Four breathtaking places on the Bulgarian coast to spend your summer holidays
Sunny Beach Just Got Outdated… Here are four of the most beautiful places overlooking the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast.
I have no idea how Sunny Beach managed to get ahead and become the most popular destination along the Bulgarian coast. And while many claim (and complain) that this has much to do with the underground mob’s transformation of the resort into a lucrative empire made of flamboyant million-dollar hotels and villas, (all at the expense of the honest and hard-working tax-payer), no one can deny the fact that Sunny Beach has become something akin to the Bermuda Triangle; a trumped-up oasis where the rich, the young, wild and free, disappear for weeks on end, lost in mainstream music and jejune passions . And, of course, there go all those innocent tourists whose naivety and misconducted research draws them into the belief that Sunny Beach is, in reality, the “sunniest” beach on the Bulgarian seaside and a real landmark of the country’s heritage.
Personally, one reason for putting forward this article is because, in my seven years living abroad as, I have heard these direful sentences a million times: “Wherefrom? Bulgaria?!? Oh, yeah, man! SUNNY BEACH!!!” And I can’t but imagine those people mentally zooming in on the map, trying to locate where (the hell!) is Bulgaria and then, POP! – Sunny Beach, Bulgaria’s #1 destination.
I guess little knowledge is better than none. Although, there are always those who rather have more than little knowledge … which brings me to the second reason for writing this article. Quite a few people have already asked me to recommend a few places to stay/visit on the Bulgarian coastline over the summer holidays … apart from Sunny Beach. I have included my Top4 which is by no means the only ones but which can surely provide the tourist’s mind with a somewhat truer sense of the Bulgarian culture and quaint coastal vistas.
Back in the day, Primorsko was where I spent most of my summers working seasonal jobs. It sits on a small peninsula between the so-called Stamopolu and the Devil’s Bay, at the foot of the beautiful Strandzha Mountain. Even though it is quite a well-known destination among Bulgarians, the rest of the world is often unaware of its existence. It is about 50 km south of Bourgas (where you will most probably end up landing).
There is a bit of everything there, really. Kite-surfing, water-skiing, scootering, fishing, boat tripping; and these are just the water sport. The inner part consists of many tennis courts, parks for contemplative (or romantic) walks on the famous Ropotamo Reserve or the other virgin forests surrounding the town of Primorsko.
For the younglings: make sure you pop by and get your share of those super cocktails offered by the Cuba Libre Bar or the Mojito Beach Bar. And if it’s time to take things to the next level, I remember myself as a regular of The White, a beach disco playing bangers all night long (I don’t much remember the leaving part …).
Primorsko does have a lot to offer to the tourist. They say the purest, longest, and biggest beaches and dunes on the Bulgarian Coast are to be found there!
Kiten, one of the little-known resorts on the Bulgarian Coast, is a beautiful site offering much tranquillity and leisure. The name is actually an adjective which literally translates as “lovely”, or “cute”. Adding another “t” next to the one already existent in the name and you’ll get an even better sense of the size and cuteness this place embodies.
The ruins of the Urdovitsa fortress mightily preserve the living spirit of Kiten’s ancient history. They say Urdovitsa was one of the last ports exporting provisions to Troy which, ultimately, led to its downfall. As an old Thracian village, there are numerous archaeological findings in Kiten which can give one a proper glimpse into the forming identity of the Bulgarians as a people.
For those of you who have been working their ass*s off all year long and crave for simply laying on the hot sands around the magical Black Sea whilst its cool waves gently dissolve in your feet and the breeze is as tender as the touch of one’s first love, Kiten truly is the place for you.
Still thinking of going to Sunny Beach?
Okie-dookie, but do yourselves a favour: grab a bottle of white (they go as cheap as €3) and wend your way promenading the 4 km to Nesebar. This is an excellent way to observe how a capitalistic empire can be instantly swept under the modest and absolutely remarkable scenery yielded by the blend of history and tradition. This alone justifies my trips to Nessebar every time I find myself on the west coast of the Black Sea.
Nesebar’s immense cultural heritage has gained worldwide recognition, its riches being also added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s got about a bazillion churches and numerous museums for those of you who love to aimlessly wander and look for inspiration. This breath-taking place is full of character: narrow cobbled alleys, beautifully exposed art-shops, hand-crafted jewellery and, of course, delicious seafood.
Definitely, this is the place I hold most dear in my heart. In my mind, Sozopol often blends the personal and the objective in a very unusual way. The vividness, the clarity of my distant memories recreate those long-past moments with marvellous, eidetic precision. I believe it is the peculiarity and uniqueness of this gorgeous place that offer an unforgettable experience to the observer.
I guess Sozopol’s powerful magnetism owes much to the town’s dual nature. The new town – known to the locals as Harmanite – reveals an up-to-date, high-end seaside resort. Posh restaurants, 5-star hotels, glimmering swimming pools, lavish bars and late-night clubs, all glitz up the scenery and make this side of the town a bustling and appealing European hotspot. The sea-side contour of Sozopol, or the ‘Old’ town, however, is a portal into the realms of the rather metaphysical. Different forms of art and craftsmanship are highly valued and practised there. As in Nesebar, narrow cobbled streets and wooden houses with plant-brimming windowsill are the charm and landmark of Sozopol.
If you happen to have a car, although buses often run between resorts, make sure you do the road trip and visit them all!
These marvellous towns are only a few of the many places on the Bulgarian coast which, unlike Sunny Beach, still stay loyal to the country’s rich cultural heritage. Their peninsular geographical features provide golden beaches and glaring sunshine all along the coastline. And even though they all offer a plethora of activities and late-night amusements, what distinguishes them from most European top destinations is the unique feeling of inhabiting simultaneously the past and the present, the ancient and the contemporary.