Sunny Beach or Golden Sands?
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Sunny Beach or Golden Sands? What to choose?
When it comes to summer holidays in Bulgaria, the first thing that comes to mind are the two most popular resorts on the Black Sea coast: Sunny Beach and Golden Sands. These are the biggest and best summer resorts, offering the best conditions for a relaxing vacation, attractions and entertainment.
Sunny Beach and Golden Sands have always been in competition with each other, which one will be every tourist’s favorite summer vacation spot. To make your choice easier, here we have selected the most important information about each of them:
North or South Black Sea coast?
The first thing to decide is which part of the Black Sea coast you want to visit this time. Both resorts are located near airports and have convenient transportation and flights.
Golden Sands is located in the northern part of the Black Sea coast. The resort is close to Varna Airport and if you decide to spend your summer vacation there, you can take advantage of the great prices for transfers from the airport to any of the hotels in Golden Sands. See our best prices here:
Sunny Beach is located near Burgas airport, which is the main airport for the resorts of the southern Black Sea coast. This provides a convenient connection for a large number of tourists from all over Europe and Russia. Prices for transfer from Burgas airport to the resort of Sunny Beach are read here.
Natural or Cultural Interest?
The Northern Black sea coast of Bulgaria is a starting point for interesting trips to a lot of beautiful places: Kavarna and Cape Kaliakra, Albena, Balchik, Varna Town, etc. If you want to see beautiful nature phenomena and picturesque places along the coast, Golden Sands is for you. There are some great parks in the vicinity: Aladzha Monastery, Baltata in Albena, the Kaliakra Nature Reserve, the Botanical Garden in Balchik and the Sea Park in Varna, where you can walk during the hot summer days.
If you prefer visiting archaeological and historical sites, it is better to choose Sunny Beach. The resort is located next to the oldest city on the Black Sea coast – Nessebar, where you can visit various museums, ancient excavations and churches. The whole “Old Town” is like an open-air museum of antiquity.
Entertainment or relaxing vacation?
The main thing you should determine for yourself is the purpose of your holiday. What will you choose: a quiet holiday, relaxing on the beach or visiting a noisy club and crowded discos? In fact, both resorts have big clubs and discos with famous DJs and parties every night. But the most famous clubs and the most popular events take place in Sunny Beach, also known as the best party destination in Bulgaria.
Both resorts have a wide beach and excellent conditions for relaxing holidays. Our advice: if you are looking for a quieter and more peaceful place, choose Golden Sands.
Beaches of Sunny Beach and Golden Sands
Bulgaria’s largest summer resort has been awarded the Blue Flag for 2018. It guarantees that the beach and the sea water are clean, that there is no pollution, sewage and industrial water, that garbage is removed from the beach, the beach is guarded by lifeguards, there are showers, toilets and medical office. The cleanest beaches in Sunny Beach are the Northern and the Southern.
The beach line of Golden Sands is 3.5 km long and up to 100 meters wide. The beach is known as one of the best in Europe. The beach is flat, covered with fine golden sand. The seabed is also smooth, without stones and sharp transitions to the depths. Do not be surprised why the resort is called Golden Sands.
Regardless of which of the two resorts you choose, both have beautiful beaches.
Hotel or apartment?
The place of accommodation is also a very important part of the organization of any holiday. Sunny Beach and Golden Sands are the biggest Bulgarian resorts and offer a great variety of places for accommodation: Large hotel complexes, international hotel chains, small family hotels, rooms, apartments and so on. Surely you will find the most suitable place for you.
And one of our tips – if you prefer an apartment or an apartment hotel, you will find more such offers in Sunny Beach than in any other resort on the Black Sea coast.
Transfer to Sunny Beach and Golden Sands
The good news is that the transfer price is very favorable, as both resorts are close to the airports and there is no need to spend a lot of time on the way. An individual transfer from Varna airport to Golden Sands is 27 Euros one way. The price for transfer from Burgas airport to Sunny Beach is the same – 27 Euros in one direction by car. Waste no more time – book online here!
With Bulgaria Transfers your transfer from the airport to the hotel will be hassle free – just let us take care of your ride. It will be a pleasure for us to pick you up at the airport!
Golden Sands or Sunny Beach, Holiday in Bulgaria
- Choose a Country
This article, in which I compare the two largest, oldest and most popular seaside resorts in Bulgaria, will help you decide where to vacation. The differences between them for some may be fundamental, and in any case it is better to decide in advance, at the stage of planning a trip.
The Bulgarian authorities began planning both Golden Sands and Sunny Beach as mass seaside resorts in the late 1950s, around the same time, and during the Soviet era they received millions of local and foreign visitors.
