Golden beaches, warm seas and delicious food await
Long stretches of golden sand, a balmy average summer temperature of 27°C and a colourful culture that reels you in; Bulgaria is Europe’s best kept secret.
It’s no surprise that this Balkan country’s star is rising. With 230 miles of Black Sea coastline and beaches that rival the Caribbean, it offers a little taste of paradise for sun worshippers without the hassle of a long haul flight.
What’s more, it’s well known for affordable luxury, having recently been crowned 2020’s best value holiday destination in the Post Office Travel Money Holiday Report.
Situated on the south eastern Peninsula of the Balkans, it’s only a few hours’ flight time from the UK, and offers far more than a comfy sun lounger (though it’s got plenty of those, too). Whether you’re seeking a wellness break, a new favourite holiday dish or a slice of history by the seaside, Bulgaria should be at the top of your travel wish-list.
Here’s why there’s more to this destination than meets the eye…
Authentic Balkans cuisine
Food can make or break a holiday, but in Bulgaria the dining is memorable for all the right reasons. Its cuisine is a melting pot of Slavic, Greek and Turkish foods, made with fresh local produce. Salads and soups are a frequent feature; Tarator, a delicious cucumber soup, is a particularly cooling option when you’ve been basking on the beach.
The seaside location of Bulgaria means there’s plenty of local seafood and fish to try, too – seek out Tsatsa (deep-fried sprats) or fresh mussels at one of the local taverns.
With most beachside resorts offering all-inclusive packages, the hotel restaurants and bars are just as impressive. Be sure to try the local tipple, Rakia – a clear, potent type of brandy made from grapes or, occasionally, plums.
With such a vast coastline to choose from, you’re guaranteed to find your ideal beachside hotel in Bulgaria, with many luxury properties opening within the last year. From Albena and Golden Sands in the north to Duni in the south, resorts range from lively party-friendly beaches to quiet, relaxed coves.
Whichever area you pick for your dream summer break, you’ll find it comes with a more than reasonable price tag. Balkan Holidays offers plenty of packages; a seven night stay in peaceful Obzor starts at just £409 for flights and accommodation, while a week at the family-friendly five star hotel Sol Hotel Nessebar Palace, in Nessebar, starts at just £558 all inclusive.
Meanwhile, those looking for an alternative to lively and popular resorts such as Sunny Beach will love the charm of Sozopol, with prices starting from £439 for a five-star stay.
If you want to break out from under your parasol, Bulgaria has a thriving culture that’s steeped in history. The narrow cobbled streets and gabled houses of Nessebar will you give a taste of life as a local, while the extraordinary old quarter is under a preservation order as a living museum town, complete with 40 church ruins to explore.
For the best of both, Golden Sands is great for swimmers yet close to the historic city of Varna, where the Aladzha Monastery is a must-see; carved into a cliff, it’s thought to date back to the 12th century.
It’s not all about historical sites – Bulgaria is the place to be for celebratory festivals that will make your summer. The Varna Summer International Music Festival is the country’s oldest festival, giving classical music fans the chance to enjoy symphonies, choral music and operas at different locations around the city.
Looking for a night out with a difference? Nessebar Day is an annual event held on 15th August, featuring games, music and fireworks launched from a flotilla of boats. Or if you want to get your dancing shoes on, Nestia Obzor International Folklore Festival is the place to join in.
From the seemingly endless coastline to the lush green mountains, Bulgaria is a place of real natural beauty. The Varna region stretches over nearly 4,000 square kilometres, and boasts forests, lakes, thermal springs – and even a desert.
Hikers will find a variety of trails at the popular Central Balkan National Park, whilst birdwatchers should head to Duni or Bourgas in spring (May) or late summer (August and September), when migratory birds fill the fragrant forest to enjoy their own summer holiday.
This article is a promotional feature with Balkan Holidays. Visit balkanholidays.co.uk to discover more and to book. ATOL protected.