Bulgaria is famous for its variety of resorts and spas. The country has both established beach resorts and what you call “rising stars” on the coast.
Tourists also go to Bulgaria for health and wellness, to escape from the every day cares, to feed their mind, body and soul. Seaside resorts attract both the young and the old (who will remember Bulgaria’s golden days). Beautiful sea, clear waters, picturesque parks and not to mention hospitable locals, delicious local cuisine and great local culture and color — there is no reason why you should not pick Bulgaria as your next holiday destination!
Perhaps you will be interested to see the article: Cities and resorts of Bulgaria on photos.
Nessebar – the oldest city in Europe
Nessebar is one of the major seaside resorts in Bulgaria and one of the most ancient cities in Europe. It has a beguiling mix of the ancient, the romantic, the modern and the fast-paced. Because of its important place in world history with its impressive number of extant ancient structures, it has been inducted by UNESCO to its World Heritage Sites list.
It is not as popular as, say, Sunny Beach. But you know what, you would rather want Nessebar to be that way. It means less crowds and more opportunities to explore the city at your own pace.
Depending on the options of traveling to Nessebar that you have chosen, going and staying in this city is mostly comfortable and pleasant. Along the coast and at the reception of any hotel in Nessebar, you can choose any journey you like and enjoy it. There is no bus station in the city, but at each stop there is a schedule of bus routes and stops. You just have to come at the appointed time and wait for the bus (and don’t worry, these buses usually arrive on time).
Nessebar has a huge number of restaurants, cafes and fast food establishments as well. Prices at these establishments are mainly high, as you might expect from a tourist destination. Taverns in Bulgaria combines a restaurant and lodging places for travelers. Usually these taverns serve traditional Bulgarian cuisine.
Despite the high prices in Nessebar (which come close to those in Sunny Beach), you will realize that the city is worth the high cost. In the old part of the city you will enjoy walking on the narrow cobblestone streets lined with charming wooden houses, as well as exploring ancient churches and other important historical structures. However, compared to Sunny Beach, food prices in Nessebar are not as high and are otherwise more accessible.
One of the most interesting and incredible things about Nessebar is that part of it is sunken into the sea due to an earthquake thousands of years ago. It still intrigues and beckons a lot of tourists.
The city has several clean beaches. One of the nicest beaches, in our opinion, is the beach behind stones. It is a wild beach so it means it is not developed and equipped with amenities and comforts, but you can always find a place there.
However, shopping in Nessebar is generally not a good idea, unless you bring lots of money with you. The shops there are selling mainly Turkish products and the quality of some products is poor. Of course, there are also souvenir shops, but the prices are not that low now as they used to be.
Despite some imperfections — and which tourist spot is deemed perfect anyway — we really liked Nessebar. From here, we were free to travel by bus to any other region in Bulgaria.
Pomorie – a source of healing power and health
Pomorie is one of our favorite destinations in Bulgaria — in our opinion, it is the best, even! It is a famous seaside and spa resort. One of the reasons we loved Pomorie is its low prices that made it affordable to most tourists. Add this to the fact that the resort town itself is surprisingly cozy.
Not much has been written or reviewed about Pomorie. And if we do encounter some reviews of the town, they are mostly (and undeservedly) unsavory. If we were to return to Bulgaria, we would love to come back to Pomorie once again. Picturesque landscapes, an ancient monastery, wild beaches, a lake, endless festivals, great shopping with unbelievably low prices – all of these await you in Pomorie.
The town produces good wine as well as great concentrations of salt. Pomorie is more suitable as a place for a quiet family holiday, because the entrance to the sea is smooth, and the water is warm and calm. Lovers of worldly pleasures will be most likely to feel bored in Pomorie, but there’s always the Sunny Beach at its next-door neighbor.
In Pomorie there is a bus station in the old section. It connects you to many cities in the country. You may also be interested to read: A beach on the foreland near Pomorie.
Burgas – one of the largest cities in Bulgaria
Burgas is quite an attractive and affordable seaside city. It is the second largest coastal city in Bulgaria and the fourth largest city overall in the country. It has a large sea port, an airport, a railway and several bus stations.
In Burgas there are beautiful beaches, a large seaside park (around 7 km) with impressive sandy sculptures, an opera house and several museums.
Bulgaria’s tourism sector (as well as some online advertisements) boasts Burgas as a shopping mecca for its cheap shopping. But as we personally found out, it was not that true — in fact, prices in Burgas have increased gradually, although the choice of products is good. While Bulgaria is considered a big city, it has maintained its beauty and order.
Sunny Beach – the most expensive resort in Bulgaria
Sunny Beach is one of the most popular and best known seaside resorts of the country. Countless hotels, numerous shops and restaurants, as well as incessant number of discos and nightclubs will certainly attract the moneyed few who are also looking for earthly pleasures. So yes, Sunny Beach is quite expensive — the cost of staying here is several times higher to that of Pomorie.
Despite being the most expensive seaside resort in Bulgaria, it is otherwise crowded. Although the beaches are clean, you can often see algae on the shores (during the evening the caretakers take the algae and throw them back into the water).
