If you haven’t had the chance to fall in love with the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, this will be your chance 🙂 If you’re wondering what to do in Bulgaria, it’s a perfect summer road trip! Huge thanks to the other Bulgarian travel bloggers from ASTOM which gave amazing recommendations about secret spots.
Okay, so let’s start exploring what to do along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast – we’re starting North and heading South!
Table of Contents
- 1. The Arch of Tyulenovo
- 2. Yailata
- 3. Bolata
- 4. Cape Kaliakra
- 5. The View over Kavarna
- 6. Balchik’s Botanical Garden
- 7. Aladzha Rock Monastery
- 8. St. St. Constantine and Helena Monastery
- 9. Euxinograde Palace
- 10. Hiking from Varna to Pasha Dere
- 11. Ovech Fortress
- 12. Petrich Kale
- 13. Kamchia
- 14. Cape St. Atanas
- 15. Camping Chaika
- 16. Cape Emine
- 17. Pomorie: Ancient-Thracian domed tomb
- 18. St. Ivan Island
- 19. Cape Agalina
- 20. Balgari Village
- 21. “Marina Reka” Hike
- 22. Ahtopol Lighthouse
- 23. The Mouth of Veleka River
- 24. The Stone Ships in Sinemorets
1. The Arch of Tyulenovo
The Arch of Tyulenovo is indeed one of the best spots when you’re exploring what to do in Bulgaria. It’s very easy to reach, too, you can park at hotel Tyulenovo and walk about 5-10 minutes, or you can take the dirt road and park a bit closer to it. I highly recommend starting your day early – it’s unforgettable to catch the sunrise there!
Even though it seems a bit hard to pronounce, Yailata is a true hidden gem along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. It’s especially beautiful in May when the wild peonies start growing! If you go around sunrise in May, chances are you’ll spot a few photographers hunting for their best new shot 🙂 Yailata is also an important architectural landmark – you’ll find ancient rooms, rock monasteries and even necropoli, some of which are thousands of yeas old! Take an hour or two and explore fully the beauty of this place. Don’t forget to be careful around the peonies – don’t step on them! 🙂
Recommended by Giorgia De Marchi, Savetite.com:
“The place that I chose is located on the North Black Sea coast, very close to the well-known beautiful cape Kaliakra.
Often people miss to stop by another picturesque place nearby – the unique beach Bolata, which is the only sandy beach in the area. From here passes Via Pontica – one of the main routes of migration of migratory birds from Europe to Africa.
But what makes Bolata beach so special, at least for me, is the breathtaking view from above. The combination of the shape of the bay, the smell of the sea and the contrasting colors and shapes, is a real pleasure for your senses. I highly recommend you to visit this hidden Bulgarian gem.”
Follow Giorgia’s adventures on her Facebook page – Savetite.com!
4. Cape Kaliakra
Recommended by Nadezda Serafimova, Traveler Diary:
“One of the most special places on our northern Black Sea coast for me is Cape Kaliakra. <3 The long and narrow land inside the sea is breathtaking with unique views, and the blue shades are simply amazing! At the same time, Kalikara tells us curious legends, shows us many artifacts and provokes our curiosity about history. Last but not least, apart from being stunningly beautiful and rich in history, this place has its own charm, which is felt with each next visit. Personally, I’ve been here three times and each visit is incredibly exciting and different. I would gladly come back again and again!”
Follow Nadya’s adventures her Facebook page – Traveler Diary!
5. The View over Kavarna
Kavarna used to be one of the most charming cities along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, but in recent years it’s been looking more and more abandoned 🙁 This, however, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t include it in your list of what to do in Bulgaria! Every time I visit the cit I go and enjoy “the view” as I’d like to call it. Go to this exact location at sunset and don’t forget to bring your camera: https://goo.gl/maps/BjzZnMstKfKxDhyB8 .
6. Balchik’s Botanical Garden
The botanical gardens of Balchik are an absolute must on your list what to do in Bulgaria! They are so charming that you’ll just want to go back there again and again <3 These gardens are certainly Bulgaria’s most beautiful ones, and if you catch the spring tulips or the June roses – they’ll totally take your breath away. Bear in mind that in order to enter the gardens and the palace, you need to pay two separate entrance fees – one for the gardens and one of the palace. The total is 14 BGN (7 EUR), so not that much for these views!
