“The entrance door” of Pirin
Situated at the foot of the North Pirin, Bansko is the “front door” for hiking throughout the mountain. There are more than 10 strategic points for walking in Bansko, starting from different directions. The main marked routes are 12 with a total length of 200 kilometers.
From Bansko is the connection with the Banderitsa chalets – a three and a half hour transition, and Vihren and Demyanitsa, which are 4 hours away. From them you can go in different directions across the mountain.
From Dobrinishte and Razlog, which are 6 km away from Bansko, many popular routes also start there. 3 hours away from Dobrinishte is the hut “Gotse Delchev”, where you can go to hut “Bezbog” for 2 hours on foot or by lift. From it you can go along various marked routes. From Razlog is the route for Yavorov hut, the transition is 4-5 hours.
In practice, different combinations can be made by switching from one route to another. So, with organized hiking in Bansko, not only can the whole Pirin Mountain pass, but also pass to Rila and the Rhodopes.
There are also summer and winter hiking trails in Bansko. Difficulty and duration can be chosen. There are hiking trails, more experienced mountaineers and trails that are just for mountaineers.
Mountaineering and rock climbing can be practiced at 21 locations, with 45 routes in two areas – alpine and alpine.
Separately there are educational eco-paths where tourists can learn interesting facts about the geology of the mountain, the plant and animal world in Pirin.
It is also considered for people with disabilities. The eco-trail “Dragostinov Chark” is 4 km above Bansko. It complies with all the requirements for access of tourists with specific needs – approaches to the paths of rest, special flooring, fitted toilets, etc.
Hiking in Bansko – a choice of difficulty
The numerous hikes in Bansko are of varying degrees of difficulty, as tourists can choose. Of course, we are talking about organized tourism – Lucky Bansko SPA & Relax hotel provides for transport to the departure point and a qualified mountain guide. In addition, a picnic is included in the picturesque scenery.
All hiking in Bansko are among the incredibly beautiful places where one can enjoy the views and relax. With the rise of difficulty, the psychological moment is “self-checking”. For endurance, but also for fearlessness, because in the higher parts there are also sloping precipices and narrow paths along mountain edges.
From low-difficulty routes, the transition to Okoto, the lowest altitude of the 16 Banderishki Lakes, is popular. The transition includes Baikusheva Mura, which is more than 1300 years old. It’s an hour and a half or two in total.
Medium difficulty hikes include, for example, the crossings to Okoto, Ribno and Muratovo from Banderishka lakes, and Bezbog hut and Popovo lake. These transitions are 3-4 hours.
Tourists looking for a strong adrenaline lift can choose – say, hikes in Bansko with the route to Vihren peak and Koncheto or Vasilashki lakes – Damianitza hut, as the lakes go from Vihren hut or Bezbog hut.
It is enough to mention Koncheto – a steep saddle with a 400-meter-long edge, reaching some 50 centimeters in width and almost vertical 400-500-meter northeast slopes.
In 1963 a metal rope was assembled, and in 69th a trail was drawn in the southwest slopes. They say that before the 1963s in the tight spots the tourists stood at the edge and passed by a cave.
For mountaineers, the Vihren peak, on the northern side, is preferred for training. In this part of the mountain are some of the biggest and hardest walls for climbing in Bulgaria.
The special lakes of Pirin
When talking about hiking in Bansko, special attention should be paid to the lakes. Besides the beautiful views and the unique charm of the mountain, there is something else about their “special situation”. All lakes of the mountain are in Pirin Park. They are glacial and are over 180 with a total area of 18,000 decares!
These numerous lakes are of larger and smaller groups – the Banderitsa are 16, the Vasilika are 12, the Popovi are 11, etc. There are also solitary ones – for example, Salzitsa, Manenko, Dissilishko. Many pretty lakes have no names.
The Upper Polezha Lake is at the highest – 2710 m above sea level. The dryness of the Breznitsky lakes is at the lowest – 1963 m. The largest and the deepest is Popovo – its area is 123.6 decares and the depth is 29.5 m.
The routes of organized hiking in Bansko include various lakes – Tevno, Prevalski, Popovo Lake, Golyamo Valaliyashko. Interesting are also “Todorka’s Eyes” – Todorini Lakes, which are on the route between the chalets “Vihren” and “Demyanitza”.