Territorially, Golden Sands belongs to the so-called northern coast of Bulgaria, while Sunny Beach belongs to the southern coast. The distance between them is around 120 kilometers and geographically the boundary between the two coasts passes through the Eminenu cape of Stara Planina Mountain Range, which is a part of the Balkan Mountain Range.
The nearest international airport is Varna airport for Golden Sands and the resorts on the north coast, and Bourgas airport for Sunny Beach and the resorts on the south coast.
The northern and southern coasts of Bulgaria are quite different from each other in terms of relief and vegetation.
Golden Sands is located in the vast natural park “Zlatni Pyasatsi”, it is a very green and shady resort. Many hotels are surrounded by century-old trees. If you choose a hotel on the second, third line or higher, be prepared for the fact that from the beach you have to go uphill, which with small children and elderly people can be difficult. In this case, better book a hotel on the first line, or no further than the second. The beach on Golden Sands is 3.5 kilometers long and up to 100 meters wide in some places.
Sunny Beach, on the other hand, is located in a flat area, and resembles a flat sandy table, built up with a huge number of hotels, apartments and various entertainment venues. Despite the fact that the Bulgarian authorities deliberately greened Sunny Beach, the amount of vegetation here is very inferior to Golden Sands. The beach of Sunny Beach is about 6 kilometers long and 40-60 meters wide on average. The Stara Planina Mountain is visible somewhere on the horizon, but even if you are on the beach, you cannot see the mountains because of the piles of hotels.
There is an opinion that Sunny Beach, as a resort, located 100 km south of here, is warmer, and the sea warms up faster in the spring, and cools down slower in the fall. However, in my experience, if the Bulgarian coast is hit by a cold cyclone with storm and rain (for example, often such a change in weather occurs in mid to late September), the temperature is the same in the northern and southern resorts. In any case the water temperature of the Black Sea is different in Golden Sands and Sunny Beach by no more than 1-2 degrees in the summer season. So it is not necessary to orient in this case on the “north” or “south”.
But the heat is transferred to the two resorts in different ways. Golden Sands is located in a natural park, which makes breathing much easier because of the coniferous vegetation and much easier to hide in the shade of the trees in the midday heat. On Sunny Beach at dangerous hours for sunbathing it is often possible to hide only on the beach under awnings and umbrellas, or to wait for that time in the hotel under air-conditioning.
You will find hotels of all categories in both resorts, from 1 to 5 stars, and apartment complexes, although the palm should go to Sunny Beach. Because of the huge number of commercial properties (and not least because of the irrepressible appetite of developers who have not calculated the supply/demand ratio) Slanchev Bryag is overcrowded during the high tourist season. But out of season, Sunny Beach doesn’t look as dead as Golden Sands, which comes to life only from late spring to late October.
In terms of restaurants, bars, clubs, sports and children’s entertainment, both resorts are good and hold parity. If we are talking about a really quiet and peaceful family vacation, the Black Sea of Bulgaria has much more suitable places for this.
Sunny Beach and Golden Sands are the most noisy, dynamic and fun resorts that teenagers and young people love. This leads to one common disadvantage (although for some it is an advantage) – many hotels are located near casinos, bars and nightclubs, where the party closes only at dawn. Of course not everyone likes to be near loud music venues, especially in front of over-drunk and not always sane teenagers, who come out of clubs and bars at dawn. There is a well-known Bulgarian entertainment like Pub Crawl or bar tour when all the participants dressed up in identical identifying T-shirts get a chance to make a big group wander through all the hot spots of the resort drinking in each of them for a fixed fee. Naturally, the included cocktails are few and far between, and by morning this drunken and shouting crowd of young people under the window of your room can piss off anyone. Therefore, when choosing a hotel or apartment, it is worth opening a map and paying special attention to their location.
In both resorts there are large water parks. In Sunny Beach it is Action Aquapark, in Golden Sands – Aquapolis.
Both Golden Sands and Sunny Beach are good starting points for exploring the various places of interest on the northern and southern coasts near the two resorts. If you rent a car, you can “open” almost the entire small country.
Learn more about that in a separate article Sights of Bulgaria with pictures and descriptions.
As for Golden Sands, you can go for a walk to the second largest city in Bulgaria – Varna, visit the rock monastery Aladzha, visit a picturesque little town Balchik with a botanical garden and Cape Kaliakra.
Nessebar Peninsula, the old town of which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, is adjacent to Sunny Beach. One of the most picturesque seaside towns Sozopol is situated not far from Sunny Beach, where you can take a boat trip on Ropotamo River, but to be fair it is not the most interesting attraction of the south coast.
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