So far, Bulgaria has been a dream… Around every corner a surprise. Unfortunatly, the same can’t be said for our time in Sunny Beach.
Don’t get me wrong, this place has it’s market – It’s great for the 18 – 30’s & great for affordable family holidays. However having spend almost two weeks in Bulgaria I won’t go back to Sunny Beach and here’s why;
Bulgaria is CRAZY CHEAP. However, compared to the rest of Bulgaria, Sunny Beach is expensive. Which makes sense because of it’s high tourism levels. However, compared to other coastal resorts in Bulgaria you’re likely to be paying twice, maybe even three times as much on absolutely everything!
Even in the neighbouring town of Nessebar prices tend to be more inline with the rest of Bulgaria. However, it’s worth mentioning here they are targeting the older end of the market with high end hotels, restaurants and cafés.
An hour or so north of Sunny Beach in Varna you’ll find prices similar to the other major cities of Bulgaria such as Sofia and Plovdiv.
Being the target of the tourism market meant it was really inauthentic. Again, I think having spent two weeks in the rest of Bulgaria the difference was really ‘in our faces’.
We’d gone from seeing Bulgarian signs and using Google Translate for everything to English signs EVERYWHERE. In fact there was not a Bulgarian word in sight. You’d think this would be to our delight, but actually the opposite. In fact, after 4 days the phrase ‘Happy Hour’ had well and truly lost all meaning – every hour is Happy Hour in Sunny Beach!
We also struggled to get any authentic Bulgarian dishes or traditional Bulgarian food in any bars, cafés or restaurants. Instead the market was flooded with Irish and English pub grub, McDonalds (we counted four), Subway and KFC.
Finally, in typical European fashion this was the first place in Bulgaria where we were faced with an astonishing amount of people (90% of which British 18 – 22) asking us if “we were looking for a good time?” or “Somewhere to eat”.
It’s Run Down
I’ve not seen so many huge empty buildings anywhere in Bulgaria. However, around every corner in Sunny Beach you found either a half built construction, or the remains of a nightclub bordered up.
We even found some abandoned, run down bars / restaurants on the beach.
If you’ve never been to Bulgaria, you probably think ‘well isn’t it all like that’ and honestly, yes and no. In the city the run down buildings have a sort of charm to them. Here they we’re building sites, construction zones, they stuck out like a sore thumb.
There we have it. My 3 reasons for not going back to Sunny Beach, Bulgaria. As I mentioned, I know Sunny Beach has it’s place. I know plenty of people who love it – and rightly so. Five years ago, I’d have been the one out partying until 4am and would have no doubt written a post on how Sunny Beach is the party capitol of Europe etc.
It’s just unfortunate that five years later, I was looking for something else here and I really struggled to find it.