Bulgarian regions and resorts. Where to go
I love Bulgaria very much. Once upon a time, it was where my interest in foreign countries and Europe began. Having already visited many other countries, I was finally able to look here as well. For me Bulgaria will always be a special place: it resembles Turkey, Germany and Russia and combines many advantages of the above-mentioned countries. Bulgaria is also good because it has low prices for hotels, fruit, vegetables, food in restaurants and cafes, trips and excursions. The beaches are clean and comfortable, suitable for a simple beach holiday for any Russian family.
Bulgaria is a beautiful country, picturesque and similar enough to Russia to travel there without any worries. Bulgaria, of course, is not all interesting for tourists: there are mostly small towns and villages, semi-abandoned, on simple plains. But there is an amazing city – the capital Sofia, which is half like a Russian city and half like a German city and yet very authentic. Pictured below is the resort of Golden Sands.
And the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria is spectacular. There are incredibly beautiful traditional seaside towns recently restored by the state, large resorts with large hotels and large-format beaches, and wild coves where you can come by bus or car to enjoy their pristine beauty.
Beach vacations in Bulgaria belong to the Black Sea coast. There are small towns with boutique hotels and apartments for rent, large resorts with large chain hotels and entire tourist towns, and small villages with picturesque coves for a quiet secluded vacation. For example, as in Sveti Vlas in the photo below.
Beach holidays in Bulgaria are especially good climate. Usually all the towns and villages on the coast are small, they have clean and pleasant air, there is no traffic or increased traffic, noise of the big city. Another plus is spacious sandy beaches for those who are fed up with pebbles and who are reverent about this point of the vacation. The brightest and cleanest beaches in Pomorie, near Burgas. And here is the chic color.
I have visited many cities in Bulgaria, traveled all over the country, somewhere I was only two or three days, somewhere two or even three or four weeks, and I can say with confidence that almost every place could be my home: it is beautiful, cheap and clean. I would say that Bulgaria is a great place to relax and live!
Conventionally, there are four regions for beach vacations in Bulgaria, marked on the map by stars of different colors. North refers to resorts such as Varna and Golden Sands, here are the most popular resorts, where a lot of Russians have been vacationing for many years. From north to south the list of Bulgarian resorts is as follows:
- Varna is a big city with big stores and a port (there is a beach here too), and Golden Sands is an artificially created and very neat and beautiful resort village. These two resorts are located in the north of the coast.
- The center refers to Sunny Beach, Nessebar and Sveti Vlas, where in Nessebar you can immerse yourself in Bulgarian culture, in Sunny Beach – swimming, and in Sveti Vlas – a break from the bustle surrounded by green hills of wondrous beauty.
- Burgas is good for those who want to come to a real resort town, not an artificial one, to walk around the city, streets, stores and parks, which is not the case in most Bulgarian resorts. Pomorie is a nice place for a vacation with children, the water here is very clean, the entrance to the sea is very gentle, it’s just the best in Bulgaria. Sozopol is a nice little village with a beautiful Old Town, which is very popular with the Europeans.
- And the wild south, where the villages of Sinemorets, Primorsko, Kiten and Ahtopol are located, is the last lower area for those who like a quiet holiday by the sea in the middle of nowhere, in the province, but with a pleasant climate and the cleanest air. Below you will learn more about each region.
Varna and Golden Sands (north).
Varna is a big city with population of 335 thousand people. There are plenty of places for walks, beautiful green alleys and parks, classic architecture, many stores, restaurants and hotels. The city lives more independently of tourists than other cities in Bulgaria, so it may be interesting to those who want to see the real Bulgarian life with their own eyes. This town is probably the greenest of all. There are also nice big beaches convenient for tourists. The only disadvantage is the port, which pollutes the surrounding waters. I would advise to swim in Golden Sands nearby and to go for a walk in Varna.
The ideal vacation in Varna in August is 50-60 USD per day for four people in a good room of 40-60 square meters.
