Recently my colleague and I travelled to the resorts of Sunny Beach & Nessebar within Bulgaria on a trip with Balkan Holidays.
This was my first visit to Bulgaria, and it certainly won’t be the last!
A key reason so many people choose to visit Bulgaria is that it offers unbelievable value for money. It is very competitive as a destination to travel to and incredibly cheap once in resort. They are part of Europe yet the currency is the Bulgarian Lev which means your pound really does stretch further. Eating/drinking out in incredibly cheap and the shopaholics will be in heaven with the array of bargains to be snapped up.
We stayed in Sunny beach which is the flagship summer resort in Bulgaria. It is a large, purpose built resort with a stunning, wide, blue flag sandy beach which stretches for miles. The beach here is breath-taking and is certainly one of the best I have ever seen in Europe. Running adjacent to the beach is a pedestrianised promenade which is lined with shops, bars and restaurants, no matter where you stay in Sunny Beach is it easy to reach the sea front and have a stroll along the promenade in an evening.
Sunny Beach really does cater for the whole family, the main ‘hub’ of the resort has a lively atmosphere yet walk a couple of minutes either side of this area and the resorts ambience becomes quieter and very relaxed.
Whilst here, we visited several of Balkan Holidays most popular hotels ranging from 3* to 5* properties. I stayed in the Iberostar Sunny Beach which is a 4* All Inclusive Hotel. I had heard great reviews from this from customers who go back year after year and I can see why. The hotel had a great range of facilities, full entertainment programme, very spacious rooms and great food. This hotel would be suitable for any ages and is in an excellent location just 2 minutes’ walk from the beach. It offers incredible value for money, especially when you compare the price of an Iberostar hotel in other Spanish resorts. I would not hesitate to return to this hotel for a holiday with my family.
My favourite hotel we visited had to be the 5* Barcelo Royal Beach the moment you stepped into this hotel it had the ‘wow factor’. I have visited 5* hotels all around the world and in my opinion this hotel is the same standard of one you may find in the Caribbean. The hotel offers self-catering, half board or all inclusive, after trying the food I would certainly recommend to book at least half board.
On a different scale to the Barcelo Royal Beach is the 3* Pomorie hotel, this hotel has mixed reviews on Tripadvisor so I was very intrigued to personally visit it. If you are looking for a budget holiday and plan to use your hotel as base to explore the resort, I think this hotel would be ideal. It is basic but was very clean and had a superb location across the promenade from the beach. It has an amazing large pool with a swim up bar and really quirky pool bar.
The other hotel in my top favourite has to be the Laguna Park, this is a 4* all-inclusive hotel that is ideal for families. The hotel has just undergone a recent refurbishment and has a very modern feel, the range of family facilities is fantastic and the pool area has been totally transformed earlier this year. There is now a fantastic new on-site water park which has slides to suit tiny tots to big kids (And yes that includes the adults!) The waterpark is so new it does not even feature in the brochure yet but if you would like a sneak peek we managed to get some great photos! Be warned if you like the look of this hotel booking early is essential and with the new waterpark addition demand will be even higher.
These hotels all offer a very different experience and cater for every budget which just confirmed to me that Sunny Beach really does offer something for everyone.
Whilst in Bulgaria we visited a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the ancient resort of Nessebar old town. This resort could not be more different to Sunny Beach, it is a small resort reached via a causeway from the mainland. It is like stepping back in time and has a very quaint feel and is swamped in history, boasting over 30 churches, a beautiful harbour and excellent selection of traditional restaurants it Is easy to see why people choose to spend their holiday here wandering around the cobbled streets absorbing the atmosphere. Whilst here we visited the church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, anyone can enter this church at no cost. The interior is breath-taking and very spiritual, there is the opportunity light a candle and place it in the shrine, this was a very memorable experience for me and a great way to step back and take a few moments of reflection.
Nessebar offers a range of accommodation from bed & breakfast to all inclusive. The hotels near to the old town tend to be smaller and family owned yet if prefer a larger hotel just a couple of miles from the old town is the Nessebar resort which is a vast hotel complex offering 4 and 5* all-inclusive hotels and an onsite waterpark.
Sunny Beach and Nessebar are easily accessible to each other via the local public buses or a private taxi however we would recommend traveling over on the local boat taxi which operates from sunrise to sunset.
The last thing to tell you all about is the wonderful excursion we took to Khans tent restaurant one evening. On this trip Balkan Holidays collect you from your resort and take you to this renowned restaurant which sits above Sunny Beach in the hills. The views from here are incredible and it offers some amazing photo opportunities. The evening costs approximately £30 per adult and £20 per child which is very expensive compared to other restaurants in Bulgaria but in my opinion is worth every penny. Included is return transport from your resort, a 4 course meal, a bottle of wine per person (soft drinks provided for children) and a full on evening of very professional entertainment and live music. The acts are up there with some of the best I have ever seen and this really is worth a visit.
From May to September Balkan Holidays operate weekly flights to Bourgas, Bulgaria direct from Humberside Airport every Saturday and offer 7 or 14 night holiday options. Deposits start from a very low £49pp and free child places are available on a wide selection of dates.