Golden Sands

General information about Golden Sands

Golden Sands is the biggest resort on the Northern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, adjacent to a national park of the same name in the municipality of Varna.

It is located 17 km north of downtown Varna. It is a very popular tourist destination, drawing many visitors from Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, Scandinavia, France, Central and Eastern Europe, the Persian Gulf, Israel, and other countries, all attracted by the favourable climate, fine sand and scenic landscape.

Resort development started in 1957 and in about two decades, the place became a modern holiday complex with numerous hotels (many open year-round), villas, apartment buildings, spa centres, restaurants, clubs, casinos, attractions, shopping centres, and sports facilities, including a yacht marina. Golden Sands was privatized in the 1990s and attracted considerable investment through the 2000s. Designed initially for 13,000 hotel beds, it had over 30,000 beds reported in 2007.

The climate is temperate. The average air temperature from May to September is 18 - 28°C, and the water temperature - 18-24°C. The sea breeze is always pleasant, especially at night, when it keeps temperatures cooler. Golden Sands beach is about 3.5km long and 80-100m wide. The area is labelled to have the purest quartz sand on the coast and abounds in old trees, landscaped gardens, and pedestrian malls. Golden Sands is said to be family friendly, green, and largely pedestrian place.

Golden Sands Nature Park is situated on an area of 1320. Seven hectares, 9.2 km long and 1.2 km wide and was declared a protected territory in 1943. According to the criteria of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Golden Sands Nature Park ranks fifth category in the list of protected territories. Hot mineral water springs and lush woodlands cascading from the Franga Plateau, forming the Golden Sands Nature Park, turn the town into one of the most popular tourist spots in Eastern Europe.

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Golden Sands map

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Aladzha Monastery

Aladzha Monastery is the most famous among the numerous rock monasteries that existed on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast in the 13 – 14 centuries.

The real Christian name of the Monastery is unknown to us. The word “aladzha” is of Persian-Turkish origin and means “motley, colourful”.

Aladzha Monastery is one of the numerous natural caves that were formed in the soft limestone sediments on the bottom of the ancient Sarmatian Sea that covered nearly the whole of Southeastern Europe 12 million years ago. Aladzha Monastery is one of the few rock monasteries on the territory of Bulgaria with clearly distinguishable premises, situated on two levels in a 40m-high limestone rock. In Aladzha Monastery we find a monastery temple, chapel, requiem church, crypt (cemetery), kitchen, dining room, monastic cells and farm premises.

In the Westernmost part of the first level, right by the visitors’ staircase is the monastery church. A small altar niche is carved in the middle of its eastern wall. The church was decorated with mural paintings like most Medieval Orthodox churches but, unfortunately, the easy access to them decided their destiny. What have been left of the paintings today are hardly readable fragments.

Since the summer of 2009 a new Light and Sound show is to be presented in Aladzha Monastery. The 30- minutes’ impression will be projected directly on the rock. The show follows the history of the region since the beginning of the time till the Monks came and inhabited the Rocky caves of Aladzha Monastery. The Light and Sound show in Aladzha Monastery is a project of Varna Municipality at a total cost of 300 000 leva.

Pobiti Kamani

Pobiti Kamani is a rock phenomenon located in Varna Province. It consists of several groups of natural rock formations on a total area of 70 km?. The formations are mainly stone columns between 5 and 7 metres high and from 0.3 to 3 metres thick. The columns do not have solid foundations, but are instead hollow and filled with sand, and look like they are stuck into the surrounding sands, which gives the phenomenon its name.

In order to be preserved, Pobiti Kamani was designated a natural landmark in 1937.

There are a number of theories regarding the phenomenon's origin, divided roughly into two groups — supporting an organic or a mineral origin. According to the former, the formations are the result of coral activity, while the latter explain the phenomenon with the prismatic weathering of the rocks, the formation of sand and limestone concretions, or lower Eocene bubbling reefs.

Based on field observations and a petrographic and stable isotope geochemical study, evidence now exists that these structures represent an exceptionally well exposed paleo-hydrocarbon seep system (strongly depleted carbon isotope signatures of the dominant low magnesium calcite cement).

No matter what exactly scientists say about Pobiti Kamani and their origin, going there is a worthy experience for everybody who stays in Golden Sands or the area around.

Rider of Madara

The Rider of Madara is a unique example of medieval Bulgarian art. It has been included in UNESCO's World Heritage List.

This is an imposing relief cut into rock. It represents a four figure life-size scene depicting a man on horseback thrusting his spear into a lion trampled beneath his horse's hooves, and a dog following the rider. The relief composition is cut at a height of about 75 m above the ground, in the almost vertical 100-metre cliffs of the Madara plateau near the village of Madara, Varna district.

The monument of the Madara Horseman was carved at the beginning of the 8th century. It is situated in the vicinity of one of the most significant proto-Bulgarian pagan sanctuaries of that age. There have been different opinions as to what the relief represents. It was not designed to be a place of worship, nor to depict a hunting scene - it is rather presumed to be a monument to some of the rulers at the time. Some scholars argue that the act of piercing the lion by the rider symbolizes the triumph of some of the first Bulgarian Khans over Byzantium – the Byzantine Empire had recognized the new state.

The realism and three-dimensionality of the figures are quite unusual for European art of that period. According to some experts, monuments of this type can be found in the art of ancient Persia. In the early Middle Ages the representations of horsemen, or of horses alone, were widely liked in Bulgaria: they can be seen in stone sculptures, engraved in metal vessels, cast in the form of amulets, drawn on ceramic tablets, etc.

Varna Dolphinarium

In 1984 one of the most interesting tourist attractions of Varna was found – the Dolphinarium in the Seaside Park. It is a favorite spot for both children and adults. The Audience Hall can take up to 1200 visitors. The main pool for performances is 6 metres in diameter and 3 metres in depth.

The Dolphinarium is open six days a week, Monday is always a day- off. The dolphins receive their daily food at 5 or 6 portions, only during training and performances. Their menu contains of 8-10 kg perch pike, sprat, sardines, and their favorite delicates – the herring. Visitors mostly enjoy when dolphins walk on their tails over the water, catch fish from the coach’s mouth and sing. In the moment they are practicing human participation in the pool. Soon new trainees are expected in the dolphinarium – sea lions.

Visitors can enjoy the dolphins playing in the small pool through the panoramic glasses of the coffee bar.

In August 2008 a new baby dolphin was born. It is female and one of the few dolphins who were successfully born in Varna Dolphinarium. Mother of the baby is Dolly, and his Father is Kimbo. The baby should be at least two years old before the staff starts to train him the same tricks like the other habitants of the Dolphinarium.

Golden Sands Aquapolis

The Aquapolis was the first ever Aquapark, built in Bulgaria. It is located in the Northwest part of Golden Sands, just across the main road from Riviera to Albena resorts.

Visitors could enjoy:
-an open slide with a width of two meters, imitating a river torrent, called the Wild River, down the curvy and knobby path of which visitors descend with the help of rings;
-a straight slide with a width of two meters, called Niagara, down the knobby path of which visitors descend with a maximum speed of 50 km/h with the help of rings;
- two completely closed dark pipes – the Black hole;
- a quadruple-track slide – Slalom;
- a high-speed slide type "Kamikaze", suitable for people who enjoy extreme sensations. The launch occurs from a platform with a height of 18 meters and a maximum speed of 60 km/h.


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Read here news about growth of tourists, visitting Bulgaria.


Read here news about quality of bathing water in Bulgaria.


Read here news about Tall ships regatta near Varna.