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The Black Sea coast of Bulgaria forms the eastern edge of the country. The destination of most of its summer tourists, it boasts both sandy beaches and windswept cliffs, modern hotels and quaint traditional architecture, ancient ruins and mineral springs, and salty lagoons that attract waterfowl. At the same time, wood-covered heights are often also close at hand, in either the Balkan Mountains or Strandzha.

The coast runs approximately north-south, from Northern Dobruja in Romania to Eastern Thrace in Turkey. It is often subdivided into a northern and southern half, each anchored around a major port city. The dividing point is Cape Emine, where the low eastern end of the Balkan Mountains meets the sea.


Map of Bulgarian Black Sea Coast
Old buildings and ruins by Nesebar's port
Ruins of the Roman Baths in Varna
Sunny Beach resort
A beach by Varvara

There are two major cities and a number of smaller towns and resorts.

Northern coast

  • 1 Varna (Варна) – Dubbed "the sea capital" of Bulgaria, it's the nation's third most populous city and one of its two main ports. In addition to being the gateway to the northern resorts, the city itself boasts Roman ruins, hot springs, and a large seaside park. It's the administrative centre of Varna Province.
  • 2 Balchik (Балчик) – A resort town notable for the palace-villa of the Romanian Queen (long story) with its pretty green park, and the adjacent botanical garden. Nearby are also the mud baths at Tuzlata, the Albena resort, and three large golf resorts sprawl on the cliffs overlooking the sea between Balchik and Kavarna.
  • 3 Kavarna Kavarna on Wikipedia (Каварна) – A coastal town close to Cape Kaliakra and its fortress ruins. Between 2006 and 2016, Kavarna hosted an annual international rock music festival that earned it the nickname "the rock capital of Bulgaria". Various traces still remain, such as rock-inspired murals and the monument of rock legend Ronnie James Dio, erected in 2010 after his death.

Resorts, smaller towns and villages:

  • 4 Albena Albena on Wikipedia (Албена) – An old-style resort, with an architecture from the Communist times. Peaceful area though. Close to Balchik, not far from Dobrich and Varna. Since the whole resort is owned by a single private company, it is one of the very few places on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast that does not suffer from overbuilding.
  • 5 Golden Sands Golden Sands on Wikipedia (Златни пясъци, Zlatni Pyasatsi) – The largest and most famous of the resorts forming a continuous built-up area just outside of Varna (Sts. Constantine and Helena, Chayka, Golden Sands). The northern counterpart of Sunny Beach on the southern coast.
  • 6 Kamen Bryag (Камен бряг, literally: Stone Coast) – A small village between Kavarna and Shabla. The high rocky coast has been popular among Bulgarian hippies.
  • 7 Obzor Obzor on Wikipedia (Обзор) – A seaside resort town at the edge of the northern slopes of the Balkan Mountains. It shares with nearby Byala one of the longest uninterrupted beach strips on the Bulgarian coasts.
  • 8 Shabla Shabla on Wikipedia (Шабла) – Another small town a few miles inland, close to the Romanian border. The 19th-century Shabla Lighthouse is the tallest and oldest navigational light still in use on the Bulgarian coast. Nearby are also the small resort village of Krapets and the Durankulak Lake with its per-historic remains.

Administratively, the northern coast is in the provinces of Varna and Dobrich, even though the latter is not actually on the coast.

Southern coast

  • 9 Burgas (Бургас) – The forth most populous city in Bulgaria and the other of its two main ports. Popular with tourists, it's the gateway to the southern resorts, with its international airport by the outlying neighborhood (suburb) Sarafovo. The city also hosts the popular music festival "Spirit of Burgas".
  • 10 Nesebar (Несебър) – A resort town, the anchor of the resort area in the Bay of Nesebar. Its picturesque Old Town is built on a barely connected peninsula and a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its traditional architecture and its ancient churches.
  • 11 Primorsko (Приморско) – A resort town on a cape jutting out into the Black Sea, mostly frequented by Eastern Europeans, Primorsko has two of the best natural beaches in Bulgaria with a pleasant long fine-sand coastline to the north and to the south of the cape. The town is a popular destination for the young generation because of the abundance of accommodation offers and night clubs and bars.
  • 12 Pomorie (Поморие) – Another resort town with an ancient origin built on a peninsula. Notable for its salt works, its pools of mineral-rich mud, the brine lagoon attracting water birds, and the nearby ancient "Bee-Hive Tomb" with its unique (for Bulgaria) architecture.
  • 13 Sozopol (Созопол) – Together with Nesebar these are two archaeological towns with traditional houses and ancient dig sites. Sozopol is another perfect mix of ancient history and contemporary beach resort.

