Local Information

The Bulgarian Black Sea Coast covers the entire 378km of the eastern boundary of Bulgaria  with 130km of Beaches. The region is an important centre for tourism during the summer, drawing foreign and Bulgarian tourists alike and constituting one of the country's most popular tourist destination, internationally known before 1989 as the Red Riviera. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, its nickname has been changed to the Bulgarian Riviera.

The area's average air temperature in the summer is about 28°C, with the average water temperature at 25°C. There are more than 240 hours of sunshine in May and September and more than 300 hours in July and August.

The Balkan Mountains cross the country reaching to the edge of the Black Sea at Cape Emine, dividing the coastline into a southern and northern part. Parts of Bulgaria's northern Black Sea Coast feature rocky headlands where the sea abuts cliffs up to 70 metres in height. The southern coast is known for its wide sandy beaches.

The largest city on Bulgarian Black Sea Coast is Varna (also the third largest city in Bulgaria), located on the northern part of the coast. Another big city is Burgas, located on the southern coast. The two cities' international airports, Varna Airport and Burgas Airport, are the main hubs servicing the region. In addition, the A1 and A2 motorways, currently in construction, would make the trip from the capital Sofia to the coast substantially easier and faster, while the A3 is planned to connect Varna and Burgas.

Cape Emine is a headland at the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is located 49 miles south of Varna, 34 miles north of Burgas and 9 miles south of Obzor. It forms the tip of Stara Planina. Cape Emine is said to be Bulgaria's stormiest cape.

Varna (Bulgarian: Варна) is the largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, third-largest in Bulgaria after Sofia and Plovdiv, and 81st-largest in the European Union, with a population of 349,031.[1] The actual population of the city, including immigrants, commuters, temporary residents and other unregistered people, may exceed 600,000, which would make it the second-largest city in Bulgaria.

Commonly referred to as the marine capital (or summer capital) of Bulgaria, Varna is a major tourist destination, university centre, seaport, and headquarters of the Bulgarian Navy and merchant marine, as well as the centre of Varna Province and Bulgaria's North-Eastern planning region, comprising the provinces of Dobrich, Shumen, Targovishte, and Varna.

The urban area has in excess of 20 km of sand beaches and abounds in thermal mineral water sources. It enjoys a mild continental climate influenced by the proximity to the sea with long, mild autumns, and summers moderated by a breeze. However January and February can be bitterly cold at times.

Due to decreased chemical fertilizer usage in farming, the Black Sea has become cleaner post 1989; it has low salinity, lacks large predators and poisonous species, and the tidal range is virtually imperceptible.

The city lies 470 km north-east of Sofia; the nearest major cities are Dobrich (45 km to the north), Shumen (80 km to the west), and Burgas (130 km to the south-west). Varna is accessible by air (Varna International Airport), sea (Port of Varna Cruise Terminal), railroad (Central Train Station), and automobile: major roads include European routes E70 and E87 and national motorways A-2 and A-5; there are bus lines to many Bulgarian and European cities from two bus terminals.

Tourism is of foremost importance with the suburban beachfront resorts of Albena, Golden Sands, Kranevo,Constantine and Helena, and others with a total capacity of over 60,000 beds (2006), attracting millions of visitors each year (4.74 million in 2006, 3.99 million of which international tourists). The resorts are environmentally sound, being located reassuringly far from industry. Real estate is booming, with some of the highest prices in the nation, in the fall of 2007 surpassing Sofia.

In retail, the city not only has an assortment of international retailers, but boasts made-in-Varna national chains with locations spreading over the country such as retailer Piccadilly, restauranteur Happy, and pharmacy chain Sanita.

Currently, there are four shopping malls approaching completion and another three projects in development, turning Varna into an attractive international shopping destination (Pfohe Mall, Mall of Varna, Central Plaza, Grand Mall, Gallery Mall, Cherno More Park, and Varna Towers), plus a major retail park under development outside town.

City landmarks include the Varna Archaeological Museum, exhibiting the Gold of Varna, the Roman Baths, the Battle of Varna Park Museum, the Naval Museum in the Italianate Villa Assareto displaying the museum ship Drazki torpedo boat, the Museum of Ethnography in an Ottoman-period compound featuring the life of local urban dwellers, fisherfolk, and peasants in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The waterfront promenade is lined by a string of beach clubs offering a vibrant scene of rock, hip-hop, Bulgarian and American-style pop, techno, and chalga. In October 2006, The Independent dubbed Varna "Europe's new funky-town, the good-time capital of Bulgaria". It enjoys a nationwide reputation for its rock and hip-hop artists and related events.

