A holiday on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast can become your best or worst experience ever.
Many people head to this part of the world with the wrong expectations, the wrong idea of a perfect vacation, and the wrong information about the area.
In order for you to have an unforgettable and even a life-changing experience rather than a horror trip, you should pick carefully the places you stay in, the activities you take part in, and the food you devour. Gather your information carefully, read these facts about Bulgaria, and make sure you decide whether or not Bulgaria is safe first.
This is not a step-by-step guide as you needn’t do everything in the exact same order. However, it is crucial to follow all instructions. This way, you’ll ensure your experience becomes the best vacation of your life on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.
This guide is not geared towards people who’d like to book an all-inclusive package, lay at the beach all day with a beer in their hands, and drink the night away. It’s rather targeted at travelers who love to explore, learn the history of the region, mingle with the locals, and try new and exciting activities.
Does that describe you? Then read on!
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Choose the Perfect Accommodation for Your Perfect Vacation
The right accommodation can make or break a vacation. If you’re not a party animal who enjoys loud music 24/7, you better stay away from the most popular Black Sea resorts Sunny Beach and Golden Sands.
Instead, head to places further away from mass tourism, such as Sinemorets, Shkorpilovtsi, or Kavarna. Or better yet, opt for the cute little villages away from the coast. Distances in Bulgaria are small and you’ll only need a couple of minutes to get from your accommodation to the nearest beach.
For the best experience with the most welcoming hosts, choose one of the guest houses run by families who make sure you feel at home at all times.
We recently stayed at Levana Guesthouse in the village Balgarevo. Not only were all our needs met but we made new friends and learned a great deal about the region, its history, and its people. You can book your own perfect vacation at Levana through this affiliate link directly at Booking.com.
The typical Dobrudzhda house is a one-story building, which assures the constantly blowing winds pass by easily, and is nothing like the boring concrete hotels you’ll find elsewhere. The garden is charming and cosy, and perfect to forget your busy everyday life and rejuvenate.
Looking for an extremer experience? Head to the rugged seacoast and pick one of over a hundred caves to camp in and meet the sunrise.
Meet the Most Hospitable and Friendly People
When you visit the Bulgarian Black Sea coast and avoid overpriced touristy places, you’ll have the chance to meet some of the most hospitable and welcoming people imaginable, your lovely hosts included.
For example, the mayor of Balgarevo himself greeted us and toured us around the local distillery. Then we met a family who grows some of the tastiest tomatoes you’ll ever try. What more do you need to make new friends? Fiery rakia plus delectable salads is the best recipe, trust me!
Our evening was filled with authentic Bulgarian folk songs and dances from the Dobrudzha region, perfectly performed by the lovely ladies from Balgarevo and accompanied live by their skilled accordion player.
Savour Delectable Local Delicacies and Fiery Drinks
Some of the tastiest Bulgarian dishes are served at the eateries around the Black Sea coast.
The fiery rakia you’ll try at the seaside is distilled from figs or wine grapes. It tastes smooth and fruity and caresses your palate like nothing you’ve tasted before.
The red and rosé local wines are the perfect companion to your seafood meals and salads.
The salads are made from the freshest most delicious vegetables you’ve ever tried and the mussels and fish are caught literally moments before they were prepared.
During the summer season, you can also enjoy escargots from the eco-farm in Balgarevo.
Visit the Jaw-dropping Rugged Black Sea Coast
In the north-eastern part of Bulgaria, you’ll find wild, jaw-dropping, and rugged coastline.
Long before people left a mark on the Black Sea region, nature started sculpturing incredible awe-inspiring forms and carved deep caves and arches. The wind and the waves continue changing the coastline every season. The views will make you rub your eyes in disbelief at the beauty nature has created.
Man has left a mark here, too, finishing nature’s job and forming hidden rock-hewn dwellings. The bravest travelers spend the night in one of the over a hundred caves, waiting for the sunrise, listening to the waves crashing below, watching the birds, and stargazing.
Get Rid of Your Tan Lines on Pristine Secluded Beaches
Despite the fact that in high season the most famous Bulgarian Black Sea beaches are overcrowded, there are still pristine secluded gems waiting for you to discover.
You’ll find the best beaches to get rid of your tan lines and go for a swim at the far south end of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast near the borderline with Turkey.
Alternatively, you can head north and try to reach the sandy beaches between Shabla and the Romanian border. Once you leave the main road, there are only dirt roads and I highly recommend driving a 4WD vehicle.
You could even set up a tent on the beach and meet the sunrise at sea level, for example at Irakli, one of the most beautiful sandy beaches you’ll ever lay your eyes upon.
✔️Tip: You can also find amazing spa resorts on the Black Sea coast. Some of the best hot springs in Bulgaria are in the spa town of Balchik.
