If you’re looking for an affordable and picturesque town to set up your digital nomad basecamp, Bansko, Bulgaria, should be at the top of your list.
Nestled in the Pirin Mountains, Bansko is home to pristine alpine scenery, a lively nightlife scene, and plenty of coworking spaces and cafes, making it an ideal spot for remote workers.
This guide will give you all the information you need to make the most of your time in Bansko.
How to Get to Bansko
Bansko is located in southwestern Bulgaria, about two hours by car from the capital city of Sofia.
By Bus: The cheapest way to get from Sofia to Bansko is by bus. Buses regularly leave from Sofia’s central bus station, and the journey takes around 2.5 hours. Tickets cost approximately 10-15 BGN (5-8 EUR).
By Train: You can also take the train from Sofia to Bansko, which is a slightly more comfortable but slower option. Trains leave Sofia’s central railway station several times daily, which takes around 3.5 hours. Tickets cost about 20 BGN (10 EUR).
By Car: If you’re renting a car or driving your own, the drive from Sofia to Bansko takes around 2 hours.
Once you arrive in Bansko, you can take a taxi or walk to your accommodation.
Taxis are readily available at the bus and train stations, and the tickets can also book them in advance online.
Where to Stay in Bansko
Depending on your budget and preferences, there are a few different areas to stay in Bansko.
The Old Town:
The Old town is the most atmospheric part of Bansko, where you’ll find most of the traditional Bulgarian restaurants and bars. Accommodation options in the old town range from basic guesthouses to luxury apartments.
The Gondola Area:
The gondola area is the most convenient place to stay in Bansko if you’re planning on hitting the slopes. It’s also where you’ll find most of the town’s hotels, restaurants, and bars.
Bansko Ski Resort:
Bansko Ski Resort is located about 10 minutes by car from the town center. It’s a great option if you’re looking for peace, as it’s relatively quiet at night. There are a few hotels and guesthouses in the ski resort as restaurants and bars.
Digital nomad recommendation:
It is better to rent an apartment/guest house in The Old Town or the Gondola area.
The Old Town is more atmospheric and has more traditional Bulgarian restaurants and bars.
If you plan to hit the slopes, the gondola area is very convenient to stay in Bansko. It’s also where you’ll find most of the town’s hotels, restaurants, and bars.
Things to Do in Bansko Bulgaria
There’s no shortage of things to do in Bansko, whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast or prefer to spend time exploring the town and soaking up the local culture.
In the winter:
Is Bansko suitable for skiing? Bansko is best known as a winter sports destination and one of the most popular ski resorts in Bulgaria.
The ski season runs from December to April, and there are three main ski areas to choose from:
Bansko Ski Resort:
The largest and most popular ski area in Bansko, Bansko Ski Resort has a variety of slopes to suit all levels of skiers and snowboarders. Lift passes cost around 60-70 BGN (30-35 EUR) per day.
Pirin Golf and Country Club:
A smaller ski area about 10 minutes from Bansko town center, Pirin Golf, and Country Club is ideal for beginners and intermediate skiers. Lift passes cost around 40 BGN (20 EUR) per day.
Borovets Ski Resort:
The third and least popular ski area in Bansko, Borovets Ski Resort, is located about an hour from Bansko town center. It’s better suited to advanced skiers and snowboarders as the slopes are more challenging.
There are also plenty of hiking trails to explore in and around Bansko, both in the summer and winter. Some of the most popular trails include:
Bansko Royal Hills:
A moderate hike that takes around 4 hours to complete, Bansko Royal Hills offers stunning views of the Pirin Mountains. The trailhead is located about 10 minutes from Bansko town center.
Located in the Pirin National Park, Vihren Peak is the highest mountain in Bulgaria. The hike to the top takes around 6 hours, and it’s only suitable for experienced hikers.
Another hike located in the Pirin National Park, Bezbog Peak, is the second-highest mountain in Bulgaria. The hike takes around 5 hours to complete, and, like Vihren Peak, it’s only suitable for experienced hikers.
Things to Do in Bansko In the summer:
Bansko is an excellent place for fishing, with several lakes and rivers to choose from. Some of the most popular spots include:
Lake Shira is a popular spot for trout fishing in the Pirin National Park. A fishing permit costs around 10 BGN (5 EUR) per day.
The Glazne River is located just outside Bansko town center and is an excellent spot for fly fishing. A fishing permit costs around 10 BGN (5 EUR) per day.
The Mesta River is located in the Rhodope Mountains and is a popular spot for brown trout fishing. A fishing permit costs around 10 BGN (5 EUR) per day.
Bansko is also home to many golf courses, including the award-winning Pirin Golf and Country Club. A round of golf at Pirin Golf and Country Club costs around 100 BGN (50 EUR).
