Before visiting Bansko for the first time we basically knew nothing about it. We knew there was a digital nomad community but besides that, we knew literally nothing. We had no idea summer in Bansko was is one of the best times to visit this mountain town.
After visiting a few times and spending a significant amount of time here we have now put together a list of all the fun things to do in Bansko and in the nearby area.
Bansko is a ski town, the densest digital nomad hub in the world, and also a very cheap place to live and pay taxes.
Those are just a few of the things Bansko has going for it but for being a small little town in the middle of Bulgaria it really does have an abundance of things you can do.
Bansko is a place people usually come visit for a week or a month and then end up turning it into their base because they love it so much here. There’s a great expat community, plenty of events, and incredible nature.
Bansko ain’t just a ski town, it’s a whole lot more. After reading this post, you’ll understand why!
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30 fun things to do in Bansko, Bulgaria
From summer activities in Bansko to skiing in the winter to things you can do all year round, we hope this list helps you have the best time in Bansko and highlights how awesome this town actually is.
We had no idea about half the stuff there was to do in Bansko before coming here the first time ourselves.
Now it feels like we have to share this with the world to put Bansko on the map and show how cool this town actually is!
In this post, you will find some of the most popular things to do in Bansko but also some more off-the-beaten-path experiences that mostly just locals know about. We hope you find some inspiration from this post and that you have the best time in Bansko.
#1 Hike up to Vihren Peak
A fun fact about Bansko is that it’s at the foot of the Pirin National Park, which is one of the most beautiful national parks in Bulgaria.
The national park is also a UNESCO Heritage Site and has been protected since 1983.
In this mountain range, you can find Vihren Peak (2914m) which is the second tallest mountain in Bulgaria. Only 9 meters shorter than the tallest mountain in Bulgaria.
If you’re up for the challenge and want to experience one of the best views in Bulgaria then you can hike up to the top of Vihren Peak. The hike up to Vihren Peak is challenging and hard but the views from the top are absolutely stunning.
This is a bucket list hike for most Bulgarians and once you get to the top you’ll see why. If you like hiking but are not up for such a big hike don’t worry because there are plenty of easier hikes in the Pirin Mountain range.
Hiking is definitely one of the best summer activities to do in Bansko!
Fun fact: Every year on July 1st, people from near and far will hike Vihren Peak for sunrise. This is part of a Bulgarian tradition where people used to go to the Black Sea to watch the sunrise on the 1st of July. Now the locals will go to Vihren Peak as well.
#2 Play Spikeball with the local expats
Have you ever played Spikeball before? If you have or want to try then join the Bansko Spikeball community Facebook page. Phil, the founder, posts in the group whenever the community goes out to play Spikeball during the summer months.
This is a great summer activity to do in Bansko. The best part is that the group is very inclusive. And if you’re a beginner and have never played before, Phil and the other expats are always happy to have new members join the community!
#3 Visit one of the hot springs in Bansko
Bulgaria in general is known for having many natural hot springs and the Bansko region is known for having plenty of them. You can check out this list of hot springs in Bansko or the towns nearby. There are many more than on that list though. Some are free, some are in private hotels, and some are simply hot spring pools. Some are even secret and only locals know about them!
The best part about the hot springs in Bansko is that it’s something you can do any time of the year. The hot springs are great after a long day of skiing in Bansko or after a big hike in the Pirin National Park.
The best part is that there are plenty of different hot springs in Bansko. You can find pricier and more private ones in hotels but then you can also find free ones in neighbouring towns!
Take advantage of there being so many of these mineral pools near Bansko and check out more than one.
#4 Golf at the Pirin Golf and Country Club
Pirin Golf and Country Club is a beautiful golf course that’s next to Bansko. If you’re just visiting Bansko you can pay for a single round or two. If you end up spending a summer season in Bansko then you can buy a season membership which will be much cheaper.
You can even stay at the golf resort where you’ll have access to swimming pools, driving range, putting and chipping greens, and a great restaurant.
This can make for a nice little getaway! Bansko is only a 15 minute drive so you can easily get between the two places.
We’re not kidding when we say there’s plenty of things to do in Bansko. If you’re an avid golfer and love good courses you’ll love it here in Bansko.
The best part is that there’s not one but two courses at Pirin Golf and Country Club. So if you’re here for a week or all summer you’ll enjoy some good golf!
#5 Have a bite to eat at The House in Bansko
The House is one of our favourite restaurants in Bansko. The food, service, and restaurant itself is really nice. Every time we go for lunch or dinner the staff is very welcoming and we’ve never been disappointed with the food there.
