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The Southern Beaches of Bulgaria's Black Sea Coast

The more one travels to the southern part of Bulgaria's Black Sea coast, the more he/she gets enchanted by the landscape of the Stranzha natural reserve and its beaches. The coastal resort town that officially borders the Strandzha mountain is Tsarevo. There, one can take his first breath of Strandzha's air and taste the famous “manov” honey. This dark-brown type of honey is widely advertised by local producers for its almost magic properties to cure a number of diseases. Interestingly, the “mana” honey is produced not from the nectar of flowers but from a so-called “mana” - a sweet sap collected by bees from the famous Strandzha oak tree.

Apart from the mana honey, one can also enjoy some of Tsarevo's beaches. Our favourite beach near Tsarevo is Nestinarka - named after a former camping site that was gradually replaced by several luxurious hotels during the recent construction boom. The Nestinarka area borders the old quarter of Tsarevo - Vassiliko. Yet, as it would take about half an hour walk from the center of Tsarevo to get there, it is recommendable that one takes a car/taxi to the beach - it takes no more than 5-6 minutes to get there. The beach is situated in a cozy bay and even if it offers all modern facilities in terms of sports, bars, umbrellas and sunbeds for rent, it is still relatively quiet and less crowded. The beach is convenient for children, as the sea bottom deepens only gradually, while swimmers can equally enjoy the calm bay.

Further to the south one reaches the small village of Varvara. As Varvara somehow managed to stay away from the construction boom, save for the emergence of a couple of less imposing hotels, it has remained a favourite holiday destination for artists, actors and the like. Unfortunately, the village of Varvara has a rather small beach where one can hardly find a place for his towel. Yet, within a 5-min drive one can get to the vast beach of Ahtopol or the nudist beach of Ahtopol. The latter can be entered by car from the Delfin camping site, which is in fact its biggest disadvantage, as one has to pay a 1 euro daily fee for using the parking site of the camping. Alternatively, the car can be left just outside the camping at no fee, but at the expense of an extra few minute walk. The nudist beach is visited by non-nudists too, as it offers complete silence and relax. The beach does not have any bar or any other facility and it kept clean by its visitors themselves. Of course, one can always go to the bar of the Delfin camping and have a meal or beverage there. The beach is less convenient for children, however, as the bay is relatively open and the sea is traditionally more turbulent.

After leaving Ahtopol, the next resort further to the south is Sinemorets. Once a deserted village as Varvara due to the nearby border and the ensuing restricted entrance, Sinemorets has gradually grown into a modern resort with plenty of hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes. Apart from its modern view, Sinemorets can boast for its good choice of beaches nearby. The main beach of the village, so-called Butamyata, is rather beautiful, but too popular and hence overcrowded. It offers all the facilities of a modern resort beach - sports and entertainment facilities (incl. horse-riding), a pizza place, bars, umbrellas and sunbeds, but during the top season it is cram-full of people. For those willing to sunbathe undisturbed, however, there are other opportunities in the immediate neighbourhood, too. One is the beach of the Veleka river mouth, where the Veleka river flows into sea. The view of the river that runs its last meters in parallel to the sea, separated by a vast sand dune where tourists can bask in the sun, is truly spectacular. Some choose to cool up in the shallower and calmer river waters, while others prefer the sea. The bottom of the sea at the Veleka beach changes every next year - some years it deepens quite gradually, while others the passage towards 2 meters of depth is quite sharp and rather close to the shore. Hence, if having children, one should be vary careful with the seabed.

A very beautiful and welcoming beach also lies in the close vicinity of Sinemorets. Named “Lipite” (The Lime Trees) for no obvious reason (one would suppose that in the past there were some lime trees around there), the beach stretches in a rather quiet and beautiful bay within the boundaries of the Strandzha natural reserve. As a result of its protected status, no cars are allowed here and one should come on foot if willing to sunbathe and swim here. The beach is worth the 15-20 walk from the southern end of the central beach of Sinemorets (Butamyata) in southern direction. The path above the southern rocks of Butamyata is well visible and one can hardly get lost. The waters of the Lipite beach are shallow a long distance away from the shore, while visitors here come in small numbers, discouraged by the lack of any beach facilities and the required walk.

The last beach in the vicinity of Sinemorets that ranks among our favourites is Silistar. It is named after the Silistar protected area, which is a part of the Strandzha natural reserve. This beach is some 15-min drive to the south of Sinemorets and lies in a deserted area between Sinemorets and Rezovo, the last town on Bulgaria's coast before the border with Turkey. Nevertheless, one can find several bars, as well as umbrellas, seabed and tents for rent here. The beach also offers boat trips and pedalos. The beach lies in a rather quiet bay, surrounded by rocks on both sides. The seawaters are shallow for a long time before a gradual passage towards bigger depths and hence draw on families with children. There is a camping site just behind the beach, too. The Silistar beach is neither deserted, nor too popular, most possibly due to its relative distance from all resorts to the south.

All in all, the choice of beautiful sand beaches in the southern part of Bulgaria's coast is quite rich and depends on tourists' preferences for facilities, proximity or quietness. Of course, there is always a certain trade-off between easy access and crowdedness and it is up to each visitor to decide what he/she values more. Yet, regardless of the choice, one can hardly get disappointed due to the marvelous landscape of Strandzha.

Author: Desislava Nikolova,

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