Bansko in summer is simply a glorious place to spend the Bulgarian holidays. Bansko is Bulgaria’s largest ski resort and is located on the edge of the Pirin National Park in Bulgaria. Bansko is easy to reach and superbly located for visits to Sofia and Plovdiv. Bansko is an easy, and excellent place to spend the summer in Bulgaria.
Summer Bansko attracts many nationalities – not least Bulgarians looking to escape the heat of Sofia. While the ski resort of Bansko is extremely busy during the ski season, the summer is much quieter. There, are, however, a huge host of Bansko summer activities available.
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What to do in Bansko in Summer
You’ll love Bansko Bulgaria summer fun if you like hiking, good food, mountain biking, a cost of living that is the envy of the rest of Europe. If you like good warm, even hot days and cooler nights then Bansko is for you over summer. If you like mountain scenery, a laid-back atmosphere and fresh fruit and veg from the market every day, then come on and spend your summer in Bansko – there’s lots to do here!
In this guide, you’ll find a host of summer activities to do in Bansko in the summer – from free festivals to mountain biking, horse riding, hiking and visiting Spas.
Where is Bansko?
Bansko is Bulgaria’s biggest ski resort and is at the foot of the Pirin Mountains. Bansko is 157 kilometres from Sofia. That’s around a 2-hour drive from Bulgaria’s capital city. It’s also only 2.5 hours from Plovdiv to Bansko, these are two closest cities with airports.
Bansko’s elevation is around 900 metres above sea level. It’s a 90-metre altitude difference between the old square at the bottom of town and the ski gondola at the top.
To find out how to get from Sofia to Bansko – read our new guide – which includes details of buses, trains, shared and private transfers. It’s also easy to get from Plovdiv to Bansko by the same modes of transport.
Where to Stay in Bansko in Summer
The weather is glorious here in summer, so head for a hotel or apartment with an outdoor pool and ensure you have the best facilities to enjoy your time in Bansko. Here are the best hotels in Bansko with an outdoor pool.
The Kempinski Grand Arena: This is five-star luxury at Bulgarian prices and that means its fantastic value. (go on check the rates, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!). The five-star Kempinski has TWO outdoor pools (and one indoor pool too!). The Veranda Bar and Lounge have amazing views of the mountains, there’s a Piano Bar, and you’ll also get access to a 24 hour gym, a thermal spa (also with beauty spa treatments too!) and there are both indoor and outdoor hot tubs too. It’s quite simply glorious. Check rates and book your luxury 5 star getaway here.
The Regnum Bansko Ski Hotel & Spa has a heated outdoor pool (it’s enormous)- plus water slides and a children’s pool too, plus there’s a free shuttle to Banya Village to the Banya Therma complex too! There’s live Friday and Saturday night jazz here at the Regnum and there’s also a gym, children’s room, and gardens too. Rooms here are suites, with kitchenettes and seating areas as well as seriously well-equipped rooms. You’ll love it and can check rates here.
The Premier Luxury Mountain Resort has both an indoor and outdoor pool and spacious rooms with wooden interiors. There’s also a sauna and hammam here, plus a kids club too. Rooms are sumptuously decorated and very spacious, and the hotel is in a great location. You can check availability and rates here.
The name should give it away for my final recommendation for Bansko hotels with pools. The Hotel 7 Pools spa, has, yes, you’ve guessed it, 7 pools. There are outdoor pools here and an indoor pool for kids with a waterslide. There’s also a state of the art spa center and a fitness center too. The hotel provides apartments, with a fully equipped kitchen, private seating area, bathroom, and bedroom. Sound like your sort of place? See what other people say here. There are also 3 types of saunas, a steam room, 2 hammams, a tepidarium, as well as a salt room, shock barrels, and a VIP SPA apartment. And the rates are superb, check them out here.
What to do in Bansko in Summer
The vast majority of the activities in Bansko are outdoor and it’s a glorious location for anything outdoors. You’ll find Bansko’s activities include outdoor festivals, hiking trails, cultural activities, language lessons, and a whole lot more. Here’s our guide to things to do in Bansko in Summer.
Map Of Bansko Summer Things to Do
Click here to see a live version of the map below on Google. below Bansko map to find out more, or get directions.
Take a Free Walking Tour of Bansko
It’s one of our favorite things to do whenever we arrive somewhere near and while Bansko isn’t new to us, this free walking tour (pay with tips) was new to Bansko in 2018. In the summer of 2022 it’s back up and running again and it’s still great! It’s run by local Bansko folk and is a great 90-minute introduction to Bansko. Meet by the main entrance to the Holy Trinity Church and explore 10 stops through the old and new town, get to understand Bansko history, famous residents, and get a booklet of exclusive discounts in local Bansko mehanas. There’s no need to book, free Bansko walking tours happen from June to September at 1100 on Saturdays and Sundays.
From December to March tours start (again Saturday and Sundays) at 1400. There’s more information on Bansko FREE Walking Tours here.
If those times don’t suit you, then you can also book a private tour on your schedule.
