The Black Sea resorts in Bulgaria are fast becoming alternatives to the more traditional beach destinations of Spain and Greece. Long favourites of the Russian tourist, the Ukraine and Romanian coasts of this inland body of water are not yet as popular but none the less fascinating alternatives for sun seekers this June
Bulgaria – Varna
This fast growing maritime capital is a mixture of cosmopolitan city, naval port and seaside resort. The third largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia and Plovdiv has some fabulous historical architecture, including some Roman remains. It boasts great shopping for both modern well known brands in the malls and local crafts and produce in the markets.
The beaches are long and sandy with crystal clear waters and there is a huge city park, called the Sea Gardens lying along the city behind the beachfront, with a swimming pool and tennis courts. The Gardens are also home to the Naval Museum, the Copernicus Astronomy Complex planetarium and the Dolphinarium. Other must sees include the Petrified Forest or Pobiti Kamani, an extraordinary series of naturally formed limestone columns just outside the city, and the remains of the 7000 square metre Roman spa in the city centre. Varna is also the gateway to beach resorts to the north of the city, such as Golden Sands.
- Check out varna-bulgaria.info for more information
Bulgaria – Nesebar
The beautiful seaside town of Nesebar is also famous for its ancient architecture, with its old town jutting out into the sea on a rocky outcrop. Filled with remains from the Middle Ages and Roman times and crowded with Byzantine and Bulgarian churches Nesebar old town is a designated Unesco World Heritage Site and can get a little packed in the high season. Nevertheless wandering through its cobbled streets, admiring the architecture and shopping for crafts and souvenirs in its little shops is an absolute must.
There are wide sandy beaches backed by dunes to the north and south of the town and just 3km away is the famous Sunny Beach, the largest resort complex in the Black Sea. The complex has 8km of blue flag beaches sloping gently into the clear waters, making them ideal for children. Sunny Beach is also full of night clubs, bars, hotels and has facilities for every water sport.
- Website: bulgariatravel.org
Romania – Constanta and Mamaia
Constanta is Romania’s third largest city and is the gateway to the country’s Black Sea Coast. With a history dating back to the 6th century BC and reputed to be the landing place for Jason and the Argonauts after finding the golden fleece, this ancient port deserves to be visited for its own sake rather than just being passed through to get to the beach. Highlights include; the beautiful art nouveau Casino, Ovidiu’s Square, the Genoese Lighthouse, and the Roman mosaics. From Constanta you can reach all the Black Sea resorts including Mamaia.
The biggest seaside resort in Romania is rivalling long held favourites of the party tourist such as Magaluf and Aiya Napa. The 8km strip of beach lying between the Siutghiol lake and the Black Sea is packed with hotels, bars, restaurants and nightclubs as well as aqua parks and sports facilities.
- Website: romaniatourism.com/constanta
Ukraine – Odessa
Odessa founded by order of Catherine the Great on the site of an old Turkish settlement occupied by the Russian army in 1789, was once the 4th largest city in Imperial Russia and was declared a free port at the beginning of the 19th Century, giving rise to a massively diverse population and creating a truly beautiful cosmopolitan city. Its architecture was influenced by French and Italian styles, though still russian at heart. Always visited by so many tradesman and Russians alike it is popular with tourists today who come to admire its Art Nouveau, Renaissance and Classicist buildings, wander its pretty streets or relax in its shady squares.
Highlights include Potemkin Steps, 192 stairs leading from the city centre to the port, the huge and varied Privoz Market where you can browse hundred of stalls and the Odessa Catacombs, a vast underground network of tunnels with a history all of their own. Sun-seekers looking for beaches, nightclubs, bars and restaurants head for the suburb of Arkadia. In easy reach of beaches of Ithaca, Ibiza, and Itaka, this boulevard caters for the sun loving tourists with plenty of entertainment and water sports for all ages.
- Check out odessatourism.in.ua