Oh the question I love to hate. A question I answer daily during the busy Summer Season here at X Hostel Varna in Varna, Bulgaria. Although redundant I’m always happy when people ask. Because after checking-in one of the worst mistakes people make is grabbing their favorite beach towel and scurrying out the door without any sense of where they’re going. Albeit, there are those who somehow follow their nose and find the beach without any problem at all. For the most part people who cruise out the front door without a map or a simple asking of the question about which this blog is based……..Get terribly lost, some even wind up in jail.
Located in a posh residential neighborhood just north of Varna’s center is X Hostel Varna. It’s walking distance to several beaches in St. Constantine and Elena. It’s also walking distance to the Bulgarian President’s summer beach residence which is patrolled by armed guards. There have been instances of adventurous backpackers climbing over fences or walls and being detained. In this case ignorance isn’t bliss.
So now to the fun part. Let’s talk about the nearby beaches and what they offer. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The beach you like, might not be what some else likes. St. Constantine’s beaches are nice. They have decent size free spaces and all have bars and restaurants. First is the Officer’s Beach or South Beach, known as the officer’s beach because there is a lodge there where police officer’s and their families get free accommodation. They come from all over Bulgaria for a week or two that they book in advance. Safe to say this is a very safe beach. You can calmly leave your bag and phone on your towel and go for swim without worry, which isn’t the case at most Bulgarian Beaches. There is also an excellent restaurant located just above the beach on a small ledge with great views called the Fisherman’s Nook. The grilled sardine’s, salads and fish soup are fantastic as well as the frosted beer mugs they keep in the freezer for draught beer. However, if you’re looking for young people, music and party….you won’t find it here. The water tends to be very clean and there is very few rocks.
Second, “The Bay”. Located just north of the officer’s beach, maybe a five minute walk. This is a small beach like an inlet or cove. Above and on it built into the hillside is a restaurant know by the same name (The Bay). They have great food and very comfy furniture. For a group of friend you could set up shop at a table on the sand to leave all your stuff and then go swimming. When you come in have a cocktail or an ice coffee. Near the shore here under the water is lots of rocks. But, if you swim out a bit there is a big sandbar, there is also a pier you can walk out on and jump off………….often times under the watchful eye of the un-approvingly straight faced locals. I recommend this beach the most for couples or groups of friends. Great for lunch. There is light pop music and lots of eye candy of all types. But be careful who you make a move on as this place is well known for the mafia guys who own and hang out there.
Third, Sirius Beach aka. North Beach. This is the largest beach in St. Constantine. There is a nice mix of foreigners, mostly Russian and German. There are three bars, two of which have restaurants. There is a large free space but it fills up quickly. This beach has lots of water sports: Jet Ski, wake-boarding, parasailing and the infamous banana boat.
(Free Space = Place where you don’t have to pay for a beach chair or umbrella. You just throw down your towel and enjoy. Most Europeans expect to pay for two lounge chairs and an umbrella when they go to the beach. Men in speedos, women topless. It’s true.)
Around the corner from Sirius beach is a free hot spring. It’s a hole dug out of the ground where a bunch of old men sit all day. There is a large pipe that comes out of the ground that you can stand under and let the steaming hot sulfur smelling water beat on you. It is awesome!
Also, inside of hotel Sirius there are two hot springs. Entrance costs 10 leva, it’s available to guests and to the public. One is inside, which has a Jacuzzi and one is outside, right on the beach.
(Hot Spring = Varna is full of underwater hot springs you can find them all along the nearby beaches, some are free some cost money.)
So, those are the beaches you can walk to from X Hostel Varna. Make sure to grab a walking map from the bar before you head off. Towels for hire are also available. See you soon!
For the other close by beaches which can be easily reached by local bus or taxi. These have a lot more “action” for the young at heart.
See my soon to be blog: HOW DO I GET TO THE BEACH? Part II
(by Chris Ellis)