Bulgaria’s third city and maritime capital, Varna is by far the most interesting and cosmopolitan town on the Black Sea coast.
For most visitors, the port city of Burgas (sometimes written as ‘Bourgas’) is no more than a transit point for the more obviously appealing resorts and historic towns further up and down the coast.
On a small rocky outcrop 37km northeast of Burgas, connected to the mainland by a narrow, artificial isthmus, pretty-as-a-postcard Nesebâr (Ne-se-bar) is famous for its surprisingly numerous, albeit mostly ruined, medieval churches.
Varna to Balchik
Ancient Sozopol, with its charming old town of meandering cobbled streets and pretty wooden houses, huddled together on a narrow peninsula, is one of the coast’s real highlights.
Golden Sands (Zlatni Pyasâtsi), 18km up the coast from Varna, was Bulgaria's original purpose-built resort, with the first hotel opening here in 1957.
Sunny Beach (Slânchev Bryag)
Bulgaria’s biggest purpose-built seaside resort, Sunny Beach is the Black Sea coast’s hyperactive answer to the Spanish costas, and probably the most expensive place in the country.
After the vast, artificial resorts further down the coast, Balchik is a breath of fresh sea air.
One of the biggest of the Black Sea coast’s purpose-built resorts, Albena has been going since 1969 and is named after the heroine of the eponymous play by Yordan Yovkov.
Like neighbouring Nesebâr, Pomorie sits on a narrow peninsula, and until it was ravaged by fire in 1906 it was almost as picturesque.
Sozopol to Tsarevo
Sveti Konstantin is a small, sedate beach resort about 9km northeast of Varna, with hotels attractively spaced out amongst parkland.
Primorsko (meaning ‘by the sea’) is a busy resort 52km southeast of Burgas and popular mainly with Bulgarian families.
Kaliakra Cape & Around
Kaliakra (Beautiful) Cape is a 2km-long headland (the longest along the Bulgarian coastline), about 13km southeast of Kavarna.