7. Aladzha Rock Monastery
We’ve almost reached Varna, the sea capital of Bulgaria! Aladzha monastery is an architectural landmark of national importance. I do believe you’ll find out exactly why wen you visit! It’s a rock monastery of several floors and you can explore these freely. You’ll see monk’s quarters, a small church room and even a necropolis. Perhaps the best time to enjoy the monastery is on Sunday at 21:00 – you’ll be able to catch the extraordinary light show which is about 30 minutes!
8. St. St. Constantine and Helena Monastery
Did you know that this tiny monastery holds holy remains of St. Valentines?? 🙂 Well, the monastery is indeed pretty small and it’s not that popular among tourists! In fact, the resort St. St. Constantine and Helena is named after it! Bear in mind that photos are not allowed inside and you do need to be dressed decently in order to enter.
9. Euxinograde Palace
The bizarre name of this palace has curious origins – Maria Luisa asks Alexander Batenberg (the first owner) to change the name from Sandrovo to Euxinograde. The world “Euxinograde” comes from “Pontos Euxenos”, meaning welcoming sea! 🙂 You can visit this palace, located between Varna and the Golden Sands, in its dedicated hours – 09:00, 12:00 и 15:00. However, you first need to e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to book your slot. The entrance fee is 12 BGN (6 EUR) and photos are not allowed inside the building itself.
10. Hiking from Varna to Pasha Dere
Recommended by Panayot Tolev, Trips Journal
“If you are a hiker and have found yourself near the sea, you will most probably desire for a lovely journey along the coastline. Varna is far away from the mountain areas of Bulgaria but still offers great opportunities for a walking trip. One of the best trails around is also one of the least popular day hikes nearby. It starts around the houses of the distant neighborhood Galata and passes through a quiet forest that leads to a tiny beach before the fisherman’s village. After a short break on the docks, you step on the fine sands of Chernomorets beach before you get again into the forest. Until you reach the virgin beach Pasha Dere – the best way to finish your journey.“
Follow Panayot’s adventures on the Facebook page of Trips Journal!
11. Ovech Fortress
Ovech is another place to offer amazing views from above. The fortress is located in the city of Provadiya, which is about an hour’s drive from Varna. It’s pretty spectacular to watch the sunset there! I wouldn’t recommend visiting around noon on the hot summer days – the place doesn’t offer too many places to hide from the scalding sun. If the views aren’t enough for you to put it on your list on what to do in Bulgaria, here are a few things that the fortress hides: the “talking” well (79 meters deep!), the tower with the devil’s path, a knight’s prison and even a few more secrets. There is a guide on the fortress procured by the city’s Historical Museum.
12. Petrich Kale
Recommended by Dario Dionisi, Exploring Beyond Sofia:
“If you are looking for a real and wild adventure which represents the Bulgarian history and not just that… Petrich kale is your place!
Petrich kale is an early Byzantine and Bulgarian medieval fortress, the remains of which are located on a rocky hill above the village of Razdelna, Varna region. The fortress dates from the V century, but for a period it was destroyed and rebuilt again in the XI-XII century. It was an important part of the defense system of the area, which also included the nearby Ovech fortresses above the town of Provadia and the Shumen fortress. The place was ruined in 1444, when was the last crusade of Christian armies of the Polish-Hungarian King Wladyslaw III Jagiello, Varnenchik, who overlooked and destroyed the fortress.
Nowadays, the exploration of archeologists continues, the visitors of Petrich will be able to find relatively good preserved remains, as well as an incredible panoramic view over the outskirts of the area.”
Follow Dario’s adventures on his Instagram profile – Legenddario!
Recommended by Julia Dimova, Orphee Way
“Kamchia is a hidden “natural resort” in 30 km south from Varna. It is a “natural resort” because of the wild nature that surrounds the beach and hides the bungalows where you can stay overnight. The beach is crystal clean and it’s not as crowded as in the big resorts. If the weather allows it, you can also embark on a boat trip on the Kamchia River that flows into the Black Sea. The river is a biosphere reserve with abundant vegetation known as Longoz. If you pay attention, you can even spot a crocodile 🙂”
Follow Julie’s adventures on her Facebook page – Orphee Way!
