10 Best Black Sea Beaches (The Secret Gems Of Bulgaria)
Do you love exploring pristine sand beaches without the crowds?
I must admit, that living on the most densely populated continent has its downsides. Sadly, Europe provides a daunting task when searching for an empty beach in summer.
When the sun outside starts tanning your skin, everyone seems to be heading to the most famous beaches. Even in little Bulgaria, tourists from Russia, Germany, Great Britain, and the Scandinavian countries all fight with the locals for the perfect spot on a sandy Bulgarian beach.
But I’m not going to tell you about those Black Sea beaches. I know you don’t want to be a part of the crowd but rather explore a pristine stretch of sand in tranquillity and privacy.
That’s why I’m presenting to you the most spectacular hidden gems among the Bulgarian Black Sea beaches.
The Best Time To Visit The Bulgarian Black Sea Beaches
The official season starts at the end of May but the weather is still unpredictable and rain showers are not uncommon. Even if the air temperature is pleasant for a day at the beach, the water temperature is still only suitable for the bravest of swimmers. It is, nevertheless, perfect for other activities, such as sea kayaking.
In June, as the temperatures rise and before vacationers storm to the Black Sea beaches, while the summer heat hasn’t turned the lush forests and the green meadows golden, is the perfect time for a beach vacation.
Without the crowds, you can best appreciate the colours of the Black Sea and the green scenery around you.
July and August are the hottest and busiest months of the year at the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. As the temperatures escalate to unbearable degrees in the cities, everyone who can afford it heads to the beach. Not just Bulgarians but also foreign tourists will battle with you for a room and a spot at the beach.
In September, most Bulgarians have run out of vacation days and are happy to celebrate the national holidays on September 6th and September 22nd away from home. So if you avoid these two holidays, you’ll end up having the Black Sea beaches mostly to yourself.
After the end of the European summer, it’s no longer beach weather and the strong winds at the Bulgarian Black Sea coast become hostile.
So where exactly should you go?
From South to North, these are the most spectacular, secluded, empty, hidden gems on the Bulgarian seaside.
Southern Black Sea: Mild Weather And Fantastic Sand Beaches
The Bulgarian coastline generally divides into Southern and Northern.
From the border with Turkey to the little town Obzor, the Black Sea coast is called Southern Black Seaside.
Usually, the weather is warmer here than up north and rainfalls during the peak season are rare.
Skipping the big resorts and the famous party zones, these are the Southern Black Sea beaches off-the-beaten-path.
1. Silistar: The Beach Inside A Nature Reserve
At the end of a dirt road through a lush forest, you’ll reach a fine gold sand beach with showers, bars, and lifeguards. In June, when I visited, there were only six people on this spectacular beach. On the other hand, the bars were still getting ready to open for the season.
Activities: Silistar Beach is located inside a nature reserve.
You can find sun beds and umbrellas, as well as cool beach bars. Silistar is perfect for swimming, walking, or climbing the cliffs at both ends of the beach. Don’t venture too far into the nearby forest as it is a protected area.
There is also a bird watching tower at the entrance of the beach.
Warnings: despite having a lifeguard during the busy months of July and August, beware of unpredictable currents. The road to the beach is a dirt road, winding for about 2 km through the forest, so you’ll need a high clearance vehicle to get there.
Also, the owners of the nearby properties sometimes stop the vehicles going to the beach and require them to pay a fee for trespassing.
2. Butamyata: Surrounded By Fascinating Rock Formations
The central beach of the little town of Sinemorets offers brown sand and calm, clear turquoise waters. Ugly concrete buildings on one end strangely contrast with beautiful cliffs covered in green on the opposite side of the beach.
Ignore the ruins of a hotel, which was never finished, and head to the far end of Butamyata. You’ll find a small river which flows into the Black Sea. Near the river mouth is located one of the coolest beach bars you’ll ever find.
You’ll also see a steep path between the cliffs to the neighbouring Lipite Beach and The Ships rock formation. If you’re up for a nice trek, it takes approximately 30 minutes to reach the next hidden gem.