Resorts, smaller towns and villages:

  • 14 Lozenets Lozenets, Burgas Province on Wikipedia (Лозенец) – A resort village, preferred by famous Bulgarians for spending their holidays with the nearby Lalov Egrek watersports centre which has one of the largest diving centres in Europe.
  • 15 Kiten (Китен) – A small town with a nice beach and lots of hotels, if you are in search for a bargain. But probably not much else.
  • 16 Rezovo (Резово) – A border village in Strandzha Nature Park, lying at the mouth of Rezovska River. It's the southernmost point of the Bulgarian sea coast, which makes it the most south-eastern settlement in Bulgaria and the European Union mainland. Rezovo directly overlooks the Turkish bank of the river and the Turkish village of Beğendik.
  • 17 Sunny Beach (Слънчев бряг, Slanchev Bryag) – The largest beach resort in Bulgaria, in the central part of the semi-circular Bay of Nesebar and the almost uninterrupted resort area that surrounds it (Aheloy, Ravda, Nesebar, Sunny Beach, Sveti Vlas).
  • 18 Sveti Vlas Sveti Vlas on Wikipedia (Свети Влас, Saint Blaise) – A town at the foot of the southern slopes of the Balkan Mountains, on the northern side of the Bay of Nesebar. Even though heavily developed in the 2000s, it's still relatively calmer and quieter than nearby Nesebar and Sunny Beach.
  • 19 Sinemorets Sinemorets on Wikipedia (Синеморец) – A resort village at the picturesque mouth of the river Veleka with its distinctive sand bar.
  • 20 Tsarevo Tsarevo on Wikipedia (Царево) – A coastal town on the edge of the Strandzha mountain a few hours south of Burgas, combing the freshness of the mountain with the beach opportunities of the coast.
  • 21 Varvara (Варвара) – A small resort village. The beach is small and peaceful. Nearby is the Dolhpin camping site (kamping Delfin) and a nude beach with the same name.

Other destinations




Get in


Borth Varna and Burgas have international airports, and many European airlines offer flights catering to the summer tourists. Alternatively, or in the off-season, you can take a flight to the capital Sofia and then take another form of transportation to the coast. Both Varna and Burgas are the end points of major railway lines that run the length of the country from the capital. In the summer, there are convenient expedited intercity trains that skip some of the minor stations, shortening the multi-hour journey. You can also take a bus - in the summer, some companies run buses from Sofia to specific resorts, not only to Varna and Burgas.

Get around


By train


There is a railway line connecting Varna and Burgas via Karnobat, but it runs inland due to the Varna Lake and the Balkan Mountains, so it's only meaningful for moving between the end points. As of 2024, there are no direct trains, you have to change at Karnobat.

By bus


The best way to get around the entire coast area is by bus. To avoid being ripped off by ticket cashiers, which is common although illegal, either try speaking to them in Bulgarian or let your Bulgarian friends, if you have any, buy your tickets. Or just find out the price ahead and pay the correct fare. Starting from a bus station, for tickets at the counter you will receive a slip. Also, often prices are advertised inside the bus.

By thumb


Hitchhiking is always an option and was well practised in Communist times.


  • 1 Ropotamo Reserve Ropotamo on Wikipedia – Nature reserve at the mouth of the river Ropotamo, protecting the river's liman (lagoon with a sand bar), sand dunes, a few rock formations, the Arkutino marsh, the "wet forest" along the river, and St. Thomas Island, the only place in Bulgaria where cacti grow in the wild (introduced in the 1930s). You can take a boat trip up or down the river. Getting there is easiest by car; alternatively you can try to get public transport or a guided tour from Primorsko.
  • 2 Cape Emine and Irakli Cape Emine on Wikipedia – 54 km south of Burgas. It divides geographically the Bulgarian Black Sea coast to South and North. The cape is the most eastern point of the Balkan Mountains and the end of the European long-distance hiking path E3, the Bulgarian part of which is the Kom—Emine Trail. The cape is a vertical 60-metre (200 ft) cliff, surrounded by hundreds of underwater rocks. North of the cape is the Irakli Protected Area.


