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What To See And Do In Sunny Beach Bulgaria
Written by several Chasing the Donkey writers and Derek from Floating Authority.
Sunny Beach is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bulgaria. It features a sprawling sandy beach that spreads 2.5 kilometers along the Black Sea.
Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, is a pure tourist destination. The main reason why it is so popular is because of its nightlife. If you are looking for a place to absorb Bulgarian culture, it is best to look at other destinations like Varna or Sofia. Sunny Beach is like Las Vegas and Cancun mixed.
Sunny Beach is one of the most popular Spring Break destinations in Europe. Sunny Beach attracts so many tourists because of the relatively low prices compared to more well-known destinations.
Where To Stay In Sunny Beach
Not sure where to stay? Well, good news, Sunny Beach features rows upon rows of places to stay, all within a kilometer of the beach and close to other Bulgaria Sunny Beach attractions. The best bang for our buck that we found was the Hotel Barcelo Royal Beach.
The hotel was nice enough, with a few different dining areas and clean hotel rooms. It’s a friendly resort with one big-sized pool that is big enough to do a lot of other activities in the water and a smaller pool and hot tub to accompany the nicely designed front yard. There is also a bar in the middle for those mid-day drinks.
If you are looking to fork out more money, there are a few baller hotels, such as the Royal Palace Helena Sands or the Хотел Дюн (Hotel Dune). If you want to visit on a budget, you can also find some hostels to stay in.
How To Get To Sunny Beach
From Sofia, you can get to Sunny Beach in four different ways. Through train, bus, car, or take a flight to Varna. The latter option would be the most pricey and longest because you would still have to figure out how you were getting to Sunny Beach from Varna.
Trains and buses take 6 to 7.5 hours while driving by car slashes the time by half taking about 3.5 hours to get there.
What we ended up doing was we traveled from Varna to Sunny Beach. This is a shorter route, and there are a few ways to get there: train, bus, or taxi. We ended up choosing the bus. It says it takes an hour and a half on the internet, but it was more like two and a half hours as they take frequent stops for “smoke breaks.”
If you are coming from another country, chances are it makes the most sense to land in Varna and take the bus as the most cost-efficient option.
Things To Do In Sunny Beach, Bulgaria During The Day
If you are coming with family, the daytime is the best time to explore Sunny Beach in Bulgaria. These are some places around Sunny Beach we recommend checking out.
Sunny Beach Strip
Sunny Beach is the main area to kick back along the coast, and it’s wildly popular. The wide, golden sandy beach is the perfect place to bury your toes for the day. When you dip in the sea, you will instantly notice that you can float more than in a pool or a regular ocean because of the higher salt content. It is one of the best Sunny Beach activities on days when the sun gets too hot.
Along the 2.5 km strip, you will find rows upon rows of deck chairs that belong to different resorts available for rent. Hotels become less stringent with rental fees towards the end of the day when they start packing things in.
Head to the golden sands of Irakli Beach for a break from the crowds you will find at Sunny Beach. A little more secluded and a little more out of the way, this beach is perfect for those looking for a quieter venue. Follow the coastal road towards Cape Emine to find this gem along the bluffs.
Another family-based activity in Sunny Beach is Luna Park. This large amusement park has the classic fairground games and rides along with a roller coaster. Kiddie rides and carousels are also available for the youngest visitors. It’s the perfect place for people of all ages to feel like a kid again!
Action Aqua Park
Action AquaPark, along the beach, is known as Bulgaria’s first water park. The 30-plus attractions at this water park will keep the whole family busy, from pools to relaxing rivers to extreme plunges. The Kids Zone features shallower pools and a pirate-themed island, so it’s great for all ages.
One of the places to visit in Bulgaria, Sunny Beach caters g to ages as young as eight and up; this 400-meter karting track is found along Burgas-Varna road and is a great way to take a break from the beach. The karts have speed restrictions for younger drivers, making it a family-friendly option for those with tweens. Adults can enjoy karts without the speed restrictions, so take a few fast laps!
It wouldn’t be complete as a resort town without ample water sports offerings. You can rent jet skis, banana boats, kayaks, or paddleboards for all of your water adventuring needs. Keep in mind some of the rental facilities are further away from the main Sunny Beach area.
A list of Sunny Beach attractions would not be complete without scuba diving. If you venture nearby to Nessebar, check out Angel Divers, a five-star PADI dive resort. This area of the Black Sea coast is a hot spot for wreck diving, including German U-boats. The center caters to all experience levels, so whether you’re an expert or beginner, there’s something they can help you do.
When you look up Sunny Beach things to do, you’ll also come across several excursions. You can go out for a day on a few different boat tours, including the Tattoo Party boat, for those who want to let loose during the day. Also available are luxury catamaran tours with stops at remote beaches for swimming and snorkeling. Of course, there are many other choices, but no matter your preference, you can expect food, drink, and a chance to sit back while your captain sails you along the waters.
Another superb tour option is traveling along the backcountry coastal land via 4 x 4. Book a tour to explore a lighthouse, a medieval orthodox church, the rugged Cape Emine, and a swim in a deserted cave.
Sunny Beach features a wide array of shops all along the walkway covering the whole strip. Going from one end to the other will take about an hour and a half, including frequent stops at gift shops. These shops are quite popular places in Sunny Beach among the summer crowds.
Gift shops offer typical novelty items like sailor hats with Bulgaria on them, sunglasses, etc. You won’t find anything of high quality, but it’s fun to browse around and see what each place has. You can try bargaining with some of these vendors. Some will bite, some won’t, but your chances become more favorable if you buy more than one item.
