10 Popular Drinks & Food In Skopje To Make You Happy

One of the things we LOVE to do when traveling is to try the local cuisine. 

And, with Macedonia being the second country to explore on our Balkan journey… it was exciting to find out what food and drinks they had to offer.

No doubt Bulgaria spoilt us with delicious food and drinks. Plus, it was memorable as we enjoyed our meals in quaint, traditional mehanas (taverns)… and, even in enchanting log houses with breathtaking mountain views. 

Yet, would Skopje’s cuisine be just as good, if not better… or worse? Let’s find out now! 

So, sit back, relax… and feast your eyes on some of the drinks and food in Skopje we tried.

And, the first on our list when we arrived in Skopje was this…

Burek

We had so many bureks in Bulgaria it wasn’t funny. And who wouldn’t when they taste so yummy! 

So, in Skopje there are plenty of places that make fresh bureks daily. Yet, the main difference we found in Skopje versus Bulgaria was… they had a few other different options for fillings. 

And, to our delight, we discovered a tiny place in the Skopje Old Bazaar area… that became our favorite during our 3-month stay in Skopje.

To find it, after walking across the Stone Bridge… walk down the main street, Bitpazarsk Street, in Skopje Old Bazaar. Then, keep walking until you almost reach the end of this street. And, on your left will be this amazing burek place…

Usually, there’s a line of people waiting!

These gentlemen know how to bake! And, as a term of endearment we called them, “The Pappas.” 

They had several flavors including cheese, meat, and even spinach. Yet, our favorite had a flavorsome potato filling, with a hint of curry. And, unlike some places, there was a decent amount of filling – no scrimping!

OMG, it’s so incredible! When we reminisce about all the bureks we’ve had in our time… “The Pappa’s” bureks are in our top bureks list.

And, guess how much this big, delicious, warm, and comforting burek costs? A measly 45 Denars (about 75 Euro cents / USD $0.85 ).

Plus, the great thing is… because we became “regulars,” they’d serve us up the fresh bureks!

Nothing beats a freshly made, hot burek especially on a cold morning. And, there were a few times when they’d kept a couple aside for us. How’s that for service?! :)

So, we recommend this as one of the places to visit in Skopje… for a burek you’d almost die for!

Now, after having a greasy burek, we had to balance it out with something healthier! And, this is what we’d have…

Shopska Salad

Being in the Balkans, we discovered that it’s a heavy meat-eating region. Yet, compared to other countries around the world… the locals usually consume a lot of salad or veggies with their meals.

Now, we did discover the Shopska Salad in Bulgaria. Yet, we had to compare it in Skopje. 

So, the basic ingredients include tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion. Yet, the ingredient that made us LOVE the Shopska Salad is the yummy pile of local cheese!

Who would’ve thought that such a simple salad would be so tasty? You’ll find it as a staple food item, in most restaurants and cafes around Skopje

Now, this next item of food in Skopje can be found on just about every corner!

Gevrek

So, the Turkish version is called Simit, and the Greek version, Koulouri. 

And, the Macedonian version called Gevrek, is a delicious, white bread ring called. Plus, what helps it pack a punch full of flavor, are the sesame seeds that cover it…

Many of the bakeries in Skopje produce this yummy bread ring. And, part of the adventure is trying one from each place!

Yet, the best Gevrek we discovered in the City Trade Shopping Center (GTC)… just a few minutes walk from Macedonia Square. 

You can find the bakery in the Lower Ground Floor of the shopping centre… opposite a big supermarket called, Kam Market. And, we dearly call the ladies who work there practically every day, “The Mommas.”

We became regulars… and whenever they saw us, they greeted us with big smiles. Their Gevrek was so incredibly flavorsome, and they baked different versions of them. The smell inside their bakery made me want to live there. LOL!

Plus, a big Gevrek like the one in the photo above, only cost 20 Denar (about 32 Euro cents / USD $0.38). So, a cheap and cheerful yummy snack.

Now, we discovered that they eat a lot of bread here. And, one of the items of food in Skopje they sometimes pair with bread is this…

Ajvar

Ajvar is a food that Paul wouldn’t normally put on the top of his list to try. And, the main reason is… one of the main ingredients of Ajvar is capsicums/peppers. So, Paul is generally not a huge fan of them, unless they’re cooked a specific way. 

Yet, after discovering how flavorsome Ajvar was in Skopje… it’s now become one of our favorite spreads. Oh, and if you love spicy foods, you MUST try the spicy Ajvar! 

So, around September/October walk around the neighborhoods… as you’ll be able to smell the aroma of traditional Ajvar being prepared in batches. The waft of roasted peppers, eggplant, and herbs fills the air.