The city beaches, also known as sea baths (морски бани, morski bani), are dotted with hot sulphuric mineral water sources (used for spas, swimming pools and public showers) and Shabla (Bulgarian: Шабла, Romanian: Şabla) is a seaside town in northeastern Bulgaria, part of Dobrich Province and 19 km from Kavarna. It is situated on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast in the vicinity of the salt-water Lake Shabla and Bulgaria's easternmost point, Cape Shabla.
Shabla has an extensive white sand beach and was a popular destination for Eastern Bloc tourism until the fall of Communism. The beach itself is located some 5 km from the town.
Another route leads you to the coastal road and past Shabla's lighthouse which is the tallest, oldest and easternmost one on the Bulgarian coast.

The next village along this route and moving South is Tyulenovo and the start of the rocky coast and high cliffs that stretch through Kamen Bryag to the small bay of Kavarna.
                                                                                                   
Golden Sands (Bulgarian:, Zlatni pyasatsi; German: Goldstrand, Russian: Золотые пески, Zolotyye peski; Hungarian: Aranyhomok; Romanian: Nisipurile de aur; Polish: Złote piaski; Czech: Zlaté Písky; Finnish: Kultahietikko; French:Sables d'or, Italian: Sabbia Dorata) is a resort town on the northern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, adjacent to a national park of the same name in the municipality of Varna.

Located 17 km north of downtown Varna, it is virtually connected to the city by a continuous swath of resorts and villa communities. It is a popular tourist destination, drawing many visitors from Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, Scandinavia, France, Central and Eastern Europe, the Persian Gulf, Israel, and other countries, attracted by the favourable climate, scenic landscape, and reasonable prices. Golden Sands is served by the Varna International Airport and several regular bus lines of the Varna public transit system.

The area is labelled to have the purest quartz sand on the coast and abound in old trees, landscaped parks, and pedestrian zones. Hot mineral water springs and lush woodlands cascading from the Frangen Plateau, forming the Golden Sands Nature Park, turn the town into one of the most popular tourist spots in Eastern Europe.

Three 18-hole golf courses designed by Gary Player and Ian Woosnam are currently being developed around Balchik and Kavarna a short drive to the north.

Kavarna (Bulgarian: Каварна, Romanian: Cavarna) is a Black Sea coastal town in the Dobruja region of northeastern Bulgaria. It lies 64 km northeast of Varna and 49 km from Dobrich on the international road E87. The population is about 12,500. A little yacht port, a fishing base, a spacious beach and a resort complex exist in the town. The landmark Cape Kaliakra is located a few kilometers to the east, as is the tony beachfront resort of Rusalka.

The lay of the land is flat and the seacoast of Kavarna is 42 km long. Along it there are small beaches, including an artificial one. The area around Kavarna offers opportunities for developing ecotourism and specialized tourism — examination and photography of plants, dolphins and various kinds of fish in the coastal waters. The variety of birds attracts tourists from all parts of the world and contributes to Kaliakra and Yaylata becoming one of the most preferred places in Bulgaria for the development of ornithological tourism.

Dobrich (Bulgarian: Добрич, Romanian: Bazargic) is a town in northeastern Bulgaria and the administrative centre of Dobrich Province. Dobrich is the eighth most populated town in Bulgaria, being the centre of the historical region of Southern Dobruja, and is located 30 km west of the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, not far from resorts such as Albena, Balchik, and Golden Sands.

As you look out across the Black Sea from the top of Ai-Petri mountain, you may wonder why such an iridescent blue sea is called the black sea. Nobody really knows - it can be pretty stormy in winter, and it's thought that the name was given to it by sailors and pirates who were struck by its dark appearance when the sky turned leaden with storm clouds.
It has had other names in the past. The ancient Greeks knew it as the Scythian Sea, after the tribes who held its shores at the time. Shipwrecked sailors could generally expect no mercy from the Scythians, who plundered the wrecks and made wine goblets out of sailors' skulls. The Greeks also called it Pontos Axenos - the inhospitable sea - until they settled in Crimea, after which they changed their minds and called it Pontos Euxenos: the hospitable sea.