A Complete Guide to Becoming A Bansko Digital Nomad
Are you wondering whether to become a Bansko digital nomad?
Hesitate no further, because we have all your questions covered!
This small mountain town/winter resort turns digital nomad expectations upside-down (in a positive way) and proves that winter adventures aren’t only for the rich and the famous.
Enter your ultimate guide for making the best of every second of your digital nomad Bansko experience.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Why become a digital nomad in Bansko
- Cost of living
- Top destinations for digital nomads in Bansko
- Cool coworking spaces
- Best places to stay
- Best food to try (and where)
- How to get around (bonus tip on how to get from the capital of Sofia to Bansko)
- An avalanche (pun intended) of practical advice and unique tips for before and after you get to Bansko
Some of the links on here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.
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Why Become A Digital Nomad In Bansko?
The first question you may have is : Why become a Bansko digital nomad?
The last thing one may expect to find in a small mountain town in Southwestern Bulgaria – population: 9497 people, area: 148.28 km² (57.32 sq mi) is:
- fast and reliable internet,
- affordable prices, and
- has a thriving digital nomad community.
You probably know that Bansko operates as one of the most popular winter resorts in the country, but this Balkan hotspot offers all this and more.
Small Town, Big Deal
Winter may be the core season, but the truth is, Bansko can cater to every taste and preference all year round.
Archaeological sites, museums, an Old Town, cultural and music festivals, delicious cuisine, and unlimited possibilities for both adrenaline seekers and those who need a nice relaxation away from the hustle and bustle, which leads me to my next point.
Perfect for a Bansko digital nomad that likes variety and excitement in life.
The Power Of Nature
Comfortably situated at the foot of the Pirin Mountains aka “the most beautiful mountains in Bulgaria”, Bansko offers postcard-worthy views of snowy peaks, dense forests, alpine lakes, and green meadows.
The mountainous climate and the altitude of 1200 m ensure the snow stays from December to April, which in its turn provides perfect conditions for professional and amateur winter sports adventurers alike.
Pirin National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, starts beside the town, which further expands the possibilities to taste the true beauty of nature.
And the 27 hot mineral springs in the nearby village of Banya (5 km (3 mi) away) will make all your fatigue and worries disappear.
Becoming a Bansko digital nomad is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts (like me!)
Many people are taken aback by the unbelievable affordability of Bansko.
The prices are truly a fraction of what you would pay at any other winter resort or needless to say, more popular digital nomad destinations such as Spain, Portugal, and Southeast Asia.
Two factors play a crucial role here:
- Bulgaria is in the European Union, but its official currency is the Bulgarian Lev (BGN) and NOT the Euro.
- There has been a currency board in the country since 1997 that has tied the Bulgarian currency with the then Deutsche Mark and currently with the Euro.
The exchange rate is fixed at 1 EUR = 1.95 BGN
If you are on a tight budget, it makes sense to become a Bansko digital nomad!
I’m sure you cannot wait to hear more about the prices in Bansko but before that…
- Please, note that the article was written in March 2021 with numerous restrictions still in place. I have described Bansko considering normal circumstances. Before your trip, please refer to the websites of mentioned places (all provided) for the most up-to-date information regarding opening hours, prices, or other expenses.
- All prices were converted into US dollars according to the exchange rate at the time of writing the article. Fluctuation is possible.
Now that we clarified this, we’re good to go! There you are!
Cost Of Living In Bansko
The cost of living in Bansko is unbeatable, but how much is it exactly?
While it’s highly dependable on what you do, want to do, and when you do it. If you are a Bansko digital nomad with expensive taste then you can expect to pay more,
Here are some basic indicators and their average cost:
- A meal out in an inexpensive restaurant BGN 8 ($5)
- A three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant BGN 30 ($18)
- A loaf of white bread (500g) BGN 0.60 ($0.36)
- Beef round (1kg) BGN 14 ($9)
- Local cheese (1kg) BGN 12 ($7.30)
- A regular cappuccino BGN 2.50 ($1.50)
- Domestic beer (0.5l) BGN 3 ($1.82)
- Imported beer (0.33l) BGN 5.50 ($3.34)
- Water (0.33l) BGN 1 ($0.60)
- One-bedroom apartment in the city center BGN 450 ($274)
- One-bedroom apartment outside the city center BGN 384 ($234)
- Basic (electricity, heating, cooling, water, waste) for an 85m² apartment BGN 157 ($96)
- 1 min of prepaid local mobile tariff (without discounts or a plan) BGN 0.15 ($0.09)
- Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL) BGN 15 ($9)
- Taxi initial fare (normal tariff) BGN 1 ($0.60)
- Taxi 1km (normal tariff) BGN 3 ($2)
- Gasoline (1l) BGN 2.10 ($1.30)
More detailed information and tips regarding accommodation and transportation below, so keep on reading. Click here to check average prices for more products and services.
Bansko’s strategic location – snuggled in a valley at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, caters for mild and lovely weather in the town all year round while enjoying the treats of the nearby mountains.
There are four seasons, but the liveliest ones are Summer and Winter.
Spring and Autumn might be chillier than in the city, while Summer is nice and warm, but never hot, and Winter is not as cold as expected in the mountains.
Let’s have a deeper dive at each season, along with possible pros and cons.
“Summer” will be from April to November and “Winter” from December to March.
