The quaint town dates back to medieval times and is surrounded by the Pirin, Rila and Rhodopi mountains. Over the last few years old buildings have been replaced with smart hotels and apartments. It has the best snow record and the longest ski season (mid-December to mid-May) of all the resorts in Bulgaria, and mainly suits beginners and intermediate skiers and boarders. There are many easy slopes for learners, and fantastic well-maintained wide tree-lined runs with fabulous views for intermediates. There are some good offerings for experts, including the Alberto Tomba black and the slalom and giant slalom runs in the Shiligarnika region. In good snow conditions you'll find great off-piste skiing in powder-packed bowls.
The old town, with its cobbled streets and weatherbeaten buildings is friendly and welcoming, and the surrounding area is seeped in history and natural beauty. There are about 150 cultural and historical memorials in Bansko - visit the bell tower at the St. Trinity church, Thracian mounds and archaeological finds. Après-ski is warm and lively, mainly taking place in one of Bansko's animated mehanas (tavernas). The food can be basic but filling and very reasonably priced. While it still doesn't have the huge terrain, glittering nightlife and alpine charm of many of the resorts in the Alps, Bansko is looking like a mighty good option with quick lifts, no queues and great prices - perfect for your first ski trip.