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Getting there & away

From Sofia (12 lv, three hours), 15 daily buses travel to the Bansko bus station (88 420; ul Patriarh Evtimii), most via Blagoevgrad; from the latter to Bansko, it’s 5 lv. Several more buses travelling to Gotse Delchev also stop at Bansko.

From Bansko, four or five daily buses go to Blagoevgrad, and two more depart for Plovdiv (9 lv, 3½ hours), at 7.10am and 8.20am. Between mid-June and mid-September, private minibuses (3 lv) run to Hizha Banderitsa, leaving at 8.30am, 2.15pm and 5pm, and returning at 9.30am, 3pm and 6pm.

The coolest route to Bansko, however, is by train; the narrow-gauge rail route from Septemvri to Dobrinishte crosses the mountains and reaches the Bansko train station (8232; Akad Yordan Ivanov) in five hours (5 lv, four daily). Among the stops is Avramovo – the highest Balkan train station. Taking the leisurely, visually stunning ride to Septemvri also brings you onto the main SofiaPlovdiv line, allowing connections to these cities and other major destinations. Four daily trains depart Bansko for Septemvri, at 6.59am, 10.14am, 3.21pm and 6.40pm. The amusingly inactive ticket office asks you to buy tickets only 10 minutes in advance of departure time.