- Shoulder season, which means fewer tourists and a greater possibility to relax
- Blooming nature
- Mountain weather is dynamic enough, but Spring adds up to it; especially in March when you can experience all kinds of weather (windy, rainy, snowy, sunny) in a day
- Chillier temperatures starting from March average lowest -1.1°C (30°F) to May average highest 20.8°C ( 69.4°F)
Three Mountains Hard Enduro Bansko in May (or June)
- Nice and warm weather perfect for mountain hikes and summer evening walks
- Mild temperatures range from June average lowest 11.2°C (52.2°F) to August average highest 26.9°C (80.4°F)
- Tourist season
- Higher accommodation prices
- Summer Theater Festival “To the Audience with Love” in July
- International Jazz Festival Bansko in August
- Shoulder season
- Indian Summer in September
- Colorful landscape
- Shorter, dark, and gloomy days that sometimes may continue for a week, which in its turn may influence your mood if it’s weather-sensitive
- Chillier temperatures with September average lowest 9°C (48.2°F) to November average highest 11.1°C (52°F)
- Bansko Mountain Film Fest in November – showcasing films about and/ or set in mountains all over the world
- Winter and winter sports lovers heaven
- Perfect for a Bansko digital nomad that loves winter sports!
- Mild temperatures varying from December average lowest -3.6°C (25.5°F) to February average highest 5.5°C (41.9°F)
- Peak tourist season, thus crowded with visitors and overall higher prices; especially, accommodation due to the higher expenses for heating
- Kukeri Parade – on January 1st, men dressed in traditional scary masks and costumes called “kukeri” parade around the town to chase evil spirits; there is also a rich folklore program
- International Ballet Festival, Bansko at the beginning of January
- International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine Ski World Cup in February
Digital Nomad Visas In Bansko
Bulgaria doesn’t offer a specific digital nomad visa, but there are plenty of ways to reside in the country, respectively Bansko.
Furthermore, depending on where you come from and the length of your stay, it might turn out, you don’t even need a visa.
Here are your options if you want to become a Bansko digital nomad:
1.European Union (EU) And European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals
What’s even cooler is that you won’t need a “work permit” when staying in the country for more than 90 days.
2.Schengen Visa Holders
If you have a visa from a Schengen Area (SA) member state, you won’t need an additional visa for Bulgaria and can stay in the country for up to 90 days in any period of six months from the date of the first entry.
Now, while it’s sad Bulgaria is NOT part of the SA, there’s still a silver lining.
Cheeky tip: Not being part of the Schengen zone has made the country a lucrative destination for people who would like to “prolong” their Schengen visa and/ or restart it.
The 90 days that a Schengen visa is valid for could be spent uninterruptedly, or be interrupted (with visits to non-Schengen countries) and counted altogether within 180 days starting from the date of the first entry.
Here’s where visiting Bulgaria comes in handy – you can spend, say, 30 days in Bulgaria and then travel to Schengen countries; then go back to Bulgaria or visit another non-Schengen country.
Alternatively, you can re-apply for a new Schengen visa after residing in non-Schengen Bulgaria.
Check this list of all non-Schengen countries (scroll to the bottom to view it).
3.Nationals Of Countries With Visa Facilitation Agreements
There exist certain visa facilitation agreements between the EU and the following countries:
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Russian Federation, Serbia, and Ukraine
Citizens of these countries and holders of biometric passports are exempt from the need of having a short-stay visa (up to 90 days).
IMPORTANT: Holders of non-biometric passports are still required to apply for a visa.
4.All Other Nationals
If you didn’t see your country on any of the above lists, don’t panic!
Check here, cause there’s still a chance you don’t need a visa if you’re planning to stay in Bulgaria for up to 90 days.
In case, you do need one, I got you covered.
Here’s all you need to know:
Types Of Visas And Their Cost
There are three basic types of visas for Bulgaria:
- Visa A for airport transit; cost: EUR 60 ($72)
- Visa C for a short stay for a transit or planned stay; cost: EUR 60 ($72)
- Visa D for a long stay; cost: EUR 100 or EUR 200 ($119 or $238), depending on the different paragraphs, under which it is applied for
More details regarding the application fees for the different visa types, as well as other expenses such as charges related to certification and legalization, are available here.
Visa Application Requirements
I’m going to elaborate on the short-stay visa C for touristic purposes as the most common choice among digital nomads.
But just FYKI, it can be obtained for other purposes as well, including but not limited to business, cultural exchange, sport, and medical treatment.
- Filled-in visa application form; downloadable here and submitted not earlier than 3 months before the intended visit
- Valid travel document
- A photocopy of the first page of the travel document
- A photocopy of the last Bulgarian and Schengen visas or visas for the UK and the US, if any
- A recent full-color photograph passport size
- Travel medical insurance (with minimum coverage EUR 30 000 ($36 300))
- Financial expenses coverage evidence
- Reservation from a Bulgarian tourist accommodation facility or reservation or a return airplane ticket
Here you can find detailed information regarding all application requirements for a short-stay visa C.
IMPORTANT: Diplomatic relations and visas change constantly.
Make sure you have the most detailed and up-to-date information regarding visa requirements and application processes by consulting your local diplomatic representative of Bulgaria and/ or the website of the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Top Destinations For Digital Nomads In Bansko
You may wonder what to do in Bansko, after all, it’s such a small town.
And I won’t lie to you, there is not that much to do in the town itself.
BUT as you’ll see below, there are literally countless opportunities to practice your favorite activities and/ or gain new experiences.
What To See In Bansko
Bansko is one of the oldest settlements around the Pirin Mountains and used to operate as an important economic center in the 18th century.
Step back in time and see how the well-to-do trade families in the town lived.
Their houses, called “fortresses of Bansko”, are representatives of the country’s National Revival House and are of unique design and architecture.
The town is the birthplace of several notable Bulgarians and their houses are now turned into museums.
