How does Bulgaria compare to Turkey and other countries for skiing? A personal review from English speaking Serap from Istanbul, Turkey, shows that whilst not everything was perfect, the Bulgarian mountain resort of Bansko can compete with not just Turkish resorts- but more prestigious alpine resorts too.
Serap gives her first impressions of Bansko, making comparisons with Turkish and other resorts, and talks about what she liked the most – and the least.
Of particular note are the Visa requirements for Turkish visitors. A visa to Bulgaria from Turkey only costs EUR60 per visit but at present is a cumbersome process. This, she believes, seems to be affecting tourism in Bulgaria from Turkish visitors. It's worth noting that there is no visa requirement for passengers originating from other EU countries.
Turkish skiers pay higher prices in Turkey than Bulgaria. In Turkey skiing is still considered the preserve for the wealthy – so Bulgaria's ski and mountain tourism has an important price advantage.
But What About Quality? Serap has high standards. But can Bulgaria and Bansko deliver the skiing satisfaction that will bring her back to Bansko?
From airport transfer, to accommodation, lessons, restaurants and service: she believes Bulgaria and Bansko comparably favorably both Austrian and Turkish ski resorts.
She sensibly took advantage of doing her research before traveling to Bulgaria. She avoided the traps. Traps which await the unwary. She used quality transfer operator, and utilized the internet to find accommodation just next to the gondola. She avoided overpriced restaurants and poor exchange rate booths, as well as some in supermarkets those in the know avoid.
But being prepared was the key for a positive first experience. And because of this, she came back again later in the season with her daughter. Being prepared this second time, came in useful in an unexpected way. Her daughter was ill late one evening. But, the doctor's telephone number was at hand. He arrived promptly and found him very capable. She found Bansko to be child friendly, and would have no hesitation in recommending her friends to try Bansko.
As an all round resort many will be arriving for the largest event of the year, the Bansko Jazz Festival. This annual festival starts on 8th August and runs until the 13th, Bansko could be welcoming record visitors for this free summer event.
Bansko and Bulgaria are destinations for those who are keen for a change whatever the time of year. Like Serap advises … do your research and you could well be coming back for more.