How to go from Plovdiv to Bansko

Plovdiv to Bansko – bus, train, shared & private transfers

If you’re heading to Bansko, then it’s likely that you’re getting there from one of Bulgaria’s major cities – Sofia or Plovdiv.  Head on over to our other article Sofia to Bansko if you’re coming from the capital.  If you’re arriving from Plovdiv, then here are details on how to get from Plovdiv to Bansko (and vice versa).  The journey to Plovdiv from Bansko is simple, drivers are friendly and there is stunning scenery regardless of the way you make your way from Plovdiv to Bansko.

If you have the time we seriously recommend taking the train to Plovdiv from Bansko, as it is a glorious way to spend time crossing the country.  Most travellers, however, take the bus to Plovdiv from Bansko as its more convenient.

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Where is Bansko?

Bansko is well-known as Bulgaria’s biggest ski resort.  It’s around 2.5 hours from Plovdiv or 2 – 2.5-hour drive from Bulgaria’s capital city, Sofia.

Where_is_Bansko_Map

How to get from Plovdiv to Bansko

The transport options from Plovdiv Bansko include:

  • Private Transfer
  • Airport Taxi
  • Public Bus
  • Trains

This article will detail how to get transport both directly from Plovdiv Airport to Bansko and also from Plovdiv City to Bansko.

Where Is Plovdiv Airport?

Plovdiv Airport is 12 kilometres south-east of the city.   There is a single terminal and this is a small airport.  It is, however, served by Ryanair, so cheap flights are often an option.

If you wish to travel from Plovdiv to Bansko on public transport, then your first stop should be one of Plovdiv’s bus stations.  For this, you will need to get into Plovdiv city.

How to Go From Plovdiv Airport to Plovdiv

The best way to get from Plovdiv Airport to Plovdiv is to take a taxi.  A taxi from Plovdiv airport to city centre, Plovdiv, will cost 15-20 leva.  There is no Plovdiv Airport Bus from the airport to the city.  Four taxi firms are approved at the airport.   They are Viailet, Taxi 1, Perfect Taxi and Eco Taxi.

You can find details of them here – . http://www.plovdivairport.com/en/taxi-services

In Plovdiv bus stations and train stations relevant to going to Bansko are at the south end of the city.  There’s a map below.

Our guide on the best things to do in Plovdiv is here.

Where to stay in Bansko

If you’re a skier, then you may want to stay at the higher end of town near to the Gondola,  however, during ski season most hotels, apartments and guest houses in Bansko will provide a shuttle service to the ski area.  Outside of the ski season, there are more restaurants and places to eat in the old town.  There are a host of places to stay in Bansko – here’s our pick of the luxury places to stay in Bansko, mid-range places to stay in Bansko, and budget accommodation in Bansko.

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.

How to Take the Plovdiv to Bansko Bus

There are at this time two buses per day operating between Plovdiv and Bansko.  The Plovdiv Bansko bus leaves from the Plovdiv South Bus Station (Rodopi), which is close to the South (Yug/Zug) Bus Station and also very close to the Plovdiv train station.

Plovdiv_Bus_station_train_station_and_centre

Buses leave for Bansko at 1300 and 1410.  Check times as these may change in different seasons.  The cost of the ticket from Plovdiv to Bansko on the bus is 13-15 leva.

Where Are The Bansko Bus and Train Stations

Bansko bus station is at the bottom of the town.  It is 3 minutes from the train station.  Everywhere you might want to go in Bansko is uphill from both the bus and the train station.  Bansko taxis are expensive compared to Plovdiv.  A taxi from the bus station to the Gondola area will cost around 8-10 leva.  It takes 25-30 minutes to walk and it’s a steady uphill.  The bus and train station are open year round as Bansko is an all season town.

Bansko_Bus_and_Train_Stations_Main_Square_and_Gondola

Bansko to Plovdiv Bus Timetable

An up to date bus timetable is posted on the doors of the Bansko bus station.  It is only in Bulgarian.  Use Google Translate to help you out.

