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Exploring Bulgaria's Black Sea Coast

Although the cities, woodlands and sunshine of Bulgaria are actively enjoyed by countless holidaymakers every year, it's the beaches that really entice us. Along the eastern edges of the country the coastline curls from Turkey's borders in the south to Romania's in the north. Huddled against the Black Sea, the shorelines are some of Europe's most glorious beach holiday destinations. Below, find a brief overview of what you can expect from Bulgaria's Black Sea coast.

The sumptuous south

Starting in the south with Bulgaria's most active and bustling seaside resort, Sunny Beach is as much a party capital as a place to lay down your towel and let your worries melt in the hot sun to the rhythm of the waves.

Bulgaria's biggest resort is rich with cocktail bars, nightclubs and glitzy restaurants, though the bustle of its streets never detracts from the beach experience. Sunny Beach is Blue Flag accredited, which guarantees the beach's cleanliness and appeal. The party atmosphere also doesn't dampen the family friendliness, with countless parks, playgrounds and activity clubs for the family to enjoy. And adventurous souls can sample a life on the waves with everything from yachting trips to diving, windsurfing, parasailing and more.

Or for a taste of genuine Bulgarian culture among all the seaside fun, Nessebar comes highly recommended. It extends into the sea on its own peninsula, and the town hosts a rich mix of classic Bulgarian architecture and contemporary designs. Nicknamed the Pearl of the Black Sea, UNESCO has recognised its 3,000 years of history imbued in every stone and corner. The beach – a rolling tapestry of sand dunes and cute beach shacks – proves once more that each resort on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast really does have a personality of its own.

The inviting heartlands

Moving up to the centre of the Black Sea coast, Elenite is a luxury resort tucked at the base of the Balkan mountain as it slopes towards the sea. Many of the area's spas and beauty therapy centres call Elenite home, and with such stunning surroundings, it makes sense why. The beach is wonderfully pale, against a richly blue sea and greenery surrounds the town on all sides. The scenery also makes Elenite one of the top destinations in Bulgaria for outdoor activities like countryside hikes, adventurous cycling and boating.

Also in this central region, Obzor Beach's classic beauty entices visitors with a relaxed beach flanked by vineyards, woodlands and the dramatic backdrop of the Balkan mountains. Of course, the sea is clear and the sand is warm, making this a superb place to relax under the sun. A laid-back village rests on the shore so those seeking a livelier beach resort must travel a bit further afield.

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.

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