Now, here’s one of the places to visit in Skopje to try something really delicious…

Tukish Pide in the Skopje Old Bazaar

OK, while it’s not a traditional food in Skopje, let alone Macedonia… we had to try the Turkish pide. How couldn’t we when we were strolling around the alleyways of the Skopje Old Bazaar?!

And, a gem of a place that we discovered is called, Galerija 7. Tucked away down a side street, you’ll find Galerija 7 near the AEN Hotel Old City. 

It may feel like you’re going down a dead end street. Yet, keep going past this hotel, and be rewarded with one of the best Turkish pide in Skopje. We had mouth-watering mushroom and cheese…

Yep, as you can see in the photo… we 3 pides between the two of us! Ha ha!

And, guess what accompanied the Turkish pide? Spicy Ajvar! It had a HUGE kick to it too. So, take it easy on your first go, otherwise your head may explode with overbearing heat!

Beautiful Strong Turkish Coffee

One thing we noticed when wandering around Skopje is… there are plenty of cafes and coffee shops. And, as we love the smell of coffee beans we were in heaven. 

We did try lots of different places and coffees, yet we recommend you give this one a go… the Ottoman Café.

This tiny café is in the Skopje Old Bazaar area. And, what made us stop to check it out, was when we saw the traditional sand coffee being made in the window.

Then, after going inside to have our coffees, we discovered how quaint it was. Although it’s tiny inside, the owner has a big heart and is so proud of his café and coffee.

And, to this day, we both agree that we’ve never been served Turkish coffee as beautifully as this…

Plus, it’s not plain water in those glasses… it’s mineral water, which is rare for us when having Turkish coffee. And, the Turkish delight is so aromatic. So, a coffee here with all the trimmings only cost 50 Denars (about 80 Euros cents / USD $0.95).

So, do yourself… and have an amazing coffee experience at one of the best cafes in Skopje, the Ottoman Café.

Skopsko Beer

One of the most popular beers in North Macedonia is the Skopsko Beer. And, it all started in 1922, when the Skopje Brewery was founded.

So, without hesitation we had to give it a go. Yet, do you want to know something funny?

Paul had challenges saying the name of this beer when ordering it. And, the reason is, he kept mixing it up with the Shopska salad! Hmmm… a salad beer? A new concept, but I don’t think it’ll take off… LOL!

Now, there are other local beers you can taste… as well as craft beer too. So, if beer is your drink of choice, you’ll have plenty of options to check out.

So for us, we would enjoy relaxing with a Skopsko beer, while watching the world go by…

Yet, if you’re wanting something more hardcore, have a glass or two or more of this…

Rakija

Now, a Macedonian rakija is a spirit that will not only warm your insides… it’s said to have medicinal benefits too. And, there are many flavors of rakija to be tasted… including plum, grape and even herbs.

Rakija is served in like a shot glass. So, our first instinct coming from Australia, is to down the rakija in one go. Yet, it was explained to us that we should SIP rakija. Well, unless we’re having a big night out in a bar! Then, even the locals are shotting the rakija!

For us, we rarely drink spirits. But of course, we had to try the local drinks. And, sure enough… no-one can yet convince us that rakija is a drink we’ll love. 

And, what we discovered is that while there are plenty of rakija brands… having a homemade one is sure to knock your socks off!

Try rakija if you dare! 

Macedonian Wine

We love our wine, whether it be red, white, rose or even sparkling. Tell us about a wine tasting event and we’re there… LOL!

We had no idea that Macedonia has a decent amount of vineyards and wine production. And, it was surprising for us to discover that after tobacco products… wine is second in line for the most exported product.

Apparently, Macedonia produces over 220 million liters of wine annually!

And, one of the popular grape varieties is Vranac. So, some of the popular brands include Chateau Kamnik, Tikves and Bovin. Yet, one of the producers we loved the wines from is, Stobi.

In supermarkets, a liter of wine can be as cheap as 90 Denars (about 1.50 Euros / USD $1.75)! So, there’s wine for every budget and tastes. 

Can’t decide on what to eat or drink in Skopje with so many choices? Well, here’s a place we recommend you check out… 

Can’t Decide What to Eat or Drink? Go Here… Gostilnica Cardak

If you’re wanting to tantalize your tastebuds with delicious traditional drinks and food in Skopje… you must visit Gostilnica Cardak.

Now, this restaurant / taverna is located in the Bohemian Quarter called, Debar Maalo.

The first time we went, we discovered that when the sun is out… the outside area is absolutely packed. So, we had to settle for dining inside. Yet, even inside the restaurant is characteristic and quaint.

