Visiting Bulgaria’s Northern Black Sea Coast is a great way to experience the beauty of the seaside. This is easily one of the most beautiful parts of the country that you shouldn’t miss on your Bulgaria itinerary.
The Bulgarian Black Sea Coast covers the entire eastern bound, stretching for 378 km from the border with Romania in the North to the border with Turkey in the South.
There are many resorts and places to visit along the coast, but in my opinion, the best ones are in the north and in the south. The middle part of the coast gets too crowded in the summer. The north and the south are more relaxed.
Of course, it depends on what are you looking for. The party center of Bulgaria, Sunny Beach, for instance, is in that middle part.
In another article, I’m also mentioning Sinemorets, a village on the south coast. It’s one of my favorite places on the Bulgarian Black Sea and I recommend it as one of the places to visit in Bulgaria.
This article, however, will be all about Bulgaria’s Northern Black Sea Coast. A region of Bulgaria that I just recently had the opportunity to explore properly.
Bulgaria’s Northern Black Sea Coast is absolutely astonishing and deserves at least 3 days to be explored.
From high rock massive, sea caves and old lighthouses, here are the best things to do & places to visit on Bulgaria’s Northern Black Sea Coast:
Places to visit & Things to do on the Northern Black Sea Coast
Cape Kaliakra is a long rocky peninsula that juts out about 2 km into the sea. The slopes of the cape are about 60-70 meters high and descent straight into the water.
The waves around the cape have carved sea caves at its foot. We visited one in the area, but I’ll write more about it later on in this article.
The cape is a nature and archaeological reserve and one of the first protected areas in Bulgaria. The only one in Bulgaria that includes a protected sea water area.
The cape has a very long and rich history too.
The earliest settlements here date back to the 4th century BC. At that time the area was populated by the Thracian tribe of Tirisi, which also gave the cape its first name – Tirisis.
The best period of Kaliakra was the second half of the 14th century when it was the capital of Karvuna principality, one of the last Bulgarian areas which fell under Ottoman rule.
The cape is also the place where the Russian-Turkish war came to an end. The largest battle the Black Sea had ever seen.
The Kaliakra fortress was used by Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, and Bulgarians.
There are many legends about Cape Kaliakra. The most well-known is about the 40 Bulgarian maids. The girls braided their hair together to make sure that no one would back away and jumped from the rocks into the sea to escape from the Ottomans.
The rich history and the stunning landscape make Cape Kaliakra one of the most attractive spots on the Bulgaria Northern Black Sea Coast.
The entry fee to Cape Kaliakra is 3 BGN (1.50 EUR).
The rocky arch in Tyulenovo
One of the most fascinating and thrilling spots along Bulgaria’s Northern Black Sea Coast is doubtless the rocky arch in Tyulenovo.
Tyulenovo is a village that’s famous for this arch in particular. Sadly, like many other villages in Bulgaria, Tyulenovo is almost deserted.
In the village of Tyulenovo, there is a fishing harbor and a small beach. It’s also a popular spot for camping – something that you can do in Bulgaria for free.
The name Tyulenovo means ”village of seals” and although we didn’t see any, people say that you can spot them sometimes.
Yailata is an archeological reserve on Bulgaria Northern Black Sea Coast. The seaside ledge is isolated from the sea by the 50-60 meters rocks following the coast.
On the territory of the reserve, there are more than 100 caves. In the past, they have been used as lodgings, tombs, and churches.
Not only caves, but rocky cemeteries are found on the territory of the reserve as well. There are over 120 graves constructions in Yailata.
The graves have served as family tombs. Most of the tombs have been already robbed in antiquity, but some goods have still been found – coins, bronze and iron clasps, ceramic bowls, etc., dating to the 2nd – 5th century A.D.
Yailata is also home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. More than 170 bird species nestle here or stop for a while on their way to Africa for the winter. 70% of the birds living in Europe could be observed in Bulgaria.
Via Pontica route goes through the country. This is the second-largest migration route for birds.
Another must-stop on your Bulgaria’s Northern Black Sea Coast itinerary should be the Bolata bay.