Visit the Museums of Bansko
There are several museums of note in Bansko worth a visit. Note that none of the museums open on a Sundays or on public holidays. Museums to visit in Bansko – and we’ve detailed them later in this article include:
- Historical and Ethnographic Museum of Radonova House
- Velyanova House Museum
- The Nikola Vaptsarov House Museum
- The Paisiy Hilendarski Museum
- The Neofit Rilski House Museum
Explore Bansko’s Holy Trinity Church
The Holy Trinity Church is easy to locate on Pirin Street, which is the main street that runs from the top to the bottom of Bansko. It’s a small, but beautiful Orthodox Church, built during the Turkish occupation. Bansko’s Holy Trinity Church is the second biggest church in Bulgaria (after the St. Aleksandar Nevski Cathedral in Sofia). It was built in 1835 and has a unique symbol above the entrance door – both a Christian cross and the original religious symbol of the Turkish Empire, latterly the Islamic crescent.
The original interior wall paintings were restored in recent years and were created by the most famous Bulgarian artists of the time. Dress conservatively to enter.
Marvel at the Storks on the Holy Trinity Church Bell Tower
The 30 meters high bell tower of the Bansko Holy Trinity Church is an icon of Bansko and has been since its completion in 1850. For Bulgarians, the return of the migratory Storks heralds the start of Spring. In Bansko, each year the storks rebuild an enormous next on the wall of the bell tower. It’s best viewed from the square below the Holy Trinity Church.
Take the Bansko Gondola to Mid Mountain Bansko
Each day during the summer the Bansko ski gondola takes visitors to the Bunderista Polyanna area where a host of activities are available. One of the most popular activities mid-mountain is the Bansko water slide.
The trip takes you from the base to the 1500-meter level.
Adult Bansko gondola summer tickets cost 25 leva one way or 30 leva return. Children’s tickets (7-12 years) for the Bansko Gondola Summer cost 15 leva one way and 20 leva return. Children under the age of 7 travel for 1 lev.
You can also buy a summer season pass for 450 leva.
Bansko Summer 2022 Gondola Opening Times are
- 1 June to 30 June: Up at 8am – down at 430 pm – Monday to Friday ONLY
- 1 July – 6 September: 0800-1630 – running all day
- 7 September to 30 November – up at 8am – down at 430 pm – Monday to Friday ONLY
For summer the popular 400-meter long water slide – the longest in Europe will return! It will cost 15 Leva for one slide, and a ticket for 9 slides (which can be used by multiple people) is 95 Leva.
There are more details on additional packages on slides here.
You can also play mini-golf and slide down cordoned-off areas on inner tubes
Bike rental is available on the mountain for the summer — one-hour costs 6 leva and 4 hours is 20 leva.
For Summer 2022 there’s a package available for Adults (50 leva) and children (8-12) 35 leva that include: a round-trip ticket for the gondola lift, one run on the water slide, and five runs with tubes or bag jump.
See the Monument to Paisiy Hilendarksi
This huge statue, erected in 1976, is of and dedicated to Paisiy Hilendarksi (sometimes (Paisii) who was born in Bansko in 1722 to a family of traders. In 1745 traveled to the Hilendar Monastery, where he became a monk and later a deputy abbot. He is famous for documenting, writing, and then sharing the first history of Bulgaria. He was canonized as a saint of the Bulgaria Orthodox Church in 1962.
You can find out more about his life in the Paisiy Hilendarksi museum on Gotse Delchev Street, which is located where his father’s home was located and where he wrote the history of Bulgaria. The monument to Paisiy Hildendarski is in the old town at Nikola Vaptsarov 14, and the museum is found on Ulitsa Otets Paisiy 21.
The Bansko Sunday Market
While there is a market stall in the small square one block to the south of Ulitsa Tsar Simeon, the Sunday morning market is a superb experience. You’ll find local traders and fruit and veg growers from nearby villages and towns here from around 0700 each Sunday. This is a great place to stock up on freshly grown and pic fruits, vegetables, homemade chutneys, and dried herbs. (read about how to grow easy vegetables here!) You’ll find homemade wines and rakias – presented in recycled plastic bottles. All the groceries here are seasonal.
There’s also a flea market, clothes stalls, and bric a brac to be found on Ulitsa Tsar Simeon close to the City Park.
Find the Bansko Valevitsa’s
These round wooden tubs are called Valevitsa. They use fresh water from the mountain, channeled in via a steep wooden chute. As a strong current of water is created, the water “beats” what’s put into the valevitsa and spins them around as it washes away the dirt in the whirlpool that is formed.
Historically they were communal “washing machines” and are still used for washing carpets and rugs.
You can find a demonstration Valevista on Gotse Delchev street, but there are working ones up from the Kempinski Grand Hotel and also on Ulitsa Glazne.
Enjoy yoga classes in Bansko over the summer. Adult beginner lessons start in August – book via Bansko Yoga Club and run on Tuesdays and Fridays at 1700. Children’s classes can also be provided on demand.
There’s also Yoga at Lotus Vibe, with a full weekly schedule here.