This is not a traditional Bulgarian restaurant but we’ll get to one later in this post. The House has a wide variety of different meals from burgers to risotto.
The thing all the meals have in common is the quality. The quality and portion sizes are great, especially for what you pay!
Trying out food is always a fun thing to do wherever you go. Even though The House isn’t a traditional restaurant it’s a great place to eat at if you’re staying in Bansko short or long term.
Because it’s such a staple for us whenever we’re here in Bansko we had to add it to the list of things to do in Bansko!
Bonus info: The House has a regular menu and a daily menu. The daily menu will be posted on their Facebook Page before lunchtime every day.
#6 Play tennis at one of the outdoor courts
Tennis has become quite a popular sport to play in Bansko over the years.
The great thing about tennis in Bansko is that there are two free courts you can just walk up to and play if you have rackets and balls. If you don’t have that, then there’s also a tennis club where you can rent rackets or take lessons.
So no matter your level, whether you want to rent, or if you want to take a lesson you can find a place to play tennis in Bansko.
- Here are the exact coordinates for the free hard court in Bansko.
- You can find the coordinates for the exact location of the free astroturf tennis court in Bansko here.
If you’re interested in taking lessons you can contact the tennis club at Kempinski Hotel. it’s best to go there in person the first time and book your lesson or rent the rackets.
You can also join the Bansko Tennis Facebook group where you can find other people to play with and learn more about the tennis scene in Bansko.
#7 Try out Coworking Bansko
Bansko is known as the densest co-working space destination in the world! We’ve only ever been to Coworking Bansko and loved it but there are other co-working spaces in town as well.
If you’re planning to spend some time in Bansko and looking for a place to work and meet people then Coworking Bansko is a great place to go! Especially if you’re looking for things to do in Bansko.
On top of the coworking scene, they host many different events and social activities which makes the community amazing.
Because of the community and the people we’ve met at this coworking place, we’ve had such an awesome time here and learned so much about Bansko and everything it has to offer.
The coworking and its community is one of the main reasons why we keep coming back to Bansko.
#8 Go skiing in Bansko
This is one of the seasonal activities you can do in Bansko and from roughly mid-December to mid-April, you can ride the slopes of Bansko ski resort. Bansko has become a popular ski destination over the years due to its affordability and good ski conditions.
Skiing in Bansko is not like skiing in the Alps but it’s a great place to enjoy a nice relaxing day of skiing or snowboarding. The runs aren’t crazy long but they offer enough to be able to enjoy Bansko Ski Resort. It’s great for intermediate skiers.
The ski resort is very family-friendly and there are ski runs for almost everyone. Both season pass holders and visitors who are just coming for a week love the ski hill. And the after skiing is very popular here too!
One of the many reasons why expats and nomads come to Bansko and make it their base is because of the convenience of the ski hill. You can walk straight out your front door and have the gondola a short walk away from your place.
#9 Relax at the Recovery Lounge in Bansko
The Recovery Lounge is a seasonal operation in Bansko that runs during the ski season to help you recover after a long day of skiing.
They have a bunch of different treatments and equipment to make sure you properly recover from your day of skiing.
You’ll be able to sit on a ski globe while sipping on herbal tea and getting treatment on your legs to recover for the next day. It truly is a unique experience and you have to try it out and experience it for yourself.
Your body will be very grateful that you did it and your next day on the slopes will feel a million times better after having all these treatments. It sounds too good to be true but try it out one day after skiing and thank us later! 😉
#10 Workout at the gym with a view
I don’t think we’ve ever been to a gym with a better view. EVER. FitBox Fitness Club in Bansko is on the top floor of a building downtown and has a view of the whole Pirin Mountain range.
To clarify… The name is Fitbox but it is not a boxing gym, it’s an ordinary gym with free weights, machines, and treadmills.
The best part about Fitbox Fitness Club in Bansko is that you can simply get a daily pass if you’re here for a short trip. If you’re here for longer then you can save money and buy a monthly membership.
As of June 2023, a monthly pass is 49 Leva (around €25) and there is no startup fee. You can also get a personal trainer at a very low cost.
Their hours are really good and even though it’s not the biggest gym you can still find everything you need. The gym itself is very modern and clean and it’s always a good vibe wherever you go.
Fitbox Fitness is definitely our favourite gym in Bansko!
#11 Go mountain biking in the Pirin Mountains
Another awesome outdoor activity you can do in Bansko is mountain biking. There are some crazy good biking trails on the foothills of the Pirin Mountains and you can really ride some great trails.
There are a few places in town where you can rent mountain bikes for the day.
