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Sunny Beach offers miles of powdery sand and gentle surf

© Creative Commons / Axel Schwenke

Sunny Beach

The Black Sea's biggest and most popular resort, Sunny Beach lives up to its name and the huge swathe of powdery golden sand enjoys several undisturbed months of sunshine, between May and September. In fact this resort began its days in the communist era in 1958, when tourists flocked to the natural mineral baths. In recent years the resort has been hugely affected by Bulgaria's property boom, with many (especially British) buying villas here, spotting a relatively cheap place by the sea. Of course, the sheer amount of new construction means that what was once a single line of hotels along the waterfront has become dozens of rows. This makes for a lively resort, with plenty of hotels, restaurants, watersports, bars and clubs to choose from and an increasing number of visitors every summer. Off the middle of the 8km (5-mile) beach, a walkway leads to most of the shops, supermarkets, bars and restaurants, plus facilities like the post office, travel agents and the bus station.


Sand, sand and more sand - around 8km (5 miles) of powdery white sand and a gentle surf with no strong current, and an official Blue Flag beach. The umbrellas and sun loungers are laid out in predictable rows, with the 'free' areas located behind. There are plenty of watersports on offer from the stalls dotted along the beach, including jet-skiing, waterskiing, banana boats, parascending - and even quad-biking at night.

Beyond the beach

Horse riding at night, from the ranch near Sunny Day Hotel (northern end of the beach), is a wonderful way to experience the beach after sundown. Yachts can be hired for small groups either on an organised trip or a private party, which start from nearby UNESCO town Nesebar. A karting track is located opposite the Action Aquapark or for calming relaxation there are plenty of spas at the top hotels for some decadence, including the opulent Victoria Palace Hotel (north end of the beach).

Family fun

The small Aquapark Kuban (on the grounds of Hotel Kuban) has waterslides and pools, and much larger is the Action Aquapark (Sunny Beach West), on the western edge of the resort. An 18-hole mini golf course (in front of Helios Palace Hotel) will hone the skills of the next Tiger Woods, and the ranch has small horses for children. Four-seater pedalos can be hired opposite the Hotel Chaika Beach. Children over eight can get pleasantly spooked walking through Horrorwood (in front of Pirin Hotel), a haunted house complete with ghosts and skeletons. The organised evening trips to a nearby traditional village with food, music and a folklore show are great for families.

Exploring further

Private travel agents organise boat trips to the mouth of the Ropotamo River at Primorsko, around 50km (31 miles) south. The UNESCO-protected ancient town of Nesebar just 3km (2 miles) south makes for a popular trip, and the northern Black Sea city of Varna, 95km (59 miles) away has plenty of historical sights, from Roman baths to ornate cathedrals. Other resorts along the coast include the more peaceful Sozopol (easy to get to via Bourgas) and Ozbor. The waters of Pomorie, 18km (11 miles) south have healing qualities, and since Roman times have been attracting visitors for mud therapies and balneological treatment.

Splashing out

Although this is tailor-made for tourists, the dinner and folk show at Hanska Shatra is a unique night, atop a hill several kilometres north of Sunny Beach. The secluded wooded setting with beautiful views of the coast was supposedly where Khan Krum had a military encampment in the first century. The stunning interior is the venue for superb traditional food, served by costume-clad waiters, with traditional music and show. Hotels and agents run special buses to the venue.

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