Bansko Blog: Newsletter

Oct 20, 2020 No Comments by

Welcome to the Bansko Blog newsletter. We have much to talk about, but most importantly, I hope that you are keeping well and safe.

This article is taken from my regular newsletter which is normally only available to newsletter subscribers. But I wanted to give you a feel for the sort of content you can expect.

Stand by for a fine blend of Covid cheerlessness and my customary “ski hopium”. If you are wondering if anyone is thinking of coming to Bansko to ski this season, then click here for my comment on the results of the recent twitter poll on your intentions to travel this winter. 

Click here  to see how Bulgaria’s hospitality sector fared this past summer. In contrast to what the mainstream media said about Sunny Beach, I have never seen the beaches and restaurants around Sozopol as busy. The place was full of visitors from Sofia and Plovdiv who preferred to “rough it” on the Black Sea or perhaps just did not want to cough up (so to speak) for the PCR test required to enter Greece.

March 13, the date the State of Emergency started and when Bansko blogger Richard Z gave us his Post Apocalypse snow report, now seems an age ago. That time of peak fear was when we saw British visitors to Bansko being blamed (by the gloomsayer-in-chief, General Mutafchiyski) for having infected Bansko, and it was assumed at the time, the whole of Bulgaria, with coronavirus. 

As I go to press, not one single case of Covid19has been reported in BanskoMy conclusion so far is thatI never realised how easy it is for leaders to influence the minds of the mass populace using fear and blame.

Back to normal?

Everywhere in Bulgaria has been very close to normal since mid-June. This improved the mood, but we missed seeing many of you coming to Bansko for a summer  trip. Cities are bustling with activity, with bars and restaurants often more busy than ever before. Right now, there are no restrictions apart from the requirement to wear masks on public transport, as well as in shops and all public buildings.

Which leads to Bansko’s winter season, due to start in just two months.

At the moment, nothing has been announced officially regarding social distancing in the gondola lift queues, or rules about wearing protective masks. Some expect that announcements will be forthcoming, and I shall let you know in a newsletter as soon as I do.

Weekends could be busy in Bansko. Expect Bulgarian, Romanian, Greek, Turkish, North Macedonian and Serbian visitors, arriving by car or bus. The number of visitors who will be coming from other key markets such as Israel and Scandanavia remains unknown. Visitors from UK and Ireland are most concerned about the quarantine requirements on returning. There is a concerted effort being made by the British embassy in Sofia to press for a relaxation of the UK’s quarantine requirements.

As for the infection levels, these are reported as rising in Bulgaria in general. Year to date total excess fatalities are now edging up above previous years having been lower than normal for the first four months. Compared with the lockdowns being implemented in Northern Ireland and the North of England it’s all calm. I always get my fact checked info from which, from a paltry €3 / month, offers considered analysis and comment to its Patreon supporters.

Covid Insurance

Apart from travel restrictions, there is a risk you may not be able to travel due to contracting Covid, or a member of your household falls ill. Which? Guide has produced an in depth guide for UK nationals to Covid insurance cover: you, yet again, to Richard Z for researching this topic. It’s worth thinking about insurance and the cost which, for some categories, has increased in price for 2021. An issue compounded by, it seems, by Brexit probably invalidating EHIC cover.

In summary, only Nationwide covers you if your destination restricts its borders before you travel for reasons relating to the pandemic — and you need to bank with them and buy an annual policy. For most travellers, this eventuality is uninsurable.


In short, if you just book your flights now (and they are cheap) then your downside is limited to the cost of the flight. Accommodation can be booked just before travel and our private transfers (book in-app) do not require pre payment and booking (link to transfers, ski hire and lesson hire form) come with a money back guarantee. 

If you are more of a risk taker, then it could be worth booking cheap flights, hoping that quarantine restrictions are lifted by the time you travel. If travel restrictions are lifted, then flights could become expensive rather quickly — it’s a tough call. And one that only you can make.

The best ski booking strategy for you is one where you’re not worried about anything, including a financial loss that causes you mental discomfort. For most, it will be a case of making a booking immediately when restrictions are lifted. But delaying your booking could prove an expensive mistake. 

One under-reported fact is that about 200 000 Bulgarians have come back to Bulgaria from around Europe where they had been working. Most have stayed here, due to fewer jobs and country travel restrictions. The pent up demand for flights is not just for tourism but also for outbound travel. All this will push up return airfares. 

Booking form and App Update

We are in the process of tweaking the design and functionality of the new booking form. This will give you full control of lesson times, with the option for booking private lessons in all three times slots, (09:00 to 11:00; 11:00 to 13:00 and 14:00 to 16:00). Since 2008 skimania have been our partners, and in conjunction with them, we will also be offering a mountain shuttle for all private lesson clients (five leva per person).

Airport private transfers are operating as normal and start once again at €54 for up to two persons each way. Your driver will be wearing a face covering for your safety. Vehicles are typically up to four years old with several new ones coming into service for this season. All are kept clean and are disinfected inside after every passenger trip.

The brand new look for the Bansko App for iOS is a ground-up rebuild. All the code is programmed in the new SwiftUI language (for the iOS geeks among you), to give, what I am confident will be, a better user experience.

Living and working in Bansko

Flexible working is becoming the new normal for many and, if that is true for you, then living in Bansko for all or parts of the ski season may have crossed your mind. And why not? Taking advantage of good value accommodation and “work from home” flexibility (or maybe retirement stay) with the mountain moments away, takes some beating. 

The number of digital nomads in Bansko has continued to grow over the summer and, should you be looking for some modern coworking space, then both Coworking Bansko and the new Alt Space coworking venue located on the pedestrianised Gotse Delchev street, offer plenty of flexible options.


Sofia Airport Transfers*

€56.00 for a private transfer car (up to two persons) each way;
€58.50 for up to three persons 
€85.00 for up to eight persons
€198 for up to 15 persons 

*Book in App: Fully licensed and insured transfer service.
Larger vehicles for large groups by special arrangement.
Vehicle deep-cleaned after each transfer. 


Final Thought: Travel is wonderful. But a winter ski holiday has such anticipation of enjoyment that, once you’re committed, beats just about anything else I know.  

The weather is cooling down now and that first proper dump of snow is not far away. 

Thank you for reading.


About the author

I enjoy tech, apps, entrepreneurship, podcasting and collaboration with others. I love travelling as well as skiing, hiking, MTB, paragliding, cooking and good food.
No Responses to “Bansko Blog: Newsletter”

Leave a Reply