Single Track in Bansko is a bike and repair shop where you can rent bikes for the day or month. They have proper mountain bikes that are meant for cruising even the best trails in the Pirins.
Whether you’re looking to rent a bike short-term or long-term, Single Track is a great place to check out if you want to get into mountain biking in Bansko.
#12 Get your dance on Salsa style
You got it! You can get your dance on in Bansko too. Usually every Wednesday there’s a Salsa dance class anyone can join.
The location is downtown inside the Municipality building of Bansko through the side door. The class is from 6-7 pm and you’ll see people going through the side door a few minutes before class.
Make sure to bring 10 Lev for the class!
The best part is after class you can test out your new moves at Cafe Club “NEW” later in the evening where they host a salsa night every Tuesday and Friday!
You can almost get your Salsa on any day you want! Check out Cafe Club “NEW”‘s Facebook Page for all the events.
#13 Visit the Rila Monastery
The Rila Monastery (or The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila) is a must-visit if you’re in Bansko for an extended period of time. This is one of the most famous monasteries in all of Bulgaria and the painting is very unique.
The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila is located at the foot of the Rilomanastirska Gora nature preserve which is located in Bansko’s neighbouring province: Kyustendil Province. The drive from Bansko to the Rila Monastery is approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.
You can visit the monastery on your own by car and make a weekend trip out. You can spend 1 day visiting the monastery and for the rest, you can go hiking in the Rila Nationalpark or do the Rila 7 Lakes hike (which is also mentioned in this post).
If you prefer to have someone organize your trips for you (and/or if you don’t have a car) you can go on a guided tour to the Rila Monastery from Bansko.
The tour is approximately 5 and a half hours and is in English. Note that the tour covers pick-up and drop-off in Bansko as well as the drive to the monastery and back. However, the entrance ticket to the monastery comes on top of the price.
#14 Try some Italian food at Casa di Papi
Casa di Papi is a staple for any expat staying in Bansko long term. It’s a quality restaurant that serves good, yummy Italian food.
Casa di Papi is a bit fancier for Bulgarian standards so prices are a bit more than other restaurants but it’s still very affordable.
This Italian restaurant is perfect for a date night or if you’re looking to have a nice evening with some friends. You can never go wrong with a pizza or pasta dish at Casa di Papi!
#15 Explore the alpine lakes in the Pirin National Park
Vihren Peak is the most popular mountain in the Pirin National Park but one other thing we absolutely love about the national park is all of the alpine lakes in the Pirins. The best part is that they’re way easier to get to than Vihren Peak.
To get to Vihren Hut where the majority of the trails start from, you can drive up, take a taxi, take the shuttle, or even hike to Vihren Hut. From there, you can get to an alpine lake in as little as 20 minutes. There are quite a few alpine lakes located within a short distance from the hut that are totally worth checking out.
You really don’t have to hike far in the Pirins to see some incredible sights. It’s worth spending at least an afternoon up in the mountains enjoying the mountains all around you. After you go exploring you can always go have a drink or food at the restaurant connected to Vihren Hut.
#16 Go for a relaxing massage in town
Lotus Vibe is an amazing place in town and if your body is tense and knotted or you just need a relaxing massage then Aksiniya or one of her colleagues will help you out.
You can also book a couple’s massage as there are multiple masseuses.
The price is very reasonable and the quality of the massage is really good. If you’ve been hiking, biking, or doing any other sport, a massage will sort you right out.
Afterwards, you can go to one of the Bansko hot springs and we can guarantee you that you’ve never felt more relaxed in your life!
#17 Enjoy a yoga class in Bansko
There are a few yoga studios in Bansko and they all have a good reputation. Depending on the time of year you’re in Bansko there will be classes every day or just a few times a week.
Just like for massages, Lotus Vibe is a really good place to go. They offer Hatha Yoga and Aerial Yoga and they’re supposedly the best place in town!
In general, there are different types of yoga in Bansko from aerial yoga to more traditional yoga. You can always stop by the studios and ask about their styles and times to figure out which one best fits what you’re looking for.
Sometimes you can even find expats and nomads doing outdoor yoga in the park. It’s definitely not hard finding a place to do yoga in Bansko!
#18 Free walking tour in Bansko
In our opinion, there’s no better way to learn and see a new place than by going on a free walking tour of a city or town with a local.
If it’s your first time in Bansko, you have to go on one of the free walking tours in Bansko (tip what you want at the end).
The free walking tours in Bansko run every Saturday and Sunday in summer and winter. That is from June to the end of September and again from December to the end of March.