These include the:
- House-museum of Nikola Vaptsarov,
- a famous Bulgarian poet, and
- the House-museum of Neofit Rilski,
- a monk, teacher, artist, and prominent figure of the Bulgarian National Revival.
- A museum was also erected on the place of the birth house of St. Paisiy Hilendarski, a Bulgarian clergyman and central figure of the Bulgarian National Revival.
The last exhibits original icons, wall paintings, and photographs of the local masters considered among the best representatives of the Bulgarian culture from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Check here the opening hours of all museums in the town.
Once the biggest church in Bulgaria and the Balkans, this 19th-century architectural masterpiece has become one of the most visited sights and a symbol of Bansko.
Besides the church building, there’s also a bell tower and a fencing wall.
And the interior was painted by some of the most prominent representatives of the Art School of Bansko and Debursko.
4.A Song Of Ice And Snow
Who says Winter adventures should be only for the rich and the famous?
In Bansko, whether you’re an experienced and ardent winter sports lover, or have been eager to try them, but for one or another reason never got to it, you’ll find something for yourself.
And don’t worry about the price – you can rent equipment, buy some thicker clothes, and still not break the bank.
5.Skiing And Snowboarding
75 km of marked ski runs at an altitude from 990 to 2200 meters (3248 to 7218 ft), 15 ski lifts, as well as 230 snow machines (if nature fails), await you and your adventure spirit.
Check the detailed map here.
Even more detailed information, including webcams, prices, and online pass reservation, await you at the official Bansko Ski website.
- an adult round-trip ticket for the gondola lift costs BGN 32 ($20), and
- an adult one-day ski pass BGN 70 ($43)
Important: While there are also multiple off-piste possibilities, there is also a high risk of avalanches.
In case you decide to explore them, do it with the necessary precautions and consult or hire an experienced local guide.
A bit pricier but undoubtedly an unforgettable experience if you decide to give it a try.
Share it with a friend and cut down the expenses.
The tour lasts approximately an hour and comes in two options:
- non-shared one for EUR 74 ($88) or
- shared for EUR 43 ($51) per person where two people alternate driving halfway.
If you prefer more slow-paced winter adventures, try any of these trek tours with different lengths and levels of difficulty.
Prices vary per route and number of participants, the cheapest being EUR 69 ($82) per person for more than 4 people on the suggested routes 1, 2, or 4.
And include transport from/to your accommodation in Bansko, snowshoes and poles rent, an English-speaking mountain guide, and lift tickets (if applicable).
Show off your best moves on one of the biggest ice rinks in Bulgaria.
Bansko’s ice rink operates in 2-hour sessions starting from 1 p.m. and closing at 9:45 p.m. with 15-minute breaks in-between.
A 2-hour adult ticket with ice skates rent is BGN 30 ($18). Bring your own ice skates and the price is cut by half.
The Pirin Mountains and Pirin National Park are excellent for hikers, nature lovers, landscape photographers, and Instagram spot hunters, or anyone who would like to spend more time outside and/ or reconnect with Mother Nature.
Here you can find detailed information about the different routes, their length, and difficulty.
If you want to challenge yourself, you can opt for summiting the highest peak of the Pirin Mountains, Vihren (2914 m (9,560 ft)), which is the second-highest peak in Bulgaria and the third highest in the Balkans.
Interesting fact: The highest peak in the Balkan Peninsula and Southeast Europe, is actually, also in Bulgaria, in the Pirin mountains’ neighbor, the Rila Mountains.
Its name is Musala and it soars at 2925 meters (9,596 ft).
Important: Bear in mind that summiting a peak requires advanced climbing skills and mountain weather changes constantly, so prepare yourself accordingly and never head up alone.
Oh, and do NOT forget your hat and sunscreen!
As a winter resort, there are multiple hotels in Bansko with swimming pools. If you need a refresh or just to keep yourself in perfect shape, you can try the following:
- Regnum Bansko Ski Hotel & SPA’s Aquapark – open from June to August and welcoming external visitors too with several outdoor pools and slides, green areas, a bar, and sporting facilities; daily adult ticket starts at BGN 10 ($7)
- Belvedere Holiday Club – picturesque complex with a very long outdoor pool and jacuzzi; entrance fee BGN 8 ($5)
- Strazhite Pool – two open-air swimming pools filled with mineral water for adults and kids, respectively; the large one is 25 X 12 meters (82 by 39 feet); a pool bar offers drinks and light meals; the adult ticket is BGN10 ($7)
11.White Water Rafting
A boat fits 6 people and both companies provide full equipment, guides, and instructions. At an additional cost, you could also have photos and videos of you speeding down the river.
You can book your adventure on their websites, but then you’ll need to arrange your own transportation from Bansko to the rafting place.
Alternatively, you can make a reservation via an agent in Bansko, however, the total cost per person will be BGN 100 ($61).
While you can visit any of the spa centers of the numerous hotels in Bansko and get your moment of “Ahh!”.
Some 5 km (3 mi) away from the town, is the village of Banya (Bulgarian for “bathroom” and if the name doesn’t speak for itself…), famous for its 27 hot mineral springs.
A little farther, about 8 km (5 mi) from Bansko, is another thermal treasure, the town of Dobrinishte.
Here are few places where you can wash away all your worries:
A luxury complex with three outdoor swimming pools with different water temperatures, as well as a dipping pool and jacuzzi with 40°C (104°F) and 39°C (102.2°F), respectively.
There are also saunas, a steam bath, and a restaurant.
The daily adult ticket costs BGN 20 ($12), but it’s half-price after 4 p.m.
The sauna and the steam bath cost an additional BGN 10 ($6).