Golden Sands is a resort which has no local Bulgarians at all. All who work here in service for tourists, live in Varna or at the hotel. Golden Sands is famous for its almost endless beaches, and the town itself, its streets, cafes and restaurants are very nice and well maintained.
In Golden Sands you can rent a room for four in a front line hotel for 100-200 USD in August and 50 USD in a conventional hotel.
It is convenient to choose and book accommodation on Bookings. You can see the prices for apartments here, and compare room rates in hotels here.
Sunny Beach, Nesebar, Sveti Vlas (center)
Nessebar is a small traditional town on the peninsula with 22 thousand people, almost all of whom work in tourism. It is very pleasant to rest in this part of the country in tranquility and unity with the color of seaside Bulgaria. There is an old town with narrow streets and a very large beach in the area of Sunny Beach.
In the center of Nessebar in August you can rent a hotel room for four for about 60-100 USD.
Sunny Beach is a resort along a large multi-kilometer beach, which, according to official data, is simply part of the resort of Nessebar. About 5 out of 22 thousand people of the whole Nessebar live here. There are many hotels in Sunny Beach; the big ones are right by the sea, the small ones are in the center of the city, and there are supermarkets here too.
Here you can rent a room for four in a hotel for 60 USD, in a luxury hotel for 100-250 USD (in August). There is a big choice of new hotels.
Sveti Vlas (St. Vlas) is a stunning little resort in a protected area among green hills. For the Bulgarians themselves it’s an elite vacation spot, but for us it’s just a little more expensive than pop resorts. This resort has the atmosphere of an oasis of paradise and tranquility. There is no historic downtown and no attractions, nor is there a place for thorough walks. There are only three beaches in town with the tiniest pale yellow sand.
In Sveti Vlas quite a lot of family hotels, so in August a room for four will cost only 60-80 USD. In the expensive hotel it is 150 USD.
Burgas, Sozopol and Pomorie (south)
Burgas is a big city with a population of 200 thousand people that is as independent of tourists as possible for a resort town. Large, interesting, with parks, picturesque streets and lots of little street cafes and stores. Again, the disadvantage of a major city on the Black Sea in Bulgaria is the presence of another port, which makes the water more muddy. If you want to avoid this, go to Sozopol to the south of the city or Pomorie to the north, and fly specifically to Burgas.
Burgas is a very popular resort because of its low prices. In August a room for four people can easily be found for 40-50 USD.
Sozopol is a beautiful provincial resort with a population of 6,000 people, partly located on a peninsula with the Old Town with its narrow streets. It’s nice to walk around, there are two very nice big beaches right in town and three more to the north and south, wild, half-empty and incredibly picturesque.
In Sozopol a room for four in August will cost you 60-80 USD.
Pomorie is a much less provincial resort with a population of 13 thousand people, where the main idea is a family vacation. There are apart-hotels and houses with appartments near the beach, the sand is cleanest and the path to the sea is so gentle that you need not worry not only about the 6 year old children, but also for 1 year olds, which is almost unheard of for a beach resort! In addition, there is an excellent infrastructure of the city itself, there are stores and markets. The main and very long beach in the center and the east part of the town are both clean and beautiful.
In Pomorie, you can find an excellent hotel room for four in August for 50 USD, with a sea view 70-100 USD.
Sinemorets, Primorsko and Ahtopol (wild south)
Primorsko is one of my favorite resorts because of the stunning beach with turquoise water called “Sand Dunes.” While other big resorts with big beaches have a lot of tourists, here this beach is just empty. Almost completely! For 40-50 USD you can easily rent a room here for four in August. Near Primorsko in the south there is a terrific village of Kiten.
Kiten is a very small village, with a couple of very nice and clean, semi-wild beaches. In the center there are hotels and restaurants, but in general it can be called just a resort village, small and quiet. In Kiten to rent a hotel room for four in August for 80-130 USD, as it is an elite resort and it is popular among Bulgarians.
