Sunny Beach is a funny place to budget for. Ask the British tourists that flock here every year, and they’ll say it’s a great bargain. Ask a Bulgarian, and they’re likely to tell you that it’s overpriced and head to Pomorie instead. But there’s not a lot of data available about how much a Sunny Beach trip costs.
While we LOVE going to Sunny Beach in the summer for a relaxing beach getaway, we always spend a bit more money than we anticipated (and had a LOT more fun than planned).
Here’s the breakdown of exactly what we spent for two people for a week (eight days and seven nights), plus one very spoiled dog.
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Sunny Beach Budget
Here are the exact amounts we spent on our Sunny Beach trip, plus tips for where you can save or where you might want to splurge.
Sunny Beach Transportation Costs
This is the biggest area where we saved money this year. Since we live in Sofia, we were able to take the train from Sofia to Burgas and then we took a taxi from Burgas to Sunny Beach. The cost for this was about $60 USD for the round-trip train tickets, plus $65.55 for the taxis each way.
Our Total Transportation Costs for 2 people: $125.55
Save: I’m not sure if you can save on your total unless you’re also coming from another Bulgarian city. Most likely, if you have to fly from another country, you’ll spend more money on this category than we did.
Splurge: In the past, we’ve rented a car. This doubled our transportation costs but was much more comfortable. If you’re not traveling from within Bulgaria, you’re most likely going to want to fly into Burgas and then get from the Burgas airport to Sunny Beach.
We needed a dog-friendly hotel, so we stayed at the Guest Apartments Salena. While they were great for exactly what we needed, you can find similarly priced hotels all up and down Sunny Beach. For us, the fact that we could bring Lucy with us hassle-free made the difference.
We also came in the first week of September, which is slightly off-season, so some hotels were already discounting rooms.
Keep in mind that hotels at this budget level don’t have daily housekeeping, and they’re often much more basic than full-service hotels. We had a kitchenette to cook in, but we didn’t have laundry or even refreshed towels.
Our Total Accommodation Costs for 2 people for 7 nights: $146.16
Save: We got a great deal, but there are lots of hotels in this price range. Check the budget section of our Sunny Beach hotel guide for other great choices.
Splurge: While there are other great budget hotels, there are also some really beautiful all-inclusive resorts and luxury hotels in Sunny Beach. You can check the luxury and villas sections of our Sunny Beach hotel guide for our recommendations on where to splurge.
Ground Transportation Costs
You shouldn’t have too many ground transportation costs once you get to Sunny Beach. Other than a taxi or water taxi to Nessebar and maybe a bus or taxi to Sveti Vlas, you’re most likely going to just spend all of your time relaxing here on the beach.
The taxis here are NOTORIOUSLY scammy and expensive, so we like to take the buses whenever it makes sense.
During our week in Sunny Beach, we took four taxis, two public bus rides, and one water taxi.
Our Total Ground Transportation Costs for 2 people for 8 Days: $42.89
Save: You can just use buses instead of ever getting on a water taxi or in a regular taxi. The bus rides are based on where you’re going, but they’re generally less than two leva per person (less than $1 USD).
Splurge: You’ll find yourself accidentally splurging if you get into any of the taxis in Sunny Beach without negotiating your rate. It’s best if you can avoid them or have your accommodation book them for you. Another option is to have a rental car and drive it. The extras here, besides the cost of the car rental, will include gas and a possible per-night parking fee.
Activities & Day Trips Costs
There’s a lot of fun day trips and activities that you can do while in Sunny Beach. Since we’d already been here, we didn’t do everything on this trip that you might want to do. So keep that in mind when looking at your budget.
This year, we went to the Aquapark, Khan’s Tent (our favorite), Sveti Vlas, and Nessebar. We also paid for activities in Sunny Beach like renting beach chairs, playing some games on the boardwalk, and I got my hair done at the tent where they braid your hair with colored yarns. (It’s a thing).
Keep in mind that renting two beach loungers and an umbrella will cost about 30 leva per day (about $17 USD). So even if you ONLY want to chill at the beach, you’ll want to set aside some extra money for beach chair rental.
Our Total Activities & Day Trip Costs for 2 people for 8 Days: $221.73
Save: We had two big activities – Khan’s Tent (about $85) and the Aquapark (about $50) that increased our total. If you just want to take buses to Sveti Vlas and Nessebar, you can do and see a lot without spending much money.
