Bulgarian Breaks, at a budget friendly price
Bulgaria represents an attractive and wallet-friendly alternative to its Mediterranean counterparts, with average flight times a manageable three and a half hours.
Even in the shoulder seasons of May and October, when you can bag a bargain, the temperatures hover at 17°C, zooming up as high as 30°C in the summer months.
Bulgaria’s Black Sea resorts are varied and you’ll find everything from family-friendly havens to buzzing party towns and UNESCO World Heritage centres. Sunny Beach attracts an international clientele with its vibrant nightlife and modern amenities. Its cliff-edged monastery and natural thermal springs mean there’s also plenty for those who want more for their money than a suntan.
That UNESCO Word Heritage Centre we mentioned is Nessebar, which is steeped in 3000 years of history as well as offering some of the Black Sea Riviera’s best beaches. While Obzor Beach, a small seaside town backed by the Balkan Mountains, is a relaxed holiday venue with a dash of authentic charm.
Cheap days out in Bulgaria
Sunny Beach was designed with holidaymakers in mind so shops, bars and facilities are all within walking distance. The beachfront area is lined with affordable cafes and those wanting to bag a bargain should head to Flower Street for beachwear, inflatables and souvenirs. The main beach is Cacao, a Blue Flag stretch of sand with warm, shallow waters.
Over in Nessebar you’ll find a treasure trove of delights and leisurely hours can be spent strolling the cobbled streets. The impressive architecture is an eclectic mix of gabled houses, gothic churches and medieval fortresses. Watch local artisans making exquisite lace-work and wooden sculptures or enjoy a drink in one of the many cafes.
With 10-kilometres of sandy coastline, Obzor is the ideal place for relaxation, swimming and sunbathing. Palm Park, situated between the beach and central piazza, is perfect for picnics, while history buffs can check out the Ancient Roman and Greek remains dotted around the town. Beach lovers seeking seclusion may wish to head to Irakli Beach, a wild stretch of coastline, with sand dunes and tall grasses.
Beyond the delightful Black Sea coast resorts there are rugged landscapes to roam and Byzantine churches to discover. Or head to the biggest city on the Black Sea coast, Varna for the ancient Roman baths, an excellent public park and archaeological museum.
Other cheap holidays to take a look at
When it comes to affordable getaways, Bulgaria is by no means the only choice, Europe has a diverse range of holiday options for holidaymakers of all ages. Check out other destinations like historic Croatia, with its fascinating old town and beautiful shores, picturesque Slovenia for snow-capped mountains and fairytale towns, or sun soaked Spain, offering laid-back beach resorts and a vibrant nightlife.
However, if Bulgaria appeals take at a look at our travel guide to find out more and start planning your trip. Here are a few cheap hotel ideas to get you started.
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In a quiet spot, just 700 metres from the beach, the Silver Springs Hotel is a great value base for your Bulgarian break. The swimming pool, surrounded by loungers, forms the inviting focal point of the complex and there's a pool bar if you're in need of refreshment. Active types may enjoy a game of pool or table tennis and there's also a games room. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available in the waiter-service restaurant but you may prefer to go Self Catering to save some money. It's easy here as all studios and apartments feature a kitchenette with two electric rings and a fridge.
Just a five-minute walk from the beach and close to Nessebar old town, the Marina Palace is a light and airy hotel featuring a glass atrium with delightful sea views. There's a rooftop pool, whirlpool and cocktail bar plus a separate kids' pool. The buffet restaurant serves a choice of dishes, however those who fancy getting out and about will find a selection of reasonably priced restaurants just a 10-minute walk away. Enjoy a workout in the fitness room or have a game of tennis or if you want to splash out the spa, sauna, massage and Turkish bath are available for an additional fee.
The Sol Luna Bay Hotel has a range of fantastic facilities including its own mini aqua park with water slides – available between June and September. It's set right on the beach and there's also an outdoor swimming pool and indoor pool for cooler days if you're travelling on a cheap off-season break. A selection of free activities are available, such as table tennis, beach volleyball, darts and boccia. There's also a fitness centre and, for a small additional fee, billiards and beach sports. The daytime and evening entertainment programme includes games and competitions for the kids', professional shows and dancing, plus there's a playground and free Wi-Fi zones. Obzor town is a leisurely 20-minute walk away for more to do.