Ahtopol is also a very small village with tiny beaches and bays, about the same size as Kiten. They both may be of interest to you for a quiet holiday in Bulgaria in the countryside with children. There are no crowds of tourists and loud discos. Room rates in Ahtopol for four in August start at 40-50 USD.
Sinemorets is a small village with two semi-wild beaches, which amaze with beauty and crystal clear water. In general, the entire Sinemorets can be covered in about an hour, but you will not regret if you come here to relax with children, because it is clean, beautiful and very cozy. Here you can rent a room for four in August for 60-70 USD.
Excursion holidays in Bulgaria is not as developed as beach holidays, but there is clearly something to see. However, from city to city you have to overcome quite a long distance. For example, from the coast to the capital – more than 400, if not all 500 km, depending on the resort. The travel time is about 3.5-5 hours.
Plovdiv in Bulgaria is usually visited because of its main attraction – the ancient amphitheater. There is also an ancient Odeon, a wonderful cultural center Trakart with ancient mosaics and sculptures and many beautiful churches. The area of Old Plovdiv can rightly be considered the most valuable historical area of the Old Town and Bulgaria in general. Here you can rent a room for four in August for 60-70 USD in a good hotel, I would not recommend cheaper.
Sofia is the capital of the country, full of amazing sights, historical architecture, shopping centers and boutiques and a very interesting atmosphere. I advise you to visit Sofia simply because it really is a unique city. There is the cathedral, the rotunda of St. George’s Church, the stunning clock tower, the beautiful Light of the Week Church, various museums, flea markets and antique stores. Here you can rent a room for four in August for 50-70 USD in excellent quality and for 150 USD in a posh hotel.
Veliko Tarnovo is a rather provincial town in Bulgaria that is famous for its traditional buildings in the area of the village of Arbanasi! Here you will find a piece of the Middle Ages. Veliko Tarnovo used to be the capital of the whole Bulgaria, but now it is hard to believe because of the small size of the town. You can visit the Monastery of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was built in the 15th century, as well as a beautiful stone fortress on top of the hill Tsarevets, which I really liked and reminiscent even of Western Europe. Here a room for four will cost you 50-60 USD.
Rest with children
Bulgaria is just ideal for a holiday with children. Perhaps only Turkey is better than Bulgaria, because more Europeans come here and the service is on a higher level. So, it is always a good idea to go to Bulgaria with kids.
Ecotourism in Bulgaria is not very developed. Bulgarians themselves go to the sea or a neighboring town for a day or two, which is considered a standard vacation here. Only the most modern families living quite in European style choose for a week and more often abroad or in a large hotel at the seaside. True, there is one place that is available with a tour from Burgas and will be of interest to you – the Valley of Roses in the village of Kazanlak, about which you can learn more here.
In principle, you can see the whole of Bulgaria, if you focus on the big cities, not the urban-type settlements. It’s all quite colorful, and the cities are very similar, with tiled roofs in the old center and paneled and other low-rise apartment buildings in the newer areas. True, I advise you not to go near the borders to Romania, Serbia and Macedonia, but the borders with Greece and Turkey are friendlier.
Where to go from Bulgaria
Many tourists who come to Bulgaria and realize that they are already in Europe are looking for what other country to visit during their 7-14 day trip. That’s right, as two absolutely incredible countries are just south of Bulgaria – Greece and Turkey.
So, in Greece, I suggest you visit Thessaloniki, Kavala and Alexandroupolis, and in Turkey, Istanbul.
How to get around Bulgaria
Many people choose the train as the best solution for those who do not like to get tired during the trip, but I advise you modern buses with air conditioning. Riding in them is quite comfortable, and the privacy in relation to other passengers is much more. Or you can rent a car and drive around the country by yourself. Then even in 14 days you can drive around absolutely all the coast of Bulgaria, and in 7 days – half of it, which is also not bad!