A guide to the best beaches in Bulgaria
Home to almost 400 kilometres of sensational Black Sea coastline, the Bulgarian Riviera is lined with beautiful beaches just waiting to be discovered. Away from purpose-built resorts like Sunny Beach, which boast excellent facilities and activities, you’ll find plenty of hidden gems offering a more laid-back vibe.
A natural wonder
Full of mountains, olive groves and seas of pine trees, the scenery on any Greek island holiday is sure to be spectacular. And that’s before we even look at the beaches.
From the coastal towns of Argassi and Kalamaki you can explore Mount Skopos and hike to the top to visit the monastery of Oanagia Skopiotissa. Horse riding is a very popular pastime in Zante and at Nana’s Horse Riding Centre in Kalamaki you can get out into the countryside on horseback or trek along the five-kilometre beach all the way to Laganas.
Another horsey treat is hiring a horse-drawn carriage to take you around laid-back Alykanas in the northeast.
Cacao Beach, Sunny Beach
The Blue Flag winning Cacao Beach is the largest and most popular in Bulgaria, boasting hundreds of bars, restaurants and shops along the promenade and enjoying a lively atmosphere. Sunny Beach’s developed infrastructure attracts thousands of tourists from around the world looking for Bulgarian All Inclusive holidays, and extends onto the fine golden sand where you’ll find rows of sunloungers and a multitude of watersports on offer.
Cacao Beach is also famous for its summer parties with lots of DJs and entertainment along the sand. Stretching for eight kilometres, walk in either direction for a few minutes and you’ll find plenty of quieter spots where you can lay down your towel for free.
Central Beach, St Vlas
On the northern tip of Bourgas Bay you’ll find this little beauty, sandwiched between the iridescent Black Sea and the Balkan mountains. While the town of St Vlas may date back to the 2nd century, there’s nothing dated about the facilities offered along this beach in the centre of town and with over a kilometre of golden sand, you’ll be sure to find your perfect patch along the shoreline.
Popular with families, the calm sea and clean sand are perfect for paddling and digging endless holes, with the prestigious Blue Flag status of the beach confirming this. Jet-skiing, pedalos, water-skiing and windsurfing are all on offer, as are relaxing sunloungers serviced by the bars and restaurants lining the water’s edge.
Obzor Beach, Obzor
Just north of the popular hub of Sunny Beach you’ll find this laid-back ribbon of golden sand without the huge crowds of its lively neighbours. Edging the small town of Obzor, the beach promenade is lined with bars, cafes and restaurants so you wont have to go far come lunchtime. The water is bright, shallow and transparent and as the sand gently shelves into the sea, this is a great spot for the little ones.
Hire a sunlounger and relax with views of the sparkling ocean in front and the breathtaking Stara Planina mountain range behind or take part in one of the many activities on offer along the eight kilometre stretch. Obzor Beach enjoys a gentle ocean breeze making it a great spot for windsurfing and sailing. Back on the sand you’ll find volleyball and, for the more adventurous, adrenalin filled bungee ropes.
Elenite Beach, Elenite
If you’re craving nothing more than stunning views, plenty of sunshine and lots of sunbathing space on your package holiday to Bulgaria, this offering may be the one for you. Sitting pretty at the bottom of Elenite‘s rolling green hills, this quiet and picturesque little wonder is neatly lined with thatched parasols and inviting sunloungers.
With shallow waves during the summer, the warm and tranquil ocean is ideal for swimming and paddling. After a relaxing day on the sand, head to one of the popular beachside restaurants and tuck into freshly caught, grilled seafood as the sun disappears below the horizon.
New Nessebar Beach, Nessebar
Alongside the UNESCO protected old quarter of Nessebar, nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the Black Sea’ you’ll find a selection of Blue Flag beaches varying in facilities and popularity but all sharing the same stunning coastline.
New Nessebar Beach stretches for two and a half kilometres boasting fine, light-red sand, adorned with picturesque parasols and sunloungers. The lack of tide and calm water are perfect for getting your feet wet and the plethora of bars and restaurants in the area means you’ll have everything you need on tap.
The warmth of the north
Heading north, the first major city you’ll find amid the rolling hills and crescent-shaped bays is Varna. The third largest city in Bulgaria, Varna is blessed by a hot climate and charming architecture.
Go further north and you’ll find Golden Sands, a Bulgarian national park turned extraordinary resort. With four kilometres of gently sloping beach, each grain of sand is as golden as the name promises, and the coastline is flanked by sleek restaurants and lively bars. Golden Sands is also popular with families, boasting huge activity parks and an iconic pirate ship.
History-loving adventurers head to Aquapolis, famously regarded as Bulgaria’s first waterpark. Though old, it’s ideas are fresh and include a family-friendly zone, an adults-only zone and an extreme zone for those wanting to brave the most outlandish water chutes, tube rides and slip-and-slides.