Golden Sands is one of the largest resorts on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. Set within a national park, it’s surrounded by densely wooded hills and a beautiful beach. It’s popular place among families, couples and party-lovers wanting a beach holiday at affordable prices.
As a purpose-built resort, it lacks the character of some places, but the facilities are good and the weather’s reliably hot in the summer.
Getting there/around Golden Sands
There are plenty of cheap charter flights to Varna airport, just 18 km to the north-east of Golden Sands, so the transfers are easy and take around 30 minutes.
Getting around the resort isn’t a problem, everything you need is close by, there’s a good bus service and sightseeing trips are easy to arrange. Because the resort is hilly, however, it’s not ideal for anyone with walking difficulties.
Beaches in Golden Sands
Golden Sands’ beach lives up to the resort’s name – it’s a vast, soft stretch of sand lapped by clear blue seas. The water is calm, warm and shallow, making it ideal for children, and there’s a host of water sports, from diving to waterskiing, for those seeking some action.
Sightseeing in Golden Sands
There are a lot of cultural attractions close to Golden Sands. The city of Varna has plenty – the Varna Museum of Archaeology is worth a look – and there are several monasteries and ancient churches nearby. The impressive Aladzha rock monastery, just a few kilometres away, is one of the best-preserved rock monasteries in the region.
Another spot worth checking out are the mineral springs. The area has been famous for its healing waters since Roman times and there’s a balenotherapy centre where you can go for a soak.
Family attractions in Golden Sands
The resort is ideal for families with its protected, clean beach. There are all sorts of activities geared up to kids of all ages, from puppet shows to mini-golf, with kiddies play parks and children’s swimming pools too.
One of the newest attractions is Aquapolis, a vast aqua park with lots of different rides, just five minutes from the main promenade. Horseriding and cycling in the wood-clad hills is another option.
Day trips in Golden Sands
Varna, the third largest city in Bulgaria, makes an interesting day trip. Founded in 600BC, it was once the capital city and you can visit Roman and Byzantine remains. Besides historic sights (the 19th century Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin is a highlight), you can check out traditional shops and cafés, as well as browsing the popular Techno Market, packed with cut-price electrical goods.
The small fishing town of Balchik is just half an hour away from Golden Sands, but it’s worth spending a day exploring the sights here. Walk along the promenade and watch the fishermen, visit the royal Summer Palace – built for British-born queen Marie of Romania in 1924 – and enjoy the peaceful botanical gardens.
Eating in Golden Sands
Many restaurants are hotel based, but there’s still lots of choice for those who want to eat out. Besides local cuisine, everything from Italian to Chinese can be found.
Traditional Bulgarian dishes include grilled kebab, cold cucumber soup with walnuts, yogurt and olive dips, fresh salads and local cheeses – much is similar to Greek and Turkish cuisine. The local wine and brandy is good and definitely should be tried too.
Nightlife in Golden Sands
Lots of the resort’s hotels organise their own entertainment for guests (particulalry Bulgarian folk shows), but the nightlife is buzzing. There are loads of lively beach bars, discos and nightclubs (as well as strip joints or karaoke bars for the so inclined) keeping the action going until the early hours. Young party people will be in their element, but families are catered for too. For those who fancy a flutter there’s a popular casino. Drinks aren’t expensive so your money will go a long way.
Shopping in Golden Sands
A string of stalls selling souvenirs and handicrafts lines the waterfront and there are several shopping arcades around town for holiday essentials. In Varna, the market near the cathedral is good for quality clothes at cheap prices.