  • 1 Arkutino Beach (between Sozopol and Primorsko). Remote, not busy and clean.



You can easily find restaurants and taverns serving traditional Bulgarian dishes such as tarator (yoghurt and cucumber soup), shkembe chorba (tripe soup), or various grilled or skewered meats. The coast's unique addition to the menu is fresh seafood.

  • Fish soup – The traditional fish soup in Shabla for example features some 12 kinds of fish.
  • Bira i tsatsa – "Beer and [fried] sprats" is a customary combination for the small restaurants by the beach. Tsatsa (European sprat) is a small white fish, often dipped in flour before being fried whole. Usually, the heads are not removed when the fish is cleaned, but if you don't want to eat them you can bite them off. Another popular fried fish is the slightly larger safrid (Mediterranean horse mackerel, common scad).
  • Mussels – Prepared in various ways, usually of the species Mediterranean mussels, blue mussels, or some hybrid of the two (the species are very close). Good restaurants get their mussels from floating mussel farms off-shore, where the water is cleaner. Don't eat mussels that you've found on the beach, you are going to get a dose of heavy metals, petrochemicals, the excretions of tourists, and who knows what else.

Other Bulgarian names for popular Black Sea fish include hamsiya ('хамсия', European anchovy), karagyoz ('карагьоз', Pontic shad), (Ruska) esetra ('есетра', (Russian) sturgeon), kalkan ('калкан', turbot), kefal ('кефал', flathead grey mullet, common mullet), palamud ('паламуд', Atlantic bonito), and zargan (garfish, garpike, sea needle).





The Southern Black Sea coastal line has suffered heavily from the construction boom of holiday resorts and complexes from 2000–2008. As alternative to the traditional summer vacation there are a few campsites situated on picturesque beaches in the Burgas region. For travelers without cars, most of them are accessible by public transport to the main village and then by walk or hitchhike.

From north to south:

  • Zora (near the town of Obzor)
  • Nesebar bungalows (near Nesebar)
  • Bolyarski stan (near Ravda)
  • Aheloy campsite (near the village Aheloy)
  • Villas Mariana (near Pomorie)
  • VTEPS Chernomorets (Chernomorets)

The following two are very famous among windsurfers and other water and wind sport fans. A few surf schools are open there from May–October. Equipment is available for rent.

  • Gradina (Chernomorets)
  • Zlatna ribka ("Golden Fish") (Sozopol)
  • Kavatsi (Sozopol)
  • Kiten campsite (Kiten)
  • Camping Yug (Kiten)
  • Camping Koral (Lozentez)
  • Pipilota (Lozenetz)
  • Oasis (Lozenetz)
  • Arapya campsite (Tzarevo)
  • Morski briz (Tzarevo)
  • Nestinarka (Tzarevo)
  • Zelenika (Ahtopol)
  • Slunchev den/Sunny Day (Ahtopol)
  • Siniya laguna/Blue lagoon (Ahtopol)
  • Zafo bungalows (Sinemoretz)
  • Silistar (also a town, less than 1 km from the Bulgarian-Turkish border)


  • You should be wary as there are some premises on the coastline that are restricted but, as in normal Bulgarian fashion lack the necessary signs stating that trespassers will be penalized.
  • If you are doing any kind of sea voyage on the Black Sea, on the Bulgarian side, have in mind that while its littered with small villages, many of the locals are not well acquainted with English or any international languages.

Go next

  • Strandzha mountains – The region around the mountains Strandzha and Sakar to the south of the Black Sea Coast region. A world-famous attraction are the authentic fire dancers, called nestinari (нестинари). The mountains are good for biking and hiking.

This region travel guide to Bulgarian Black Sea Coast is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.