10 Fun Things to do in Bansko Bulgaria in the Summer

Bansko Bulgaria

Bansko is a popular ski resort town to visit during the winter in Bulgaria. However, during the summer months it turns in a mountain paradise that all travelers will enjoy! We spent a month living and working in Bansko in the summer and had such a great experience. In this article, we’ll share the best things to do in Bansko, how to take the Gondola, and tips from our visit. Whether you’re a digital nomad or looking for a fun outdoor vacation in Europe, we got you covered!

How to Get to Bansko Bulgaria

Bansko is located in Southwest Bulgaria underneath the beautiful Piran Mountains. The easiest way to get here is to fly into the capital city of Sofia. From here you can either take the bus or hire a private transfer to make the 2 hour drive.

On our own visit we opted to book a transfer through our accommodation who picked us up at Sofia airport. 80 Euros seemed a little steep for the price, but we loved the convenience of getting straight there and avoiding Bulgaria’s public transit. 

Renting a car can also be a great way to get from Sofia to Bansko (we always use this company in Europe). If you plan to keep it for the duration of your stay, it will give you the ability to visit the surrounding towns and make some epic day trips.

We should also mention that the stunning beaches of Greece are just a couple hours away from Bansko. This alone makes renting a car in Bulgaria worth it! 

Bansko Bulgaria Guide

Our Trip to Bansko in Summer

Honestly, prior to TBEX travel conference in Greece we had never heard of Bansko! Bulgaria had never been high on our radar so we were surprised to learn how popular it is with Europeans.

During the winter, the amazing ski trails and Bansko Gondola bring in travelers to enjoy the slopes and nightlife. We ended up staying 5 weeks in Bansko and couldn’t have loved it more.

The gorgeous mountain scenery will take your breath away no matter what time of year you go. So when you factor in all the great food and outdoor activities, this little Bulgarian town makes for such an amazing place to experience. 

Bansko Bulgaria Summer Guide

Bansko Digital Nomad Life 

In recent years, Bansko has also become a destination for Digital Nomads to work remote from. The summer months bring cheaper prices, nicer weather, and an overall great place to live.

There are also several great co-working spaces to work from if that’s your thing. We’d never been huge into working from places like this, usually settling for blogging from home or local cafes along our travels. However, Bansko Bulgaria changed all that for us!

We got a membership as soon as we arrived. While there are a few places in town, we went with Altspace which gave us 3 different locations around town to work from. This allowed us to get all our business done for the day and then fully enjoy the town and our home life when we were finished. 

Bansko Digital Nomad

Where to Stay in Bansko Bulgaria

There are endless options for places to stay in Bansko, especially in the summertime. This is because it’s much more popular in the winter for skiing so many of the hotels and apartments have low occupancy. 

There are two parts of town you should know about before picking your accommodation in Bansko Bulgaria. We stayed up near the Bansko Gondola at Apart Hotel Dream and really enjoyed it. It was simple but super inexpensive at 600 Euros a month for a two bedroom.

There are plenty of great restaurants here and you’ll be closer to the river and hiking trails. Just know if you stay in this area you’ll be a little further from the main part of town.

It took us about 5 minutes to get to Piran Street which takes you down to Bansko center. It was 15 to 20 minutes walking from here to get to the main part of town.

Below are some great options if you’re visiting for a few days. Be sure to ask about month long rates to get a better price if you’re staying longer like we did.

LuxuryKempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko – This 5 star resort is the place to stay if you need a little luxury next to the Bansko Gondola. Kempinski is also the only hotel you can ski in and ski out of in Bansko.

Fun VacationHotel FAMIL by OSCAR Wine Bar – An adults-only hotel near the city center. Enjoy balcony views, local drinks, and an abundance of international food options.

BudgetGuest House Ela – Beautiful accommodation close to all the main attractions. Ela Guest House also offers sauna, steam bath, massages, and a free airport shuttle.

Nomad StyleNomadico Bansko – Coliving | Coworking – Remote workers will love this co-living and working space in the heart of Bansko. It’s the perfect place to make friends and combine work with play. 

Where to Stay in Bansko Bulgaria

10 Things to do in Bansko in Summer

1. Ride the Bansko Gondola

What would your trip to Bansko be without riding on the 2nd longest Gondola in Bulgaria? Although it may have long lines in the wintertime, the summer is completely different! This time of year you’ll have no problem jumping on the Bansko Gondola and enjoying the views of the Piran Mountains. 

There is a stop half way up if you want to jump off and take some of the hiking trails down. Yet, if you head all the way to the top you will find much more to see and do. Here there is a massive waterslide, endless hiking trails, and a restaurant to grab some lunch.

The other chairlifts that go higher into the mountains also start from here, but were not opened at the time of our visit. Just know this is how you get to the large network of ski trails in the winter season.

Bansko Gondola

2. Go For a Hike in Bansko

Speaking of hiking in Bansko, there are so many trails to take from town! Some you will have to drive to while others you can stroll up to from Bansko center.

One of our personal favorites starts from town and goes to Krinetz Dam. Here you can grab a drink and food at Iazovir Krinetz restaurant with a view of the pond and mountains.

We also loved walking the Ski trail path under the gondola along the river. This was such a fun place to take a dip on a hot summer day in Bansko. As we mentioned, some of the best hiking trails are around the Bansko Gondola and heading down the mountain.