The altitude of the Upper Lake of Todorka is 2536 meters, it is circular with a length of 151 and a width of 124 meters. It is nearly 8 meters deep. The lower Todorino Lake is less.
The tourist interest in the lakes is so great that there is a special “lake” route. It includes 5 of the Bunderishki lakes: Muratovo, Robno, Faibergo, Longo and Okoto.
The route is light, about 4 hours, the overtone displacement is 350-400 meters. It starts from the Vihren hut, which can be reached within a 40-minute bus ride from Bansko. The route runs along slopes, through streams, among pits and grasslands, moraines, paths are well marked.
For the beauty of the scenery can be mentioned the Fish Lake. From here you can see Vihren Peak in all its magnificent stature, and in the waters of the lake are reflected the silhouettes of the Donch Karauli, Banderishki Chukar and Muratov Peak.
Walking in Bansko
A man goes for a walk in Bansko, he will not stop all day long, and one day he will not get to see all the interesting things. Here are different museums, exhibitions, unique architectural monuments, archaeological excavations that “tell” about 3500 years ago, folk crafts outings and picnics in the nature around town, etc.
And if one of the many international festivals – opera, jazz, folklore, pop – can go all day to Bansko from a scene on stage.
One of the first walking tours in Bansko, which make tourists, is with the 8-seat cabin lift, the beautiful views of which are remembered for a lifetime. It works both in winter and in summer, with its 6233 meters being the second largest in Bulgaria.
The deflection is 597 meters: the starting station is in Bansko at 998 m above sea level and the upper one is at the Banderitsa meadow at an altitude of 1595 m. The trip is 25 minutes.
At Bunderishka Polyana itself summer tourists are looking forward to an attractive entertainment complex: the longest in Europe – 400 meters! – water slide, shooting range, mini golf, soccer games, football on small doors, children’s playgrounds, recreation areas.
Among the attractive walks in Bansko is the Bansko picnic. On beautiful meadows with streams and shady shades around the city, tourists can taste the unique local dishes and appetizers, wines and brandies from the swans, to indulge in the local folklore with live music and songs, theatrical presentation of customs. A peak of these walks in Bansko are the tours of horse-riding carts on the Pirin Mountains.
Walking in Bansko can also be done with bikes – not only in the city, but also along the cycle path to the St. Nicholas complex, which is 2250 m. These walks in Bansko can be accompanied by relaxation with a barbecue.
What to visit first?
In Bansko there are many places and things that can not be seen elsewhere. One gets confused among the 140 cultural monuments in the city and its surroundings.
They are also interesting testimonies for the life of prominent personalities remaining in the chronicles of Bulgaria, and for fateful events, and for unique life, culture, art, and for entire epochs. Everything is worth seeing – which one to visit first?
Organized tourist tours in Bansko are obligatory included museums with guided tours.
Here is a great interest for Paisii, Neofit Rilski, Vaptsarov. It is exciting to “peep into” the lives of these distinguished Bulgarians.
The museums of Neofit Rilski and Nikola Vaptsarov are in their homes. A memorial was made to Paisii Hilendarski – a newly built building, opened in 2008, which was built on the site of his home.
In the Memorial can be seen the cell in which “Slavo-Bulgarian History” is written and from which a cell starts the Renaissance of Bulgaria – it is an exact copy of the situation in the Hilendar Monastery.
Here is also the exact copy of the prayer chapel, in which the monk Paisius entered for trust and support for the fateful book for the Bulgarians.
In the home of Neofit Rilski is arranged a documentary exhibition about his active enlightenment activity – “Bulgarian grammar”, parts of Greek-Bulgarian vocabulary, interlaboratory tables, his personal books.
The house of the genius poet Vaptsarov “tells” about him in a modern way – videos, special lighting, sound – as the director Voulo Radev, who is the author of the project, can think of it.
During their tours in Bansko, tourists are also very impressed by Velyanova house – an indication of the time, construction and values during the Renaissance in the region. And also from Radon, where local archaeological finds from the Thracian, Antiquity and Middle Ages, and rich ethnographic expositions were collected.