Balchik is a small seaside town in Bulgaria buzzing with people who flock to its eclectically beautiful palace and botanical garden all summer long. It’s a popular day trip destination for vacationers who have chosen the Northern Black Sea Coast for their beach vacation, and here is the best way to spend 24 hours there.
Explore the eclectic Balchik Palace
When she first set foot in Balchik, Queen Marie of Romania immediately fell in love with the coast and decided she would have a summer residence built here. This happened after the Second Balkan War (1913), when the area of Balchik was temporarily possessed by Romania. The palace is home to places of worship of several different religions, as the Queen was open-minded and was known for her religious searching. Today, the palace tells her story and offers winding staircases and shady, tucked away corners among the lush gardens where you can rest and enjoy the views Marie was enchanted by. Don’t leave before you’ve found the stone throne on the seaside alley and tried out what it feels like to be a royal. The Palace is great for families with kids traveling in Bulgaria.
Travel through the world’s flora in the Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden in Balchik is the best one to visit in Bulgaria, and it is conveniently located right next to the Palace. If you are a keen botanist, you can hire a professional guide who will walk you through all the details about the species on display, but even if you aren’t, the hundreds of roses, shrubs, cacti, flower alleys, ponds, and waterfalls are a treat alone.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to take water with you, as the garden is huge and you can’t buy any inside.
Try Bulgarian food for lunch
You will notice that Bulgarians eat a lot of fresh salads, especially in the summer, so don’t forget to take your five-a-day. Salads like Ovcharska (fresh vegetables with yellow cheese, boiled egg, and ham) or Shopska (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and cottage cheese) are served everywhere. A good place to order them at reasonable prices is Veroni, where you will also find fresh seafood cooked with aromatic herbs and local specialties.
Laze at the beach
Balchik’s beaches are not among the best on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast – they are tiny and often get overcrowded in summer – but you will always find a spot at the beach bars for a refreshing cocktail. There is also a small beach near the port where you can get your adrenaline pumping by renting a water scooter. Dvoretsa Beach is close to the palace and comes with a lovely vista.
Have a sunset dinner at the Yacht Port
When the sun is close to its setting point, head to the Yacht Port located close to the major Port of Balchik. The golden light and long lines of yachts gently swaying are the perfect setting for a romantic stroll. When you’re done, choose one of the restaurants lining the coast for a glass or two of wine accompanied by your favorite seafood dishes. El Simpatico is one of the best restaurants in the area with a wide array of seafood, steaks, and local grilled meat specialties.