You can easily spend a whole day here alternating between the thermal pools, the sauna, the Japanese bath, the Roman bath, the hammam, the ice room, and the relaxation area.
Why not spoil yourself with a massage and/ or a ritual?
Massage prices start from BGN 25 ($15), while SPA rituals BGN 95 ($58).
This is undoubtedly the biggest thermal complex in the area with multiple outdoor pools, a SPA and balneotherapy center, a children’s playground, pool bars, and a restaurant.
The average temperature of the water in the pools is 24°C (75.2°F).
And the entrance fee for an adult is BGN 12 ($7), including the use of steam baths and saunas.
These are actually the public thermal baths in the town, so don’t expect a luxurious experience. The building was built in 1934 and to say that it needs a facelift would be an understatement.
If you’re on adventurous mode and looking for an authentic and unique experience on an extreme budget – entrance with a towel will cost you BGN 1.50 ($1), go ahead!
Note: Bear in mind that bathing suits are not allowed in the bathroom and people bathe naked. There are separate entrances for men and women though.
Alternatively, you can opt for an individual bathtub for BGN 10 ($6).
From the beginning of June to the end of September, multiple mountain bike routes around Bansko await you and your two-wheel partner in crime.
Furthermore, Road to Nowhere, a mountain bike competition, takes place in Bansko; so, if you happen to be a hard-core fan, why not try to get one more trophy under your wing.
14.ATV And Off-Road
For those with gasoline in their blood, you can hit the hills with an ATV, or head on an off-road safari.
For the first, check Bansko Summer Active, which offers shorter (50 minutes) and longer (90 minutes) routes priced at respectively, EUR 50 ($60) and EUR 80 ($95) per person.
And for the latter, try Bansko Safari – prices start at BGN 300 ($183) per trip for 1 to 4 people.
Is there anything more magical than riding one of the most magnificent animals on this planet surrounded by breathtaking views?
The first one is closer to Bansko and a 2-hour ride will cost you BGN 50 ($31). For an additional BGN 10 ($6), they can come to pick you up in the town.
Just outside Bansko, you’ll find the luxury Pirin Golf and Country Club that offers five- and four-star hotel accommodation along with various golf opportunities and courses for all levels.
A combined package of 5-star all-inclusive accommodation and golf starts at EUR 92 ($110) per person for a minimum four-day reservation.
17.Hot Air Ballooning
Just like golf, this can be considered more pricey, but it’s also a unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Bansko Flights can organize your adventure against EUR 220 ($239) per person.
Besides the actual flight that lasts approximately one hour, the price includes:
- a pick-up and return from your accommodation,
- a light breakfast meal before the flight, and
- celebratory champagne toast after it,
- as well as insurance and experienced and licensed pilot.
Oh, and a personalized certificate from the company.
In the vicinity of Bansko, you’ll find several archeological sites.
The most ancient among them date back to the bronze and early iron age, that is 3000-2000 years B.C.
For good or bad, you’ve probably already heard something about Bulgaria nightlife.
I hope it’s for the first, but even if you don’t have such a positive impression, I hope the nightlife in Bansko will change this.
It might not be as vibrant as in other parts of the country, but it still has its charm and unique vibes.
Bansko is famous for its taverns, or as they’re called in Bulgaria “mehanas” (singular “mehana”).
These are restaurants decorated entirely in traditional Bulgarian style that serve traditional Bulgarian cuisine with live traditional Bulgarian folk music.
More about some must-try Bulgarian specialties below.
For now, here are some mehanas with great reviews where you can immerse yourself in Bulgarian culture, and why not dance some “horo” (traditional Bulgarian folk dance).
- Zehtindjieva House (Механа Зехтинджиева къща) – open from 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. it offers to its clients special evenings with rich national dance folk program performed by professional dancers, as well as a demonstration of local crafts
- Baryakova Mehana (Барякова механа) – one of the first restaurants in the town, it operates since 1993 and welcomes its visitors with delicious homemade food and exquisite wines served right beside a nice and cozy fireplace in the Winter and at large and lavishly decorated with flowers verandas in the Summer
- Mehana Banski Han (Механа Бански хан) – located at the entrance of Bansko it serves dishes prepared with ingredients of its own production and according to home recipes, sometimes cooked right in front of you; Perun orchestra will take care of your good mood
Bars And Pubs
If you’re not into traditional folk things, here are some contemporary choices for you where you can drink and/ or dance the night away:
- Happy End Bar – the strategic location, right next to the gondola lift, turns this place into the best après-ski bar in town.
Could there be a happier ending (pun intended) to your adventurous day on the slopes than a nice drink inside or outside at the veranda and live music?
Actually, there could be – if you catch the happy hour between 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. when you get 2 drinks for 1 😉
- Amigo Pub – for you, dear rock fans; enjoy live rock music and fire show from the bartenders, as well as great service, well-priced alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and tasty snacks
- Queen’s Pub – the biggest, the greatest, the best – the superlatives have no end, but seriously, with different amusement programs each night, think aerial, knives, snakes, acrobatic pole dancing shows, Queen’s Pub is unbeatable.
Prices are rather at the higher end, but the shows and the delicious food (try the steaks) are all worth it.
20.Other Iconic Bulgarian Spots
Bansko’s strategic location gives you the chance to explore other iconic Bulgarian (and not only) spots within a day.
Raise Your Glass
A Spiritual Experience
Also located at about a 1.5-hour drive from Bansko is the Rila Monastery.
Established in the 10th-century, this is the biggest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria.
You’ll be charmed by its black and white stripes exterior and the magnificent icons and frescoes, all on the background of the majestic Rila Mountains.
