Bulgaria’s largest beach resort, Sunny Beach has grown up around a breathtaking, 5-kilometre-long stretch of golden sand on the Black Sea. If you want a break from sunning yourself, the resort is packed with activities from all kinds of water sports to water parks, and it has become known as the ‘the Bulgarian Ibiza’ for its non-stop nightlife. With an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, and summer temperatures hovering in the high 20s, Sunny Beach is a fabulous destination for fun in the sun.
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 3h 30m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
The clue is in the name the biggest attraction of Sunny Beach is its broad, sandy beach! This stretches for 5 kilometres along the Black Sea, and is packed with every possible facility and amenity. The modern, purpose-built resort is packed with bars, clubs, restaurants and a wealth of amenities for water sports. Kids will enjoy the mini golf and water parks, as well, of course, as the beach. The biggest cultural attraction in the area is Nessebar, a beautiful historic city that dates back to at least the 6th century BC and is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. It is located about 5km from Sunny Beach, and is easily reached by local bus.
Wine and Dine
Sunny Beach attracts visitors from around the world, and you’ll find restaurants serving a wide range of global cuisines. Don’t miss the chance to try the delicious Bulgarian food and wine, served up in charming traditional restaurants. Classic local dishes include shopska, a refreshing tomato, pepper and onion salad topped with a feta-like white cheese, fresh fish (particularly trout), stuffed vegetables, and all sorts of soups, including fish soup, lentil soup and chicken soup. For dessert, try the local yogurt topped with honey or home-made preserves, or perhaps some baklava (a nut and honey pastry) or garash (a rich chocolate cake). Wine has been produced here for millennia, and you can enjoy some local wine with your meal, and finish up with a glass of rakia, a strong fruit brandy
It’s unlikely that the charms of sun, sea and sand will pall but, if they do, you’ll find plenty for kids of all ages in Sunny Beach. There’s an amusement park, with a small roller coaster, and other rides, along with two water parks (Action Aquapark and Aqua Paradise) in close proximity to the resort, plus go-karting and paintball. On the beach, you’ll find play areas and facilities for all kinds of water sports, including kite-surfing and parasailing. You can also rent jet skis, send the kids flying on a banana boat ride or even book your family on one of the pirate boat cruises.
Action and Adventure
Sunny Beach isn’t the place to come for extreme sports, but it does have plenty to offer if you’re looking to get the adrenaline pumping. There are scores of water sports available, including thrilling activities such as parasailing, water-skiing and kite-surfing. There are also plenty of towable water attractions, such as the crazy UFO, sting ray, and flyfish, which will keep you laughing as you are tossed over the water. On land, there are options for paintball battles, bungee-jumping, go-karting and even being flung 100 metres at 160 kilometres an hour in a slingshot. You can also go horse-riding, mountain-biking or sign up for an off-road 4x4 adventure in the hills.
Life's a Beach
The main beach in Sunny Beach is the eponymous Sunny Beach. This endless swathe of golden sand is hugely popular, and offers every imaginable facility from parasols and sun loungers for rent to a host of water sports. Behind the beach you’ll find scores of bars, shops and restaurants. If you want some peace and quiet, head for Sveti Vlas, which has fewer facilities than Sunny Beach, but attracts fewer people. To leave the crowds behind, visit Irakli Beach, a couple of kilometres along the coast, which is part of a small nature reserve. Restrictions on building have ensured that it has remained comparatively wild and remote. You won’t find much in the way of facilities, so be sure to bring a parasol, snacks and plenty of water.
The nightlife in Sunny Beach is the best in the country, and the biggest venues attract some of Europe’s top DJs every summer. You can lounge by the sea, sipping cocktails at one of the glamorous beach clubs, or party till dawn at one of the mega-clubs. Like most of the popular Mediterranean resorts, the season here lasts from May to September and almost all the bars and clubs close down completely for the winter. During the summer, you’ll have a giddy choice of nightlife, including bar crawls, foam parties and party cruises galore. If you’re looking for something a little more sedate, you’ll also find dinner shows, jazz bars and karaoke venues.
Sunny Beach is a great place for a relaxing holiday in the sunshine with your partner. You can spend the day on the beach topping up your tans, then kick back over cocktails at a beach bar as the sun goes down, before heading off to dinner at one of the resort’s huge choice of restaurants. If you like to party, Sunny Beach offers some of the best summer nightlife anywhere, but, if you prefer to relax, you’ll find plenty of mellow bars and cafés. The sunset catamaran cruises are wonderfully romantic. If you want to escape the crowds, head to the wild and comparatively deserted Irakli Beach.
The biggest cultural sight in Sunny Beach is the nearby town of Nessebar, which is divided into two: a historic section and the town’s modern extension. The historic section dates back more than three thousand years and occupies a peninsula that was formerly an island. A Thracian settlement that became a Greek colony, UNESCO have designated this ‘museum town’ a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can stroll along the charming cobbled streets, now full of souvenir and craft shops, and admire the ancient remains of the acropolis and a temple to Apollo, among other historic sights. You can also see the charming 19th-century wooden houses once typical of the Balkans that have survived