Learn the Fascinating History and Mythology of the Region
The Bulgarian Black Sea coast has been inhabited for over 7,500 years. You’ll see remains of fortifications, dwellings, temples, and burial sites all over the coastal area.
The most famous place to visit is the 2 km long headland Cape Kaliakra. You’ll see the remains of a Roman bath and dwellings as well as a history museum in a natural cave previously used as a monk cell. The restored fortification was the last Bulgarian land the Ottoman invaders overtook.
Legend says, that 40 young women refused to convert to Islam and chose to braid their long hairs together and jump off the cliffs of Kaliakra rather than become slaves.
Try to visit the restored fortress at Cape Kaliakra as early as possible in the morning or even at sunrise. You’ll be rewarded not only by a stunning view of the first daylight but you’ll also by having the place all to yourself.
Other amazing places with tonnes of archaeological sites and historical buildings are the old towns of Nessebar and Sozopol.
Admire the Endangered Flowers Blossom and Watch the Wildlife
Every season offers a new stunning view and changes the appearance of the Black Sea shore.
In high season between June and August, you’ll only see a fraction of the beauty nature has in stock for you. If you wish to beat the crowds, have the beaches to yourself, and see the amazing variety of wildlife that resides here, come outside the main season.
In May, the endangered purple-red wild peonies in Yailata Nature Reserve will make you feel like Alice in Wonderland.
After the end of the summer season on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, in September, you can wave the storks and the swallows goodbye as they head south for the winter. Watch them gather and make their last preparations before departure but beware of the excrements coming your way.
Even if you just follow the dirt roads along the Black Sea shore, you’ll see a huge variety of birds and flowers. For example, the Dobrudzha steppe is home to around 150 species of birds and plants.
You’ll see endangered black cormorants and if you’re lucky, you’ll even spot families of bottlenose dolphins swimming near the seaside.
Test Your Limits and Infuse Your Body with Tons of Adrenaline
Get your adrenaline pumping and your muscles fit with some (extreme) activities. Tame the waves and cliffs and show them your worth.
You can swim in the Black Sea but beware of the waves and currents. Every summer experienced swimmers lose their lives because they were too reckless and challenged the sea gods.
Paddle on a sea kayak around Cape Kaliakra or explore the caves and cliffs along the coastline.
Bike through the Dobrudzha steppe to greet the day and enjoy the most beautiful sunrises of your life.
And if that’s not extreme enough for you, try jumping off the cliffs around Tyulenovo which offer the perfect playground for deep water soloing.
Immerse Yourself in Ancient Traditions, Rituals, Dances, and Music
During the warmer months of the year, in many of the cute little villages and picturesque towns around the Black Sea coast, a wide variety of folklore festivals take place.
You’re guaranteed to get goosebumps from the singing of young children or old grandmas. You’ll want to jump in and dance the night away holding hands with people you’ve just met, trying to follow the complicated steps of the traditional horo dances, or inventing your own.
To ensure the learning process is fast and painless, remember the previous points of this guide: try a drink of fiery rakia from figs and make new friends.
Greet the New Day and Send the Last Sun Rays over the Black Sea
There are only a few places in the world where you can send off the last sun rays of the ending day and meet the new day in almost the same spot over the sea.
While most of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast looks east, making it perfect to greet the new day and admire the colors of the night fade away, there is also a great spot where you can observe stunning sunsets as well. At the 2 km long Cape Kaliakra, you can see an amazing sunset on the south shore and greet the day on the very tip of the cape.
Alternatively, Cape Emine and several smaller headlands can offer you nice spots for experiencing sunsets and sunrises over the waters of the Black Sea, but the lights of the nearby resorts might obscure the view.
Are You Ready for the Best Vacation of Your Life?
How do you envision your perfect vacation? Is it the place, its people, the food, the history, the views, the activities, or is it all of those things put together that make it unforgettable?
On the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, you can have plenty of everything of the above. You’ll meet some of the most welcoming people, you’ll learn to dance the traditional Bulgarian folklore dances, you’ll try delectable foods and drinks, you’ll walk around hundreds-years-old historical artifacts, you’ll take in jaw-dropping views, and you’ll immerse yourself in extreme activities.
Are you ready to take the risk and come to Bulgaria? I promise you, it is addictive. You might not want to travel anywhere else after spending the best vacation of your life on the Bulgarian Black Sea shore!
Disclaimer: we were invited to visit the Northern Bulgarian Black Sea region by Sea Kayaking Bulgaria and the Kavarna Tourist Association. Our accommodation and meals were covered by Levana Guesthouse in Balgarevo and Nash Dom in Kavarna. The expressed opinions are, as always, my own and were not influenced by the invitation.