Splurge: There are lots of other activities available to do. One of our favorites is to visit the Pink Lake, we just decided this year to do something new. When looking for new things to do, I like to use GetYourGuide. I also have seen them add more tours to Sunny Beach every year, so double-check what’s new before you decide on your itinerary.
Food & Drinks
This is where we spent the majority of our money. For two people for eight days, we needed to get a lot of meals. We ate a mix of restaurant meals out and cooking at our hotel. We also had two very nice dinners out at our favorite Sunny Beach Italian restaurant.
This category also includes drinks. Since I was pregnant, I didn’t have alcohol, but I probably spent just as much on soda and other drinks as I would of if I were drinking because alcohol is pretty cheap in Sunny Beach.
When I saw our total, it seemed like a lot to me, but it’s $34 per person per day or less than $12 per meal. Since we ate everything delicious we wanted the entire time (including LOTS of Raffy’s Gelato), I’m pretty okay with that total!
Our Total Food & Drinks Costs for 2 people for 8 Days: $543.06
Save: You could easily cook more for yourselves than we did. We had one meal in our hotel per day (usually breakfast but twice we ate dinners at the hotel). If you only ate out occasionally and were more conscious of what you ordered, this total could be a lot less.
Splurge: Of course, it’s also possible to never cook for yourselves in Sunny Beach. If you eat out more than we did and go for only nice restaurants, this would be higher. But I’m not sure how much higher, to be honest.
Souvenirs & Gifts
We like to do a little bit of shopping in Sunny Beach and when we visit Nessebar. This year bought a few framed pictures, sunglasses, and some t-shirts.
Our Total Souvenirs & Gifts Costs for 2 people for 8 Days: $88.35
Save: You don’t need to buy anything to enjoy your trip! You can easily just bring back pictures!
Splurge: There are lots of opportunities to shop in Sunny Beach. If you want to pick up some more souvenirs, check our recommendations on our Bulgarian souvenir guide.
Of course, not every trip cost is something fun or delicious. We picked up a new Bulgarian sim card, some toiletries, some medicine for when we weren’t feeling well and paid for bathroom access on the beach.
Our Total Miscellaneous Costs for 2 people for 8 Days: $52.31
Save: Since these things were all necessities, most of these costs were unavoidable. You could save money by not getting a local sim card and just using wifi (though the wifi isn’t always great).
Splurge: Not sure why this would be a category to splurge on, though I suppose you could find a way.
Our Total Sunny Beach Trip Costs
Transportation Costs for 2 people: $125.55
Accommodation Costs for 2 people for 7 nights: $146.16
Ground Transportation Costs for 2 people for 8 Days: $42.89
Activities & Day Trip Costs for 2 people for 8 Days: $221.73
Food & Drinks Costs for 2 people for 8 Days: $543.06
Souvenirs & Gifts Costs for 2 people for 8 Days: $88.35
Miscellaneous Costs for 2 people for 8 Days: $52.31
Total Sunny Beach Budget for 2 People for 8 Days / 7 nights: $1220.05 (or about $76.25 per person per day)
Your total will be different if you pick different accommodation levels, want to splurge or save more on activities and food, and depending on your transportation needs. And of course, a shorter trip will cost less overall but might cost the same or more per day.
Where to Stay in Sunny Beach
You can check out our full Sunny Beach hotel guide, but here’s a quick overview of some of the best hotels for each budget category:
Budget: SmartLine Meridian Hotel
This hotel offers budget-friendly accommodations that guests love. They all have double rooms with sizes perfect for couples or families with two kids. All rooms have a balcony and the interiors are simple yet comfortable.
Another thing that’s great about this hotel is its amenities. They have a huge pool with plenty of sun loungers so you don’t have to wait for that lady who’s been tanning all day in the sun to FINALLY give up her spot. There are even nets in the pool so you can play volleyball. Aside from this, they also have an entertainment room with billiards, table tennis, and darts – plus a dedicated staff is here in case you need to borrow something.
Before you go out on a date night with your partner, you can get yourself ready at their salon or barbershop. There’s also a gift shop for that last-minute souvenir shopping. Something you shouldn’t miss is the view from the rooftop restaurant. But aside from this place, you can also dine and get some drinks at their Irish Pub and Pizzeria or the pool-bar.
