Balchik is a Black Sea coastal town and seaside resort in the Southern Dobruja area of northeastern Bulgaria. It is located in Dobrich Oblast and is 42 km north-east of Varna. The town sprawls scenically along hilly terraces descending from the Dobruja plateau to the sea.
Occupying a succession of sandy cliffs and crumbling sugar-loaf hills, Balchik’s whitewashed cottages hovers precipitously above a series of ravines running down to the sea. It’s the kind of scene beloved to artists, and Balchik-inspired seascapes are regular sight in provincial galleries throughout Bulgaria. Founded by the Milesians in the sixth century BC and named Krounoi (“The Springs”), the town was a valued haven for Greek merchants attempting to pass the treacherous waters around Cape Kaliakra, as well as an important centre for viniculture – hence its later name Dionysoplis, honouring the God of the vine. By the sixth century AD, the harbour had silted up, and the Turks were subsequently to dub the town Balchik, or “Town of Clay”. Despite being popular with the Bulgarians who take advantage of the numerous private rooms and inexpensive hotels, Balchik doesn’t see many foreign private tourists, largely because it lacks a really good beach. Package tourists from Albena are, however being bussed into town’s main attraction: the summer palace of Queen Marie of Romania, a reminder of the inter-war years when Balchik was ruled from Bucharest.
The closest international airport to the town is in Varna some 50 km away, the renowned resort of Albena is only 12 km south of Balchik and would be the place to go sunbathing. There are regular bus links between Balchik, Albena and Varna.