The purpose-built holiday resort of Sunny Beach on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast does exactly what it says on the tin, providing eight kilometres of stunning beach in a warm environment. It is the perfect place to enjoy a family holiday, with safe Blue Flag certified swimming and plenty of amenities on hand.
Best value destination in Europe
According to the 2018 Post Office Travel Money Holiday Costs Barometer, Sunny Beach offers the best value for money in the world. They compared the price of eight items you normally buy on holiday including an evening meal for, suncream and a cup of coffee in resorts across 42 worldwide destinations and of course Sunny Beach was the best value, as the other resorts just couldn't match the exceptional value Bulgaria offers. This is the first year that Sunny Beach has won this award and it confirms that Bulgaria offers the best value for money holidays not only in Europe but across the world.
Things to see and do
The beach is the main attraction at Sunny Beach, especially for families, with the sand perfect for sandcastles and the sea inviting holidaymakers to take a dip. The curvature of the bay makes it sheltered, which means there are few big waves, providing the perfect conditions to enjoy a pedalo or banana boat ride.
For the more energetic, there is the chance to take part in all manner of watersports, from waterskiing and jetskiing to paragliding and scuba diving. Back on the shore, volleyball courts and a mini golf course provide more opportunities for fun-filled afternoons for the family.
When you have exhausted everything that the beach has to offer, take the kids to one of the many water parks in the area. There are large ones, such as Action Aquapark and Aqua Paradise, which have enough slides and pools to keep the kids entertained all day. There are also two smaller ones - the Kuban Aqua Park and Pirates of the Caribbean Mini Aqua Park - that are more suited to younger children.
Just five kilometres from Sunny Beach is the ancient town of Nessebar, which makes for a wonderful daytrip. Spend some time wandering around what is essentially a living museum, taking in 3,000 years of history and culture. You will be instantly charmed by the cobbled streets and picturesque gabled houses.
At the end of a long day sunning yourself, there is plenty to do when it comes to letting your hair down. Navigating the nightlife in Sunny Beach isn't difficult as it is mainly spread out along the boulevard. See local listings about what is going on during your stay or simple take a walk down the street and see which establishments take your fancy.
You can enjoy a quiet drink in a chilled out bar, dance the night away at one of the clubs or take a cruise for the evening out into the sea. The options are endless and the choice is yours.
Eating and drinking
Since Sunny Beach was declared the cheapest holiday resort in Europe by the Post Office earlier this year, there is no excuse not to go out and enjoy a meal out. A three-course evening meal for two, complete with a bottle of wine was found to cost just £22.32, so what are you waiting for?
Being right on the Black Sea coast is a great opportunity to have some fresh seafood served up in exciting ways. There are plenty of restaurants offering such cuisine, as well as other classic Bulgarian dishes, such as shopska salad and roasted pig. The local market area is the best place for such delicacies, but homemade pizzas and pasta are also widely available.
The two main places to go shopping in Sunny Beach could not be more different to each other. If you are looking for a bucket and spade, beach ball or inflatable crocodile head to Flower Street. This wide thoroughfare is a paradise of shops and stalls selling all the paraphernalia associated with fun in the sun.
For more serious shoppers, it has got to be the Royal Beach Mall, where international brands can be purchased at pretty low prices. With 140 shops and located right in the heart of the resort, it is almost impossible to take a look at everything. Whether it is diamond jewellery or new shorts of the kids, you'll find it there.
Many of the places you will want to go in Sunny Beach and things to do will be in walking distance, but should you wish to go further afield there are a number of options. Taxis are widely available and buses run as well. There are regular services to the likes of Sofia, Nesebar, Bourgas and Varna as well.
Flights from London Gatwick to Bourgas Airport, which serves Sunny Beach, take just three and a quarter hours - not too long if you've got little ones. A transfer to the resort then takes less than an hour. Bulgaria is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, so don't forget to change your watch on the plane! It is very rarely cold in Sunny Beach, with temperatures in the summer in excess of 30°C and very little rain. Even the water heats up to a nice temperature, making it refreshing for a swim, but with no need for bravery when getting in. During the spring and autumn months, the weather is slightly cooler, but still very pleasant. Bulgarian is the local language, but the majority of staff at Sunny Beach speak English, leading to a nice atmosphere and making it easy to tell them if you need anything. The currency is the lev and there are around 2.4 levs to the pound.