Mid-Range: Hotel Neptun Beach
If you’re thinking about getting a mid-range beachfront hotel, you won’t regret booking this hotel because you can experience the golden beaches and the bright blue sea. We spent tons of time on the beach out front, and it’s one of the best spots in town!
This huge hotel offers 278 rooms which include 45 studio rooms and 17 apartments. Despite being just beside the beach, they also have a garden that gives it a green vibe for guests as they flock to the parasols and sun loungers beside the outdoor pool (where you can also get some drinks at their pool bar).
Their rooms have a balcony and a work desk plus a minibar. All are simply furnished and each has huge comfortable beds to give you a good rest after a long day checking out the beach or nearby tourist attractions.
It has a restaurant with a terrace and a garden restaurant for a more al fresco dining experience (there’s also nice music played here). You can enjoy some of their services at the spa plus there’s also a Jacuzzi, children’s pool, hammam, and sauna.
You can also get currency exchanged onsite if you need additional cash. It is quite difficult to book this hotel, due to its perfect location and amenities, so it is still best to book in advance.
Luxury: Blue Pearl Hotel
Blue Pearl Hotel is an ultra-all-inclusive 4-star hotel right on the beach. There’s even an umbrella for each lounger if you don’t want to get baked from the sun.
For couples, you can get their double rooms but for bigger groups, you have a 1-bedroom suite or a 2-bedroom suite to choose from. You can even get their budget or promo rooms (which are usually their double rooms) but these are typically fully booked so hurry up and check for your preferred dates – the earlier the better!
You will love how they keep the rooms looking bright and cheery. If you want a balcony, make sure to select this feature when you book.
What to Bring with You to Sunny Beach
If you’re planning a trip to Bulgaria, you’ll want to pack all the normal essentials, but here are a few things we strongly recommend bringing that may not have crossed your mind. For more, check out our complete Bulgaria packing list.
– A physical guidebook, in paper or on Kindle. We love Lonely Planet Bulgaria & Romania for this region and strongly recommend it to supplement blogs. Blogs are great, but a combination of a blog and a guidebook is key to having the best access to information easily at your fingertips.
– A water bottle with a filter. While generally, the tap water in big cities in Bulgaria is drinkable, such as in Sofia and Burgas, we generally recommend using a water bottle with a purifying filter to reduce your plastic consumption and ensure you won’t drink any funny-tasting water on your stomach that could make your trip unpleasant! We recommend the GRAYL water bottle – it filters water perfectly in an instant so that you can even drink from lakes, bad taps, etc.
– Motion sickness pills. Bulgarian train and bus rides can be hot and cause motion sickness! If you have a weak stomach as we do, save yourself and bring some non-drowsy motion sickness pills.
– Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, TP & other Balkan transit needs. Bathrooms in the Balkans on trains and buses tend to be… how can we say it?… not so well-stocked. Save yourself the disappointment and bring a mini-rescue pack of wet wipes & hand sanitizer.
– Travel safety items. We think Bulgaria is very safe to travel, but at the same time, it never hurts to be prepared! Some people like to carry money belts, but neither Allison or I use these.
Instead, we both carry the same PacSafe anti-theft backpack. It has locking zippers, slash-proof construction with metal mesh hidden in the fabric, and tons of other smart security features — all while being cute and stylish enough to be our everyday bag. We recommend it highly for both male and female travelers, as it’s neutral enough to be unisex. We also strongly recommend travel insurance! Our recommendation is at the bottom of the post.
More Bulgaria Travel Resources
If this will be your first time in Bulgaria, we have some resources to help make your first trip here a breeze. Check out our guide on how to plan your trip to Bulgaria, which goes over everything from visas to ground transportation to budgeting your trip.
Don’t forget to check out our Bulgaria packing list which has details of everything you’ll want for your trip.
We have a guide to the best Instagram spots in Sunny Beach and Nessebar so you can take incredible photos of your trip! You’ll also want to set aside time to visit the stunning Pink Lake just outside Burgas.
Next, check out our guide to avoiding taxi scams in Sofia. We don’t have taxi guides yet for Varna and Burgas, but the information about common scams and how to avoid them is the same.
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance
Finally, make sure you always travel to Bulgaria with a valid travel insurance policy. The country is a very safe place to travel, but accidents or theft can easily ruin your trip if you don’t have the travel insurance coverage to recover the losses. Recently my aunt fell on a train in France and needed surgery, but luckily her travel insurance covered the costs in full. Thank goodness!
For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.
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