13 Aug 2019

Where to go in Bulgaria?

Between its Black Sea beaches, family-friendly ski resorts and wild countryside begging to be explored, Bulgaria has something for all seasons. If you’re in search of ideas of where to go in Bulgaria for a holiday, some of these might inspire you.

Where to go in Bulgaria in summer


Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast beckons with its 378km of coastline. Sunny Beach and Golden Sands give a clue to what to expect from Bulgaria’s coast – plenty of sunshine and soft sandy beaches. If you want to discover Bulgaria’s lively city life along the Black Sea, head to Varna and stroll along the beautifully landscaped Sea Garden that runs alongside the beach. Explore the port city of Bourgas further south, which combines an attractive pedestrianised town centre with a long seafront garden promenade and some of Europe’s richest birdlife in its nearby lakes.
 

Bourgas, Black Sea Coast, Bulgaria

For a real sense of history, wander the ancient cobbled streets of Unesco-listed Nessebar. If you’re looking for mountain adventures, head to Pirin National Park and hike along glacial lakes and through cooling pine forests. Golfers are easily tempted to try the scenic waterside course at Cape Kaliakra, which was designed by Welsh golfer Ian Woosnam.

Where to go in Bulgaria for a beach holiday
There’s a dizzying choice of beaches along Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. Sporty types head north to Albena for 5km of Blue Flag sands and dozens of outdoor activities. At Duni, thick forests shelter dunes and a wide sandy beach, while the 10km stretch of soft sands at Ozbor invites lazy days of sunbathing and swimming. The nature reserves surrounding the beach resort of Primorsko give nature-lovers the chance to discover the wildlife of the Black Sea coast. If you like your beaches big and beautiful, flop on Golden Sands, the second-largest resort on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.
 
Albena Beach Resort, Bulgaria

Where to go in Bulgaria that is family friendly
Sunny Beach’s family-friendly Blue Flag coastline goes on for 8km, giving everyone plenty of space to enjoy water sports, beach volleyball, kids’ clubs and mini golf. Have a family game of tennis or go horse-riding on the sands before checking out Sunny Beach’s two aqua parks. There’s family fun in store too at Golden Sands, with children’s clubs, bowling and the Aquapolis Waterpark. Next door is the smaller resort of St Konstantin, where you can have a go at water-skiing or just take it easy on a pedalo. For a break from the beach, Bansko in the Pirin Mountains offers an adventure playground on a huge scale. Go cycling and hiking in the hills before chilling out in your hotel spa and swimming in view of some of Bulgaria’s most breath-taking landscapes.
 
Bansko Mountain Resort, Bulgaria

Where to go in Bulgaria in winter

Winter brings its own magic to the mountain ranges of Bulgaria. The main cities of Sofia and Plovdiv show off a full calendar of cultural events, including opera, concerts and theatre. But Bulgaria’s ski resorts will inevitably draw you into the country’s snow-covered mountains. Surrounded by the dramatic Rila Mountains, Borovets is Bulgaria’s oldest and largest ski resort and offers thrilling runs through the pine-covered hills. Further south is Bansko, which has Bulgaria’s longest ski season and a cosy town centre where you can sample Bulgarian cuisine in a traditional “mehana” restaurant.
 
Sofia, Bulgaria

Where to go skiing in Bulgaria
Even if you’ve never skied before, Bulgaria’s ski resorts offer a fabulous and affordable introduction to the sport and the alluring mountain lifestyle. Head south to Pamporovo in the Rhodopi Mountains, where you’ve got 38km of sunny pistes to try up to a height of 1,937m. There are plenty of gentle slopes for beginners, while intermediates and advanced skiers can tackle the Giant Slalom run. Bansko’s state-of-the-art ski lifts cover 75km of pistes and take you to the snowpark where you can practise your tricks. From the highest lift at 2,560m, you can soak up the glorious scenery of the Pirin Mountains. You can reach similar heights at Borovets, where skiers have been whooshing down the slopes since 1896 and lifts go up to 2,560m. There’s night skiing, too, if you can’t get enough of the slopes during the day. If you like your thrills a little more sedate, step into cross-country skis and glide your way through 35km of trails.
 
Pamporovo Ski Resort, Bulgaria

Contribution by award-winning travel writer, Mary Novakovich