If you’re here just for a few days or if you’re an expat living here and have friends or family visiting it’s a great way to start your weekend.
You’ll learn about the town and culture, and you’ll also get a few tips and hidden gems in Bansko that maybe we don’t even know about.
The guides are always full of surprises with what they share on the tour!
#19 Fresh fruit and veg at the Sunday market
Sunday is one of our favourite days in Bansko because it means we can stock up on fresh fruit, veggies, eggs, homemade peanut butter (you seriously need to try this!), and whatever else our hearts desire.
The Sunday market is where all the local villagers and farmers who have produce and stuff to sell come together in Bansko for the market.
The prices are amazing, the quality is great, and the variety is really good. If you want to cook at home and make some yummy food with local ingredients then go between 9 am and 1 pm and see what they have at the local market.
Depending on the season you can get certain fruit and vegetables for really cheap. It’s an awesome place to get a sense of the local culture and to be surrounded by a bunch of local Bulgarians!
There’s nothing like it and it’s such a fun experience going to the market and seeing the variety of stuff and also being immersed with the locals. Needless to say that this market is cash only 😉
#20 Play with the dogs at Bansko Street Dogs
Bansko Street Dogs is a community of expats that have come together to help out and give the street dogs in Bansko a better life. From giving the dogs required shots to helping them find permanent homes, they do it all.
If you love dogs and want to spend some time with them you can visit Bansko Street Dogs. They are always happy to have people come to spend time with the dogs, take them for walks, and just help in any way they can.
Just message them on Facebook and you can plan a time to go visit them.
Who knows, maybe you’ll fall in love with one of the dogs and end up giving it its permanent home! 😉
The people who run the organization are really nice and honestly love whenever someone comes to help out. So if you’re looking for things to do in Bansko and want to get out and spend some time with dogs then this is the place.
Note: They often do trivia nights and other events as fundraisers for the Bansko Street Dogs so keep an eye out for these events.
#21 Eat local food at Banski Han
One of the things you have to do in Bansko is to try local Bulgarian cuisine. That’s why we saved the best for last.
Banski Han is a traditional, local, and family-owned restaurant here in Bansko and in many people’s opinion has the best Bulgarian food in town.
It feels very local, tastes very local, and is very local! It’s right at the beginning of Bansko and a great place to really dive into the Bulgarian cuisine. Something you have to try at least once.
There’s a good chance after going once you’ll probably want it again because it really is that good.
#22 Horse Riding Experience
If you look into horseback riding then you’re in for a real treat here! There are a ton of different options for you to go and enjoy the mountains while riding through the meadows of Bansko.
Now, we haven’t gone ourselves but we have a bunch of friends who have and they said it was an amazing experience!
#23 Visit the bear sanctuary – Belitsa Bear Park
Back in the 90s a lot of Bulgarian resorts had so-called “dancing bears” on them for entertainment purposes. Pretty awful when you think about it now.
The Dancing Bears Park took matters into own hands and started rescuing some of these bears.
The Belitsa Bear Park is now home to over 20 rescued bears that are slowly getting into their natural habitat. Travellers as well as locals can now go visit the park and support this initiative to protect and help the bears.
If you love animals and would like to support a good cause, you should really consider visiting the Belitsa Bear Park.
#24 Eat Banitsa at Banski Samun
Banitsa is a Bulgarian specialty that you can get from local bakeries and the one here in town is absolutely delicious. Be quick though, Super Bakery does tend to sell out of their Banitsa quite quickly in the morning.
One thing you can do is walk by the day before and reserve one for the next day. That way you don’t have to go before 8 am and know you’ll still get some yummy Banitsa.
If you’re curious about what it is, it’s basically a filo pastry with whisked eggs, natural yogurt, and cheese inside. It’s heavenly and this bakery in specific makes a delicious Banitsa.
They also have a variety of bread, cookies, and other goodies to choose from while you’re there. Super Bakery is definitely one of the hidden gems here in Bansko
#25 Go river rafting on the Struma River
Another awesome summer activity to do near Bansko is to go river rafting on the Struma River. You’ll get to experience the beauty of the Kresna Gorge and enjoy an afternoon on the water.
As you go down the river for 11 km you’ll pass through 13 rapids where you’re more than likely to get at least a little wet. You’ll have views of the Pirin Mountains in the distance as well.
River rafting is always a fun activity regardless if you’re a big or small group.
Once you’re done rafting, the tour company has other activities such as archery, rope courses, and even a climbing wall if you still need some excitement for the day!