Take in one of Bansko’s Free Festivals
Throughout the year Bansko hosts several free festivals in the town. The most famous festival is the International Jazz Festival, and the summer hosts any number. All the free festivals are held in the main square (Nikola Vaptazarov Square). You can find a Bansko free festival most weekends – and read later in this article about all of them.
During the summer in Bansko, nightlife in Bansko revolves a lot around the old square and these festivals which are very family-oriented.
Free Festivals in Bansko Include:
- School Orchestra Festival 2022 – 23rd – 26th June 2022
- Bansko Nomad Fest 2022 – 26th June – 3rd July
- The 2022 Bansko Folklore Festival – 1st July – 3rd July 2022
- 2022 Pirin Rock – 29th July – 30th July 2022 with Ronnie Romero
- The Bansko International Jazz Festival Read more about it here
- The Opera Festival – 26th – 27th August
- The 2022 Bansko Film Festival – 21st September – 25th September
Bansko’s Bulvespa Days 2022 23rd July 2022
“Bulvespa Days 2022” will be held from July 22 to 24 and brings together hundreds of models of Vespas. This is the second time that this event has been organized and its located in Bansko this year! If you’re interested in being part of the Bulvespa Days, then you can register here. Otherwise to see the parade, its happening on 23rd July
10:30 am – 1:00 pm Parade tour of the town of Bansko and photos of Nikola Vaptsarov Square.
13:00 – 16:00 Driving to Banderishka Polyana.
Relax in Bansko’s City Park
Located along with Ulitsa Tsar Simeon, the park has huge trees, lots of shade, and a couple of great cafes, it is especially popular in the summer. There is a children’s play park here and it’s a great place to chill out when it heats up!
Play Tennis in Bansko
There are several tennis courts in Bansko.
You’ll find tennis courts at the Kempinski Hotel, for an extra charge for residents. There are also two tennis courts on Drama Street. Tennis courts also open in the summer at the Hotel Strazhite. The courts are open from 1000 until 2000 and cost 20 leva per hour to rent. Enquire at the Hotel Strazhite reception.
Bansko’s Central Square – Nikola Vaptazarov Square
This is the center and heart of Bansko during the summer season. It’s here you’ll find all the festivals, some great (but tourist) restaurants as well as the Bansko Art scene. The town hall and municipality buildings are here and also several of the museums.
Café Life in Bansko
Ulitsa Tsar Simeon, at the bottom of the central square, Nikola Vaptazarov Square, is partly pedestrianized and provides a superb Mediterranean-style cafe lifestyle. There are some great cafes here, with good coffee and cold beer. If you are not a smoker, then you’ll want to choose your seats carefully, as it can get quite smokey.
Stroll Down Gotse Delchev Street
Pedestrianized and also renovated in recent years, Gotse Delchev Street is surprisingly unpopulated and pleasant to walk up or down. It provides some great views of the mountain and fabulous shots for your Instagram account. You’ll also find a Valevitsa washing tub here, but it’s just for show. Don’t take the idea that this is a pedestrianized street to heart, it doesn’t necessarily hold true.
Understand Bulgarian Traditions and Notices
Walking around Bansko as a visitor to Bulgaria, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is the Wild West and there are a lot of folks with a bounty on their head. Either that, or there are a whole host of missing people here. This is, however, not John Wayne country, and neither are folks disappearing en masse. It’s simply a uniquely Bulgarian tradition.
Here in Bansko, instead of an obituary being posted in a newspaper, it is posed on gates outside houses, on doors, in public places, outside the Holy Trinity Church and the cemetery, and even on lamp posts. They’re reposted on particular anniversaries – 40 days, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, and then annually until there is no one left to remember. This is mainly a Bulgarian Orthodox undertaking (Bulgaria’s main religion with more than 82% of the population observing it.)
Visit The Open Air Cinema, Bansko
In 2022, Bansko’s open-air cinema is on the 8th and 9th of July., in the central square “Nikola Vaptsarov” there’s a Summer Cinema under the stars. For two nights, starting at 2100, a program of three or four films, documentaries, and shows are shown for free. Showcasing the great outdoors, it’s a fabulous way to experience the hospitality of a Bansko summer.
Join a Salsa Dance Class in Bansko
Join a Salsa and Bachata dance class while you’re in Bansko. With various levels of classes from beginner to intermediate, these dance classes are held early evening during the week at the Club Hanuman. Dance class schedule in Bansko, Club Hanuman, Ulitsa Vardar 4.
- Beginners: Monday 1700
- Intermediate: Tuesday 1745
- Beginners: Wednesday 1700
- Intermediate: Thursday 1745
Relax in the Hotel Swimming Pools in Bansko
Many of the hotels and complexes within Bansko that have swimming pools open them to the public for a daily access fee. The most popular of these are:
- The Regnum – close to the Gondola, large pool, plus play pool with slides. 2022 Adult price 20 Leva entrance fee with discounts for multiple purchases. (10 visits for 160 Leva). Open from mid-June – early September from 0900 until 1900. If you’re staying at the Regnum this is free to use.
- The Belvedere – Close to the Gondola, on the edge of town.
