We may only be in spring, but summer travel plans are still being made and there is perhaps nothing more on travelers’ minds than dreaming of the perfect beach.

Often, the easy decision is to book a trip to Mexico, no questions asked.

But don’t cut yourself short. Europe is far easier to reach than it may seem, and so are some pretty incredible European beaches that won’t break the bank.

Even when we think of European beaches, places like France, Spain, and Greece tend to come to mind. But, why not Bulgaria?

I can attest Bulgaria’s inland capital city, Sofia, is far from being a place I care to visit again, but even as one of my least favorite destinations, Bulgaria’s stunning coastline has my eyes popping like Ren & Stimpy!

The Black Sea has become a trendy getaway in recent years, but these 3 lesser-known vacation spots are Europe’s cheapest beach escapes.

Sunny Beach

Scenic view of Sunny Beach, Bulgaria

While all the cool kids today are poisoning their minds with mumble rap and Taylor Swift diss songs, the classic Sublime lyric, “Summertime, and the livin’s easy”, pretty much sums up the coming months of Bulgaria’s gorgeous beaches.

Summer skies are sunny with temps between 80-95 degrees on average, right in the sweet spot for a perfect beach vacation.

The properly named Sunny Beach, located outside Burgas, has been named in multiple articles and publications for how affordable it is to vacation here.

Coastline of Sunny Beach, Bulgaria

You can start your day with a morning coffee and end it with a cold beer, both under $2. More importantly, where you rest your head at night is the main draw in terms of your travel budget.

These 3 hotels can all be found scattered along Sunny Beach under $450 for a weeklong stay:

Golden Sands

Busy beach at Golden Sands, Bulgaria

If one thing is for certain about Bulgaria, it’s that they really hit the names of their beaches right on the head!

Another properly named beach, Golden Sands lives up to the hype and then some. Stretching for miles packed with nice resorts, views of gorgeous blue waters, and you guess it – golden sand – travelers can save money while vacationing in style.

While this part of the world doesn’t even sniff Cancun’s visitor numbers, the prices for their ritzy resorts put most of Mexico to shame.

Bulgaria is where the real deals are at. Travelers can easily find high-end resorts between $50 to $80 per night, such as the 4-star Astera Hotel & Spa.

Ferris Wheel at Golden Sands, Bulgaria

Those wanting to level up even more can select all-inclusive packages without having to spending any extra with many resorts still under $80 per night with all the freebies.

Golden Sands is where the parties are day and night, from beachside bars to resort nightclubs, but everyone can find their niche in this affordable paradise.


Up the coast from Golden Sands is another sliver of paradise packed with lavish resorts known as Albena.

The most notable would be, again, the properly named Albena Resort with rave reviews from guests saying it’s ‘splendid’, ‘peaceful’, and has all the amenities you could imagine.

Scenic view of beaches of Albena, Bulgaria

Albena is the most secluded beach destination of the bunch as Sandy Beach and Golden Sands tend to draw a bigger crowd.

While the Albena Resort is on the higher end, there are other 4-star and boutique hotels nestled along the beach and within walking distance to some of the best scenery along this side of the Black Sea.

There are 5-star hotels for those looking to maximize their beach days with the best of the best, and of course, both the Maritim Hotel Paradise Blue and Flamingo Grand Hotel & Spa have the highest rates.

Bulgaria Is Officially A Schengen Nation

Albena, Bulgaria - aerial view of beach

As of April 1st, Bulgaria was formerly welcomed into the Schengen Zone (with a couple of exceptions).

Those seeking to stay long-term will have to find a new loophole, but those simply looking for a typical weeklong beach vacation shouldn’t be terribly concerned with Bulgaria’s new status, especially if flying in.

Travelers looking for the full scope of how this affects them can check out this article.

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