The waiters were generally attentive and a few could speak English. Yet, with so many dishes to choose from we were spoilt for choice. And, thankfully they have platters so we could try a sample of many items…

Our platter included… tavce gravce (a flavorsome bean dish), ajvar, a variety of cheeses, grilled veggies, and more. Plus, we had to sample their homemade traditional pie with spinach… which was gastronomic!

This feast, including a couple of pints of beer and a bottle of wine… cost us only 1,280 Denars (about 21 Euros / USD $25)! That’s crazy cheap for such a big and delicious meal, in a cosy setting.

So, there you have it… a “taste” of the drinks and food in Skopje you can try. Of course, there’s plenty more, and if you’re a meat eater… you’ll be in heaven, from what the locals tell us anyway.

And, after talking about food, we’re starving! So, until next time… continue to travel, eat, drink, and be merry!

Like This? Share it and comment on it!

Note: All of our reviews and comments are our opinions and no-one else’s. Even if we receive complimentary goods or services we share our opinions honestly.

You Might Be Interested In This Too…

10 Awesome & Surprising Things To Do In Skopje Now

7 Top Reasons Why You Should Visit Bansko Bulgaria

Inspiring Vacations – Top 5 Things To Do In Malta

Thai Airways Review: From Melbourne Australia To Bangkok

7 Free Things To Do In Bangkok

10 Awesome & Surprising Things To Do In Skopje Now

Having explored beautiful Bulgaria for almost 3 months… sadly, it was time for us to leave. We had a ball in Bulgaria, and it’s definitely a place we’d visit again. 

So, when we were deciding on where our next destination would be… we weren’t sure! Yet, as we were currently in the Balkans, why not continue our adventures in this region? So, that’s what we did!

Again, we had the same challenge in front of us… finding countries which had the least restrictions during the pandemic. 

Yet, we did discover that at the time of our travels… North Macedonia had one of the least restrictions. And, as we hadn’t been there before, it’d be exciting to experience a new place!

So, as we’re Slow Travelers, we booked ourselves for a trip to Skopje… the capital of Macedonia for about 3 months. 

Now, to get from Sandanski Bulgaria to Skopje, we booked a private car transfer. So, the approximate distance from these 2 places is 220km. And, the total cost for this private transport was 110 Euros (about USD $130).

So, once we got to Skopje… we didn’t have to rush to experience what this capital city has to offer. That’s one of the benefits of being Slow Travelers… we can take our time to explore a new place.

So, in this travel blog… we’ll share with you 10 different things to in Skopje, Macedonia. Now, let’s get started!

Check Out the Mind-Boggling Number of Statues in Skopje!

One of the crazy things we first noticed about Skopje, was the huge number of statues! It felt like on every corner, a statue appeared in front of us. No, we weren’t in dreamland, you have to come to Skopje to see for yourself!

We lost count in the end after about 60. Now, if you’ve had the patience to count how many statues you found in Skopje… let us know!

It’s said that a project called, “Skopje 2014,” was established… after an earthquake devastated about 80% of the city in 1963. Just imagining that is horrific. 

So, to help re-build the city and restore confidence, the government’s vision was to (re-) construct buildings… and create lots of statues and monuments. 

Yet, this project did face some controversy… as funding for “Skopje 2014” was estimated at 80 to 500 million Euros! This is a mind-boggling amount! 

Is it statue overkill in Skopje? 

Well, with a population of about 600,000 people… and supposedly around 100 statues, perhaps it is. And, when speaking with some of the locals, a raise of the eyebrows says it all.

Immerse Yourself in the Labyrinth of the Skopje Old Bazaar

In the main area of Skopje, around Macedonia Square… there are many architectural delights and of course, statues that line the streets. 

Yet, after crossing the bridge to get to the Skopje Old Bazzar… it’s such a different feeling and atmosphere.

The Skopje Old Bazaar is said to date back to the 12th century… making it one of the oldest, as well as one of the largest marketplaces in the Balkan region.

As we wandered down cute cobble stoned streets reflecting the Ottoman style… we smelt the waft of strong Turkish coffee from tiny coffee shops. 

We never knew what we would see next… because in some ways it felt like a labyrinth in the Skopje Old Bazaar! From colorful umbrella adorned streets, to alleyways and arches…

And even, kitty cats waiting for handouts for their next meal…

We also saw many small shops selling crafts, jewelry, bags and more… through to restaurants, tea houses, and delicious Turkish sweets. 

And, at the further end of the Old Bazaar is the Bit Pazar… which is Skopje’s largest outdoor market offering a variety of fresh fruit and veggies.

Plus, there homemade preserves, a huge range of cheeses… through to souvenirs, household goods, and cheap clothing. 

It really did feel like we were in a part of Turkey. Actually, a couple of our favorite foodie places was in the Skopje Old Bazaar area. Check out our other blog post for more information!