- The Strazhite Hotel – located centrally – large pool great for lap swimming.
- The Leonardo Aqua Complex – great atmosphere, two pools located close to the Lucky Bansko.
- The Grand Hotel Bansko- Indoor and outdoor swimming pool and spa.
Have a Spa Day in Bansko
Relax and enjoy spa treatments and relaxation at several of the hotels and spa centers in Bansko. Check out
With a Finnish sauna, herbal sauna, and digital detox area, this is the ultimate in luxury. There are 3 pools in total here, and an aroma steam bath. You can partake of Thai massages and beauty procedures. Open from 0900 – 2100.
With an indoor and outdoor pool, a halotherapy salt hall, a Finnish sauna, and Hamman there are a wide variety of treatments and relaxation techniques available here. Arabian Rasul and Garra fish feet massages are also available here. Open from 0800 to 2100.
The Victoria Spa contains a salt room and Turkish bath as well as a variety of facial and body treatments. There’s also a pool here and group and individual fitness classes. The Grand Hotel Spa was recently ranked as the Number 1 Spa in Bulgaria!
Take Bulgarian Lessons at the Bla Bla Club Bansko
If you’d like to learn a few words to get by in Bulgarian, then you can also take in a few lessons in a social environment. The Bla Bla Club meets once a week in a local bar or cafe. The Club has been set up to both learn the basics of Bulgarian and at the same time socialize. More information at the Bla Bla Club Facebook page.
Try Local Food in Bansko
The food in Bansko can be superb. As well as international flavors you’ll find solid Bulgarian food and some specialties that are specific to Bansko. Freshest produce cooked to order. Pizza if you want it. Amazing chicken wings when you need them. Cold cheap refreshing beer. We compiled a list of the resident’s favorites – take a look at our article on great Bulgarian food and where to eat it in Bansko.
In 2022 there’s a culinary exhibition of unique Bansko restaurants from 2nd September to the 4th September, when local chefs will be showcasing the specialities of the region.
Explore Weekly Specials at Local Bars & Restaurants
Over the summer months several of the local bars and restaurants open with special offers. Be sure to check their opening times as these will differ as the summer progresses and we’ve included links to their Facebook pages, where they’ll always update with the latest offers.
- Smokey Mountain – burger and dinner specials and pub quizzes at this favorite spot.
- Hub 360 – great drinks, great DJ’s, music, outdoor space, karaoke, drinks specials.
- Pirin 75 – great location and nice outdoor seating.
- The Hotel Avalon – Famous curry nights with tandoor cooked naan bread.
- Pirin 25 Wine Bar – wine from all around Bulgaria with special wine and Gin tasting nights.
Bansko Traditions and Cultural Demonstrations
Held throughout the summer from 1st July to 25th July 2022 you’ll find demonstrations of wood carving, weaving, spinning, sock knitting, and antique embroidery. These take place in the Visitor Information Centre.
International Art, Bansko
Explore the international Art Gallery in Bansko. Showcasing local and international artists on the main square in Bansko. More information
Explore the Pirin National Park
While the National Park is open 24 hours a day, the Pirin National Park Information Centre is open from Monday to Friday from 0900 – 1700. It is closed on weekends and also on public holidays. There is a variety of information in Bulgarian and English.
Pirin National Park was established in 1962 and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983. You’ll find endangered black and white firs here and more than 1300 other plant species as well as 320 types of moss and lichen. The European tree frog and the Eastern Hermann’s Tortoise are two of the endangered species that make their home here, along with more than 2,000 invertebrates and 200 vertebrates. 159 species of birds have been recorded in the park.
The highest point in the park is Vihren Peak at 2,914 meters. It is the second-highest in Bulgaria (Musala in the Rila Mountains is the highest.) Bulgaria’s oldest tree can be found close to the Vihren Hut, the Baykusheva Fir, which is more than 1,300 years old.
Hunting and logging are strictly prohibited in the park, but hiking is seriously encouraged. Get out into the park today and explore!
Take an ATV tour in Bansko
Quad and ATV bikes are a great way to explore the area around Bansko. There are several companies that provide ATV tours. The largest Bansko ATV company is Bansko ATV and you can choose from a one-hour trip to specifically designed family trips with them. Bansko ATV prices start from 120 BGN for a one-hour trip, and bikes can take one or two riders. There’s more information including booking here.
Do a Little Work in Bansko – Join one of the Coworking Groups in Bansko
Since 2017 there has been a coworking presence in Bansko and the influx of digital nomads has grown to a steady stream. There are several coworking spaces and communities in the town, some of which also provide coliving spaces.
With an Old Town location as well as a location close to the Gondola, this is a central hub for digital nomads and local freelancers. Coworking Bansko advertises 150Mbps internet, Friday night barbecues, and regularly advertised events and activities. Find out more from the Coworking Bansko team here.
Altspace Coworking Bansko
Offering coworking spaces and community events, Altspace has a great location on Gotse Delchev street and a fabulous community vibe. They offer day rates, weekly rates and upwards – there’s more information on Bansko’s Altspace here.
