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A Guide to Family Days Out in Bulgaria

A Guide to Family Days Out in Bulgaria

Your family holiday to Bulgaria will no doubt revolve around the glorious beaches of the Black Sea coast.

But whether you stay on the northern or southern shores, we give you some great ideas for things to do that all ages will enjoy. They range from cheap days out in nature and giving the kids a history lesson, to interesting excursions and can’t miss attractions like waterparks, and everything in between.

Sunny Beach

Cacao Beach, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria

The biggest resort in Bulgaria, Sunny Beach was created as a holiday destination so has a long list of activities up its sleeve, and is lively after hours. The golden sand arches around for 18-kilometres here, running all the way to historic Nessebar.

Cheap days out

We all know kids love getting muddy, and a trip to Atanasovsko Lake’s mud baths will go down a treat. Plus, for us grown-ups the mud has the benefit of detoxifying the body and softening the skin.

Take a trip to the southern part of the lake, about 40 minutes away by car, for a beach, salt pools you can float in, and plenty of gooey mud.

The lake is free to enter and, if you aren’t hiring a car, there are tour companies who make the trip daily for around 30 lev.

Once in a lifetime excursion

A stunning area of meandering natural river systems, ancient oak trees, empty beaches and abundant wildlife, Strandja Nature Park is the largest in Bulgaria.

At the south-eastern corner of the country, you can reach it in just over an hour from Sunny Beach or take a 4×4 excursion to reach the remote parts.

You’ll discover Roman remains and places of Thrasian worship, as well as caves, lakes and mineral springs. And for kids, the chance to see wildcats, otters, geckos, tortoises and even golden eagles is too good to miss.

Can’t miss attractions

Family fun is dished up in large quantities in Sunny Beach, starting with Action Aqua Park with its lazy river, wave pool and bigger water rides for adults.

Just for kids are the water castle and Adventure Island water playground with slides, a kids’ pool, and there’s even a mini zoo on the side. Buy your family ticket online for two adults and two kids over 90cms for just 114 lev.

For all the fun of the seaside fair, Luna Park is where you can ride on looping rollercoasters or peep through your hands in the house of horrors for around 10 lev a go. Then take the kids on the dodgems, carousel and caterpillar mini-coaster, at 5 lev each.

If you have older kids with a need for speed head to the karting track off the Burgas-Varna road with 400-metres of chicanes on speed-restricted kids’ carts.

Nessebar

Nessebar, Bulgaria

Nicknamed the Pearl of the Black Sea, Nessebar’s crowning glory is its UNESCO old town, which sits on a peninsula, seemingly a world away from the modern hotels lining the seafront. You’ve also got Sunny Beach right up the road.

Cheap days out

It’ll cost you nothing to wander around Nessebar’s fascinating 3000-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its location on an islet joined only by a narrow strip to the rest of Nessebar shows off beautiful seascapes in all directions, with the ancient buildings providing much more eye candy.

It was an ancient Greek colony, a medieval Ottoman city, and home to the Romans so you’ll spot all sorts of old architecture, as well as grand, Gothic 18th-century gabled houses in true Bulgarian style.

Learn more at the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum or visit some of the delightful wineries and craft shops dotted around the ancient streets.

Once in a lifetime excursion

Never has Nessebar’s nickname been so apt as when you’re floating along on a four-hour, family-friendly pirate cruise with Captain Jack himself.

Okay so you’ll be on a modern catamaran named Tattoo, not a galleon named the Black Pearl, but it comes with its own waterslide. More pirate-themed fun comes in the form of face painting, map reading, games and balloon modelling.

You get lunch and pirate hats for the kids to keep included in the price – it’s 65 lev for adults, 32 lev for the first child, 20 lev for additional kids, and under twos are free.

Can’t miss attraction

Nessebar’s Aqua Paradise waterpark has some of the most extreme slides in the country so is great if you’re taking the teens. They’ll enjoy the 22-metre high Kamikaze slide and 13-metre long Tsunami, which both start from the top of the castle tower.

Younger kids will love the fact the whole place is packed with water castles and pirate ships, with plenty of areas for little ones to splash in. A full day at Aqua Paradise is 42 lev for adults over 130 cms, 21 lev for ages 60+ and kids over 90cms, and free for under this height.

Golden Sands

wind surfing cape verde

This chilled-out northern resort, near the port city of Varna, has a three-kilometre Blue Flag beach with a good dose of watersports. There are enough restaurants and bars to make evenings varied, but things don’t get as lively here as over in Sunny Beach.

Cheap days out

Golden Sands Nature Park is a 13-square-kilometre protected area that envelops the resort in greenery.

Head to the visitor’s centre to start one of the trails, many of which are designed with kids in mind to take in the sights and sounds of the woodland. There’s also a barbecue area, picnic benches and a rope park beside the visitor’s centre and you can hire bikes for 6 lev per hour.

Take a photo-safari for the chance to spot deer, boar, hedgehogs, buzzards and butterflies, as well as snapping the leafy surroundings. On the way, look out for the 13 stone fountains across the park that dish up the local low mineral content water.

Once in a lifetime excursion

File:Varna Region - Varna Municipality - Golden Sands Resort - Aladzha Monastery (5).jpg

There aren’t many places in the world where you can delve into a cave and discover a 14th century monastery. Follow one of the trails to the southwest of Golden Sands Nature Park and this is what you’ll find, complete with mosaics and frescoed artwork.

Nearby are catacombs as well as a small museum, and during the summer atmospheric light shows dazzle, reflecting how sacred the monks believed these woods were.

Can’t miss attraction

The first waterpark to be built in Bulgaria, Aquapolis is an oasis in Golden Sands’ gorgeous leafy scenery.

The park is divided into three zones – adult, children and extreme, the latter sporting a 60 kph Kamikaze slide and two black holes, while the kids’ pool has a large dragon slide and many smaller ones.

There’s a wild river and a Niagara slide that you whizz down on a rubber ring, as well as a calmer lazy river passing by a waterfall. Adult entry is 33 lev, with nippers under 90 cm free and everyone in between 16 lev.

Which attraction has your family’s name on it, and where will you stay in Bulgaria based on its things to do? Let us know in the comments below.

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