Yet, one of the things to do in Skopje for incredible views of the city is this…

Witness Amazing Views from Kale Fortress 

One of the best places to visit in Skopje for amazing views, is from the Kale Fortress. 

So, as far as we know there’s only one entrance point. And, to get there we walked along Samoilova Street… which is next to the Skopje Old Bazaar area.

Kale Fortress is a magnificent structure… and is the remains of a 6th-century stone fortress, sitting high on the hill.

And, once we got to the top, we scaled the boundary walls… to see picturesque, panoramic views of Skopje, the Vardar River and beyond…

Unlike many other historic fortifications such as this one… there was no entrance fee when we went.

We absolutely love to hike to places like Kale Fortress… because we having nothing like this back in Australia! 

And, we imagine how they could construct massive fortifications like these? Especially as they wouldn’t have the machinery like we do nowadays. A pretty impressive accomplishment in our books!

So, definitely check out Kale Fortress and enjoy the amazing views. 

Watch the World Go by in Macedonia Square 

Sometimes we had to give our feet a rest from lots of walking… or to get out of our accommodation to soak up some rays. And, one of our favorite places to do that was in Macedonia Square.

So, our place of choice to enjoy some brews, and to people watch was at Kolektiv… right in the heart of Macedonia Square.

It was great to get the “front row” seats outside. So, we could see and hear the street performers… tourists taking selfies in front of Alexander the Great Statue… and watch street vendors trying to sell items from packets of tissues, to belts, to perfume.

Sometimes we’d sit there for hours from day until sunset. And then, when the night hits.. the obvious thing is to drink more, eat, or party on. 

Yet, if you want to experience some “magic” in Skopje, we definitely recomment this…

Discover Skopje’s Beauty at Night

Like many travelers… during the day time is when much of the sightseeing and happy snaps are taken. 

Yet, we do recommend that one of the things to do in Skopje, is check it out at night. 

Because, when we were wandering around Skopje at night time… we discovered how beautiful it was. Very unexpected!

Plus, when we got to Skopje is was in late December, for the Winter. And, if you know us by now, you’d know we love following the sun. Yet, with the pandemic we couldn’t. However, it became a blessing in disguise… 

When it’s freezing cold, usually people want to stay indoors in the toasty warmth… but not us this time! And, here’s why… we got to experience something magical and rare for us.

Coming from Australia, we rarely get snow. OK, there are some places in Australia where it snows so we can ski, have snow fights or make snowmen. Yet, Australia has nothing like the incredible snow falls of Europe!

So, when we were in Skopje, a decent amount of snow (for us) layered the city. 

And, whilst it was late at night, we didn’t care. We threw on our Winter gear and enjoyed the freezing cold weather to experience the snow in Europe. Now, check out how beautiful Skopje was in Winter when we went…

Zig Zag Across the Vardar River via Historical Bridges

The next on our list of things to do in Skopje is… to walk across the bridges over the Vardar River. And, the top 3 we’ll highlight starts with…

A. The Stone Bridge

Not only are there lots of statues in Skopje… there are several bridges across the Vardar River too. So, over time we checked them all out!

Of course, the most important is the Stone Bridge, which is a key part of the coat of arms of Skopje. 

And, if you’re wondering what the exciting reason is for calling it the “Stone” bridge… Well, sorry to say, there’s nothing fancy about it! It’s simply because the bridge was built using stone blocks. Nevertheless, it’s still a crucial part of everyday life.

Then, walking in a South-Easterly direction from the Stone Bridge is…

B. The Eye Bridge

From a visual perspective, I believe this is the most picturesque with great photo opportunities. 

On the Skopje Old Bazaar side of this bridge, stands the impressive Archaeological Museum. Yet, adding to the beauty of this bridge are the MANY statues, and lanters that line it.

And, when walking across the bridge there’s a glass section in the middle… which resembles an eye…

Now, if you think that can’t be topped, check out this next bridge in Skopje…

C. The Bridge of Art

So, why is it called the Bridge of Art, you ask?

This particular bridge features many notable Macedonian artists and musicians, in the form of statues… of course! And, the building at the end of this bridge is the Primary Public Prosecutor’s Office.

So, make sure one of the things to do in Skopje on your list is to go bridge hopping!

Take a Stroll Along Macedonia’s Largest River

When in Skopje, unless you’re staying in your accommodation all the time… you can’t miss the Vardar River, which separates the old and new areas of Skopje.

The Vardar River is the largest in North Macedonia… being 388km long and its river basin covering about 25,000 km².

And, in the mornings as we walk across the Stone Bridge to get our breakfast… in the Vardar River we would always see fisherman, trying to get their catch of the day.

Being Slow Travelers, we had plenty of time to walk along different parts of the Vardar River… from East to West, along the Old Town side and modern side of Skopje. 