The bay is a part of a conservation area of Kaliakra. It’s located near the village of Bulgarevo, 8 km away from Kavarna.
During the summer the beach is occupied by people. Luckily, when we visited Bolata at the end of May, there were only a few other people around.
Our lovely host Krasi took us for a boat ride on the Sea. We started at Bolata and we saw Cape Kaliakra from a different angle. It’s so good to get to see the coast from within the Sea.
While we were doing the boat trip, we even got inside one of the Sea Caves. The water was crystal clear and we saw some of its inhabitants.
To get that picturesque view of Bolata bay, you need to climb up the rocks. Instead of going straight to the beach, continue walking the ”street” that it’s above. On your right-hand side, you’ll see white stone stairs. Climb them up and you’ll end up at the right spot.
Balchik is a small town and a seaside resort on Bulgaria’s Northern Black Sea Coast.
The town is known for its beautiful Balchik Palace and Botanical Garden. The beaches in Balchik are nice too.
When I visited Balchik on this trip, we were recommended a restaurant lining the coast. The restaurant is BM Crown and I highly recommend it if you’re visiting Balchik.
The food is delicious and very reasonably priced. A restaurant just 10 meters away was offering pretty much the same menu but twice expensive. We had this seafood plate each that was mouthwatering.
The restaurant is right at the entrance of the Botanical Garden.
The combined ticket for Balchik Palace and Botanical Garden is 14 BGN / 7 EUR.
Built in 1856 by the Ottomans, Shabla Lighthouse is the oldest and tallest lighthouse in Bulgaria, located on the easternmost point of the country.
Unfortunately, the lighthouse is not open for visitors. You can only see it from outside.
In the same area, you can also visit the city of Shabla and the Shabla lake.
Bonus: Don’t miss to visit the Stone forest on the way
Pobiti Kamani (stones beat into the ground) aka the Stone Forest is one of the two naturally formed deserts in Europe (along with the Tabernas desert in Spain) and the only one known in Eastern Europe. It consists of sand dunes and several groups of natural rock formations as high as 10 meters.
There are several theories about the origin of the desert. One of them suggests that the place has been a sea bottom 50 million years ago.
The Stone Forest is located 18 km away from Varna, the biggest city in North Bulgaria and on the seaside.
How to get to Bulgaria’s Northern Black Sea Coast?
There are several ways to get to the northern seaside. The most convenient would be to travel by car so you can stop wherever you want on the way.
Traveling Bulgaria by car is the best way to explore the country and make your own schedule. If you don’t have a car or want to rent one, then here are your options:
Getting to Bulgaria’s Northern Black Sea Coast by plane
To start exploring this beautiful part of the country, you first need to get to the city of Varna. If you’re already in Sofia, you can easily fly between the two cities with Bulgaria Air.
You can also check Ryanair (Brussel) and Wizz Air for affordable tickets from many European destinations including Berlin, Vienna, London, Hamburg, Paris, and even Tel-Aviv.
Getting to Bulgaria’s Northern Black Sea Coast by bus & train
If you’re in Sofia (applies to other cities too), you can take a direct bus to Kavarna, Balchik or Shabla. Expect to travel around 8+ hours.
You can check the bus schedule from Sofia here.
You can also take a train to Varna and then transfer to a bus. The train can take between 7 – 10+ hours from Sofia.
You can check the train schedule here.
You can get to the Stone Forest by car, taxi from Varna or bus #43 from the central bus station in Varna.
Where to stay on Bulgaria’s Northern Black Sea Coast
Levana guest house!
Situated in the village of Bulgarevo, 8 km away from Kavarna, Levana Guest House is your perfect base to explore Bulgaria’s Northern Black Sea Coast. Cape Kaliakra and Bolata bay are a short distance from the guest house. You can drive, walk or bike there.
Levana features a big yard and a lovely garden. You can rent bicycles or go on a boat trip with the host, Krasi.
Krasi and his mon are wonderful and friendly people a pleasure to stay with. I’m sure that once I’m back in the area, I’ll stay at Levana Guest House again.
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