A Cultural Experience
Drive about 2.5-3 hours or hop on one of the daily buses leaving Bansko for a 3.5-hour ride to reach Bulgaria’s second-largest city Plovdiv aka the cultural capital of the country.
A magnificent old town, Roman ruins sprinkled all over the city, including an amphitheater where multiple concerts take place every year were just some of the reasons why the city became also a European Capital of Culture in 2019.
Yes, you read correctly!
And by the beach, I don’t mean just any beach, but Greek beaches.
Here’s where your Bansko, Bulgaria digital nomad experience reaches an international level.
Best CoWorking Spaces
After all the amazing things you learned you can do in and around Bansko, is it possible for the town to get any cooler?
Yes, it is!
With some of, if not, the most amazing spaces on the coworking Bulgaria scene.
Located at a 10-minute walk from the gondola ski lift, Altspace Coworking provides an exquisite boutique coworking experience.
Fast wireless internet, a conference booth, a kitchen area with free tea and coffee, a balcony and garden, and 24/7 access are just some of its features.
- A daily pass costs EUR 15 ($18),
- monthly membership options, start at EUR 89 ($107)
Note: The space has limited capacity, so make sure you check for availability in advance.
The name speaks for itself, Snowpearl Residence offers the best of both worlds – accommodation, and coworking.
Founded by digital nomads, this space aims at meeting all possible needs a location-free adventurer might have.
Two fully-equipped office rooms await you with a free first-day trial and further daily membership for EUR 5 ($6).
Multiple accommodation options with Summer monthly prices starting at EUR 270 ($324) and Winter ones EUR 740 ($887).
But customizable weekly, 6-month, or year reservations are also available.
Furthermore, if you plan to move permanently to Bansko and/ or set up a business, Snowpearl and their personally approved lawyers and accountants will help you with all the paperwork.
Fancy a pickup from Sofia airport with a private transfer? It’s all yours for EUR 60 ($72).
What makes Snowpearl stand out among other Bansko coworking spaces, however, is that all their social events are free for members and non-members alike.
You’ll find it strategically located close to both the more touristic gondola lift and the quieter Old Town.
FLC stands for Four Leaf Clover and the coworking space is the stem of a four-leaf-clover-shaped apartment complex (as seen from above).
For a monthly total of EUR 260 ($312), you can have a coworking space and accommodation in a studio.
Additional services such as bike and car rental, laundry, room cleaning, and spa are also available.
Members can chill out in a games room equipped with table tennis and board games, celebrate in the mehana, or practice yoga and meditation in the sports room.
This is actually the third location of the next coworking space, namely…
They say: “save best for last” and Coworking Bansko is undoubtedly the ultimate coworking space in Bansko.
Furthermore, this place is the main reason why Bansko has turned into the digital nomad magnet that it’s today.
It offers two top locations to cater to every taste.
One is closer to the gondola lift to be able to hit those snowy slopes at any moment.
And the other in the Old Town divided further into two sections – a quiet space for ultimate concentration and social space where you can talk and exchange ideas with fellow adventurers. There’s also a garden with tables.
Both locations are fully equipped with ergonomic desks and chairs, fast and reliable internet, and kitchen space with free coffee and tea.
Coworking Bansko goes out and beyond to meet the needs of its community.
Besides all you need to get your work done, it provides information and guidance long before you step on Bulgarian soil.
Daily membership costs EUR 15 + 20% VAT ($18 + 20% VAT), but your first visit day is always free.
Summer (May to November) and Winter (December to April) weekly or monthly packages are also available at prices starting from EUR 299 ($310) and EUR 399 ($477), respectively.
The packages include:
- a transfer from Sofia airport,
- a coworking membership, and
- other perks such as one entrance to the hot springs,
- a welcome pack, and
- a local pay-as-you-go SIM card
But probably, Coworking Bansko’s biggest asset is the community. The majority of the wide variety of events are organized voluntarily by the coworkers themselves.
Think both useful presentations on business, marketing, personal development, and fun activities such as wine tasting, restaurant dinners, thermal bath visits, BBQs, yoga classes, and so on.
Coworking Bansko organizes even a Bansko Nomad Fest.
Best Places To Stay in Bansko
Your Bansko digital nomad experience can’t be complete without a place to call “home”.
And this small town doesn’t disappoint here either!
Besides how long, the two most important things to consider when choosing a place are: when and where.
Bear in mind that accommodation prices during the Winter season are much higher than any other season.
As for “where” – the part closer to the gondola ski lift is more touristy and it comes with all the relevant positives and negatives, especially during the winter.
And the Old Town area is the quieter and calmer one but gets livelier during the Summer.
Let’s have a closer view of the different possibilities depending on the length of your stay.
Coliving.com is a coliving platform specifically for digital nomads and provides affordable accommodation, good wifi and excellent workspaces.
Here are a few useful facts about them:
- Secure payments
- Verified properties and guests
- Flexible lease (from one week to one+ year)
- Largest coliving booking platform
- Lowest price guarantee
- Free cancellation (within 24 hours after booking)
- Advanced search
- Verified guests and hosts
Book using this link to get 2.5% off your first month’s rent
Short- To Mid-term Stay
If you’re staying for a few days or weeks, but less than a month, your best option from a financial point of view, would be any of the guest houses in Bansko.
Prices vary from EUR 5-15 ($6-18) per night depending on the season and the amenities.
As you learned above, the majority of the coworking spaces in Bansko also offer accommodation.
You can get it as a package or choose separately.
- Coworking Bansko – they have prepared special listings of local accommodation for its members both for the Summer and the Winter seasons.
Monthly prices for a studio start from EUR 130 ($155) for the first, and for the latter from EUR 160 ($191).