The great thing is, the footpath is wide. So, lots of room for walkers, runners and cyclists to enjoy the fresh air along Vardar River. 

Visit the Skopje Mother Teresa Memorial

One of the most important and historical places to visit in Skopje… is the Mother Teresa Memorial. Mother Teresa is the only Nobel Peace Prize winner from Macedonia. 

And, as an infamous humanitarian, the Memorial House was established in May of 2008. 

So, whilst it may seem appropriate to build the Skopje Mother Teresa Memorial in the city centre… there’s a reason for its exact location.

And, as we discovered… this site is where the “Sacred Heart of Jesus” old Catholic Church stood. And, where Mother Teresa was baptized one day after being born. 

At the Skopje Mother Teresa Memorial, her humanitarian work continues through others. 

When we were in Skopje, every weekend, the Red Cross truck was there… providing food packages for the needy.

Unfortunately at the time, we couldn’t see inside the Mother Teresa Memorial. Yet, when we did visit the memorial… that didn’t stop me feeling goosebumps up and down my spine!

Experience the Bohemian Vibe in Debar Maalo

So, while Skopje has it’s modernistic and old town areas… it also has an area they call the “Bohemian Quarter.”

About a 10 minute walk from the centre of Skopje is Debar Maalo. And, if you want to experience a different vibrant and bustling area… then this should be on your list of things to do in Skopje. 

Plus, if you love the laid-back café and bar culture… then you definitely must visit Debar Maalo.

The first time we went to Debar Maalo, we decided to check it out on a Friday evening. And boy, once we got to the heart of the area… it sure was rocking!

Lots of happy people, laughing loudly, and the sound of clinking glasses… filled the lively streets of Debar Maalo.

Restaurants and bars, one after the other… were already full of people enjoying the start of the weekend.

What we didn’t like about Debar Maalo… is that there are so many places to choose from! LOL! Yet, we found one of the best restaurants in Skopje here in Debar Maalo… Gostilnica Cardak. 

So, this is definitely one of the top places to visit in Skopje… for delicious, traditional Macedonian cuisine in vibrant Debar Maalo.

Speaking of food, there’s one thing you MUST have when in Skopje…

Wrap Your Mouth Around One of the Best Food In Skopje…

There’s no doubt that we tried some delicious food in Skopje. Plus, being Slow Travelers we had plenty of time to try new places… as well as re-visit our favorites!

And, that’s one great reason why we love being Slow Travelers… because when the locals start seeing us often, it feels like we get the local treatment.

Even when there were times of language barriers… we could always communicate with the owners how delicious their food was. And, this was always welcomed, with smiles all round.

So, what we love about Skopje, and the Balkan countries in general… is that they have the tastiest, greasiest, most scrumptious food item.

And, what I’m talking about is the mouth-watering, delicious burek. Layers of flaky, buttery, crispy pastry, encasing a warm filling. 

Now, whether you’re a meat eater or vegetarian, they’ve got you covered. The main fillings include meat, or cheese, spinach, or potato.

The burek is normally devoured at breakfast time, even through to the afternoon. So, the great things is… the burek doubles up as an awesome hangover cure! Ha ha ha!

Thinking of a flavorsome burek now makes my mouth water! They are filling and fattening, yet fantastic!

So, this is our recommendation of 10 different things to do in Skopje. Yet of course, there’s plenty more to do! And, as Slow Travelers we suggest you spend more than a day or 2 in Skopje. 

So, then you can take your time to try the delicious foods at your leisure…

Enjoy some relaxing drinks while soaking up the atmosphere from different perspectives… Shop until you drop…

Or, admire the many architectural and historical elements Skopje has to offer, even all the statues :) 

Like This? Share it and comment on it!

Note: All of our reviews and comments are our opinions and no-one else’s. Even if we receive complimentary goods or services we share our opinions honestly.

7 Top Reasons Why You Should Visit Bansko Bulgaria

Paul and I have been traveling the world since 2014 and living our dreams. And, we’ve been to many amazing destinations while following the sun.

Yet, due to the Covid pandemic, in late September 2020, we had to leave sunny Thailand… “the land of smiles.”

So, as we looked for places to travel with as little restrictions as possible… we faced limited choices. Many countries weren’t open to tourists. 

So, what do we do when choices are limited? 

We just went with the flow, and made the best of what we had. We were grateful that we could even keep traveling!

After some research, we found that Europe had a few options we could consider… even though we’d miss the Summer weather. And, in the end we discovered that Bulgaria had one of the least Covid restrictions. 

Honestly, Bulgaria was never high on our list of European countries to visit. Yet, to our surprise, Bulgaria was NOT what we expected. In fact, we ended up loving it.

