Beaches in Bulgaria: Guide to the Black Sea Coast

By Sara | July 26, 2016

The Black Sea is a body of water bound by Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine. Bulgaria boasts an entire border of their country, or almost 400 km, of beach land on the Black Sea Coast. The Bulgarian beaches and resorts cost a fraction of what other beaches in Europe cost, so it’ a great place for budget travelers looking for a beach holiday.

There are a variety of beaches in Bulgaria that travelers can visit, each with their own stretch and quality of sand and sea. We spent two weeks exploring the coast and have compiled a list of everything you need to know for a Bulgarian sea side holiday.

Where to Stay

Due to the low prices in Bulgaria, most visitors will be able to find a hotel within their budget. Airbnb’s are available, but you’ll probably get nicer and cheaper accommodation in a hostel or hotel. If you do choose an Airbnb, here’s a discount off your first stay.

Unless there is one particular resort that you’re dying to visit, Burgas and Varna are the best places to stay purely due to location and city size. Both cities have bus stations with routes to beaches in Bulgaria that leave every 30 minutes. Additionally, both Burgas and Varna have plenty of shopping, food, and nightlife options to enjoy.

How to Travel

The bus stations list all of the resort routes on the Black Sea Coast in both English and Bulgarian. Just show up to the station, find your desired location, and pay the driver (cash only) for a ticket. Tickets are 6 to 7 lev each way per person, which is about 3 to 4 USD. Some busses have air-conditioning, and some do not, but no route is longer than 30 minutes unless you’re traveling in between Burgas and Varna.

***Tip: Transportation in Bulgaria operates on a loose schedule, so be flexible with your times and show up early, even if your bus is scheduled to leave on the hour or half hour. Check out our post on Bulgarian transportation here.

Where to Go: Beaches in Bulgaria

Burgas City Beach

Burgas City Beach

Pros: Quiet beach, near sea garden, dark, clean sand from containing high volumes of magnetite.

Cons: No water rentals, one bar with overpriced drinks

 

Perla Beach, Primorsko

Primorsko Perla Beach

Pros: Beautiful white sand, clean beach, warm water

Cons: No water sport rentals, no beach nightlife.

 

Sunny Beach, Nesebar

Sunny Beach

Pros: Water sport rentals, younger crowd, plenty of food and drink options, clean, light sand

Cons: Overcrowded

 

Varna City Beach

Varna Beach Sunset

Pros: Near a sea garden, has lots of restaurants nearby, busy nightlife, beach parties

Cons: Small compared to other beaches, no water rentals or daytime activities

 

Golden Sands, Varna

golden sands varna
Photo by Chlempi at German Wikipedia – CC BY-SA 2.0 

Pros: Very clean beach, plenty of nightlife options, water rentals available

Cons: Tourists often crowd the beach

What to Eat

Food in Bulgaria is priced very reasonably, so whether you choose to grocery shop or eat out, it’s hard to break the bank. There are ice cream stands and street food vendors every 100 meters in addition to a decent variety of sit down restaurants. A sandwich or wrap from street vendors will range 2 to 5 lev, or 1 to 3 USD. If you want a meal at a nice restaurant with a few drinks, expect to pay closer to 10-15 lev per person, or 5 to 8 USD.

Bulgarian Cuisine Specialties

Ayran: Mixture of water, salt, and plain yogurt. This is served as a drink option in almost every restaurant in Bulgaria. Though the drink is often served plain, sometimes dill, cucumber, or walnuts are added.

Banitsa: Bread pastry with cheese filling. Most bakeries in Bulgaria have banitsa as it is a very typical Bulgarian breakfast. On New Years, banitsa is made with small papers inside them containing good fortunes for the year ahead.

Shopska Salad: Cheese, cucumber, and tomato salad. This is served at most restaurants and has the same colors as the Bulgarian flag, making it a country favorite.

Should You Travel To Bulgaria?