14. Cape St. Atanas
Recommended by Victoria Dragieva, My Traveling Self:
“In the town of Byala, at the very end of Cape St. Atanas, you’ll find an interesting historical complex. There was a famous Roman road station here – Templum Yovis, Thracian cult center and sanctuary of the demigod Heracles, Early Christian sacred center, including several baptisteries. Numerous clay vessels for storing wine (pitos) have been found on the territory – the largest ancient winery discovered on the territory of our country. And the view from the cape to the sea is breathtaking – the clear waters of the Black Sea аre washing away fine sand from the base of the limestone rock, and the tranquility of the sea waves, gently interrupted by the scream of a seagull, is fabulous.”
Follow Vicky’s adventures on her Facebook page – My Traveling Self!
15. Camping Chaika
Recommended by Lilyana Uzunova, Travel journal by Lilly
“It is very likely that you haven’t even heard the beautiful beach of Camping Chaika, located just 4 km. south of Obzor. A quiet place to stay in the wild and wide and long sandy beach, which is just a dream for lovers of freedom and tranquility. Remote and inaccessible beach (reached only by car), make it one of the few places where even during the busiest summer days we can enjoy the sounds of waves crashing. A sea idyll!
The campsite is surrounded by oak forest and is 800 meters from the beach. We wake up in the woods and in just a few minutes we are on the beach.
The picturesque beach is my favorite place to enjoy the first July sunrise. July morning is no longer the same without the beautiful sunrises of Camping Chaika!”
Follow Lilly’s adventures on her Facebook page – Travel journal by Lilly!
16. Cape Emine
Recommended by Maria Stoyanova, Travelling Buzz
“Hard to reach but all worth it, Cape Emine offers a stunning view to the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria. It’s located almost in the middle of the Bulgarian coastline, separating the north and the south. Cape Emine is also the easternmost point of the Balkan mountain range, and the “finish line” of the famous 560km hiking route Kom-Emine. ”
Follow Maria’s adventures on her Facebook page – Travelling Buzz!
17. Pomorie: Ancient-Thracian domed tomb
Recommended by Eli Ivanova, Drumi v Dumi
“Near Pomorie, only 5 kilometers west of the town you can see a Thracian antique dome tomb dating back to II – IV century AD. Although the temple is little-known, the access to it is quite easy and convenient. You can get there by car.
The tomb consists of a large circular room with a diameter of about 12 meters and a 22-meter-long dromos corridor leading to this circular room. In the middle of the room there is a thick hollow column. The column is more than a meter in diameter and rises to the surface of the tomb. Inside the column there are traces of a spiral staircase that led upwards in the very past.
According to experts, the temple has the architecture of a Roman mausoleum (heroon), but because it is formed in a mound, it is uniquely associated with the Thracians.”
Follow Eli’s adventures on her Facebook page – Drumi v Dumi!
18. St. Ivan Island
Recommended by Nadezda Toleva, Family Travel Spirit
“St. Ivan Island is one of the most mysterious places around Sozopol. You might feel like you are in a horror movie – wide thorny fields, seagulls feathers and skeletons everywhere and a spooky lighthouse in the middle. At the same time, it’s one of the most sacred places in Bulgaria. Relics of St. John the Baptist has been found on it! The whole experience – the boat seeking, the trip to there, the feeling of desolation, the lighthouse, the overgrown sanctuary – it is all extraordinary and very exciting. Together all those details form unforgettable memories and turn that small piece of land into one of the most spectacular places around Sozopol.“
Follow Nadya’s adventures on the Facebook page of Family Travel Spirit!
19. Cape Agalina
Cape Agalina started to emerge as a hidden gem in the last few months – it’s truly a gorgeous and (still!) a bit secret spot long the coast. This place on your list of things what to do in Bulgaria is located between Sozopol and Dyuni – it offers pretty spectacular sunrises! It doesn’t matter whether you have a drone, a DSLR or even just your camera phone – I guarantee this place will grant you lovely photo opportunities and an amazing morning <3 Huge thanks to Damyan Georgiev for sharing his gorgeous shot of cape Agalina for this post!
