It's not the most beautiful place in the world, but I like it! This is a statement that can be made by anyone without making a mistake or being considered a liar. Because each of us has favorite places where we like to go even if they are not the most beautiful in the world. Such a classification is extremely subjective.
With the beginning of summer comes the anxiety before leaving for the vacation spot, the impatience to get as soon as possible to a place we like. At sea, most often. I am steady, I like to go to the same few places that I know well.
I'm not good at being an explorer. I know people who can't imagine going to the same place twice, people who have visited hundreds of places in the world. I like to go to the same few places that I know well. I kept thinking about where this habit came from ...
Maybe from our youth, when we went on vacation at sea only in Romania, the country where I live. There were several resorts on the Black Sea but we only went to two, Mamaia and Vama Veche. When we were young Romania was a totalitarian communist state and we were not allowed to travel across the border, in foreign countries. I was forced to spend decades on vacation only in the two resorts.
Now, for about thirty years, we are free to go where we want and we have chosen to go to the Black Sea but in neighboring Bulgaria, for two good reasons. The sea is more beautiful and the holiday costs less for better services. In Bulgaria, too, I have been going to two resorts, Balchik, for decades, because it is closer to my home and has a historical and cultural context, and Sozopol, further away, in the south. I like Sozopol for its climate that resembles the Mediterranean one.
This summer, in the middle of June, I arrived in Balchik, I think I've been here more than ten to fifteen times.
I have written many travel blogs about Balchik. I hope I didn't repeat and present the same things, I always try to present the places and events from different perspectives, each trip had something different from the previous one.
Now it's about Balchik again!
Balchik, a small port city on the Black Sea. A city that dates back to antiquity, when it was founded by the Thracians and then colonized by the Greeks, who called it Dionysopolis, after the god Dionysus, the god of parties and wine. Then it was occupied by the Turks for several hundred years and it was also occupied by the Romans for about forty years, until the end of the Second World War.
Queen Maria of Romania was attracted to this small town and built a holiday villa here, she called it a castle. The castle of Queen Maria and the Botanical Garden arranged in the former gardens of the queen are today the main tourist attractions of the city.
I always come to Balchik with pleasure. It is a small and quiet resort that suits more mature people but there are also many young people who do not necessarily want to go to the club or disco. Balchik seems to be a place made especially for walking and how walking is what I like the most now when I can no longer bear the strong rays of the sun so easily and, implicitly, going to the beach.
Assuming that there are still many people like me who prefer walking, even when I go to the sea, I will continue to show what can be seen in a walk through Balchik.
The city is small, there are about ten thousand inhabitants. The residential neighborhoods as well as the famous Tatar neighborhood I did not visit and stay for the next trip here. I am interested in the old town and near the sea. The city has something I really like. Namely that it is built on a hill.
Between the houses and above them we see the sea. The most beautiful view.
The parks, the small parks are actually alleys in terraces. I really like the abundant vegetation, characteristic of this place, vegetation influenced by the presence near the sea.
A few streets still retain the shape of the past, of the last century. Here is characteristically the stone from which both the roads and the houses are built.
Most importantly, the magnet that draws us here is, of course, the sea!
The Black Sea is not a spectacular sea and cannot compete with its Aegean and Mediterranean neighbors, let alone the exotic tropical seas. Everyone has what it takes and I'm very happy that I can get to her shore quite often. The Black Sea, which was probably a huge lake, behaves like a lake and has no tide. The water, because it has low salinity and because many rivers flow into the sea and, especially, the Danube river, is not crystal clear. But, sometimes, the blue sky and certain algae make the color of the water very beautiful ...
Even if we don't go to the beach, most tourists want to do that. Balchik does not offer many beaches and those that are small. This does not bother those who want to lie in the sun or take a bath in the seawater.
Some also find more ingenious solutions to make the beach as close to the water as possible. It is good when you find simple solutions and you do not have too many pretensions. The recipe for happiness!
The municipality thought that there are still many who want to stay in the sun or shade and have arranged a few beaches near the castle of Queen Maria. The only inconvenience is that the beach is separated from the sea by the main access and walking alley, instead, the view of the castle and the gardens is special.
