Bulgaria may not be the first place people think of to visit for a holiday. While the conversion doesn’t sound great (1USD equals roughly 1.50 Bulgarian Lev), the prices in Bulgaria are cheap.Like 8-Lev-for-a-delicious-dinner-cheap.
And, there are some great places to visit, too.
I’ve spent time at two spots on the Black Sea. First there was Sunny Beach, a haven for European partiers in the summer. And then, I went up the coast to the far quieter (and far more charming) town of Varna.
Located on the Black Sea, Varna has what Sunny Beach does not — a quaint city that mixes history and present day together. Plus, there are far less touts promoting the nighttime discos and foam parties.
The town is known for its beach, which spans 8 km. Depending on what visitors are looking for in a beach, there are different areas. Families should head to the beach with the water park; revelers might like the beaches with clubs plunked down on the sand; and for those just looking to chill, there’s another section perfect for sunning and relaxing. Not a fan of the sand and surf? There is a thermal pool to enjoy, too.
Aside from the actual sea, there are the attractions nearby the water. For an afternoon outside, check out Primorski Park, which runs parallel to the water. It’s got open-air cafes and restaurants to sit and enjoy the scenery.
The promenade leading down to the water can easily soak up an entire day. Wander the pedestrian streets, explore the little shops and boutiques, grab a coffee. And, definitely check out the restaurants offering cuisine from around the world (think sushi, Italian, tapas and more!). The area is gorgeous with its old and colorful buildings mixed with modern shops below.
For those who want more than a beach, spend time wandering the tree-lined streets of the city. There are museums to check out, like the expansive Archeological Museum; churches to explore; and traditional Bulgarian meals to be had.
Where to stay
In terms of lodging, there are plenty of hostels and hotels to check out. I stayed at two — the hot, hot Flag Hostel, which I checked out of, and Yo Ho, which I enjoyed. Keep in mind, in the dead of summer, most hostels without air-conditioning are sweltering.
In Bulgaria, shaking the head up and down means “no.” Shaking the head side-to-side means “yes.” Practice.
Also, try anything with rose in it — rose water, rose Raki, rose sunblock. The country is known for its rose products and these items can be found in many places.
Depending on where you are coming from, there are both buses and trains to whisk you off to this escape from Bulgaria, Turkey and more. There’s even a ferry that runs in the summer.
Have you been to Bulgaria?