Activities: swimming, when the weather and the sea conditions allow it, is a must here. There are some basic facilities, as well as a couple of nice eateries and bars. Beach umbrellas and sun beds are available.
Take the path starting near the small river mouth and hike to the next beach, Lipite. On the way, you’ll pass by the incredibly stunning rock formation The Ships.
Warnings: Not the whole beach area is guarded. If you are unsure of your swimming skills, better choose a spot near a lifeguard tower. Avoid swimming at the edges of the beach as there are multiple cliffs and the waves might pull you towards them.
3. Lipite: Wild Camping At The Edge Of The Forest
Lipite Beach is difficult to access but totally worth the effort to get there. It is an unguarded, unspoiled stretch of fine white sand, surrounded by cliffs and oak forest. The calm waters are good for swimming.
This is one of the wildest Bulgarian beaches.
Only a few people trek from the nearby Butamyata Beach or drive the dirt road through the oak forest to get here.
Activities: there are no facilities or eateries at Lipite. Many of the visitors come to camp here, as wild camping in Bulgaria is not illegal.
Warnings: no lifeguard, so swim at your own risk. People who come here value their privacy. Some of them are trying to get rid of their tan lines, so don’t disturb.
4. Veleka: Where The River Meets The Sea
Veleka River flows into the Black Sea at the beach with the same name.
Theoretically, you can swim in both the sea and the river at this Black Sea beach.
In practice, the river waters are fast and seem brown and unclean due to the muddy riverbed. And the sea is quite deep and unpredictable, thus dangerous for swimming.
Activities: there’s a surf school at the beach. The waves and the wind create perfect conditions for surfers, but the beach is not suitable for swimmers. It is, however, perfect for a nice beach walk and a short hike.
The path from Sinemorets goes down a rather steep hill and offers magnificent views over the beach and the river.
Another great activity you can indulge into is bird watching. Get up early and head to the tower at the back of the beach facing Veleka River.
There are no eateries or facilities at Veleka Beach.
Warnings: don’t be too brave or reckless to go swimming at Veleka Beach. There’s no one to pull you out of the water.
5. Coral: Bumpy Road Leading To Golden Sand Dunes
Coral Beach can be reached after spending a few minutes on a bumpy road. If you don’t mind driving your car off-road, you will get to an unspoiled stretch of fine golden sand with very few people.
Some of the visitors are nudists, but there’s enough space for everyone to enjoy their day.
Activities: the embraced by dunes Coral Beach is great for a beach walk, a short dip in the water, and erasing those annoying tan lines. There are no eateries or facilities.
Warnings: there’s no lifeguard at this Black Sea beach.
6. Arapya: A Quick Stop At The Side Of The Road
If you take the older and slower road through the resorts Kiten, Primorsko, and Dyuni, you can’t miss the nice long stretch of undeveloped beach with fine-grained golden sand.
Depending on the current and the wind, in some months the water at Arapya might be infested with plants, creating the illusion that it is dirty. Indeed, it’s quite unpleasant to swim among the seaweed.
Activities: this is one of the best spots on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast to simply stop your car at the side of the road and enjoy a couple of hours of sunbathing and swimming.
Warnings: there’s no privacy at the beach as the road runs parallel to the sand dunes which don’t provide much shelter. The lack of a lifeguard and facilities means you have to bring everything you need with you and be very careful when going into the water.
7. Irakli: Where The Mountains Kiss The Sea
Irakli is one of the most inaccessible beaches on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. You’ll have to drive on a long and bumpy dirt road. At the end of the road, you’ll reach the beach, which is known as one of the best in Bulgaria.
On the southern end of the beach is the Cape Emine, where Stara Planina Mountain meets the Black Sea. Stara Planina, formerly known as the Balkan, gave its name to the Balkan Peninsula, or the Balkans for short. It runs from Eastern Serbia through the whole width of Bulgaria and kisses the Black Sea at Emine Cape near Irakli Beach.
