Balchik is a quiet seaside town and resort village on the Black Sea in Bulgaria. The town is located on a hillside with roads that wind down to the sea. Balchik was founded by the Thracians and later colonized by Ionian Greeks as the ancient Greek city of Dionysopolis. It was part of Romania from 1913 to 1916 and again from 1919 to 1940.
On a day trip from Varna, I spent a couple hours in Balchik en route to two other places – Kavarna and Kaliakra. It was enough to get a feel for the town. I came on one of the minibuses that leave Varna roughly every 30 minutes. The ride takes about 45 minutes.
When I was let off the bus, I immediately noticed the stunning views of the Black Sea and the white cliffs that overlook parts of the town.
I walked to the Ethnographic Museum and History Museum but both were closed. Next to them was an old Ottoman fountain.
A small square just uphill holds the municipal buildings. A bit further up is the church os Sveti Georgi.
From the square I walked down the winding road to the seaside. I passed up the impressive former municipal building on the way.
I walked along a seaside promenade for about 15 minutes and was able to get a glimpse of Queen Marie’s palace. Queen Marie was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. She was married to King Ferdinand I of Romania. He built the palace for her in 1924 as a summer retreat. The palace has a minaret and is a mixture of Islamic and Balkan architecture. The gardens have Europe’s second largest collection of cacti. It’s possible to visit the palace but I didn’t plan for it.
After a late breakfast, I walked up to the bus station to head to my next stop, Kavarna. On my way up, I was able to catch a small local parade. Some children were dressed in traditional Bulgarian costumes and different groups in the parade carried banners and flags.
At the bus station, I found out that the next bus to Kavarna wasn’t for another three hours even though it’s only about 15 to 20 minutes away. I opted instead to catch one of the frequent minibuses to Dobrich and change buses there to Kavarna.
Balchik isn’t a must-see. It was nice to pass through but there’s no real reason to go out of your way for it. I think a visit to Queen Marie’s palace would’ve been interesting, but that’s about it.