With an old town location, nestworking provides great coworking options in Bansko, and there’s more information here.
2022 Festivals in Bansko
There are festivals here in Bansko throughout the year. They’re all FREE! Yes, FREE. The most notable festivals in Bansko include:
The Bansko Jazz Festival 2022
The Bansko Jazz Festival is the jewel in the crown of Bansko’s festivals. Running for 23 years, this internationally acclaimed festival starts with the local Blagoevgrad Big Band and finishes with a headline act on Saturday evening. In 2022 the festival runs from the 6th of August 2022 to the 13th of August 2022. The Jazz Festival is free, but there are also VIP seats available, prices for these are announced during July. The town gets pretty busy during the festival, but it’s great fun. Read more about the Bansko Jazz Festival here.
2022 Bansko Opera Festival – 26- 27 August 2022
In 2022, the 2022 Opera Festival in Bansko is being held on 26th and 27th August. It takes place in the main square and this year you’ll be able to see Grease the Musical and Romeo and Juliet the opera.
More information: https://www.facebook.com/bansko.opera.fest/
Bansko Museums to Visit
Visit the Velyanova House Museum
The Velyanov House Museum is an 18th-century mansion containing wood carvings and ornate paintings. This is the oldest house in Bansko and is a great representation of the fortress type building prevalent here. Bansko was built as a trading center, and thus with animals and goods of value, residents would be sure to keep them safe behind thick stone walls, with excellent defenses.
There is a guide available in English, German and Dutch for the entry fee of 3 leva. Open 0900-1300 and 1400-1730, closed Sunday and Monday.
You’ll find unique paintings and stunning woodwork here. It contains excellent representations of Bulgarian Renaissance art and was a gift from Velyan Ogney who worked on the decoration of the Holy Trinity Church.
Historical and Ethnographic Museum of Radonova House
This museum displays the artifacts and effects relating to the history of Bansko. You’ll find displays explaining the importance of the town in the history of Bulgaria as well as how Bansko has contributed to the culture of the country.
Many of the displays here come from the local archaeological sites that you can visit either independently or with a trip from the Visitor Information Centre. The museum is open from 0900-1200 and from 1300-1700, closed on Sunday and Monday for a fee of 3 leva.
The Nikola Vaptsarov House Museum
This museum was the birthplace of Nikola Vaptsarov, a Bulgarian poet and activist. His writing caused his arrest and torture and it was while he was waiting for his execution that he wrote his most inspiring works. The museum documents his life alongside his personal belongings.
You can find a portrait of Vaptsarov on the wall close to the BG Market on the street above the Momini Dvori mehana.
The Paisiy Hilendarski Museum
This museum contains a representation of the monastic cell in which Hildenarski lived in the Hildendar monastery. It documents his life and a copy of the original history of Bulgaria. You’ll also find portraits of other prominent inhabitants of Bansko. This museum was originally the house of Hildendarksi’s father. It burned to the ground in 1922 and the location was marked with a stone noting it was the birthplace of Hildendarksi. It was recently rebuilt and refurbished as the museum to his memory.
The Neofit Rilski House Museum
Open daily from 0900-1300 and 1400-1730 for a fee of 3 leva, this 18th-century house shows the traditional architecture of Bansko. Rilski was the founder of Bulgarian secular education and an important figure in the Bulgarian Renaissance.
What to do near Bansko in Summer
While we’ve covered what there is to do in Bansko in Summer many of the activities place just outside the town. All of these activities are within easy reach of Bansko. Some will require your own personal transport, others (and we have noted which) can be reached on public transport.
Map of Things to do near Bansko
Click here to get a live version of this map of things to do near Bansko Bansko Bulgaria map to find out more or get directions.
Visit Bansko’s Archeological History
It’s possible to visit several archaeological sites in near proximity to Bansko, they’re easy to get to, although signage is limited.
At the end of the 11th century, Sitan Kale was an impressive fortress. It’s located 3.5 kilometers from Bansko. The site is a ruin, although some restoration has been undertaken. It’s a pleasant walk and an interesting site. Ceramics, glass ornaments, arrows, and spears have been found here and are now located in the Radonova Historic House Museum in Bansko. During the Summer months, the Visitor Information Centre occasionally organizes guided tours here (1000 Monday to Friday, organize at the Visitor Information Centre).
St. Nikola Archeological Complex
The remains of an early Christian basicilia were found here in 2003, some 4.5 kilometers from Bansko. Some restoration has taken place and it’s possible to see the outline of what was once here.
Go Horse Riding Near Bansko
There are several horse riding stables near Bansko, where it’s possible to take lessons or hire horses to go for an accompanied ride.
Perivolas Riding Centre near Bansko
Situated in the village of Bachevo, 12 kilometers from Bansko (6 km from Razlog) is the Perivolas Riding Centre. Rides cost 30 leva an hour and lessons are also available.