Whether you’re a member of Coworking Bansko or not, it’s worth checking their platform, cause the majority of local real estate agents list available accommodation on it.
- Avalon – if you’re a fan of coliving, you can try this hotel with prices for a single room starting at EUR 234 ($279) per month.
Cheeky tip: You can search for accommodation on these websites, but in most cases, the displayed prices are much higher than what you’ll get locally.
So, use them to find the accommodation that you like but contact and book the place directly and not via the platforms.
If you cannot find the contact of the place, consider booking it only for a few nights and once in Bansko arrange your accommodation on the spot.
Best Food To Try In Bansko
Bulgarian cuisine is rich and delicious and hopefully, you’ll be staying long enough, so you can try all of its specialties.
Bansko in its turn also boasts few local culinary masterpieces that one cannot miss tasting while there.
Let’s start with them!
- Banski starets (literally translates as “an old man from Bansko”) is a pork salami served as a starter
- Banska kapama – the local version of traditional Bulgarian dish kapama; cooked in a clay pot for 5-10 hours, it comprises different kinds of meat and other animal products (pork, beef, chicken, rabbit, bacon, and blood-pudding sausage) together with rice, sour cabbage, pickled beetroot, and garnished with red wine and spices, including a special local spice called banski koprets
- Banski chomlek – usually served together with the Banska kapama is another clay pot dish that includes knuckle of veal or pork, potatoes, carrots, onion, tomatoes, spices, and red or white wine
- Katino meze – a pork stew with mushrooms, onion, lyutenitsa (paprika, tomatoes, carrots, and eggplant paste), black pepper, and local spices
- Kostureta with chekane and bacon – clay pot stew with beans, served with pickled beetroot, bacon, dried red peppers, and possibly a local type of sausage
- Kukurini – in Bansko dialect the name means “curls” due to its form; layered small flat disks of fried dough served sprinkled with powdered sugar
- Borek – a baked mixture of flour, grated pumpkin, sunflower oil, sugar, and walnuts; nowadays served with a scoop of ice-cream
- Shopska salad – the most famous Bulgarian salad, which in Bulgarian sounds like “shopska salata” and it’s one of the first local words foreigners learn; it comprises cucumber, tomato, peppers, onions, and crumbled Bulgarian white cheese
- Tarator – cold yogurt soup with cucumbers, walnuts, garlic, and dill – perfect for the Summer
- Kyufte and Kebapche – both are made of minced meat (usually a mixture of pork and beef) but the first is round, resembling a meatball, has onion in it, and could be baked, fried, and grilled, while the latter is shaped like an elongated cylinder, has no onion, and is always grilled
- Banitsa – baked pastry dish made of layered filo pastry and a mixture of eggs, Bulgarian white cheese, sunflower oil, and yogurt
- French fries with grated Bulgarian white or yellow cheese (kashkaval)
- Tikvenik – the sweet counterpart of bantisa, the filling is made of grated pumpkin, cinnamon, walnuts, sugar, and sunflower oil
- Baklava – the Bulgarian take on this traditional Turkish dessert is made with walnuts
- Strained yogurt with jam or honey, fruits, and walnuts
- Rice milk – another Turkish influence, rice boiled in milk with sugar and served sprinkled with cinnamon
- Biscuit cake – layered cake alternating biscuits and vanilla pudding
Where To Eat in Bansko
No point becoming a Bansko digital nomad if you go hungry!
Head to the above-mentioned mehanas or any other of this kind for both Bansko and Bulgarian specialties.
They also offer lunch menus, so you can kill two birds with one stone.
- Le Petit Nicolas Bansko -Transport yourself to France with a wide variety of fresh baguette sandwiches and desserts.
- Coconut, Coffee & Smoothies – meet your eating-healthy goals with a smoothie and/ or a coconut bow
- Chalet Yanitsa – with a wide variety of local and not only cooked dishes and unbeatable prices (daily prices gravitating around BGN 5-10 ($3-7), it’s not surprising that this place is everyone’s favorite.
The first was recently opened in Bansko after its great success in another town in the area, Razlog, while the second is a bit on the higher end and is part of a chain of restaurants, the other locations being Sofia, Plovdiv, and Borovets.
- Happy Food – if you prefer some street food like burgers and pancakes
You can have dinner at any of the aforementioned lunch and local specialties places, but when it comes to those special occasions or when you just feel like spoiling yourself, the following will come in handy:
- Five M Bansko – fine dining restaurant with modern decor and ambiance that can satisfy meat lovers and vegan needs alike
- OSCAR Wine & Gastro – as the name suggests you’ll find a wide variety of delicious regional wines served in a nice and cozy atmosphere; there’s also a great garden and if you happen to be there on Sunday, you’ll have the chance to try original paella
There are several places in and around the town where you can do your grocery shopping, including, but not limited to the following:
- Happy Market – a local chain of supermarkets
- Pirin – local supermarket
- Grosh – another local supermarket that offers a wide variety of vegan and organic products
- Lidl and T Market – you’ll find representatives of these foreign supermarket chains at a 10-minute drive from Bansko in Razlog
- Local farmer’s Sunday market – that’s the pearl in the crown and a must-visit while in Bansko. You’ll find fresh produce, homemade cheeses, honey, and so on; needless to say at unbeatable prices.
Food challenge: While in Bulgaria, do try boza. It’s a drink made of fermented wheat or millet and you can buy it at the supermarket or local bakeries.
Foreigners rarely can stand it, while Bulgarians love it for breakfast accompanied by a banichka – banitsa’s much greasier little sister, filled only with Bulgarian white cheese or cottage cheese.
