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5 Essential Things to Know About Bansko

Updated: May 17, 2022



Bansko is a small relatively unknown town. There’s little information on it since it doesn’t have year-round tourism. Instead, local Bulgarians are the ones that appreciate its alpine beauty the most. But you’re coming from abroad, so you need all the information you can get. Especially since the town completely changes depending on the season in which you arrive.

The town is made up of 4 parts. The highest elevated section in the south consists of rental shops, nightclubs, and resorts. The East and West make up the majority of the residential areas. The South of town and along the river is where the cafes, restaurants, and coworking spaces are. The high season is December to February. Not just because the population increases, but the prices rise too. Accommodation at these times is nearly 90% more expensive compared to the rest of the year. Speaking of which. When the snow melts the south of town shuts down. If you’re going outside of winter, live as north and as close to the river as possible.

With the flock of foreign tourists during the winter so comes the money. Like a Christmas tree the entire town lights up and the highest point becomes the shining star. After hitting the slopes it’s easy to ski into the most popular bars and meet new people. Along with this easy-flowing money comes erotic options. Due to how many of these establishments are in the south part of town, you’re going to notice them. Whether you’re looking for a high-class nightclub with live performances or a humble speakeasy - Bansko has them. The rest of the year, in contrast, is for more lasting relationships. As a digital nomad hot spot plenty of new faces still arrive, but for a longer time. The quality and quantity of coworking offices is impressive for a quiet ski town such as Bansko, but more on that in a bit.

The ski season runs from November to early April. A one-day ski pass can cost $45 US dollars, and a season pass can cost upwards of $800. With summer, the slopes turn into an adult summer camp. Hiking trails to waterfalls, UNESCO heritage sites and mountain top lakes litter the area. Mountain bike trails offer day-long adventures you’re sure to talk about back home. A ticket for the gondola will cost around $15 US dollars. With it, you can access the longest water slide in Europe. This inflatable slide is 400 meters in length (over 4 football fields in freedom units).

With all this running around you’re sure to get hungry. There’s one type of restaurant in Bansko - Bulgarian. I’m being facetious. There are other food options like shawarma, pizza, & hamburgers, but almost all of the restaurants are going to serve Bulgarian dishes. Something you need to try is Banitsa. It’s one of the most popular dishes, especially among locals, but only served in the early mornings. Not because it can’t be eaten any time of the day, but because if it was served all day there would be an obesity epidemic. Groceries are affordable relative to western countries, but some things, like nuts, are very expensive. Keep in mind the south part of the city shutdowns outside of winter and that includes the grocery stores. Cafes are available but are poor places to work remotely from. Many are bars that open during the day and call themselves cafes - cigarette smoke included.

The best places to work remotely in Bansko are the coworking offices. They’re so popular they’ve turned Bansko into a nomad hotspot and not a theoretical one either. It’s real, with affordable living, plenty of activities, and a vibrant community. Bansko Nomadfest is a great example that runs for 7 days every summer. This event is hosted by Coworking Bansko, known as Orange Coworking while in town. The other two companies include Altspace Coworking which is great for a professional social setting and Nestwork which is great for a productive setting. Amongst these 3 coworks are 6 offices spread throughout the town, with more to come.

Despite its size and quiet nature, it punches above its weight class. There are no Starbucks or McDonalds, but who needs them when there’s free coffee and $1 banitsa. The nightclubs shut down after the high season, but they’re not needed when the town is full of other nomads. With entire condos for ~$350/m and Bulgaria granting 90 days without a visa, it’s the perfect place for a relaxing stay.

If you don't want to read, it would help me a lot if you watched the video instead - https://youtu.be/jBpT-ZSUgGw (4min). It's the same details just me reading it with B-roll added to illustrate.

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What I Do: I’m a freelance operations consultant.

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