Dvorene Riding Centre near Bansko
Dvorene is based just outside Razlog (6 kilometers from Bansko). A 2-hour ride costs 50 leva and they will also collect you from Bansko for 10 leva. e-mail: [email protected]
Horse Riding in Dobrinishte, near Bansko
You don’t need transport to go horse riding in Dobrinishte – book an hour (or longer) horse-riding and you’ll be collected from your apartment or hotel in Bansko and driven the 15 minutes to the village of Dobrinishte where you’ll meet your guide and horse. It’s suitable for all levels. Book your Bansko Horse Riding Experience here.
Paintball in Bansko
Team build or have fun with family and friends, Paintballing is now available in Bansko. It’s organized by IMI Sports and is available for anyone over the age of 10. You’ll need a minimum of 10 players and costs including 200 balls and all protective gear are 28 Leva per person. Book directly with IMI Sports here.
White Water Rafting near Bansko
Pirin National Park has two rivers that enable white water rafting, which is available between March to November each year (weather and water levels depending).
A White Water Rafting Trip will cost from 50 leva per person and rafts fit up to 6 people and include a guide. Your fee includes wetsuits, footwear, and buoyancy aid. Book directly for the best prices, it will cost more to book with a tourist agency in Bansko. You can book your white water rafting experience from Bansko here.
Mountain Biking in Bansko
The area around Bansko is very popular with mountain bikers. Each Sunday the local MTB group meets in the main square and heads out on local routes. Trail system Bulgaria puts together a series of events and also maintains trails in the area. The popular Road to Nowhere runs each summer (usually at the end of July), attracting hundreds of MTBers to the town. Enduro Bansko rides usually during August.
You can rent mountain bikes from a variety of stores and rental shops throughout the town.
Rent a Bike and Explore Around Bansko
There are a variety of rental shops around Bansko. Where you can rent by the hour, half-day, full-day or longer.
- InterBansko: 15 leva per day
- Bansko Summer Activ – 2 hour rental 10 leva, 4 hour rental 15 leva, 1 day rental 20 leva.
You can also rent electric bikes and quad bikes.
Play Golf at Pirin Golf Club.
Showcasing an Ian Woosnam designed 18-hole, Par 72 Championship course, Pirin Golf Club is located several minutes from Bansko. The complex also incorporates apartments, a hotel with a heated indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, and spa procedures, squash courts and a gym.
Green fees from April 1st to 31st October start at 45 leva for 9 holes or 65 leva for 18 holes. It’s possible to rent clubs, electric buggies, and trolleys. More information on Pirin Golf Club is here.
Summer Jeep Safari in Bansko
If a little more adrenalin is your thing, then a Bansko Summer Safari is a popular way to see the local countryside. An open-topped jeep that can take up to 6, plus the driver, lets you head up logging trails on the mountain. You’ll ford streams and river, and stop for refreshments or even lunch during your exploration of the area.
You can take a half (3 hours) or full-day tour. Costs are 300 leva for the jeep for four people, or 350 leva for 6 people for a half-day tour. A full-day tour costs from 475 leva. Contact Phillip via the Bansko Safari Facebook page.
Hot Air Ballooning Around Bansko
A one-hour private hot air balloon flight starting from as early as 0630 costs from 300 leva per child and 440 leva per adult. Minimum numbers are 4 people and the balloon takes a maximum of 12. Flights are entirely weather dependent. You’ll be collected from and delivered back to your hotel. Book directly with Bansko Flights.
The Adventure Park, Dobrinishte (Планински клуб България – Добринище)
The adventure rope park in Dobrinishte offers a variety of outdoor adventure activities over the summer. There’s a rope course (zipline) for adults and also one for children, quad biking, horse riding, a climbing wall and archery. You can also rent mountain bikes here. Prices vary for the different activities – see the poster below. It’s open from 0930 until 2130. More information.
Kayaking near Bansko
The Reflip Team offer both kayak rentals and kayak training at their base in the Kresna Gorge of the Struma River, near Bansko. You can rent white water kayaks, single and double sea kayaks from 40 leva per day. All rental also includes spray skirts, paddles and vests. Multi-day tours, as well as a single day and 3-day training course, are also offered. Contact Reflip directly.
Canyoning near Bansko
There are 3 different options for canyoning near Bansko, with prices from 20 leva per person. You’ll get full equipment including a neoprene suit, jacket, water shoes, a helmet and a life jacket. Instructors are also provided. Tours last from 2 hours and include transport from the Reflip base in the Kresna Gorge. Book directly with Reflip here
Bansko Rock Climbing
Close to the “Secret” Pesherite – about 20 minutes walk up the ski road (and also driveable) are a series of climbing routes. There are also climbing routes to be found higher up the mountain – Vihren and Kamenitsa Peaks are popular. You can arrange rock climbing excursions with the Alpine Club Bansko. Contact via Kraismir Elinov [email protected]
Picnic and BBQs near Bansko
Throughout the Pirin National Park, there are sturdy tables and benches. It’s possible to drive to many of them, others must be hiked to. They’re usually close to a fire pit or BBQ and a cold mountain stream, making it possible to cook and cool beer at the same time.
Relaxing in the Thermal Pools near Bansko
While the hotel complexes of Bansko provide swimming pools, there are more than 30 hot springs around the Bansko area. These mineral springs are naturally occurring and contain therapeutic minerals to aid relaxation.