See how would you fare!
How To Get Around Bankso
Part of the charm of being a Bansko digital nomad is the chance to stay away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the silence, literally.
The town is so small that there’s no public transport and cars are limited.
Furthermore, it won’t take you more than half an hour to walk from one end of Bansko to the other.
And at the amount of time that in other countries and circumstances (understand working 9 to 5) you’d usually spend for commuting, you can go to other exciting places in Bulgaria and beyond.
OK, but how to get to them?
Use it as a faster way to move around Bansko or to visit the thermal springs in Banya.
For a daily fee of about BGN 15 ($9), you can rent it at the rental shops around the gondola lift area or on Inter Bansko’s website.
I wouldn’t recommend using a taxi to move around the town, because one, it’s really small and two, being a resort has resulted in much higher taxi prices (even than in the capital of Sofia).
The daily tariff for one kilometer varies between BGN 2.50-4 (USD 2-2.5), while the night one, BGN 3.50-5 ($2-3).
Here you can find numbers of local taxi companies.
A much cheaper option would be to go there…
Bansko’s bus terminal caters to hourly buses to the near-by Razlog and Dobrinishte, as well as bigger cities such as the capital Sofia, the country’s second-largest city Plovdiv, and the regional center of Blagoevgrad.
The average price for a ticket to the closer towns is BGN 1.20 ($0.73), while a one-way ticket to Sofia will cost you around BGN 15 ($9.13).
Check the exact timetable here.
This option is for the true adventurers and seekers of unique experiences as it’s not exactly a train-train, but a narrow-gauge railway – the only one operating in the country.
There are local legends that the train moves so slowly that young men traveling to see their beloved women get off to pick some flowers and get back on it.
The exact timetable and prices are available here.
Lastly, you can rent a car and be more independent when it comes to exploring both the area around Bansko and beyond.
Prices vary per rental company and available cars, but here are three companies that you can try and some indicative prices:
- Inter Bansko – EUR 25 ($30) per day for a 3-6-day rental of a Suzuki Swift
- Steve Transfers – a 5-seat Citroen Xara Picasso from EUR 20 ($24) per day
- Bansko Tourist Information – Ford Focus for EUR 17.50 ($21) per day or EUR 250 ($298) per month
And here you can find the gas stations in Bansko.
Important: Be aware that if you drive around Bansko, there is a Blue Zone that is a paid parking zone in the city center and the area around the gondola ski lift.
Prices start from BGN 1 ($0.60) per hour for a maximum of four hours stay.
How to get from Sofia Airport to Bansko
By Airport Transfer
That’s the easiest but logically more expensive way.
One-way prices for 1-3 passengers booking for the first start from EUR 80 ($95) and for the second, EUR 65 (77).
First, you need to get to the Central Bus Station in Sofia.
Alternatively, you can get a taxi, but be aware of scammers.
Do not accept offers from people directly approaching you and offering you their services.
O.K. Supertrans (О.К. Супертранс) is the only authorized taxi company at the airport and the Central Bus Station.
It should cost you about BGN 15 ($9) and the ride will be about 30 minutes, depending on the traffic.
Important: If you arrive at Terminal 2, you can proceed directly to the metro. You’ll see its entrance on your left once out of the airport building and you can buy tickets from the ticket vending machines there. A single ticket costs BGN 1.60 ($1).
If you arrive at Terminal 1, then you need to take the free shuttle bus to Terminal 2 and then take the metro there as described above.
Once on the metro, you need to transfer from Line 4 to Line 2 at the Serdika (Сердика) stop.
Get off at Central Railway Station (Централна ж.п. гара) stop and voilà, you’re there – the Central Bus Station is right next to the Central Railway Station.
You can ask at the information counter for buses to Bansko as multiple companies are offering their services with different schedules.
Union Ivkoni is one of these companies and you can buy tickets cheaper when done online (BGN 14.4 ($9)).
But as a whole, your one-way ticket to Bansko should cost you about BGN 16 ($10) and the length of the ride is approximately 3 hours.
Important: Make sure you get off in Bansko, cause buses only pass through it, and the town is not their final destination.
That’s the cheapest (BGN 6.60 ($4)) and the longest way (7-8 hours) to get to Bansko from Sofia.
Remember the narrow-gauge railway I told you about above?
Well, you get on a regular train from Sofia Central Railway Station to Septemvri where you transfer to the narrow-gauge railway to Dobrinishte and get off at Bansko.
I wouldn’t recommend this way, cause it’s a very long trip, but still, I felt I needed to share it with you.
And if you still want to experience traveling with the narrow-gauge railway, you could do it once in Bansko for a shorter trip to Dobrinishte.
If you’ve chosen to rent a car, then it will take you about 2 hours to get to Bansko.
Besides the above-mentioned car rentals, check also the following and you can pick up your car directly at Sofia Airport:
What Should I Know Before Going To Bansko
Traveling to a foreign country could be as exciting as challenging and for your Bansko digital nomad exploration to fall more in the first category, here are some unique tips and things to be aware of.
Safety is not a problem in such a small mountain town like Bansko.
What you should be more vigilant of is not getting injured on the snowy slopes or in the mountains.
Follow safety guidelines and never never go anywhere in the mountains alone, especially during the winter.
In case of emergency, call 112 – that’s the common emergency number like 911 in the US.
Alternatively, call the Mountain Rescue Service on the following numbers:
+359 887-100-241 or +359 74-988-132
They also have a free app via which you can share your location, but you can download it only once in Bulgaria as it operates locally.
Tipping is not compulsory in Bulgaria, but rather a matter of personal decision and/ or courtesy.
