Bourgas, on Bulgaria’s beautiful Black Sea coast, is a big tick on the must-see list for nature enthusiasts, thanks to its proximity to one of Europe’s most important wetlands. It’s also a cultural powerhouse, a culinary hotspot and a popular shopping destination, with a cosmopolitan vibe enhanced by prestigious international festivals and a lively student community. Thanks to budget-friendly flights to Bourgas Airport available from the UK, it’s never been easier to snatch a quick break in this friendly city, or use it as a base to explore the lovely coastline on its doorstep.
As the main hub for holiday traffic to the popular Black Sea resorts, Bourgas is at its busiest during the peak summer months. You’ll need to book flights and accommodation well in advance if you’re after a bargain, especially if your travel dates coincide with the city’s well-established international folklore festival in August. The best choice of cheap flights to Bourgas occurs between the Christmas rush and early spring – it won’t be warm enough for the beach, but you’ll have the museums and other urban attractions to yourself. If you crave sunshine without the crowds, try May or October, when the sea is still warm enough for a pleasant dip.
During the peak holiday season Thomas Cook Airlines runs charters from a large number of UK regional airports to Bourgas – the typical flight time from London Gatwick is around 3 hrs 30 mins. Scheduled direct services are operated by Bulgaria Air out of London Heathrow, while Norwegian Air Shuttle offers a choice of one-stop routes from Gatwick via Copenhagen, Oslo or Helsinki and Aer Lingus flies from London City via Dublin. Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air also flies conveniently non-stop from London Luton.
Situated around 5 miles north of the city, Bourgas Airport is one of the busiest in Bulgaria, so it’s well used to handling the holiday hordes quickly and efficiently. The cheapest way to reach the city centre is by airport bus, which links the terminal with the main bus station, from where you can catch a connection to the nearby coastal resorts. If you prefer the door-to-door luxury of a cab, there’s a line of smart yellow taxis waiting outside arrivals – advance reservations can be made online by using the link on the official airport website.
Wander through the lovely Sea Garden that hugs panoramic Bourgas Bay and you’ll quickly fall under the spell of this vibrant city. This expansive municipal park filled with exotic plantings is the pride and joy of the Balkans. Take time to explore Lake Atanasovsko nature reserve, a protected wetland site that supports a rare diversity of flora and fauna. Sample freshly prepared Black Sea mussels at a stylish beachfront restaurant, or splash out on a ticket to the opera, housed in a striking modernist building.
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