Follow Damyan’s adventures on his Instagram profile – Damyan XO!
20. Balgari Village
Recommended by Lyubomira Danova, Ogledaloto na Mira
“Balgari is a village tucked into Strandzha mountain but only a short distance (17 km) away from the Black sea coast and the municipal town of Tsarevo. The whole area is quite interesting and exciting thanks to the mix of pristine beauty of the mountains, abundance of Thracian and late antiquity tombs, and the unspoiled nature in the many nature conservation areas. But nevertheless, there’s something more to Balgari village, which makes it truly unique. This is the ritual of fire dancing, which has kept its authenticity nowhere else in Bulgaria but here.
The feast of Balgari village is on 3rd June. This is the day of the patron saints – St Constantine and St Helen. The village church, standing proudly at the heart of the village, is named after them. This is the time of the year when the fire-dancing or fire-walking rituals take place. From early morning on 3rd June locals start with preparations for the ritual. They “dress up” the icon of St Constantine and St Helen in red fabric and take it to the nearby chapel “St Kostadin”. There at the healing waters of the chapel spring (called “ayazmo”) everyone performs a rite of washing and cleansing, before they return to the village.
The fire starts burning in the afternoon right into the village centre. When the sun sets down the fire dancers walk barefoot into the glowing embers. Under the hypnotizing rhythm of traditional bagpipe and drum they perform a mysterious dance, honouring the patrons St Constantine and St Helen whose icon the dancers hold in their hands.
The feast continues on the next day and gathers visitors from all over Bulgaria and from abroad alike.”
Follow Mira’s adventures on her Facebook page – Ogledaloto na Mira!
21. “Marina Reka” Hike
Recommended by Todor Bozhinov, Kashkaval Tourist
“Visiting the verdant and serene Bulgarian Black Sea side in spring, before the crowds of the summer season, is already a pro tip. But venturing into the depths of the coastal mountain range Strandzha and getting close to its unique flora is a special experience for me. The Marina River Trail, one hour by car from Burgas, offers the perfect opportunity to learn about Strandzha’s Euxine forests that can be found nowhere else in Europe. In May and June, an evergreen understory of Pontic rhododendrons blooms below the oriental beeches along the Marina River Trail, giving these woods the appearance of an Asiatic rainforest.”
Follow Todor’s adventures on his Facebook page – Kashkaval Tourist!
22. Ahtopol Lighthouse
When looking at what do to in Bulgaria, you might have seen this lighthouse already. The most spectacular photographs I’ve seen were actually during September when the sea has been pretty grumpy and the waves crashing into the Ahtopol lighthouse. Well, the best time to see it is indeed September when the sea is stormy, but sometimes even April and May can offer the same amazing views! 🙂
23. The Mouth of Veleka River
It doesn’t matter whether you visit at sunrise or sunset, the view over Veleka river with the Black Sea coast along it is something unforgettable <3 The place is pretty easy to reach, but I still recommend leaving your car in Sinemorets village and walk there – this place on your list of what to do in Bulgaria is a protected area! With its crystal clear waters, Veleka river is a wonderful place for fishing – there is so much fish that even the numerous fisherman cannot manage to deplete it 🙂
24. The Stone Ships in Sinemorets
We call this amazing rock formation “The Stone Ships”, as they remind of ships so much! The place is a great opportunity for photographers and you’ll often see some here. I’d actually been to Sinemorets many years ago, but I never knew there was something so majestic in the area. In order to find them, just type in “The Stone Ships” on Google Maps and let your GPS take you there. If you’d like to go down to the small cove below (from where this photo was taken), bear in mind that you need proper shoes – the path is very short, but steep and slippery.
Indeed, there are a lot more places to explore along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast – Durankulak (the north border), Shabla, Begliktash, Tsarevo, Silistar beach and even Rezovo (the south border). It is just so full of famous and hidden spots to see! And these views are so beautiful that you’ll want to come back again and again once you’ve seen them <3