Irakli is a wild undeveloped long stretch of beautiful sand, which, unfortunately, starts to receive tonnes of tourists around the beginning of July.
Activities: Irakli is great for swimming, chilling on the fine sand, or even wild camping and stargazing. If you’ve made the effort to reach this beach, you might as well spend a night here.
Warnings: the access to one of the most spectacular Black Sea beaches is through a dirt road. There are no facilities at the beach.
Northern Black Sea: Rugged Cliffs And Strong Winds
The Bulgarian coastline north of the town of Obzor is known as the Northern Black Sea coast.
The town itself has a lovely beach too, but Obzor is overpriced and rather touristy, so its beach didn’t earn a spot on this list.
The Northern Black Sea is mostly known for its rather unpredictable weather and strong winds. Hence, no surprise that it is home to the largest windmill farm in Bulgaria.
It is also famous for its rugged coastline. But there are also quite a few sand beaches in this part of the Bulgarian seaside for you to explore.
8. Shkorpilovtsi: The Longest Stretch Of Sand In Bulgaria
Shkorpilovtsi is the longest beach in Bulgaria. It is a wide stretch of fine sand, approximately 10 km long.
A small town with the same name is located at the southern end of the beach. Naturally, there are more people on this side of Shkorpilovtsi Beach.
You can have a nice long walk from the town towards the further end of the beach where you can enjoy your privacy. Alternatively, you can drive through the forest to reach the secluded part of Shkorpilovtsi Beach.
If you take the exit through the oak forest just outside of town and ignore the garbage and the poor conditions of the road you’re driving on, you’ll reach a pristine part of the beach with no one around you.
Activities: the beautiful dunes will provide a great background for a relaxing beach walk. Play with the waves, but go into the water with caution. There are no facilities at this Black Sea beach.
Warnings: the road access to the longest Bulgarian Black Sea beach is quite adventurous.
9. Kamchia: The Beach Next To The Jungle
Located at the mouth of the Kamchia River, the beach offers fine golden sand dunes and enough privacy. Only a few hotels and bungalows are located nearby and the beach is somewhat isolated from the main tourist stream.
Activities: when you get tired of hanging at the beach, head to the river pier for a nice boat ride. The river is slow and you can admire the wildlife in the longose grove. It looks a lot like a tropical jungle and is a part of a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
Warnings: don’t go for a swim in the river.
10. Bolata: Shallow Calm Waters Perfect For Small Children
Even in peak season, the horseshoe-shaped Bolata Beach only gets crowded on weekends. The rest of the time there’s plenty of space on the brown sand for families to enjoy a day in the calm shallow waters of the Black Sea.
On weekends, don’t even think of visiting. The road to the beach is extremely narrow and gets packed with parked vehicles. So if you don’t leave before 9:00 AM, you’ll be stuck till everyone else decides to leave.
Activities: the beach has no facilities, no umbrellas, nor sunbeds. The water is very calm and shallow, making it perfect for small children to play the whole day. It’s also a great starting point for a boat trip or a sea kayaking adventure.
You can also hike the surrounding cliffs for a magnificent view of the horseshoe-shaped beach. Just remember to do it when the sun isn’t at its peak.
Warnings: avoid coming on weekends. Bring your own umbrella and enough sunscreen.
The Secluded Bulgarian Black Sea Beaches Are Waiting For You
If you want to visit a secluded, sublime, sand beach in overcrowded Europe, remember that you can’t run out of options in easily accessible Bulgaria.
You can find even more pristine Black Sea beaches than the ones listed. Here are only the ones with the cleanest waters and the finest sand.
A couple of the lesser known Black Sea beaches I’ve left out intentionally as some secrets should be revealed only to the bravest and most adventurous upon arrival at the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.
So, next time you plan a beach vacation in Europe, start by checking the Bulgarian Black Sea beaches.
The seaside also provides great road trip opportunities. Numerous fantastic historical and cultural sites, little towns with cobblestone streets, and picturesque villages are waiting for you to visit in case you get tired of the beach life.
Hope to see you in Bulgaria next summer!