As the plane touched down on a hot, sunny morning at Bourgas airport, our holiday to the resort of Sunny Beach in Bulgaria had finally begun. We chose Bulgaria as they do not yet use the Euro, even though they joined the EU in January 2007, so we were hoping everything was quite a cheap while we were there. Speaking of money, cash machines are commonplace so there’s no need to worry, but it is advisable to check with your card provider before you go that your card can be used abroad not all countries accept all cards. Most major hotels and larger restaurants accept travellers’ cheques, but to avoid an extra exchange rate always take cheques in pounds sterling, US dollars or Euros. To travel to Bulgaria you don’t need a visa but you must always have a minimum of 3 months left on your passport when you return.
Right…boring recommendations over, let’s get down to business. We stayed at the newly built (end of 2005 I think) Apartments Blue Marine, which we were pleased to say looked lovely. We were just as delighted when we saw our room, although not overly spacious, it was enough for us and exceptionally clean (expected really due to the apartments being quite new). The apartments are spread over 6 floors and has 4 lifts so no major queuing problems! There was plenty of room around the pool and usually enough sun beds (as long as you don’t stay in bed until lunch time!) The pool was very nice had a children’s section. The beach is fantastic and has a Blue Flag award for its cleanliness and seems to go on for miles (about 5 of them actually!). The sea is calm and ideal for swimming and there are opportunities to do water sports scattered all along the beach. The tree-lined promenade is just brimming with shops, restaurant and bars, as are the streets immediately behind them. Although the area is very flat and walking is easy and enjoyable, a miniature train runs through the resort if you fancy it. We encountered a couple of children begging and though this was a little sad we had to refrain from giving them any money because once word spreads you will be followed for miles by others. Fortunately that didn’t happen to us as we were very kindly warned us about this by our First Choice reps. They must have known my wife has a certain weakness where these things are concerned!!!
Watersports at Sunny Beach
Although there were cheaper options throughout the resort, we ate at the cafe and hotel’s restaurant during our stay and found the food delicious and prices very reasonable.
We are not really the type of people to go on excursion as we just enjoy relaxing on the beach and by the pool, but we did go on the Bulgarian night. A coach took us to the village of Bata where we enjoyed an evening of colourful entertainment that ended with a traditional fire dance. The wine was free flowing and a great night was had by all. A traditional meal was included which consisted of traditional salad for starters made with peppers and white cheeses, with a complimentary glass of rakia, the locally produced brandy, followed by cabbages stuffed with meat (tastier than it sounds) which was quite spicy.
Listening to some people who had travelled to Bulgaria before, a few moaned that the prices overall were more expensive then the year before, however compared to our last holiday to Spain it was significantly cheaper. We paid about 15 Levs for a meal which is approximately £7, and usually 2 Levs for a beer, which was about a pound. Be careful though because locals are predicting that as the euro further devalues, places like Bulgaria will become more and more popular so prices may not stay so reasonable. My advice would be to go now, before everyone else does!
Paul Harford from Mid Glamorgan