#26 Hike to the 7 Rila Lakes
Visiting the 7 Rila Lakes is one of the best day trips from Bansko. The 7 Rila Lakes are in the Rila National Park just north of Bansko. You can easily drive to the national park, explore the lakes, have a bite to eat at a restaurant, and then head back to Bansko in the evening.
Getting to the 7 Rila Lakes isn’t actually that hard. This hike doesn’t have that much elevation gain to get to the lakes which is also one of the reasons why this is such a popular hike in Bulgaria.
It’s less hiking and more just enjoying the area. There’s even a lift that takes you quite close to where you can actually see the lakes.
The lakes here in the Rila National Park are one of Bulgaria’s iconic outdoor destinations to visit so if you’re already in Bansko you need to make the trip out there to see them.
#27 Party hard at The Club
Of course, a list of things to do in Bansko wouldn’t be complete without a proper nightclub! The Club, and yes that’s the name of it, is the party place in Bansko.
It’s probably not the best club you’ll ever go to but if you’re looking for a place to go out and don’t mind big crowds then you’ll have a great time!
It’s 5 Leva to enter and, of course, drinks are slightly overpriced but if you’re looking to party and get out for a night with music and raging then The Club is the place to do it in Bansko!
#28 Have a delicious smoothie & coffee at Coconut Bansko
Coconut Smoothies & Coffee is a true gem and if you get the chance to try one of their smoothie bowls, coffee, or special beers you’ll understand why. Coconut is a small family-run business in town that specializes in smoothie bowls!
We’re not kidding when we say everything they make is incredible! They have nice outdoor seating right next to the river. Coconut is perfect to visit on a warm sunny day in Bansko where you can sit outside, enjoy the food, and enjoy the views!
We love supporting local small businesses wherever we go and finding this little gem in Bansko made us so happy. A place you can’t miss while you’re visiting or living in Bansko!
Note that this place is only operating in the summer and not every day. If you stop by and they aren’t open, check out this list of the best food places in Bansko to get more inspiration.
#29 Go snowshoeing in the mountains
Snowshoeing is one of the best winter activities you can do in Bansko. Who doesn’t like “winter hiking”. Either at Mega Ski Center or TSKARIS Ski you can rent snow shoes for in the winter and then go explore the mountains. But please don’t go on your own if you have no experience!!
If you’re new to snow shoes it may be best to start by exploring the foothills of the Pirin Mountains on a guided tour.
There are plenty of awesome trails. For more of an adventure, you can actually hike up one of the mountains in the area with your snow shoes.
For cardio and exercise in the winter, it’s one of the best activities you can do and it’s just another one of the fun things you can do in Bansko!
#30 Hike to the hidden St Nikola Waterfall
We actually just found out about the St Nikola Waterfall recently and it was such a cool surprise to know a place like this exists so close to Bansko.
You don’t even need to make your way up into the Pirin Mountains since this waterfall is located at the foothills of the mountains between Bansko and Dobrinishte.
The beauty of this hike is that you can start right in Bansko, hike to the waterfall, and be back in less than 3 hours.
It’s not one of the hard hikes from Bansko by any memes but it’s also not the most beautiful trail. The highlight of this hike is truly the viewpoint you get near the waterfall and the waterfall itself.
St Nikola Waterfall is perfect though if you want to get some exercise or just get out in nature for a few hours and see a slice of Bulgarian paradise out in nature.
Where to stay in Bansko
Bansko is quite diverse since it’s a mountain resort town but still very local. Over the years it’s also turned into quite a digital nomad hub thanks to all the different co-working places that have popped up.
We have a few hotels in Bansko we recommend that vary in price. Hotels in Bansko start from €40 and can go as high as €200 a night for the most expensive hotels.
The nice thing is there’s a place for everyone here in Bansko so depending on your budget and what you’re looking for you’ll find a hotel that fits your description!
You may also like…
- Living in Bansko as a Digital Nomad
- The 9 Best Restaurant in Bansko You Need to Try
- 5 Hot Springs Near Bansko You Need to Visit
- The Best Ways to Get From Sofia to Bansko
- 5 Beautiful Hikes to Do in the Pirin National Park
Recap of things to do in Bansko, Bulgaria
For a small mountain town in Bulgaria Bansko has plenty of things to do! Even for expats and nomads who live here more permanently, there’s an abundance of things to do in this awesome mountain town.
This list of things to do in Bansko isn’t even everything but it’s a good start and will give you some inspiration if you ever need a kick start or an idea on what to do on any given day.
If you’re living here or just visiting we hope you have a great time hiking, eating, and doing whatever else you may be doing in Bansko.
It’s a great place and there’s a reason why more and more people are starting to call it home.