The Black Sea coast of Bulgaria may not be quite as well known as the beaches of Spain and Portugal, but the area continues to attract tourists from all over Europe. Many visitors come for the large, purpose built hotels and resorts, although the area also appeals to independent and more adventurous travelers looking to get off the beaten track a little.
The Black Sea coast stretches for almost 400 km, from the Romanian border to the Turkish border. Not surprisingly, it has become one of Bulgaria’s most popular tourist destinations, and is known for its pleasant year round sub tropical climate. There is no shortage of wide and sandy beaches, although the coast is also known for its dramatic rocky headlands, some reaching up to 70 meters in height. Varna and Burgas are the two largest cities in this part of Bulgaria.
If it is beaches you are looking for, the Black Sea coast has plenty to choose from. The 8km length of Sunny Beach is the country’s most famous, and appeals to younger travelers, with plenty of high rise hotels, restaurants and nightclubs to choose from. Another popular nightlife destination is Golden Sands, although the beach also attracts those looking for a natural cure from the nearby hot springs. Families tend to prefer the amusement parks and shallow waters of the beaches at Albena, while those looking for an old fashioned seaside resort should head for Ahtopol, a historic town near the Turkish border. Irakli Beach is one of the few naturist beaches in Bulgaria, while Silistar Beach is a great place to see wildlife and enjoy free camping.
Varna is the largest city on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, and offers plenty to see and do. The city has several good beaches, as well as a thriving restaurant and arts scene, and is also home to some of the country’s best museums including the naval museum, and the archaeological museum containing over 100,000 objects. Varna is also the location of the largest complex of Roman baths in Bulgaria, and makes an excellent base to explore the Black Sea coast in both directions.
History lovers can also find plenty to see on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. The attractive town of Nesebar is connected to the mainland by an artificial causeway, and is known for its many beautiful medieval churches. The small and relaxed resort of Balchik is the site of the Romanian Royal Family’s summer palace, while Sozopol is also home to an important archaeological site, and home to a Roman amphitheater. One of the most unusual sights on the Black Sea coast is the medieval monastery at Aladzha Manastir, which has literally been carved out of the rock.
One of the most picturesque spots on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast is the quiet fishing village of Tyulenovo. Legend has it that seals descended from those given to the Queen of Romania still swim off the shore, and the area is a great place for watching dolphins, as well as diving and fishing. The stretch of coast around Tyulenovo is well known for its many spectacular underwater caves and for the remains of one of the world’s oldest known civilizations. Recently excavated artifacts can be seen on display in nearby Balgarevo.
The Black Sea coast of Bulgaria really does have something for everyone, whether you are looking for non stop nightlife, family friendly beaches or historic sights. The country of Bulgaria also has the reputation of being one of Europe’s most affordable destinations, and your money will go a lot farther than in Spain, France or Portugal.