Summer in Bulgaria
I decided to spend two months in Bulgaria this summer. It wasn’t an easy decision – I was going to be on my own with my toddler son for most of the time. It was his first time away from his place of birth and a first time to see his “other home” – his mother’s home. Myself, I haven’t been in my home country since my son was born, nearly four years ago.
The travel to Bulgaria
We headed off from Dublin, Ireland, through Manchester, UK, and landed in Sofia, Bulgaria. A three hour flight followed by a three-hour trip to my home town in the middle of the north of Bulgaria.
Along the way – vast blue skies, beautiful landscapes of sunflower fields, pine-forest mountains, and those typical village houses, almost ruined. People walking busily, hunched by the weight of their bags and lives.
The country of Bulgaria
Bulgaria is a richly diverse country – full of diverse, stunning nature – from seaside, lakes, rivers and dams to high mountains, dense forests, nature reserves and wild animals. You can choose to do mountain tourism and find mineral water springs in every little town, or you can choose to head over to the seaside with abundance of modern resorts and more remote quiet places. Not to mention all the attractive cities in the four corners of the country, every one of them with its unique cultural characteristics.
I didn’t have a plan but I wanted to taste from everything – I’ve been away for so long I was hungry for the Bulgarian flair.
Chernomorie – Bulgarian Black Sea Coast
I spent two weeks on the Bulgarian coast – the eastern border of the country. I often think how lucky we Bulgarians are to have access to the Black Sea. It runs from our most north-eastern point to the most south-eastern one. Our Chernomorie (Black Sea coastal line) runs for 378 km, of which 130 km are white golden sands.
Sea Capital – Varna
First, we visited Varna – the sea capital of Bulgaria. I’ve spent my four college years in this vibrant town. It was great to revisit after almost 9 years since graduation. The city was thronging with people and children. There are plenty of cafés, restaurants, playgrounds for children, plenty of walks and alleys, parks and fountains, shops and stalls. This town is really beautiful with big wide roads and a closed off section for the pedestrians. The sea is within reach and if you’re in the city centre it’s just a few minutes walking distance to the beach. You can stroll along by yourself or choose to sit in one of the bars or restaurants situated on the sand. And it won’t even cost you much. Plus you’ll get a huge choice of local fresh fish delicacies.
The resort of Obzor
For the first week of our stay on the coast I choose the town of Obzor, about 60 km south from Varna. It’s a smaller resort-type of village. Much quieter and suitable for families with children. I picked a camping site with our own bungalow and bathroom. I based my decision on the fact that there was lots of green space for our little man to play, there was a small playground and a pool. We had our own veranda where we could have breakfast and dinner, and overall the campsite was a great choice for our needs as a small family with a young child. If you’d prefer to bring your own tent, you can do that for even cheaper. And the prices were more than affordable.
The beach of Obzor
The beach of Obzor is spacious with free and paid zones. We tried both options and we were happy either way. Although I am person who wouldn’t necessaryly spend additional money to pay for a sun bed and a beach umbrella, sometimes I’d like to splash out on such extras. If you pay, you get a little bit more space and privacy to yourself. But either way, the beach wasn’t too busy and we enjoyed our stay there.
A day excursion to Nesebar
For a day excursion we visited the town of Nesebar, about 40 km south from Obzor. There’s a lot to be said about this ancient town. Before it fell under Roman rule, it was a Greek colony and a Byzantine stronghold, but during all this time till nowadays it remains an important coastal centre and port. It’s comprised of an old town and a new, more modern, town. The cobbled streets full of traditional crafts stalls and restaurants are an attraction of itself. You can just explore the ancient ruins and remains of churches in the old town, or you can take a boat trip to the thriving resort of Sunny Beach, just 20 minutes away. Make sure you taste some of the great local cuisine with abundance of ever fresh produce.
The town of Sozopol
After our stay in Obzor and visiting the near-by locations, we decided on a whim to spend a couple of days down south from Burgas – the other major city on the coast, in south Bulgaria. We picked the town of Sozopol which has always been a preferred location for young people and families.
It is again divided into old and new town, and we stayed in between of them, facing the beautiful marina and harbour. Sozopol is full of attractions for adults and children alike. It’s an extremely lively place where the bars and clubs keep going till late. You probably need a few days to get settled in and figure out what’s what.
Camp site Zltana Ribka (Golden Fish)
As a young family we focused more on the day life rather than night life and visited two stunning beaches on each side of Sozopol. Day one we spent on Zlatna Ribka (Golden Fish) beach, which is also a camp ground. This beach is popular nationwide and even the kings (tsars) of Bulgaria have swam in it. It is famous for its shallow waters that go for metres ahead – you can literally sit in the water and the gentle waves will be stroking your chin while you have a refreshing drink. It was peaceful, the water was mirror-like, and the sand was the perfect material for sand castles. Definitely a score!
On the next day we visited the beach Kavatsite, just a few kilometres south of Sozopol. This vast golden beach is part of the territory of the so-called Dyuni (Dunes), which is a protected area on the Bulgarian coast. It’s divided in sections with plenty of space. The characteristics of this beach are the almost untouched nature, wide and long golden beach, and inky-blue sea waters. Behind the beach is a wild nature reserve, a habitat for wild animals and birds.
Rezovo – on the verge of mainland Europe
On a particularly windy day, we decided to head off to Rezovo – a small village of 77 people, located on the border between Bulgaria and Turkey. What this village is famous for is that it carries the magnificent title of being “The most south-eastern point in the European Union mainland”. When the road literally ends, you go down a case of stairs and you behold the glory of the Bulgarian and Turkey flags, standing against each other almost in a contest of their grandeur. It was quite stunning just after the storm was over. And who knew that the vista would be so spectacular!
After you’re finished taking photos of this historical place, head over to the restaurant just beside the playground and taste some of the best food I’ve ever had in my life. Plus you can buy a jar of their home made jam with fruit from the local kiwi plant.