(Editor’s note: We posted this look at the Bulgarian Riviera last spring just as the pandemic shut down travel. We’re reposting it now as Europe reopens to summer tourism.)
Although tourists from across Europe and beyond mostly visit Sunny Beach, a vibrant resort – maybe a little tacky – recommended for party people and revelers, there are a number of more beautiful spots along the Bulgarian Riviera that should be on any beach connoisseur’s list.
Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast offers about 130 kilometers of white and golden sandy beaches, so we have lots of options.
Nessebar. located 5 kilometers south of Sunny Beach, is hailed the “Pearl of the Black Sea.” The 3,000-year-old town, which UNESCO has included on its list of World Heritage Centres due to the abundance of historic buildings, blends two parts:
• The Ancient City with acropolis, a wall from the Thracian fortifications, and other ruins dating back to 6th century BC.
• a more modern part with hotels, bars, and exciting nightlife. There are also two pristine beaches and a harbour with a nice selection of seafood restaurants.
About 70-kilometers south of Nessebar is the ancient town of Sozopol that will welcome you with superb beaches and cultural entertainment in the summer evenings. But that’s far from all.
Stroll the romantic cobblestoned streets of the Old Town, where you will see plenty of churches, antique houses, galleries, and performers. Or try one of the local restaurants where people perform traditional Bulgarian dances and play live music and you will get a good portion of Bulgarian culture.
The last beach south on the Bulgarian Riviera before the Turkish border, Silistar offers still unspoiled fine golden sand, crystal-clear water, and tranquility. Silistar is in Strandzha Nature Park, the largest protected area in Bulgaria and a place where travelers can see a large diversity of plant and animal species.
There is also a camping nearby for those who want a getaway in complete harmony with nature.
Located on Bulgaria’s Northern Coast above Varna and toward Romania, Bulgaria’s No. 2 city, Bolata combines a truly picturesque cove and nature reserve where different bird species can be spotted including the tufted duck and grey heron. The beach, which is in the Kaliakra Nature Preserve, is known for its turquoise water surrounded by brick-coloured high cliffs.
Bolata is also an excellent diving spot.
This area used to to include a secret Cold War-era base, so not even Bulgarians knew much about it.
About the author:
Andriana Boyrikova was born and raised in Pazardzhik, Bulgaria. Later, her adventure-seeking spirit brought her to Groningen, Netherlands, where she completed a master’s degree in journalism at the University of Groningen.
Following her graduation, Andriana decided to pursue her passion for telling stories and now she is working as a freelance content marketer, contributor, and writer in Groningen. Andriana is interested in high-tech innovations, sustainability, and women’s empowerment.
See more of Andriana’s posts about Bulgaria here.
Read more about Bulgaria here on Dispatches.