets, and visit the Revival mansions, surrounded by fortress style walls.
You can also find a number of interesting museums and churches in the Old Town. Some of them are free to visit, while others charge an entrance fee.
If you’re in the mood for a little food, then the local market in Bansko is a must-visit. Here, you can find a wide selection of fresh produce and dairy products.
When you get hungry, there are some excellent restaurants in the Old Town. Casa di Papi is a great Italian restaurant that’s popular among expats. The prices are slightly higher than other restaurants in the area, but it’s still a good value for Bulgarian standards.
The gondola is one of Bansko’s most popular attractions. It offers a unique way to see the mountains and enjoy a drink or two.
During the ski season, it’s free to use and a perfect way to get up close to the mighty Pirin mountains. It’s also a great way to see the local wildlife, such as wolves and marmots.
As you ride the gondola, you’ll pass through several villages and have the chance to view some of the most spectacular mountain scenery. In the summer, it’s even more popular as it becomes a playground where you can do all sorts of outdoor activities like swimming and mountain biking.
A few kilometers away from the gondola you can find Velyan’s House Museum, which is an enchanting place. It features gorgeous frescoes by 19th-century icon painter Velyan, who lived and worked in Bansko.
The Church of Holy Trinity
When you’re in Bansko, don’t miss out on seeing the beautiful Church of Holy Trinity. It’s an important monument of Bulgarian architecture and culture.
The church was built with donations and voluntary work during the Ottoman rule in Bulgaria. The Baroque interior space has a wonderful atmosphere.
There’s a lot to see here, but I recommend paying special attention to the icon of Sveta Troitsa painted above the main entrance. This is a Christian cross with crescents on it – a symbol of religious tolerance in the early 19th century when Bulgaria was still under Ottoman rule.
Also, be sure to visit the Nikola Vaptsarov House Museum. It’s a great place to learn about the history of Bansko and its people.
The Nikola Vaptsarov House Museum
Bansko is a great place for winter sports, but the city also offers many interesting sights and museums. For example, the Nikola Vaptsarov House Museum is a wonderful way to see what life was like in the Soviet Union.
The Nikola Vaptsarov House Museum has been in operation since 1965 and is located on a former estate of the family of the late Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito. Here, visitors can see gifts that Broz received during his visits and birthdays.
The museum is located in the heart of the city and can be easily reached by car or public transportation. The entrance fee is 8 zl, and there are guided tours available.