The simple answer is, yes! A Bulgarian holiday or travel destination will be a different experience than many other places in Europe. Be prepared to enter a country where few people speak English, buildings are the same as they were many years ago, and transportation is an adventure in and of itself.

However, Bulgaria is fantastic place for travelers who enjoy learning the intricacies of a country, or for those who want a nice summer family vacation. With opportunities to eat great food, walk through sea gardens, and relax on countless beaches in Bulgaria, visitors can look forward to an enjoyable trip.

Bulgaria Transport: What to Know

By Sara | July 22, 2016

In Western Europe, transportation is pretty easy to figure out. With plenty of busses, trains, and flights, there are many ways to get around. Bulgaria transport is a bit of a different story and is not always as simple to navigate.

Both Apple and Google maps are severely lacking in Bulgaria, and many places aren’t searchable. Our hope is that this post can help other travelers figure out Bulgaria transport services with ease.

Getting In

The best way to arrive in Bulgaria varies depending on which country you’re traveling from. Those coming from Western Europe and beyond should fly for simplicity. Flight service RyanAir has regular flights from London.

Bussing is an option, but expect to switch services several times. Eastern and Western bus services run to different places. The service Flixbus is a great option for traveling Western Europe, and will take travelers as far as Romania. From there, the border crossing isn’t too difficult or pricey, and there are several bus options into Bulgaria.

Bulgaria Transport

Option 1: Train

Train travel is the cheapest Bulgaria transport method, but is not the most efficient or comfortable. Most Bulgarian transport services do not allow online booking, so you need to go to the actual station. Finding a ticket worker that speaks English can be difficult, so bring a translation app along. Booking a ticket days in advance will not save you money, and many times is not even allowed.

To purchase a ticket, first find out your departure day and time. Then, on your day of travel purchase a ticket at the station. Not all trains have snacks and toilet paper, so be prepared to bring your own. Also, don’t overdress; most trains lack air-conditioning. If you haven’t guessed yet, this isn’t our favorite method of Bulgaria transport.

Option 2: Bus

Bussing in Bulgaria is great if you don’t need to be somewhere by a certain time. Busses run on a loose schedule, so find out what time the bus should leave, then show up 30 minutes early. We’ve had busses scheduled for 11:30 that left at 11:10, and busses scheduled for 5:00 that left at 5:20. Busses are only slightly more expensive than trains in Bulgaria, and range $3-$15.

Option 3: Carpool

Bulgaria is the first country that we’ve carpooled in, and now it’s our favorite way to save money on transportation. A great resource is BlaBlaCar which is a ride sharing app used throughout Europe. It has regular rides from one end of Bulgaria to the other as well as rides that cross country borders. Be sure to check every day for your ride. This service works best if your dates are flexible.

Another option is to join a Facebook carpool group. You’ll likely need to translate the page from Bulgarian, but there are many groups that post rides throughout Bulgaria. The benefit of this approach is that you get to meet a local and get to your destination much faster. A carpool from one end of the country to the other cost us about $10 USD each.

Option 4: Fly

Flying in between cities is always an option, but is the most expensive choice. No special tips here, just catch a cab to the airport and board your flight. For tips on how to find cheap flights, check out this post.

Getting Out

To leave Bulgaria, there are similar options to getting in. On our trip, we found a carpool from Sofia to Vienna for €40 per person. Considering the amount of borders crossed on the 14 hour ride, it was a great deal! There are other options as well including:

Flying: Fastest option but will be more expensive

Trains: From the capital Sofia, the farthest north a train will get you is Bratislava, for €80 per person. Prices range from €60-120 depending on the type of train and distance of the ride. The trains don’t go farther than Slovakia, so you’ll need to switch back to Western Europe services after that point.

Busses: To get accurate information head to the actual bus station. Many busses can take you to neighboring countries from which travelers can switch to Western European services.

Bulgaria is a unique country and a provides different experience than other places in Europe. Don’t let the Bulgaria transport trickiness dissuade you from visiting, but plan ahead and be flexible! Have any other Bulgaria transport tips? Comment below!