Dramatic sea cliffs, secluded beaches and a subtropical steppe landscape home to ancient fortresses, cave dwellings and wind turbines: the region of Kavarna on Bulgaria’s northern Black Sea coast is a dream for outdoor enthusiasts!
Still relatively unexplored compared to Bulgaria’s bustling southern coastline, the North remains a hidden gem on the Black Sea coast. And in particular, the region around Kavarna offers so much to do for those looking for something more active than lying on the beach all day.
From breathtaking kayaking tours to refreshing early morning bike rides to catch the sunrise over the sea, kashkaval tourist presents 8 exciting outdoor activities on the northern Bulgarian Black Sea coast.
1. Rounding the cape: embark on a sea kayaking tour
How does having the sea to yourself, battling the waves and enjoying the epic cliffs north of Kavarna from a different perspective sound to you? If that’s your idea of a day well spent, then Trip Kavarna’s amazing kayaking tours are sure to be the highlight of your holiday.
Whether it’s a half-day tour from the mesmerizing crescent-shaped Bolata cove around the legendary Cape Kaliakra or a full-day adventure along the scenic coastline, this kayaking experience is guaranteed enjoyment for paddling novices and experienced sea wolves alike!
2. Chasing the sunrise: rent a bike and cycle along the cliffs
With a variety of enjoyable routes to choose from and little traffic on the roads, the Kavarna region is perfect for cycling fans! Hire a bike from Levana Guest House, who also offer accommodation in authentic Dobrudzha village houses in beautiful Balgarevo, and tour the coastline at your own pace.
Distances in the area are no greater than 30 kilometres, the roads are fit for cycling and the diverse landscapes where the Black Sea meets the Dobrudzha steppe are made to be explored on a bike. So take the camera with you and off you go!
3. The legendary headland: visit Cape Kaliakra on foot
Though it’s neither the most prominent nor the easternmost, Cape Kaliakra is by all means the most famous headland in Bulgaria. And when you see the medieval fortress nested atop the vertical rocks with the rough sea splashing below, you’ll quickly understand why!
In the Middle Ages, the cape was the capital of an independent principality governed by the despot Dobrotitsa. In early Ottoman times, 40 virgins supposedly braided their hairs together and jumped into the sea to avoid forced conversion to Islam. Centuries later, in 1791, Kaliakra was the site of a huge naval battle between Russians and Turks.
All of this has left a mark on the beautiful cape, which features a rock chapel and a restaurant in addition to the castle walls and the ancient ruins. Tour Kaliakra with a multilingual guide from the Kavarna Tourist Association and you won’t miss a thing!
4. Bridge over the sea: photograph the monumental Tyulenovo Rock Arch
The small Black Sea village of Tyulenovo is famous for three things: the ceased oil extraction efforts, the extinct Mediterranean monk seal colony that gave Tyulenovo its name, and the incredible Rock Arch that still dominates its steep shores.
And while the former two have only left extravagant traces in the village’s history, the Tyulenovo Rock Arch has remained one of the most photographed natural formations on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Visit Tyulenovo during the golden hour, preferably for sunrise, for a sight you’ll never forget and for some photos that will wow your friends at home!
5. Sunbathing without the crowds: chill on a quiet sandy beach
The rocky coastline around Kavarna means there are few natural beaches in the area. But what the region lacks in quantity, it more than compensates for in quality: it’s indisputable that some of Bulgaria’s most scenic beaches lie near Kavarna!
The Bolata Cove near Cape Kaliakra is particularly picturesque (and rarely crowded even in high season), surrounded by red cliffs topped by an abandoned lighthouse. Kavarna’s own beach is also a real gem, and Krapets’ sandy coastline near the Romanian border boasts possibly the longest wild beach in Bulgaria – perfect for seaside camping!
6. 150 years of red and white glory: see the oldest lighthouse in Bulgaria
Shabla, a small seaside town north of Kavarna, prides itself on the oldest, tallest and best known lighthouse in the entire country. Built by the Ottomans, the Shabla Lighthouse has been guarding the easternmost point of Bulgaria since 1856 and enabling sailors a safe passage along these treacherous shores.
The imposing red-and-white-striped structure is unfortunately inaccessible to the public from the inside, but its exterior and location will definitely be enough to impress you. And if the sight has made you feel like taking a dip in the sea yourself, then Shabla’s beach is not far away at all!
7. Ancient cave dwellings inside the sea cliffs: tour the Yaylata archaeological reserve
A plateau separated from the sea by cliffs up to 60 metres high, Yaylata is an archaeological reserve featuring 101 cave dwellings – an entire „cave city“ that dates back 7000 years! You can enter many of the rock-hewn dwellings to discover that they beat any luxurious hotel on the seaside with their incredible views.
In addition, the archaeological reserve features an (admittedly terribly reconstructed) ancient fortress, a rock church and even the remains of a winery. You can easily spend half a day on Yaylata’s rocky coastline dotted with wild poppies and peonies, spotting the sea birds and relaxing atop the rocks.
8. Black Sea gourmet: have a seafood lunch at the Dalboka mussel farm
Just west of Balgarevo and Cape Kaliakra, Dalboka is probably the most famous mussel farm-cum-seafood restaurant in Bulgaria. As you might guess, the restaurant focuses on fresh home-grown Mediterranean mussels – you can easily spot where your lunch was grown from the Dalboka’s seaside terrace.
In addition to any mussel meal you can ever imagine (even mussel desserts!), the Dalboka mussel farm serves an exotic rapa whelk salad and around 20 kinds of Black Sea fish. The waters near Dalboka are renowned for their purity, so you can be assured of a healthy and fully natural seafood feast!