Things to Do in Black Sea Coast
Also known as the Summer Palace of Queen Marie, Balchik Palace (Dvoreca) sits along Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, together with a popular botanical garden. The palace was built for Queen Marie of Romania between 1926 and 1937, when Romania controlled the region. Designed by an Italian architect, the palace is part of a complex that includes several villas, a wine cellar, a monastery, a chapel and several other buildings. Buildings within the complex feature architectural elements inspired by a variety of cultures and religions, including a minaret, a Christian chapel, Thracian, Greek and Roman symbols, and a mix of Bulgarian, Gothic and Islamic designs. The palace rooms open to the public display original furnishings, as well as some local ancient artifacts and photographs of Queen Marie. The nearby botanical garden was established in 1940 and covers 65,000 square meters. It is home to 2000 plant species, including a collection of large cactus species, only the second of its kind in Europe.
Focused on the period 1944–1989, when Bulgaria was under Soviet influence, the Varna Retro Museum serves up a dash of Communist chic in the heart of Varna’s No. 1 mall. Over 60 retro cars plus wax models of key characters from the era form the core of the collection, but you can also appreciate everyday objects from cigarettes to makeup.
Set in a grand 19th-century building, the Varna Archaeological Museum houses Bulgaria’s finest archaeology collection. Displays spread over 23,000 square feet (2,150 square meters) and run from Stone Age times to the 19th century. Highlights include some of the world’s oldest worked gold, dating back over 6,000 years.
Standing in the middle of a farm field a few kilometers outside of Sozopol, the Castle of Ravadinovo (In Love with the Wind) might be something out of a fairy tale. Mystical and exotic, the castle made of stone covers about 30,000 square meters, including the grounds. All around the castle grounds, you will find flower gardens and landscaped lawns, as well as a variety of statues, small bridges, fountains and ponds. The castle is best visited in the summer when the castle walls are overgrown with ivy and the gardens are in full bloom. Talkative parrots, colorful peacocks and elegant swans are also prevalent throughout the grounds. Inside the castle you will find an art gallery, wine cellar and several large halls for events.
Set along Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, Sunny Beach Luna Park is a popular amusement park for Bulgarians and foreigners alike. Dating back to 1958, it is home to a variety of attractions and activities for all ages. Adults can enjoy a plethora of restaurants and bars with live music, as well as a shooting range, outdoor pool with a bar and a sauna and Jacuzzi. Children can stay busy in a 24-hour kindergarten, kids’ pools, merry-go-rounds, kids’ discos, pony riding and more. Visitors of all ages can enjoy attractions like the house of horrors, a 3.6G force experience, a roller coaster with a 360-degree loops and a space jump.
Set in the western part of Sunny Beach along the Black Sea coast, the Action Aquapark was the first water park to be built in Bulgaria. Covering 36,000 square meters, it boasts more than 30 water attractions, bars and restaurants and features a variety of tropical palm trees, Mediterranean shrubs, geysers and fountains throughout the grounds. Popular rides include a free fall slide that lets visitors plunge at up to 70 kilometers per hours, the 18-meter high Kamikadze slide and the 150-meter long Black Hole slide. Those looking for a more relaxing experience will enjoy floating along the 330-meter Lazy River. For the kids, there is a mini-zoo with pigs, goats, ponies, peacocks and emus, and the H2O Adventure Island, with eight slides, climbing tunnels and rope bridges.
In the Golden Sands resort town up the coast from Varna, Aquapolis is a 10-acre (4-hectare) landscaped water park with a lazy river, pools, and a number of slides. Besides adults’ and children’s areas, the extreme zone boasts the Kamikaze, a slide delivering speeds of up to 37 mph (60 kph). There are a number of food options on-site.
Set in Primorski Park on Varna’s coast, Varna Zoo (Zoopark Varna) is a small zoo established in the 1960s. Perhaps the most interesting of the 70-odd species here are the birds, which include black swans, pelicans, and local curios. There are also larger creatures here, including llamas, a camel, lions, tigers, wolves, and kangaroos.
An enormous water park just outside Nessebar, Aqua Paradise is also home to a large resort hotel. The park, sometimes known as Aqua Park Nessebar, features over 20 water slides, multiple swimming pools, lazy rivers, and attractions including a surf simulator. There are also a range of bars and restaurants, plus themed live shows in season.