There are a number of mountain biking trails to explore in and around Bansko.
Some of the most popular trails include:
Bansko Bike Park:
Located in the Pirin National Park, Bansko Bike Park is a great spot for mountain biking. A day pass costs around 20 BGN (10 EUR).
Located in the Rila Mountains, the Rila Lakes is a popular spot for mountain biking. A day pass costs around 20 BGN (10 EUR).
The Nightlife Scene in Bansko
There are a number of bars and clubs located in Bansko town center, as well as a casino. Most bars and clubs are open until the early hours of the morning.
Best Bars in Bansko
Some of the most popular bars and clubs include:
Pirin 75 bar:
A popular bar located in the center of Bansko, Pirin 75 bar is known for its cheap drinks and lively atmosphere.
Bar HUB 360 Bansko:
A trendy bar located in the gondola area. In the bar’s Facebook group, you can find information about upcoming events.
In Bansko, there is a different event almost every week, both in summer and winter.
I recommend following the Facebook groups to hear about the events.
Best Restaurants In Bansko
Some of the best restaurants in Bansko include:
If you ask me, it’s the best restaurant in Bulgaria. Located in the gondola area, The House serves a mix of traditional Bulgarian and international dishes.
The dishes are all cooked to perfection, and the service is outstanding.
Smokey Mountain Bar & Grill:
A popular American-style restaurant located in Bansko town center, Smokey Mountain Bar & Grill is known for its burgers and ribs.
I got the impression that the rest of the restaurants are the same, so I didn’t list them here except for two, which I’ll mention below.
Coworking Spaces in Bansko
Coworking BanskoThe best coworking space in Bansko! What is unique about this place is the community.
The people who work here are all digital nomads, and it’s a great place to network and make friends.
Another excellent coworking space is located in the Bansko town center.
I have not personally seen the place, but I have heard good things about it.
4. Ginger Bar & Dinner (restaurant)
For those who don’t want to work from coworkers, I recommend the Ginger Bar & Dinner.
It’s a great place to work with fast wifi, plenty of power outlets, and good food.
Bansko is not only special because of its fantastic view but also because of the multitude of the variety of Facebook groups that the place has.
You can find a group for almost anything. The Facebook groups I found the most useful are:
This is for finding out about social events happening in Bansko.
This is for finding out about coworking spaces in Bansko.
This is for buying and selling stuff in Bansko.
I bought a bicycle from there because in Bansko you must have a bicycle.
A group for people who love football and want to play in Bansko.
I joined this group, and I have made some great friends.
There are many other useful Facebook groups, but these are the ones I found to be the most useful.
Is Bansko good For Beginner Digital Nomads?
Absolutely! Bansko is a great place for beginner digital nomads.
The cost of living is low, there are coworking spaces and a great community of digital nomads, and the quality of life is high.
For those who like lists, here are the reasons why I think Bansko is a great place for beginner digital nomads:
1. It’s a small town, so it’s easy to get around and meet people.
2. There are a number of coworking spaces and Facebook groups which makes it easy to find work and networking opportunities.
3. The cost of living is relatively low, especially compared to other popular digital nomad destinations.
4. There is a great community of digital nomads in Bansko.
5. The quality of life is high, with a number of bars, restaurants, and activities available.
6. It’s located in a beautiful setting, surrounded by mountains.
7. The weather is great, with warm summers and cold winters.
8. There are several cheap flights to Bulgaria from all over Europe.
9. It’s a relatively safe place to live and work.
10. There are many hospitals and clinics in Bansko, making it an excellent place to live for those with health concerns.
Cost of living in Bansko
The cost of living in Bansko is relatively low, especially compared to other popular digital nomad destinations.
You can rent a one-bedroom apartment in the center of town for $460 per month (The price varies according to the season).
Related: Hostel or Airbnb
Food and drink
Food and drink are also very affordable, with a meal at a mid-range restaurant costing around $10 per person.
You don’t need a car in Bansko as the town is small and most places are within walking distance.
However, if you want to explore the surrounding area, there are several cheap and convenient options for transportation.
For the lazy, I recommend renting a bike. You can rent a bike for as little as $5 per day.
I came to Basenko mainly because of the Digital Nomad Festival that was being held at the time.
I had no idea that Bansko would be such a great place to work and live.
The Wifi is surprisingly good, and the co-work spaces are awesome.
For me, the environment of the people is really important, and the people here are amazing!
I have made many friends in the short time I have been here, and I am really happy with my decision to stay in Bansko for longer.
I was surprised to find out that there is a Facebook group through which football matches are organized every week.
And as a football lover, I could not stay away.
I would definitely recommend Bansko to other digital nomads, especially beginners.
It is a great place to start your journey!
- Improve your digital nomad skills
- Become a Digital Nomad
- To be my friend