Surreal Sunny Beach and Not Floating in the Black Sea
Following a lovely few days in sleepy Sofia, relishing the exchange rate from pounds and feeling like a pair of young princes. We decided to head to the Black Sea on the Bulgarian coast. Sunny Beach seemed to be the perfect place to go as we can soak up some rays, party in one of Europe’s wildest beach party towns and float in the Black Sea.
Floating in the Black Sea. A nice thing to tick off the bucket list. If you don’t know about floating and the Black Sea - it is a salt lake whose banks are more than 400m below sea level, the lowest point on dry land. Its famously hypersaline water makes floating easy, and its mineral-rich black mud is used for therapeutic and cosmetic treatments at area resorts.
I obviously copied that from a different website.
Only one issue with this plan. You cannot float in the Black Sea. We were thinking of the Dead Sea. Which is bordering Israel, the West Bank and Jordan. Famously, not Bulgaria.
We arrived in Sunny Beach around Easter. Sunny Beach is most popular during summer but we figured there would be some action happening over Easter. We were wildly, wildly mistaken. The place was a literal ghost town. There were huge huge hotels and apartment blocks that were completely empty. It was so surreal and so spooky. It was kind of cool to walk around. The very few people that were around, they stared at us with amazement.
“Why on earth are they here? Nothing is open”
I bet they wondered but in Bulgarian.
Now, usually when someone would say “Nothing is open”. It is an exaggeration and what it really means is that “less stuff is open than usual”. But unfortunately, nothing was actually open. Like, seriously. Nowhere was open. The novelty of walking around the ghost town was very quickly waring thin. The sinking feeling was beginning to sink in. Our 6 day journey in Romania & Bulgaria was tight enough without picking an absolute dud of a place.
Research, kids. Do some research before you go on a trip. I feel this is a very obvious thing to say but maybe some people, like me, just pick a place to go and just assume you will have fun.
We finally found an open hotel. It was absolutely bloody massive. And completely empty. They placed us on the top floor at the very back of the complex. It was all very surreal. There were no restaurants open, no shops open, no bars or anywhere to go. This was quickly turning into a disaster.
Look, we came here to float in the Black Sea (we had not realised yet that we were thinking of the Dead Sea). So, we headed down to the beach. There was a lovely big long beach with beach bars going back as long as the eye can see. All the beach bars were closed, of course. Most were actually getting refurbished so we had that wonderful sound of a construction site to keep us company as we sat on the beach.
It was also very cold. Like, really really cold. We walked down and dipped our toes into the water. It was ice cold. Myself and Mitch thought long and hard about getting in.
“We really should get in and see what floating feels like (still unaware)”.
We looked at each other, dipped our toes in again.
It was far too cold.
“I am sure floating isn’t that impressive anyway”.
I am sure it is. But you can’t do it in Bulgaria. You are thinking of the Dead Sea, Which is bordering Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.
Somewhat deflated, we returned back to our massive empty hotel and opted to get some food there. The restaurant looked very cool and the staff looked shocked, puzzled and somewhat concerned to see us. Naturally, half the menu was unavailable because why on earth would you go to Sunny Beach over Easter.
The dinner was brutal also. Our spirits were very low. We decided that it was time to get the hell out of dodge. It was Easter Sunday the next day. Which meant that our options were limited to get out. There were the occasional bus services but the next one was first thing on Monday to Bucharest. The journey was 5 hours and we would not have arrived in Bucharest until late that evening.
We needed to stay an extra night in Sunny Beach where there is literally nothing to do and our time in Bucharest is limited. It was time to do something rather ridiculous. Time to see if we can get a taxi.
We popped down to the reception, which was unmanned for quite some time. No need to man it. Who would stay in a hotel in Sunny Beach over Easter?
Ok yes, we get it.
After multiple taxi companies assumed I meant Burgas in Bulgaria rather than Bucharest - a different country and about a 5 hour drive away. But we finally got one sorted.
And away we went on our 8 hour journey from Sunny Beach.
From further research, Sunny Beach in the busy period also seems horrendous - so maybe seeing a completely ghost town was a better experience. It was surreal to see but ultimately boring.