You will find a delightful Turkish Hammam in the Erma Spa, complete with a hot room, cold water bath, and massage. It’s the perfect way to relax after a day at the beach or on a night out on the town!
Nearby Cities Worth A Visit
When needing a break from the party scene, head to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Nessebar. Located just a few minutes from Sunny Beach, this coastal town is home to ancient fortifications, windmills, and churches, including The Church of St. Sophia from the 400s.
It’s also a great place to stay if you want easy access to Sunny Beach but don’t want to be right in the crowd.
Burgas is one of the most popular ports on the southern Black Sea coast. Far from the ancient and historical centers that populate the country in other places, it is mainly a modern art deco with well-maintained coastal parks.
You can also attend some of the hottest music festivals in Bulgaria, such as the Spirit of Burgas Festival, which more people attend yearly.
North Beach is the most popular sandy beach in the city. Still, Burgas has another under-the-radar gem: the majestic trio of lakes stretching from the bird-spotting haven of Vaya in the west to the saltwater of Atanasovsko in the north.
Just south of Sunny Beach is the seaside town of Pomorie.
Located at the end of a picturesque peninsula, there are plenty of sandy beaches, waterfront bars, and swimming spots to choose from for a day in the sun.
Nature lovers will also delight in a trip to Pomorie Lake, a coastal lagoon separated from the sea by a sand spit. Many migratory birds journey to this location and the mud here is said to have healing properties.
Historical gems such as a Thracian tomb from the year 200 and the Monastery of St. George are worth a visit, and a stroll through the old town where you can see houses built in the traditional wooden style.
About 90 minutes along the coast from Sunny Beach is Varna’s modern city, which scores serious cultural points along with boasting a beautiful seafront promenade and Sea Garden.
Varna is the third-largest city in the country, and with parks, beaches, museums, and happening nightlife, there is not a dull moment, making it perfect for a day of exploration.
Nightlife In Sunny Beach Bulgaria
Party Party Party In Sunny Beach
Sunny beach is all about the Sunny Beach nightlife.
The nightlife in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, is legendary. At night you will see some very hammered people stammering along the Entertainment District.
If you are into the club scene, most pubs and bars are nestled within a few blocks of Flower Street. Things usually start at about 11:30 – 12 am and can go well into the night at 6 am.
The ironically named Flower Street is one of the best places in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, if you want to party. It is home to tons of bars, clubs, and strip clubs. Be warned, though, when they say that the club is popping, it’s usually not unless it is a more well-known bar. You will barely be able to go 20 feet without a club promoter trying to stop you.
My friends and I went to the Den Glade Viking Club and the Bounce Bar.
Den Glade Viking Club
Known for its cheap drinks and disco party scene, this is a happening club on Flower Street. Many nights you will find live performers and DJs creating music into the early morning hours.
The Bounce bar is not as popular, but we always ended up back there every time, as it was usually the most fun place. Bulgarian MCs were rapping on some nights, and on other nights they would just be bumping good beats throughout the night. You can also order Hukka in the club or the lounge on the deck outside.
Cacao Beach Club
Another bar we tried to check out was the Cacao Beach Club. It’s one of the more prestigious clubs in Sunny beach, but it is further away from Flower Street’s central hub, so we had to take a cab. Unfortunately, we found it worthwhile to go on weekends rather than weekdays, so we hastily had to take a taxi back.
LOCAL TIP: Speaking of cab rides, ensure you price out fares. Sunny Beach is notorious for overcharging tourists who don’t know what normal fare is. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and do some negotiating.
Bubbles Beach Bar
If you are not a huge party person and want something a bit more relaxed and chill, head to one of the bars along the beach, or better yet, find a Hookah bar.
We went to Bubbles Beach Bar, where I tasted what was probably the best Pina Colada in my life right out of a coconut. They also had a lot of different flavors of Hookah, which put you in a lovely relaxing state, especially if you are trying to detox from the festivities of Flower Street.
Where To Eat At Sunny Beach In Bulgaria
Sunny Beach is not exactly the most well-known spot in Bulgaria for food, but still, there are plenty of hidden gems around the area.
My favorite restaurant I went to was the Marina restaurant, managed by the sweetest elder lady, who ensured we would get a table. The staff was very courteous, and the meal portions were gigantic. I had two full-sized chicken skewers with fries and some vegetables. I can’t remember being as full as I was after eating this delicious meal! The prices were also pretty reasonable as well.
Other popular restaurants in Sunny Beach in Bulgaria include the Hawaii Restaurant And Bar and Euphoria Bar & Grill. We didn’t get a chance to visit them, but we heard from locals that those were good options.
For fancier restaurants, we visited Restaurant Djanny, one of the highest-rated restaurants in Bulgaria. If you want to impress a lucky lady and do some more refined dining, this would probably be the place to take her.
If you end up doing the late-night circuit, many late-night food trucks will be open next to the pier that will serve your stomach some much-needed hamburgers, pizza, and of course, late-night donairs.
Are you looking for hotels near the Sunny Beach strip? You’ll find our recommendation for hotels in Bulgaria here.
Sunny Beach Wrap Up
Those looking to experience authentic Bulgarian culture should probably not venture here. It is purely a tourism destination for people who want to soak up the sun on one of the sunny beaches in Bulgaria or those who want to drink their troubles away.
Overall I would say Sunny Beach was a destination I would go to once for a few days and then venture to other places in Bulgaria. If you are a Spring Breaker or student, you will probably have a lot of fun here.