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Written by Derek from Floating Authority.
Sunny Beach, Bulgaria is a pure tourist destination, so 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 together. The main reason why it is so popular is because of its nightlife.
In fact, Sunny Beach is one of the most popular Spring Break destinations in all of 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.
It’s a friendly enough resort that features one big-sized pool that is big enough to do a lot of different 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. The hotel itself was nice enough, with a few different dining areas and clean hotel rooms.
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.
In terms of Airbnb, there actually was very little availability when we in June 2019. This was probably because we left it so late to book – you can find some here.
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 in 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 using train, bus, or taxi. We ended up choosing the bus. It says it takes an hour and a half on the internet, but it definitely 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 During The Day
If you are coming with family, the daytime is the best time to explore Sunny Beach in Bulgaria. The main area to explore is by the beach and along the strip. The beach is nice and sandy although the water is nothing to write home about. Still, we managed to dip in the sea, and we instantly noticed that we could float a bit more than if we were in a pool or a regular ocean because of the higher salt content. It definitely is one 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 along the strip. A word of advice, don’t just sit down on them; this is because most hotels will charge you to lie down on them. They become less stringent when it gets towards the end of the day where they start packing things in.
Along the beach, there are various family-based activities in Sunny Beach, including Luna Park and Action Aqua Park. I can’t speak too much into this as I was traveling with two other single guys, but apparently, the Action Aqua Park is actually quite good as far as water parks go.
Speaking of water sports activities, there are a few places where you can rent jet skis and banana boats and kayaks and paddleboards, but those are further away from the main Sunny Beach area. When you look up Sunny Beach things to do, you’ll also come across a number of 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. We didn’t go on it because we would end up going to Yacht Week Croatia, but it might be worth checking out if you are here for some day-drinks.
Sunny Beach features a wide array of different shops all along the walkway that covers 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 to visit in Sunny Beach among the summer crowds.
Speaking of gift shops, there are tons of them all along this walkway. A lot of it is usually your typical novelty items like sailor hats that say Bulgaria on them, sunglasses, etc. You can try bargaining with some of these vendors. Some will bite, some won’t, but if you buy more than one item, your chances become more favorable. You won’t find anything of high quality, but it’s fun to browse around and see what each place has.
Party Party Party In Sunny Beach
In case you didn’t get the vibe of where this article is going, Sunny beach is all about the party scene. 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, you will find most of the pubs and bars nestled within a few blocks of flower street. Things usually start to get going at about 11:30 – 12 am and can go all the way well into the night at 6 am.
The ironically named Flower Street is one of the best places to go in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria if you’re looking to party. It is home to tons of bars, clubs, and strip clubs. You barely be able to go 20 feet without a club promoter trying to stop you from buying entry tickets. Be warned, though, when they say that the club is popping, it’s usually not unless it is a more well-known bar.
The clubs that my friends and I went to were the Den Glade Viking Club and the Bounce Bar. The Bounce bar is not as popular, but we always ended up back there every time, which was usually the most fun place. On some nights, there were Bulgarian MC’s rapping, and other nights they would just be bumping good beats throughout the night. You can also order Hukka in the club or on the lounge on the deck outside.
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 out that it was worthwhile to go during the weekends rather than the weekdays, so we hastily had to take a taxi back.
Speaking of cab rides, make sure that 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.
If you are not a huge party person and want something a bit more relaxed and chill, then head to one of the bars along the beach, or better yet, find a Hookah bar.
We ended up going 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 nice relaxing state, especially if you are trying to detox from the festivities of Flower Street.
Where To Eat At Sunny Beach
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 made sure 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 you can visit in Sunny Beach include the Hawaii restaurant and bar, 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, which is one of the highest-rated restaurants in all of Bulgaria. If you are looking to impress a lucky lady and do some finer 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.
Sunny Beach Wrap Up
Those looking to experience true 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 onto other places in Bulgaria. If you are a Spring Breaker or student, you will probably have a lot of fun here.
Other Travel Blogs For Bulgaria
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