Bansko is located 160km south of Sofia in south-western Bulgaria at the foothills of the Pirin Mountain which peaks at 2746m above sea level. Considered by many to be Bulgaria's number one ski resort, it received a multi-million euro investment in 2003 to enable it to have the most modern ski facilities in the country. This initial investment has attracted further investment since and it is now a well-established destination for winter sport enthusiasts from all around the world.
Bansko also has the best snow record and longest ski season which officially lasts from early December through to the end of April but in reality lasts for longer. The winter resort is located just above the colourful town of Bansko, 12 km into the picturesque Pirin Mountain. The perfectly prepared ski runs are currently over 70km in length and are served by 25km of modern high-capacity lift infrastructure and 160 snow cannons.
Children and novice skiers are well catered for by the nursery and ski schools provided and fans of extreme winter sports will enjoy the fun park at the top of the mountain. Locations for hire of equipment are plentiful and the gondola lift has its own large car park.
The old town of Bansko at 925m above sea level and beautifully encircled by the Pirin, Rila and Rhodope ranges has not been disturbed by the construction of the new hotels and complexes which are under development to the south and west. Dominated by The Sveta Toitsa (Holy Trinity) Church built in 1835, the town still has a local population which provide the charm and atmosphere of 'old Bulgaria'. Almost every house has its own tavern (called a "Mehana"), which offers typical Bulgarian cuisine and good selection of Bulgarian wines as well as traditional live music and folklore programs.
6km north of Bansko, Razlog is fast developing into a resort in its own right. The Ian Woosnam designed, championship length golf course of the Pirin Golf and Country Club is the first golf course to be constructed in the Razlojka Valley. This has provided the focus for the development of a new area at the base of the Pirin mountains and now there are a number of golf courses at various stages of planning and construction in the Razlojka Valley.
The town of Razlog is situated in the Razlojka valley, just 155 kilometres away from Sofia and 6 kilometres away from Bansko. The town is the administrative centre of the municipality and is served by numerous shops, offices and businesses. It is also a large transport centre with bus services to Sofia, Blagoevgrad and other neighbouring towns and villages.
The village of Banya lies 4km to the east of the town of Razlog and about the same distance to the north of Bansko. Banya is famous for its 72 mineral springs which range in temperature from 37 and 57 degrees Celsius. These mineral waters and relatively underexploited tourist potential have drawn to Bulgarian and foreign investors in recent years and the village is developing into a spa and mountain resort in its own right.
165 kilometres away from Sofia and 6 kilometres south of Bansko lies the village of Dobrinishte. The village is situated at the foot of the Pirin Mountain in the south- eastern part of the Razlog valley.
The name of the village comes from 'The good things', which God gave to the people- the warm mineral springs, the forests and waters of Pirin. The village has existed since the Stone Age and pottery from the Thracian and Roman periods has been found in the area. There is a swimming pool known as the 'Roman Bath' and filled with mineral water situated on the Dobrinishka river together with numerous other mineral springs.
Dobrinishte is a starting position for "Gotce Delchev" and "Bezbog" chalets. These two chalets provide great conditions for mountain tourism and ski- sport, alpine disciplines. The area also has approximately 10 kilometres of piste which is split into 4 main ski runs served by chair lifts.
1,400 metres above sea level, on the northern part of the Pirin Mountain and 12 kilometres away from Razlog is the resort of Kulinoto. Kulinoto is locally popular as a place for rest and recreation for the people of Razlog and neighbouring villages. Just one ski run was made with the voluntary labour of the local people in the 1980's and two "Pomagalski" drag lifts and two snow machines serve the run.
In 2007, Balkanstroy signed an agreement with the local municipality of Razlog and have received license to develop Kulinoto into a major ski resort. The initial plans are for the extension of the existing ski run and the installation of a chair lift. The longer term plans are to make new pistes, starting from the nearby Dautev peak and connecting them with the current ski piste, this is some 900 meters long.
There is a large area under Dautev peak, on the southern slope of the mountain where it is possible to make more ski runs. A chair lift and snow cannons are also included in the plans for development. There will be intermediate pistes with average inclination of 25% and a piste for advanced skiers with 33% inclination.