The Alpha Spa and Pool, Dobrinishte
This is the biggest spa and thermal pool complex in the area, right in the centre of Dobrinishte. There’s a large pool and a variety of smaller ones with different depths and temperatures. Accessible by bus or local train. (read about the narrow gauge railway here) There’s a snack and drinks bar as well as spa services available too.
The Kompleks Izgreva – SPA Hotel Izgreva Banya
The village of Banya is just 15 minutes away from Bansko, and the mineral pools here are fabulous. There are three of them, with natural mineral water from the nearby thermal springs – Thermal pool number 1: the big main pool where the water isn’t unbearably hot and great for swimming – Thermal pool number 2: a smaller pool which is shallow and warmer where your children can safely enjoy the benefits of mineral water and those of you who cannot swim can comfortably relax; Thermal pool number 3: a really hot pool, where the water temperature is well over 40 degrees Celsius. They’re great and open at 11 am. You can visit independently, but if you want to get transport both ways (and have a beer or glass of wine while you visit – there’s also a restaurant and cafe bar here – then this option will take you to and from Bansko. It includes your entrance to the thermal pools and your transport both ways.
The Kompleks Izgreva is in Banya. The Izgreva thermal baths are both thermal pools and a snack bar is also available. There are 3 pools here. The largest pool has the hottest water. There’s also a restaurant and poolside bar here as well as changing rooms right next to the pools.
The Piri Pool Complex, between Bansko and Banya
Nice warm pool, diving pools, food and drinks and a football pitch.
The Hotel Aspa Villa, Banya.
With both a large pool and jacuzzi, this is a good place to stay. Changing rooms, though are unisex which might not work for everyone!. Showers are also unisex.
Roman Bath Spa Hotel, Banya
Recently renovated and very luxurious. Contains Japanese, Turkish and Roman baths as well as a big indoor pool.
Hotel Aquilon Spa, Banya
A deep indoor pool and a slightly shallower outdoor pool known for the cleanliness of its water. There’s also a steam bath here at the spa.
Fishing near Bansko
There are 2 fishing lakes very close to Bansko, Krinetz Dam and Belizmata Dam. Both lakes offer equipment rental. Krinetz Dam is very easy to access on foot or by car from Bansko and has parking, an excellent restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating and there’s also a children’s playground here too. The lake is stocked with trout and carp.
Belizmata Dam is stock with trout, carp and mullet and there are outdoor tables and benches and a fire pit for picnics and barbeques.
Slightly further away, some 4 kilometres above Dobrinishte village, is the Ribarnika complex, which has 3 sport fishing lakes stocked with brown trout. The fish restaurant here is a local favourite.
Spend a Day at the Rila Fun Park
Newly opened in 2019, the Rila Fun Park is open from 1000 until 1800. A ride costs 10 leva for children aged 3-12 years and 15 leva for anyone over the age of 12. More information
Walking And Hiking Around Bansko
Hiking to and from Vihren Hut
The local peak is called Vihren, at the top of the valley below the peak is one of a series of huts throughout the Pirin Mountains. It’s possible to stay in these huts – you do not need to pre-book, simply arrive, and bring your own sleeping bags. Family-style dinners and breakfasts can also be purchased. There are 196 beds here.
The Vihren Hut is the start point for many short hikes, as well as multi-day hikes. From July 1st until 15th September there is a ban on private vehicles being used and parked from Shilgarnika to the Vihren Hut.
Over the summer if you wish to hike and want to start higher up than the top of the gondola then there are three options to get there.
- Rent a car and drive to Shilgarnika
- Le Retro Hostel runs a daily shuttle service to Vihren Hut from Bansko at 9:15 am at a cost of 10 leva. You will need to book (and collections can be arranged). There are more details here.
- Take the minibus which transports walkers and visitors to and from the Vihren Hut. The minibus begins its trip from Vaptsarov Square with pickups at the Hotel Mura, the Hotel Strazhite, the Hotel Kempinski, and the Motikata Restaurant bus stop. This shuttle bus costs 10 leva per person.
There are 3 scheduled departures a day between 15th June and 30th September leaving Vaptsarov Square at 0822, 1322 and 1702.
- Vaptsarov Square 08:22 13:22 & 17:02
- Mura Hotel 08:36 13:25 & 17:04
- Strazhite Hotel08:39 13:28 & 17:07
- Kempinski Hotel 08:41 13:31 & 17:10
- Motikata Restaurant 08:44 13:34 & 17:13
The journey from Bansko to Vihren hut takes about 50 minutes and there are returns to Bansko at 9:30 am, 2:20 pm and 6 pm.
The price for transport is 10 leva per person in each direction. Pre-booking is recommended – by calling 00359 (0) 886 436 956.
If you prefer to walk, a signposted route from Bansko runs up the ski runs and through the woods of the National Park. The walk takes approximately 4 hours and is primarily uphill.
Go to the Gotse Delchev Hut
The Gotse Delchev Hut is the bottom station of the Bezbog Chairlift. There are summer shuttles from Bansko and Dobrinishte to the hut that runs from 15th June until 15th September.
