The Wellness Guide to Bansko, Bulgaria

Bansko is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. In the summer there’s plenty of hiking, mountain biking, and trail running. In the winter, the town fills with ski bums hitting the slopes or snow-shoeing trails. But what about when the sun sets and your muscles are aching?

Sure, there’s plenty of bars to head to for your apres-ski, but what about for those of us who want to relax our muscles and minds after a long day of adventures? Or what if you’re the partner of an outdoor enthusiast looking for a way to enjoy your time in Bansko?

One of my happiest discoveries upon arriving in Bansko was the spas that seemed to abound in every hotel I passed. Would I get massages each day and soak in hot pools? Should I skip the skiing altogether and just swim every day? Luckily, I was in Bansko for a whole month and was able to enjoy a few days of skiing along with many trips to the spas and hot springs.

I’m delighted to be sharing my favourite wellness activities with you so you can enjoy a well rounded holiday, or a longer stay, in Bansko!

Massage

I’m very hard to please when it comes to my massage. I’ve been going to the same massage therapist in Canada for over 15 years due to some shoulder troubles, and very rarely do I find anyone to match her when I’m travelling.

Enter Deni.

In a lovely loft space about Bansko Coworking, Deni offers skilled massages and facial treatments. She has 10 years of experience as a massage therapist, and you can feel it! I left the massage feeling lighter, looser, and relaxed.

A full body massage runs at 63 lev, while a back, neck and shoulder massage is 36 lev. Get in touch with Deni by phone +359 883 332 791 or email denitsa.galunska@gmail.com for her full list of services or to book an appointment!

Other private massage options for those on a budget include Ani (0889184848 to book) at 30 lev per hour and Elinor (+972 52-8923929‬ to book via Whatsapp) at 35 lev per hour. Ani only speaks Bulgarian, and Elinor speaks English and Russian. Both give great massages!

Spa

Almost every hotel in Bansko offers a spa service, and for many, you’re able to purchase a day pass or use the spa facilities with purchase of a treatment. This isn’t only for the luxurious traveller, Bansko offers relaxing spa options for all price ranges.

Budget

Hotel Amira

At just 18 lev for a day pass, this makes for a great budget day at the spa. The facilities are basic but the spa has everything you need including a small indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, infrared sauna with Himalayan sea salt, a relaxation room, and a fitness room for those who want to work out.

Mid-Range

Lucky Bansko

You can’t purchase a day pass at Lucky Bansko, but treatments are reasonably priced and allow you to use the spa facilities afterwards for the entire day.

The highlights for me were the herbal sauna and salt water pool. For those braver of heart, there’s also an ice sauna, which I toed in for about 5 seconds until I retreated back to hotter climates. There are also two steam rooms, a hot tub, a cold tub, and a dead sea salt floating pool which was a nice way to spend 20 minutes floating and gazing at the vined ceiling.

Lucky Spa also has a relaxation room that is a halotherapy salt hall. They claim it helps people with respiratory problems. I hung out in the relaxation room for about 30 minutes after getting dressed. I wish I had brought something to read, but I did almost fall asleep in there so I think it worked. I also have respiratory problems and am sensitive to smell, and found that being in the relaxation room did help my sinuses clear, and the scent didn’t bother me.

Half massages start at 45 lev, and they offer a number of treatments for all budget ranges.

Vihren Palace

While not as luxurious as Lucky Bansko, Vihren Palace offers excellent facilities, and you can purchase a day pass for 30 lev.

Here you can enjoy a heated swimming pool with jets, hot tub, sauna, steam rooms, and cold pool. The staff are friendly, and it’s a great place to spend a relaxing couple of hours swimming or sitting in the hot tub!

Luxury

Kempinski

Located right next to the gondola, the only problem with Kempinski is it’s short winter opening hours, making it hard to enjoy an apres-ski spa visit. This is the place to go if you want to treat yo’ self. At 50 lev for a day pass, you’ll get access to a good sized indoor and outdoor swimming pool, and an indoor and outdoor hot tub. Head to the wellness centre to enjoy a steam room, hammam, sauna, bio-sauna, snow room, and relaxation room. I will admit I was so relaxed from making the rounds between the rooms and pools that I had a little nap on one of the relaxation chairs.

I loved that the pool was big enough to swim laps, and the outdoor hot tub was lovely with views of the gondola, especially if there’s snow on the ground.

Hot Springs

Izgreva

The Izgreva hot springs are located in Banya, about 6 km from Bansko. The pool and restaurant/bar have natural architecture, and I think it’s much more fun to float around the pools with stone bottoms rather than tiles that give it a ‘lap pool’ kind of vibe.

Izgreva offers three different temperatures of hot springs, the big pool being the coolest, and then two smaller, warmer pools on either side of the main pool. It’s a great space to go alone, as a couple, or as a big group as there is plenty of space. In the ski season, it can get crowded, but most groups filter out around 7 or 8 leaving you with an hour or two of secluded hot springs time.

When you’re done soaking in the waters, head inside to enjoy a cheap and traditional Bulgarian meal at the restaurant.

Entrance to the hot springs is 10 lev, or 7 lev if you purchase a 10 visit pass.

Yoga

Yoga has not taken off in Bansko the way it has in other resort towns around Europe, but you can still get your yoga fix in Bansko! If you’re staying at a hotel, many hotels offer yoga and fitness classes as part of their wellness facilities. Sometimes, you can pay a community fee to join these classes, so if there’s a style you see you like, just get in touch with the hotel to ask if you can join! I enjoyed the classes at the Perun hotel, and they run year round.

If you’re up for adventure in your yoga class, you can join an aerial yoga class during the winter season in Bansko! Like the Bansko aerial yoga Facebook page to get an updated schedule and book your spot!

While many who flock to Bansko head straight from the slopes to the bars, there are many places you can visit to feel relaxed and rejuvenated during your time in Bansko!

 

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