Bulgaria is slowly but surely becoming one of the most popular destinations for bathing-hungry Europeans. Last year the Bulgarian coast was visited by over 5 million tourists, including hundreds of thousands of Germans and Britons, and more than a million visitors from Central Europe. The main attraction, in particular, is a wide selection of quality services at exceptionally low prices.
If you are thinking about visiting Bulgaria as well, we have prepared an overview of the most popular resorts.
Sozopol along with its surroundings is one of the most beautiful and the most popular Bulgarian resorts. It is located 32 km south of Burgas, on a peninsula connected to the mainland by a thin strip of coastline, where a modern part of town has been built. The old town of Sozopol is one of the most ancient Black Sea cities, declared an architectural and historical reserve. Renovated old houses typical for the Black Sea architecture of 18th and 19th century are few of its many sights. One can feel the history and the refreshing sea breeze in its narrow streets.
South of Sozopol, stunning views reminiscent of fjords are revealed to visitors. The tall coast here is literally cut off by the massive waves. Romantic holiday-makers should not miss the opportunity to explore a great deal of tiny deserted coves.
Primorsko resort is located 22 km south of Sozopol, on a peninsula between two spacious beaches – Stamopolska Beach and Dyavolska Beach. Wooded hills of Strandja Mountains are sinking right into the sea here and create a gorgeous combination with the wide sea surface. Primorsko was declared a town as late as 1981, although since then it has become an urbanized modern tourist centre where hospitable locals offer accommodation in numerous hotels, villas and apartments. There are water slides and many other attractions here waiting for tourists.
There is a steep, rocky Cape Maslen Nos situated 5 km northeast of the city. It is the easternmost point of the mountain Strandja, declared a natural monument. Small, cosy coves covered by pebbles and sea shells can be found in the surrounding area.
Varna is the largest city of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast and the third largest city of Bulgaria, also called the Queen of the Black Sea. It is a modern tourist centre with an international airport and a busy port. Varna has a deep medieval history. A fishing Thracian settlement was once based on a small cape which is part of the port today. Visitors will enjoy more than 150 nicely renovated cultural and historical monuments from different historical periods. The most significant are the Roman Baths (from second to third century), Cathedral of Virgin Mary's Assumption (dating from 1883 to 1886), Church of St. Athanasius (13th century). Visitors of the vast seaside park modelled on the Belvedere gardens along the beach can enjoy a water show in the Dolphinarium, a Planetarium, a summer theatre, sports and children's playgrounds... The longest bridge in Bulgaria called Asparuhov Bridge (2 km) stretches out from the city centre. One can try bungee jumping and then walking through the district of Galata on the other side as far as the Cape Galata - the southernmost point of Varna Beach.
Kamchiya river discharges itself into the sea about 25 km south of Varna. Holiday-makers in the eponymous resort will appreciate the golden sand and the spectacular wild natural scenery of the river valley.
Tsarevo is situated on two peninsulas. It is the largest port south of Burgas as well as a welcoming tourist resort. It offers quality services and entertainment, an abundant market full of fresh vegetables and evening walks in the port or the coastal park with the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary (from 1825) highly overlooking the peninsula. Plentiful coastal nooks around Tsarevo overgrown by lush vegetation retain their natural, original beauty.
Balchik is one of the most picturesque Bulgarian towns. It was built in the shape of an amphitheatre on the coast 47 km north of Varna. Traces of an ancient Greek settlement from 5th century BC have been found there and it was an important regional centre during in the Middle Ages. It is an enchanting walk through the narrow cobbled streets with ancient houses, immersed in the greenery of vineyards and small gardens, which contrast sharply with the white cliffs surrounding the city from all sides. The gardens of the palace, built as a summer residence for the Queen of Romania, contain a unique botanical garden with many types of cacti.
About 30 km along the coast eastward the steep cliffs of famous Cape Kaliakra along with the remnants of a medieval fortress are rising from the sea. The area is a natural reserve, where one can watch dolphins and cormorants.
Nesebar is one of the most visited tourist resorts in Bulgaria. It is situated on the Black Sea coast, on a rocky peninsula jutting into the sea, 38 km northeast of Burgas. Local beaches are popular for the finest sand on the Black Sea coast, romantic dunes and cooling woods along the coast. Nesebar is one of the oldest cities in Europe, founded by Dorians. The town is an archaeological as well as an architectural reserve and has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Beautiful beaches near Ravda village stretch south of Nesebar, while the exclusive Sunny Beach lies north of Nesebar.
A wide strip of beach more than 6 km long, fine golden sand, picturesque dunes, gentle inclination of the seabed and mild climate – these are the features of Bulgaria's most prestigious resort. Numerous hotels, villas and bungalows have been built among parks and gardens, along with tennis courts, swimming pools with slides, bowling, mini golf, a stable with horses and riding instructors. Needles to say, there are several large shopping centers and a summer theatre there.
The stylish town of Sveti Vlas is situated at the opposite edge of the wide bay of Sunny Beach facing the town of Nesebar. During the Middle Ages there was a major monastery there belonging to the town of Nesebar. Pleasant climatic conditions of Sveti Vlas are ideal for health stays for people with respiratory difficulties. There is a small port for local fishermen at the extremity of the town, followed by the holiday settlement of Elenite and Emine Cape - the second most remarkable cape of Bulgarian Black Sea after Kaliakra Cape.
Burgas lies in an equally named bay, in the area where a city had been established by the Roman emperor Vespasian. It is the main port of the southern Bulgarian coast, a fishing hub, a city with a modern airport, a university and many cultural institutions. It is surrounded by three large lakes: Atanasovsko, Burgasko and Mandrensko. Burgas is famous among holiday-makers for the warm sea, chilly evenings and dark sand with healing effects. People of all ages are tempted to a romantic summer holiday in such a nice climate full of attractive holiday resorts, cosy pubs, cafes and restaurants.
Atanasovsko Lake, 9 km long but just 1 meter deep, stretches to the north of the city. Due to its high salt concentration it has been used for salt extraction for over a century. Its northern part which is connected to the Black Sea forms a natural reserve. It is a unique place to observe rare species of birds, pelicans for instance.
Chernomorets is located 9 km northwest of Sozopol – it is a less well-known tourist destination, situated on a rugged coast. You will not find any places of historical interest here, although there is a comfortable access to the sea here, stands with fruit and vegetables and sufficient restaurants and pubs tempting to pop in. The sea in this area is a little agitated with frequent occurrence of large waves. However, the town will be appreciated by those who do not want to bump into tourist crowds. A strip of sandy beach stretches out between Chernomorets and Sozopol.