NOTE THAT THESE ARE CURRENTLY SUSPENDED – you can read more here.
Departures from Bansko are at 07:30* (starts from 02.07.2022), 09:10, 14:40 and 16:10*
Returns from Bezbog Chairlift are at 08:25* (from 02.07.2022), 10:10, 15:25* and 17:00
*-Requires online reservation in advance
Departure for the connection from Bansko is in front of Traventuria Store (Pitu Guli St, by Euphoria bar)
You can save 10% by booking online at https://tickets.busbansko.com/
Longer Distance Walks Near Bansko
There are a lot of walks in and around Bansko. There’s walking through the meadows and fields of the valley. There’s a much more extensive trail system in the Pirin National Park which extends through the Pirin Mountains. There’s an eco path up towards the ski area and even a chained route to reach Vihren Peak. There are stunning walks in the Spring and Autumn too, as you’ll find in all-season Bansko.
The Pirin Mountains have a series of huts that it is possible to walk between for the more adventurous. A Pirin routes map is available from the small supermarkets in Bansko, or you can buy your Pirin Mountains Hiking Maps for Bansko here.
You can also pick up a Bansko Walking Map and Bansko Hiking Map from the Avalon Hotel (see map on this post).
Paid for guided group hikes are often organised and promoted through the Hike Bansko Group – join here (for free) and for more information.
Run the Pirin Ultra in Bansko
The Pirin Ultra is a mountain ultra marathon held within the Pirin National Park. In 2022, the dates are 23rd to the 25th September. There are three routes to Pirin Ultra in 2022, the first is 160 km, the second is 66 km of mountain terrain and the third is 38 km and is named the Pirin Extreme and its part of the Skyrunner World Series. There’s more here.
Day Trips from Bansko
One of the holiest places in Bulgaria with a history dating back more than 1,000 years, Rila Monastery was established in the 10th century. The Rila monastery was inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1983. The monastery contains stunning frescos. The grave of the founder, St John of Rila is located 5 kilometres away from the Monastery. Read our guide to Rila Monastery here
The Dancing Bear Park at Belitsa
This is a sanctuary for ex Dancing bears in the Rila mountains. Easily visited by car from Bansko. Public transport options will take you only as far as Belitsa and the park is X km further into the mountains. It’s a stunning location and the rescued bears are both beautiful and desperately sad. Read more about the Dancing Bear Park here.
Take the Train from Bansko to Septemvri
This is one of our favorite ways to travel in Bulgaria. It’s the last remaining narrow-gauge railway in Bulgaria and the track between Dobrinishte and Septemvri passes through the highest railway station in the Balkans. The train is slow and ponderous and goes nowhere fast, but it does pass through some glorious countryside and if you change at Septembri it’s a great way to get to PLovidv from Bansko. Read more about taking the train between Bansko and Septemvri here.
Weather in Bansko over Summer
July and August in Bansko can be hot – you can see temperatures of 30 plus degrees, which drops off overnight. This is a lot cooler than some of the other areas of Bulgaria where it’s regularly 40 degrees.
There are regular spectacular thunderstorms that reverberate around the mountains and are quite stunning to watch, but which clear the air regularly. Just be sure to watch the weather forecasts for the local area and don’t get caught in the mountains during a storm.
The best sites for weather forecasts in the Bansko area are:
- Snow Forecast – A great site even in the summer
If you’re planning on hiking in the Pirin National Park the webcams on the National Park huts provide a good overview of what the weather looks like. Check out the Vihren Hut webcam here.
After the heat of July and August has gone, Bansko in September is glorious.
Where else to go in Bulgaria
- The best things to see and do in Sofia (Bulgaria’s Capital City)
- The best things to see and do in Plovdiv
- Veliko Tarnovo – Bulgaria’s Original Capital City
- Bulgaria’s Ski Capital, Bansko – in Summer
- The Annual Jazz Festival in Bansko
- The Ex-Dancing Bear Park at Belitsa
- Take a ride on the highest railway in the Balkans – from Bansko to Septemvri!
- Visit Bulgaria’s most beautiful building – UNESCO World Heritage Rila Monastery
Plan your Trip to Bulgaria
- Book the best tours and guides in Bulgaria on GetYourGuideand Civitatis
- Book fabulous Bulgarian foodie experiences with locals through Eatwith
- Save money in Bulgaria with a Wise debit card
- Book Buses in Bulgaria with Bookaway
- Rent a Car in Bulgaria with Discover Cars
- Find the right accommodation for you via Booking.com
What’s Your Favorite Thing to do in Bansko in Summer?
Summer lasts well into September on a good year in Bansko, and as the town continues to flourish and grow its tourism activities it’s a great place to spend summer, but all seasons. Come on up to the mountains and enjoy what Bansko Bulgaria in Summer has to offer and tell us what your favorite thing to do in the Bansko Summer holidays is! We love all these things to do in Bansko’s summertime – we hope you do too!
Fancy seeing a bit more of Bulgaria? Check out our guide to Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria’s original capital
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