And, after we spent some time in the capital Sofia…we decided to head to the ski resort town of Bansko, in Autumn. We had no expectations. Yet, this little gem of a place stole our hearts. 

And, that’s why in this blog, we’ll share 7 reasons why you should visit Bansko Bulgaria… especially outside of the ski season.

Where is Bansko?

Bansko is a picturesque small town in Bulgaria, with a population of about 9,000 people. It’s located in the south-western corner of Bulgaria, and about 160km from the capital of Sofia. 

To get to Bansko from Sofia, we hired a private car and driver. The company we used was Taxi Transfer.  And, that trip from Sofia to Bansko was 115 Lev (~USD $68 / 59 Euros). 

We highly recommend them. In fact, we used their services multiple times. And, along the journey they shared a lot of information and history about Bulgaria… which was very interesting. 

Bansko is known for being a fun, beautiful and affordable European ski resort… rising 900 metres above sea level. Yet, we discovered Bansko in Autumn. And, after staying there for 6 weeks… we loved it. 

So, let’s get into why we love it, and things to do in Bansko.

1. Discover the Charm of Bansko

On our drive from Sofia to Bansko in early October, we witnessed some beautiful scenery. Then, as we reached Bansko town and our accommodation… we saw some even more stunning views.

So, after reaching our Bansko accommodation, we did some quick unpacking… as we wanted to explore Bansko while it was still daylight. 

Our accommodation was near the Gondola. And from there, we made our way towards the Bansko Old Town… which is in the opposite direction.

There were many streets to get us to the Old Town, yet we wandered down Gotse Delchev Street. And, as soon as we started walking down this street… it amazed us at how beautiful and charming Bansko is.

The street popped with color… thanks to the bright flowers and plants that adorned the houses. And, there were groups of old ladies and men, who sat on the seats on the street… drinking tea and coffee, or soaking up the sunshine. Plus, we saw some enjoying rakia, but at breakfast time too!

So, we did discover some surprising traditions… as well as mouth-watering dishes, made from recipes created by the Bulgarian grandmas. This is becoming rare, so we recommend you learn about it through this tour.

A Tradtional Bulgarian “Washing Machine”

We also saw a wooden structure called, valevitsa…

The locals used them as a traditional, natural washing machine. The water for washing flows from the mountains. And then, the strength of the water current spins the items as dirt is removed… and the water flows out of the wooden structure. 

Now, we never saw anyone using it as a “washing machine.” So, our guess is that the one we saw was just there for show!

Also, when we turned around to look behind us, the views we saw of the mountains were breathtaking.

Once we got to the heart of Bansko Old Town, we saw the main square area. It was surrounded by historical sites, restaurants, and cafes.

And, as we wandered around the Old Town area… the many cobblestone streets, helped to give this town it’s quaintness.

And, in the Bansko Old Town area, is a popular Sunday activity…

2. Get Some Amazing Goods at the Bustling Sunday Market

One of the top things to do in Bansko, is to visit the Sunday Market. This small, yet thriving market has some of the best produce we’ve had in our LIFETIME. Yep, you read that correctly.

We don’t know what it is, but the flavors from the fresh fruit and veggies are so intense. Maybe it’s the soil or the fresh mountain water that make the produce so tasty. 

In addition to the abundance of fresh fruit and veggies… we saw home baked goodies, honey, nuts, clothes, flowers, local crafts, trinkets, and more. You’ll also see the stall owners proudly displaying bottles of their homemade red, rose and white wines. More on that later!

As we continued to wander through the Bansko Sunday Market, we saw a long line of people… and smoke! 

So, we followed our noses as we smelt the waft of meat being barbequed. Sure enough, these people patiently waited for a traditional Bulgarian food called, kebapche… A dish with minced meat and spices, made into a cylindrical type shape.

We couldn’t believe how cheap the prices of produce and goods are at the Sunday Market! 

We could get kilo bags of fresh peppers, eggplants, potatoes, apples, and more… for about 1 Lev each. That’s like USD $0.60 or around 50 Euro cents! Plus, they were excellent quality.

Check Out One of Our Shops at The Bansko Sunday Market…

Now, we thought we should warn you… Many of the locals at the Sunday Market don’t speak much English. So, if you’re wanting to have a full-blown conversation with them, you’ll need a translator!

If you need groceries outside of the Bankso Sunday Market, don’t worry… There are several grocery stores and mini marts where you can get your supplies. Plus, the BG Market in town will even deliver your groceries if needed. 

And, if you’re wanting something bigger… in the nearby town of Razlog about 6km away, is a Lidl. 

Yet, when we don’t cook, one of our top priorities is trying the local cuisine and beverages!

