Bansko in Bulgaria is fast becoming a favourite for skiers and boarders wanting to escape the hedonistic crowds and looking for a bit of a bargain break. Don’t be fooled though, just because its excellent value doesn’t mean they've scrimped on standards.
The resort has recently benefited from a whopping €30 million investment and has gained a well-deserved reputation as one of Europe’s top up-and-coming resorts, combining value-for-money with first class facilities. Bansko features over 65km of marked ski runs and cross-country tracks that are perfect for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. The resort rests at 936m with the highest peak at 2,600m. The longest run is 7km with the longest downhill route being 16km. More than 50% of the slopes are covered by snow cannons and all runs are regularly groomed to guarantee maximum safety and pleasure from the pistes. For show-offs there is also an extreme winter sports fun park complete with artificial bumps, boxes, jumps and a half pipe, plus an illuminated 7km ski run for adrenaline fuelled night shredding.
Apres-ski in Bansko is centred around 'Mehanas', tavern style restaurants with roaring log fires and live music. If you're up for carrying on the party after a few cheeky ales, there is also a great choice of nightclubs. Drinks start at just 80p for a large bottle of beer or a few pounds for a bottle of house wine, while a tasty three-course meal can be yours for around a fiver, so you can enjoy a fun filled night out without breaking the bank.
If you do wake up a little worse for wear, you'd be well-advised to spend a few extra pennies on some pampering and relaxation at the Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Hotel, where the Spa and Wellness centre offers a tempting choice of indulgent treatments to soothe your weary limbs. The Kempinski is a five star property ideally located at the foot of the slopes and opposite the start of the Gondola lift.
The Zalez Spa Center offers a full range of traditional and exotic massages, as well as skin and body spa treatments based on Thalgo and Decleor products. State-of-art facilities includes heated outdoor and indoor swimming pools, hot tubs, steam rooms, saunas, a relaxing float tank, Hammam Turkish baths, solarium and a unique snow room as well as a fully equipped gym. Perfect for stretching out, relaxing and rejuvenating tired legs!
Balkan Holidays offers a seven-night ski holiday with accommodation at the Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena costing from £454pp, based on bed and breakfast accommodation in a deluxe twin or double room. This price includes flights and transfers to and from the resort.
If you're up for a pampering break, they also offer a choice of pre-bookable heath and spa packages including:
The Asian Package, which costs £153 and includes three days use of the spa as well as the following treatments: Hamman massage, spa pedicure, Shiatsu massage, eye treatment with selected essential oils, Oshibori massage and foot reflexology.
The Anti-Stress Programme costs £143 and includes three days use of the spa as well as the following treatments: Soap brushing peeling, private steam bath, wellness massage, foot reflexology, lavender body wrap, facial care, lymphatic drainage, lavender bath and foot mask.
For further information please visit www.balkanholidays.co.uk and for reservations call 0845 130 1114.
Words: Amy Clarke