Then, where there is no place for the beach, the hotels have arranged some small platforms with sunbeds and umbrellas.
There is no place for beach games, so dear to some but they can find huge beaches in some resorts very close to Balchik, such as Albena located just seven kilometers away.
I also got to my pleasure, the walk. There are good places to walk, such as the street by the sea, along which are listed all the attractions of the resort. This street, a few kilometers long, is perfect for long walks and can be reached on foot to Albena if you have strong legs.
The walk offers the possibility to observe and admire in silence all around, hotels, terraces, beaches, the castle and the gardens ...
Usually, the walk started near the small port.
On one side the sea and the terraces and on the other side hotels, shops, stalls. I mean, everything for everyone. Both the beautiful view of the sea and all the culinary and clothing offers. Because tourism is a big business, isn't it?
Wonderful promenade arranged with money from the European Union, a very good investment that changed the face of the resort and now attracts many more tourists. New hotels were built and the old ones were renovated. What looked like a dusty and old-fashioned resort ten years ago has become a modern place.
The old part is also very interesting, especially for Romanians. Because here are some of the holiday villas of some important Romanian artists from the interwar period. Some villas have been renovated and are inhabited but the most beautiful, which belonged to the family of painters and sculptors Stork is about to collapse. But there are hopes that it will be repaired as well.
Parking spaces are a problem here too so tourists use any free space. It's free for now, but I don't think it will stay that way for long.
Then follows the garden complex and the castle of Queen Maria of Romania. The main attraction of the city. Many hundreds of visitors daily. The castle can also be admired from the promenade, but you must visit to see how a queen lived during her holidays in Balchik.
Still looking to the right and to the left you don't even realize when you reach the edge of the resort. A famous hotel, called Regina Maria, is the last.
From here the walk can continue on the same promenade but which is less neat, to the Albena resort. Few people do this, especially the most athletic and trained.
Because we are not part of this category, here we return to the center of the resort.
On the way back we meet one of the good restaurants and that reminds us that we have to eat. We do not stop here, although the proximity to the sea offers a special view. We don't stop here because the food is a bit too "touristy".
Food and drink
I like to try the common food of the people where they travel and because of this, I am looking for restaurants further away from the tourist area. I found in the old part of the city a small terrace with very good food, fresh and not expensive.
Simple food, my wife had a schnitzel with french fries and I wanted to try something specific to the area. In this Balkan region and with strong Turkish influences, people eat a lot of eggplants, prepared in many ways. That's what I wanted to try and I didn't regret, baked eggplant stuffed with minced meat and goat yogurt.
All sprinkled with a local beer, very good. Never is a beer so good except when you are tired and overheated.
The most pleasant and relaxing moments for me were when we had lunch but especially the morning coffee (and not only). The resort is small, from the hotel, after breakfast, the most awaited moment was going to a nearby terrace for coffee and juices.
A good place is relatively difficult to find even after several attempts. That coffee should be good, the serving to be friendly and nice and the terrace to be attractive. I found it and I was very satisfied.
The view of the sea was also wonderful.
During these walks, in addition to many photos, we also made short videos that we used to watch while having coffee. Some of them are shown below.
My wife really liked a statue, in fact, a group of statues, with a poor man climbing a rope to take the moon from the sky. She really liked the metaphor! We can say that it's normal for this to happen.
I pretended not to understand the meaning of this sculpture, not another one but I'm sick of heights!
It was a short three-day vacation that turned out to be wonderful, it was a long-awaited vacation and I thought that if I told it maybe I would inspire others to try to visit these places.
If there is this interest, then let me say how to get to Balchik. For those who live in the neighboring countries of Bulgaria, there is the option I use, ie by car. For those who will use the plane, the nearest airport is in Varna, at a distance of about 40 km from Balchik. From Varna, there are several options to get to Balchik, from taxi to coach.
Writing this travel blog I retraced the beautiful moments of this holiday and I already want to go there again as soon as possible, maybe at the beginning of September, if this fourth wave of Covid will not ruin our plans again.
A fragrant memory from Balchik!