In Bansko there are plenty of eateries and bars, to keep your tastebuds and bellies satisfied… 

3. Try Amazing Bulgarian Food and Drinks in Bansko

As big foodies, coming to Bulgaria opened up a whole new taste sensation for us. From fresh flavorful salads, to a huge variety of yummy cheeses, through to wickedly delicious breakfasts pastries!

All around Bansko you’ll see traditional taverns called a Mehana.

We loved the old, rustic, charming buildings full of character. And, to our surprise, there were lots of them for such a small town. We figure the “Banskonians” know how to have a good time!

2 of Our Favorite Places in Bansko…

Now, one of our favorite restaurants in Bansko is the Log House.

 

Now, this shouldn’t be confused with the Log Cabin, which also is a beautiful place. The Log House is located on Nayden Gerov Street.

So, here are some photos of what we indulged in at The Log House…

We LOVE cheese, so it was heaven having Bulgarian food! The menu is huge, with lots of variety and options for vegetarians too. 

And, guess how much all this cost, including the 1 litre of wine and 2 beers? 

It was ONLY around 45 Lev (USD $27 / 23 Euros). Ridiculously cheap, right? Note, as we were in the low season the total bill, including our alcohol was on special with a 20% discount. 

The Log House was our night time restaurant of choice. 

Yet, during the day time for some snacks and beers… we love Peshterite.

While, you can drive there, we chose to walk up the mountain to get there. It took us about 45 minutes on the way up. And, our reward was ice cold beers in the sunshine, with beautiful scenery. 

The local Pirinsko beers we had were 500ml. And, they were only 2 Lev each (about USD $1.20 / 1 Euro).

While the Pirinsko beers were great, Bansko opened up a whole new world of wines for us…

Try the Local Homemade Wine

Remember how we mentioned the Sunday Market and the local homemade wines? One of the top things to do in Bansko, is try some of the local homemade wines. We discovered that one of the popular grape varieties in Bansko is Mavrud. 

And, as we were wondering if we should get a bottle, one of the stall owners offered us a taste. And boy… was it robust, rich and flavorsome! Needless to say, we got a bottle or 2. Buying wine at the Sunday market was a regular purchase for us. LOL! 

Take note… the stall owners are very proud of their homemade wine. So, if you don’t like it, don’t offend them by turning up your nose in disgust!

Also, as the weeks went by, and we were coming into November… the stall owners gradually ran out of their stock of Mavrud wine. 

Thankfully they had other wine grape varieties we could choose from… although in our opinion not as tasty as Mavrud. So, stock up just in case if you don’t want to miss out!

And, how much did we pay for a 2 litre bottle of homemade, delicious wine? A ridiculously cheap 8 Lev (about USD $4.80 / 4.10 Euros). Now, that’s damn crazy!

Traditional Bulgarian Breakfast

One of the Bulgarian foods we absolutely love is banitsa. And, this is usually eaten for breakfast with a yogurt drink called, Ayran… or a wheaty type drink called, Boza.

And, in Bansko, we paid around 1.10 Lev (~ USD 65 cents / 55 Euro cents) each for a big banitsa like this…

We lost count of how many banitsas we had, but they sure are rich with flavor. The buttery, flaky pastry filled with clumps of salty cheese. Soooooo delicious! Needless to say, we were gaining a few pounds. 

Yet, one of the great things about Bansko, especially outside of ski season is… there are activities that could help us lose the banitsa belly! LOL!

4. Bansko Activities

Whilst Bansko is commonly known as a place to go for a beautiful and affordable European ski resort… this charming town has lots to offer outside of the ski season!

And, if you’re up for some action, one of the things to do in Bansko is hiring a 4-wheeler buggy. It’s a great way to check out the amazing scenery in, and amongst the mountains. As well as waving “hellos” to the locals in the tiny villages.

We often hiked up the mountains and walked along different trails.

Although we’re slow travelers, we understand that some of you have limited time. So, to make the most of your time in Bansko, and experience the natural beauty this gorgeous town has to offer… take a tour from someone with inside knowledge and experience.

It was beautiful to be amongst nature and enjoy the fresh air. So, being in Bansko Bulgaria in Autumn does have its benefits. 

Plus, there’s mountain biking, horse riding, yoga and more! And, if you prefer a little luxury and relaxation… then consider a spa treatment and enjoy the moment of bliss.

So, to find out more about the activities and adventures you can experience in Bansko… make sure you check these out!

Now, while all this sounds great… we believe that sometimes the simplest things in life are often the best. 

And, as we were in such a peaceful and beautiful part of Bulgaria… we had to take in the natural beauty of Bansko. So, simply packing a picnic lunch and finding a secluded spot to enjoy it is a must!