Bansko Bus Station Timetable July 2017

There is a Bansko to Plovdiv bus at 0650 and the second one at 0820.  You can find bus timetables for Bulgaria and the details of the bus Bansko to Plovdiv here – http://www.avtogari.info/

How to Go from Plovdiv to Bansko by Train

This is a fabulous route.  If you have a half day to spare.   First, you take a train from Plovdiv to Septembri (sometimes spelt Septemvri).  You can buy a ticket in Plovdiv all the way to Bansko.

Then you switch lines and transfer onto the narrow gauge railway from Septembri to Dobrinishte.  Bansko is the second to last stop on the line.

You have two options for train times – either starting early in the morning or early afternoon. Timetables can be found on the Bulgarian Train website and they’re here for your convenience.

Plovdiv_to_Bansko_by_Train_Timetable
Plovdiv_to_Bansko_by_Train_Second_Time

The Plovdiv to Bansko train ticket costs 8.60 Bulgarian leva.  The route is 172km

Plovdiv_to_Bansko_Train_Route

The narrow gauge train is a glorious if slow ride.

Bulgarian Trains Fares and Timetables can be found on the official site in both Bulgarian and English  http://www.bdz.bg/en/

What You Need to Know About Bansko Train Station

Plovdiv to Bansko train station

When leaving Bansko the times for trains are posted online and also in the train station.  Buy tickets shortly before departure.

Explaining Place Names in Bulgarian

  • Bansko in Bulgarian is Банско
  • Plovdiv in Bulgarian is Пловдив
  • Septembri in Bulgarian is септември
Bansko Train Timetable July 2017

 

How to Take Shared Transfers from Plovdiv to Bansko

You can now take a shared transfer from Plovdiv to Bansko with BanskoExpress, which you can find here.  Bear in mind that Bansko Express operate primarily to meet UK flights into airports, so if you are not flying in from a UK airport you may face a short wait.

If you’re looking for a shared transfer, especially in the lower seasons (i.e. not ski season and not August), then try the Bansko Notice Board on Facebook where folks generally post if they’re looking to share a ride.  You can also try the Co-Working Bansko group also on Facebook.

How to Take Private Plovdiv to Bansko Transfers

Most transfer companies that go from Plovdiv to Bansko are Bansko transfer companies.   There is a combination of Bulgarian companies and British expats who run these businesses.  All are competitive and provide a variety of sizes of vehicles.  It’s possible to book and pay online with some, although most prefer cash on arrival at your destination in either leva or euros.

Here’s a selection of transfer companies that can help.  

Note that transfer availability is greater from Sofia to Bansko than from Plovdiv to Bansko.  Here are details of some of the transfer services from Plovdiv.

Rental Cars from Plovdiv to Bansko

Rental cars are also available in Plovdiv city and airport.  It takes approximately 2.5 hours to drive from Plovdiv to Bansko  Beware of potholes and unmarked speed bumps in the road.

Plovdiv_to_Bansko_Routes

Signposting throughout Plovdiv and en route to Bansko is in both Bulgarian Cyrillic and English.  Signs are not always obvious.

If you need to rent a car in Bulgaria we recommend Discover Cars for car hire.  You can search, compare and save up to 70%, with no hidden fees and free cancellation, it’s a perfect choice! Get a price for a rental car in Bulgaria here.

Our Experiences going from Plovdiv to Bansko

We have utilized rental cars, private transfers, buses, and trains on our journeys between Plovdiv and Bansko.   We’ve found the Bansko Plovdiv Bus to be easy to use.  This can be a gorgeous journey – we love the narrow gauge train for instance – or a lovely drive. This isn’t a difficult journey, it simply requires a little planning depending on the time of day or your arrival.

Other easy routes to travel in Bulgaria

Where Else to Go in Bulgaria

Plan your Trip to Bulgaria

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