Usually, people round up the bill or leave around 10-15% of it.
As you already learned, Bulgarian Lev is tied to the Euro and the exchange rate is always the same, namely EUR 1 = BGN 1.95.
If you need to exchange other currencies though, avoid the exchange bureaus in Bansko.
As a touristic place, they might not offer the most preferable rates.
Use instead the ATM-s of the banks in Bansko. Full list of the latter here.
Having excellent Wifi is crucial as a Bansko Digital Nomad.
You will be pleased to know that the Speedtest Global Index ranks Bulgaria at number 10 among 141 countries in 2021 in terms of mobile internet and at number 53 of 171, in terms of fixed broadband.
The country’s average download (97.25 Mbps) and upload (20.04 Mbps) speeds for the first are way above the world average, namely 46.94 Mbps and 12.49 Mbps, respectively.
The average fixed broadband internet download speed (79.16 Mbps) is slightly below the world average (97.52Mbps), but the upload speed (64.11 Mbps) exceeds the world average (51.79 Mbps).
SIM Cards And Phones
It’s essential that you buy a local SIM card If you don’t have a European one for two main reasons.
First, in Bulgaria, you’ll use it for mobile internet.
In Bansko, there’s wi-fi everywhere and even free wi-fi at the central square, but if you’re up in the mountains or other areas with not so developed or non-existent wi-fi network, then mobile internet is your only chance to stay connected.
Second, if you intend to travel to other European Union countries you’ll save a lot of money.
Member states have signed an agreement to abolish connectivity borders. As a result, even when you’re abroad, you’re charged as per your local plan.
Where to buy: All three telecommunications providers have representative shops in the Old Town of Bansko.
Don’t forget your ID or passport as you’ll need them to fill in the necessary documents.
Bulgarian is a Slavic language and the country is among the few that use the Cyrillic alphabet.
Furthermore, it’s exactly the Bulgarians that created it, so you’re coming to the source, so to say.
You might not learn to read and write, especially, having in mind that hand-written and typed letters look differently, but as a warm courtesy to the locals and to show off once you get home, here are some useful words and phrases and their approximate pronunciation.
This will greatly enhance your experience as a Bansko Digital Nomad!
|Hello!/ Good afternoon!||Добър ден!||Dobur den!|
|Hi! (plural and singular)||Здравейте!/ Здрасти!||Zdraveite!/ Zdrasti!|
|Do you speak English?||Говорите ли английски?||Govorite li angliiski?|
|I don’t speak Hungarian.||Не говоря български.||Ne govorya bulgarski.|
|Only English, (please).||(Моля), само английски.||(Molya), samo angliiski!|
|Thank you!/ Thanks!||Благодаря!/ Мерси!||Blagodarya!/ Mersi!|
|I’ll call the police!||Ще извикам полиция!||Shte izvikam politsiya!|
|Goodbye!/ Bye!||Довиждане!/ Чао!||Dovijdane!/ Chao!|
Funny note: Bansko’s dialect is an animal of its own and even other Bulgarians cannot understand local people when they speak it.
So, if you’re really up for a challenge, ask the locals to teach you some words.
5.A Smile For A Million
It might not be the first thing on your mind to go to the dentist when planning your digital nomad adventure, but once in Bansko, you might want to reconsider.
Bulgaria is a popular dental tourism destination in Europe, so even if you don’t need any extensive work, you can at the very least conduct a regular check.
Here you can find a list of dentists in Bansko and their contacts.
Many people still use stoves on wood and coal to keep themselves warm in Winter, so visitors to Bansko complain of not-so-clean and smelly air during that season.
The air is still far cleaner than in bigger cities and Coworking Bansko has installed sensors to monitor air quality.
You can check live data from them here.
Another thing that might contribute to “bad air” is the fact that Bulgarians love to disobey and break the rules.
Officially, it’s prohibited to smoke cigarettes in closed areas and there are special sections designated for smokers at restaurants and other similar places.
However, while you are partying as a Bansko Digital Nomad, you might find people smoke everywhere.
7.Lots Of Animals On the Street
While this is not a typical problem only for Bansko but in Bulgaria as a whole, there are multiple stray dogs and cats.
The first sometimes form packs and could become dangerous, especially, in the colder months.
It’s a huge problem and the local government has already made its resolution a top priority for the upcoming several years.
“Yes”, “No”, “No”, “Yes”
There might be other countries that do the same, I don’t know, but what I know is that in Bulgaria people nod for “no” and shake their heads for “yes”.
I kid you not!
Bear this in mind when you ask whether a taxi is available or whether there’s something that you look for, cause you might end up empty-handed unnecessarily.
“At Your Service”
Bansko is a tourist place, so the service might be at a bit better level than in other parts of Bulgaria.
Still, as a whole, there’s a lot to desire from this sector in the country.
If you’re coming from an English-speaking country, you may find the attitude of certain people utterly rude.
Also, many people concentrate only on profit and try to take advantage of foreigners by charging them more.
Don’t take anything personally and if you feel something’s not right, simply don’t accept it and look for other places.
Find your spots where you feel nice and welcome and I’m sure there are plenty of them in the hearts of otherwise warm and hospitable Bulgarians.
And there you have it, all you need to know to become become a Bansko Digital Nomad and be part of the incredible Bansko digital nomad community.
This small town in Bulgaria might not seem like an obvious choice as opposed to more popular and exotic digital nomads destinations in say, Southeast Asia.
The unique combination of splendid nature, unbeatable prices, and a wide range of activities, including winter sports, however, turns Bansko into the perfect workation (work + vacation) destination.
A rare experience that is worth being added to your nomadic travel adventure.