5. Check Out Some Historical Sites 

Other things to do in Bansko is to explore some of the historical places of interest. And, some of these include…

Neofit Rilski Museum

Nearby the Holy Trinity Church is the Neofit Rilski house-museum… which showcases a traditional house of Bansko from the 18th century, including a beautiful garden. 

As the name suggests, the museum is based on Neofit Rilski… who was the first to develop the Bulgarian grammar. So, with this marvel, the museum not only showcases his home… but also parts of his textbooks and writings.

The Holy Trinity Church

When you wander down one of the main streets in Bansko, Pirin Street… you can’t miss the Holy Trinity Church and its bell tower. This church is one of the biggest in Bulgaria, and dates back to the 1800’s.

Holy Trinity is an Orthodox Church, which was constructed during the Ottoman rule. And, while it stands out in the Bansko Old Town, there is something unique about it. 

When you go to the main entrance… look for a couple of symbols above the door. And, what you’ll see is a Turkish crescent and a Christian cross together. This is supposed to symbolize the tolerance of the two religions.

The Old Cinema

Who would’ve thought that a Tourist Information Center would be housed in the The Old Cinema? Yep, it is in Bansko!

The building was constructed in the 1920’s… and has hosted films, theatres, orchestras, other events and meetings. While we were at the tourist office, we asked to have a look.

And, while it doesn’t look as grand as other old cinemas we’ve been to… we appreciated the opportunity to have been in an important place of history in Bansko.

Of course, when it comes to seeing sites, please be aware that there may be entrance fees. Also, make sure you check the opening and closing times, as they can change too!

6. Tick Another UNESCO Heritage Listed Site Off Your List

Just a stone’s throw away from Bansko town is the UNESCO listed, Pirin National Park. This park marked its claim to fame as a UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site in 1983. 

Pirin National Park is spread over about 27,000 hectares. The area offers amazing limestone mountain landscapes, waterfalls, caves, glacial lakes and forests. The highest point is at Vihren Peak, which stands at 2,914 metres.

There are hundreds of unique plants and animals, that all cohabitate in this beautiful park. Plus, you can find Bulgaria’s oldest tree, the Baykusheva Fir, nearby Vihren Hut. This tree is more than 1,300 years old!

There are lots of things to do in Bansko. Yet, if you want to share the experiences with other like-minded people, join one of the many Bansko groups…

7. Join a Thriving Bansko Community Group

If you’re intending on staying in Bansko for a longer period of time… you might like to join one of the thriving communities. 

We were surprised that for such a small town, there are several Bansko Coworking Groups. They provide many facilities, spaces to work, and hold many events for the “digital” / freelancing community. 

There’s also a big community for expats, foreigners and anyone who wants to connect in Bansko. And, the main one we discovered was a Facebook Group called, The Bansko Notice Board.

So, if you want to meet new people and enjoy Bansko with the company of others… then you can find that here!

They were 7 reasons to visit the gorgeous town of Bansko Bulgaria. Yet, here’s a BONUS reason as to why you should visit Bankso, especially outside of the ski season…

8. Cheaper Accommodation and Special Deals

And, during Autumn we discovered that the Bansko accommodation was ridiculously cheap. 

Through Airbnb, we found a huge 1-bedroom apartment, with balcony. And, it ended up being a ridiculously cheap USD $13.90 per night (~12 Euros per night), including all utilities and fees.

TIP: There’s also a site called Bansko Nomad Apartments, which is connected with the Coworking Bansko Group. Here, you can find monthly rentals for as little as 200 Euros (~USD $230), INCLUDING utilities. We never used it, but it may suit your needs.

Plus, as it was low season in Bansko… several bars, cafes and restaurants had special deals and discounts.

Yet, when it comes to around late November / December, the prices will go up for high season. So, for those who want to experience Bansko and all its beauty outside of ski season… there are many great reasons to do so. 

Bansko Bulgaria, A Charming Town We Absolutely Love

Autumn in Bansko is beautiful. And when we were there, most of the time during the day the sun glistened in the bright blue sky. 

We could do sightseeing and go for walks, without dripping in sweat from a blistering Summer heat. And, after walking around for hours… we could still sit outside in the sunshine, enjoying ice cold beers.

Of course, as it got closer to Winter the weather started getting cooler, especially at night. Yet, for most of our stay we had pleasant weather with hardly any rain!

Bansko is truly a gem that we may not have discovered, if it hadn’t been for the pandemic. So, we were fortunate enough to have been able to travel here… and to have so many wonderful experiences. 

Have you been to Bansko? If yes, what were your experiences? And, if you haven’t been, why would you go?

Like This? Share it and comment on it!

Note: All of our reviews and comments are our opinions and no-one else’s. Even if we receive complimentary goods or services we share our opinions honestly.