Bansko Bulgaria Hike

3. Eat a Traditional Bulgarian Meal 

If you’ve been following us for awhile then you know we love a good traditional meal. For that reason, we’re so thankful one of our friends in Bansko turned us onto Chalet Yanitza. This is a locally owned restaurant that churns out some of the best food in town.

The owner is also the chef that impressively runs the place all by himself. We would go here 2-3 times a week for the delicious food at low prices. Be sure to check their instagram for the changing daily menu.

Chevermeto is another one of our favorite local restaurants. Every day they roast a whole pig outside which is done cooking around 7pm. Definitely make a stop here for dinner on your visit to Bansko Bulgaria!

If you’re looking for some other food options there are so many more great places to eat in Bansko. Here’s a few more of our favorites below, which range from Bulgarian to international specialties. Also, be sure to check out our full guide to the 27 Best Bansko Restaurants & Cafes here!

  • The House
  • Five M
  • The Hub
  • 75’s Tasty
  • Coconut Coffee & Smoothies
  • Damyanitza Bar & Diner
  • Casa di Papi
  • El Tacos

Where to Eat in Bansko Bulgaria

4. Hit Europe’s Longest Waterslide

Did you know Bansko inflatable waterslide in Europe?? That’s right! The 350 meter slide starts in the mountains and takes you down the twists and turns for the ultimate summer experience. 

It’s located at Banderishka Polyana which is at the top of the Bansko Gondola. This can be another fun way to cool off on a hot day, and is especially fun for kids.

Bansko Bulgaria Waterslide

5. Experience the Bansko Cafe Culture

In addition to Bansko’s great restaurants there are also so many spots to grab your daily coffee. It’s common to see both locals and tourists out every morning enjoying the weather and chatting it up at the cafes.

Our favorite spot is right at the start of Pirin Street called Pirin 75. It also doubles as bar so it can be a fun place to have a beverage at night. Another cafe to check out is Damyanitza. We love the comfortable couches and atmosphere here, as well as it’s great location near town.

Bansko Bulgaria Cafe

6. Take a River Dip

One of our favorite ways to spend a summer day in Bansko is to dip into the Glazne River. The chilly water runs directly down from the mountains and all throughout town.

The best part is some of the easiest spots to get in the river are right on the ski trail just next to the Bansko Gondola. Small pools are even available for you to sit in and take the ice cold plunge.

Bansko Bulgaria River

7. Attend a Bansko Festival

Summer in Bansko brings all kind of activities and festivals to enjoy. There is everything from movie nights to concerts, and full on Bulgarian parties. 

During our visit in August we were lucky enough to attend the the Bansko Jazz Festival. It went on for an entire week with many performers, beer, and snack stands set up. 

Bansko Bulgaria Festival

8. Go On an Outdoor Adventure

The best part of Bansko in the summer is all the amazing outdoor activities! Although it’s known as a ski town, in the warmer months you’ll find horseback riding, Jeep waterfall tours, and rafting excursions which can be booked at the tour companies in town. You’ll also want to consider renting a mountain bike or e-bike to hit the ski trails in the summer. 

Bansko in Bulgaria Guide

9. Have a Bansko Pool Day

Not up for a river dip, but still need a place to cool down? Don’t worry! One of the best things to do in Bansko in summer is to have a pool day. Many of the hotels and resorts offer pool passes where you can lounge and have a drink while swimming. Our last week in Bansko we splurged a bit to get a hotel with a pool, and it was worth every penny.

Bansko Bulgaria Travel Guide

10. Bansko Sunday Farmers Market

We never missed a Sunday farmers market in Bansko Bulgaria! This is the day of the week where locals come from around the area to sell produce and other treats.

While there is everything from peppers to nuts and wine, the highlight of the market has to be the fruit. We always grabbed some blackberries, cherries, raspberries, and blueberries to bring home with us. They are a fraction of what they cost in the U.S. and other parts of Europe so this is your chance to stock up.

Another great part about the Sunday farmers market is the sausage stands. They’ll be easy to spot as there is often a line of people hungry for one. These local sausages are best topped with spicy peppers and eaten on a sandwich with bread. 

Bansko Bulgaria Farmers Market

Day Trip to the Seven Rila Lakes

One of the best things to do in Bansko is actually take a day trip to the nearby Rila. This is one Bulgaria’s most famous national parks and somewhere every nature lover will appreciate. 

It’s about a 2 hour drive to the Rila mountains so you’ll need a car or jump on the bus to get here. After you arrive, you’ll have the option of taking the chairlift up or hiking to the top. 

Take your time hiking around the magical seven lakes and also don’t forget to stop by the Rila Monastery. 

Visiting Bansko Bulgaria in the Winter

Summer in Bansko is always a good time, but the main draw comes in the winter. Bansko is well known ski destination and it brings winter sports enthusiasts in from all over Europe. 

In addition to the Bansko Gondola, it has a combined 16 ski lifts which take you up into the Pirin Mountains. Be sure to book your accommodation in advance during the winter season as it does get busy.

Bansko in Bulgaria

Have any questions on this article or want to share your own favorite things to do in Bansko Bulgaria? Leave us a comment below!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

 Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

Travel Tips 

 Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner. That’s how we flew from Norway to Poland for under $20 USD, and Thailand to Vietnam for less than $50! 

Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling. A quick travel tip is to ask for a weekly rate than just booking 2-3 days.

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find thousands of activities around the world. From street food tours to skip the line entry passes! 

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

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