From the archives 2004 – Bulgaria by Gerry O’Hare

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Bulgaria - Ness…r PeninsulaBefore the Berlin Wall came own, Bulgaria was almost a  no-go area except for the bureaucrats of the Soviet.

Dachas and apartment abounded as the workers were treated to their annual holidays.  They left a lot to be desired.

The first Irish holidaymakers were used to third class apartments and badly run hotels with little facilities.

But hey presto. Down came the wall and the Bulgarians looked West and saw the potential of tourism as a revenue earner.

Their tourist board quickly encouraged entrepreneurs to invest in new hotel and apartment blocks and state of the art leisure facilities.  Today the Black Sea resorts are the equal of their counterparts on mainland Europe and improving all the time.

For Irish holidaymakers it is spectacularly cheap once you get there with drinks and meals at low low prices.

Sunny beach has five miles of gently sloping sun kissed beaches, 120 plus hotels, countless bars and restaurants, nightclubs, surfing, horse riding, water skiing, and beach volleyball.

Golden Sands is the largest resort on the Northern Black Sea Coast, with wooded hills, pale yellow sand and crystal clear warm waters. You can also visit nearby local villages to experience the making of Rakia (the local traditional firewater), the home-made bread and traditional village life. Especially recommended is Old Nessebar, an old fishing village close to Sunny Beach.

The beaches are cleaned every day and the hotel swimming pools religiously checked out for cleanliness.

Hotel Victoria Palace, a five star, is a fantastic hotel on the beach with a super Spa.

They might not yet have come up to the standard of their competitors re staffing but they are getting there.

Make it a must holiday or your second holiday this year and be sure to check the Rolex watches.

A word of warning, credit cards are not widely accepted in Bulgaria, neither are ATM machines. If you plan on shopping or overindulging, bring cash with you. The currency in Bulgaria is the Lev.

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