Sunny Beach was awarded with the Blue Flag certification, which means that the beach attained the Blue Flag organization’s stringent environmental standards.
In Sunny Beach there is a bus station. In the city you can enjoy many excursions without any problems.
Balchik — the botanic garden-city
Balchik is an inexpensive resort. But in our opinion, it is not as beautiful as the other Bulgarian coastal towns and cities.
However, Balchik has its most famous gem — the fabulously beautiful botanical garden with a summer residence of the Romanian Queen there. This is one of the main attractions throughout Bulgaria, especially in its coastal region.
The city is located in the north of the country and is the third largest seaport. We’ve been looking for a bus station in Balchik, but it turned out that there was no station, except for an ordinary bus stop that was located right next to an old and abandoned building. There is hanging a timetable of buses, on which you can get out of town.
One of the biggest hassles of traveling to Balchik — especially if you’re from Nessebar or Burgas — is that getting directly to the town itself is next to impossible. You have to go down to Varna first where you will wait for another bus which will then take you to Balchik.
Golden Sands – a hot resort in Bulgaria
The Golden Sands – one of the largest resorts in the country. The prices here slightly lower than those in Sunny Beach, but the weather is usually very hot. The sun’s heat is just incredible, it’s because the mountain at the other end of the resort do not let the cold air down into the beach. Result is temperature that is always hot, humid and stuffy.
The resort is perfect for young people and nightlife lovers. This resort will not let you get bored – the music and the fun do not stop all day and night. But there is one drawback – the descent to the beach and the entrance to the sea are not as gently sloping, as it does in Sunny Beach or Nessebar due to mountainous terrain.
Varna – the cultural and historical heritage of Bulgaria
Varna is the historical maritime capital in Bulgaria, and is also a popular seaside resort. This is a huge, vibrant city with lots of parks, shops and gardens. As for the cost of staying there, we can say it mostly plays in the middle.
Varna is an important economic and cultural center which has its own airport (the third largest in Bulgria) and a good ferry communication. It is the largest port city in Bulgaria.
In Varna there is a large bus station, from which you can go in any direction – both to other points in Bulgaria and even to neighboring countries such as Turkey.
Obzor – a young resort village
We were just passing Obzor by but it looked like a nice and cheap resort village, even a little boring. Obzor is developing rapidly and soon it promises luxurious vacations for all tourists.
Obzor may be a new player, so to speak, but it is rising star in Bulgaria. Prices here are much lower than those of the popular resorts of the country. In the town there is a bus station.
The sea is a bit warmer than in the neighboring Golden Sands. It is great for families with children. There is a camp for children with a water park and a standard park. It is interesting to see what will become of Obzor in a few years’ time.
Ravda – a resort for quiet travelers
Ravda – is a a small resort village located near Nessebar. This is a developing resort, so prices here are a bit lower, but there is nothing special to look at. In the central part of the town in front of the municipality building there’s a pretty fountain.
There is a water park and a lunapark in Ravda. The beaches are clean, well maintained, with all the comforts. Ravda is suitable for low budget rest and families with children.
Aheloy is a city of expensive hotels
Aheloy is a small cozy resort town on the coast of Bulgaria. Despite the fact that it is located quite far from the sea, in its coastal part there are a lot of expensive hotels, except what there is no anything at all.
The coast of Aheloy is clean and tidy, there are also spa resorts. The resort is suitable for families, because it is located in a green and peaceful region of Bulgaria.
From the authors
Bulgaria, like many other country, is an interesting study of contrasts.
Cheap resorts here are no worse than the expensive, we like them even more. They have not been promoted yet. For example, Pomorie is cheap but it is cozy and nice; Sunny Beach, on the other hand, is expensive yet it consists of an ugly jumble of hotels and nightclubs.
Here is the list of inexpensive resorts, compiled exclusively according to our experience and impressions: Pomorie, Balchik, Varna, Burgas, Obzor.
In Bulgaria there are many luxury resorts. And if there is someone who charges high for the beautiful scenery: to the ancient cities and the Bulgarian color it is understandable, but others just do that to pull out of your money. Sunny Beach, Golden Sands, Nessebar, Ravda, Aheloy are some of those expensive resorts.
We were able to visit almost all of the resorts while traveling by bus in Bulgaria. And it proves again, that the bus connection between the cities of the country is very well and smoothly. Bulgaria has a very good bus system.
For tourists in Bulgaria there is a pleasant fact that coming here not by the voucher (without a hotel room), you can easily settle in any free hotel.
The main resorts of Bulgaria on the map
Useful links and interesting information:
- If you should go on vacation to Bulgaria: the pros and cons of such holiday.
- Walking through the streets of the ancient town of Nessebar.
- What excursions and for what price you can visit in Bulgaria?
- One of the most beautiful and romantic beaches of Nessebar – the beach behind stones.
- Going in Pomorie: what to look for?
- What to see in the monastery of St. George in Pomorie?
- A miraculous power of the Lake of Pomorie.
- What to do in Burgas except of shopping?
- How to get to the Sand Sculpture Festival in Burgas?
- What is so attracts tourists to Sunny Beach?
- The incredible beauty of the botanical garden in Balchik.
- What is special in the small village of Ravda?