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Albena is an eastern-Bulgarian holiday resort located on the coast of the Black sea. Discovered as a popular tourist destination in the 1960s, much of Albena's buildings, streets and houses were purpose built to serve the booming tourism industry at the time.
Some might feel that an area built with tourism in mind might lack charisma, yet Albena still oozes cultural traditions, great food and plenty of entertainment. Adding to the attraction is Bulgaria's comfortable and warm climate with plenty of hours of sun each day. The fact that Albena is located on the coast means that visitors come to the beaches to enjoy the weather with their families, whilst never being far from some traditional Bulgarian entertainment, food or company.
Bulgaria's currency is Lev, where one Lev converts to around 40 pence in UK sterling and 77 cents in US dollars. The national language is Bulgarian, yet due to the nature of Albena's economy, many of the traders, hotel staff and other locals speak English. As with any foreign destination, if you are considering a trip then it would be desirable for you to learn the basics of the language; so that there are as few language barriers as possible.
Overall Albena is the ideal location for couples or families looking for a relaxing and sunny holiday filled with good food and exciting experiences. Everything that you could possibly want or need (including pharmacies, medical centers, a huge variety of hotels and shops) is located in one place to ensure that you have enough spare time to enjoy yourselves.
The coast is where visitors will find the multi-story hotels and condominiums providing accommodation in Albena and in particular the beach resort. Because much of this resort was built with tourists in mind, the hotels back directly onto the stunningly beautiful beaches. Life on the coast is exciting yet entirely focused around relaxing and holidaying.
This is where visitors will find the camping sites further up in the hills, walking trails and historical areas such as Kaliakra with its museum, caves and range of family activities. Also, as you move further away from the beach you will come across the Albena national park.
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As with most Mediterranean cities, Albena's hottest months of the year are July and August. At this time temperatures reach a maximum of around 28ºC, which usually fall to a comfortable 16ºC at night. If you are particularly averse to hot weather then it would be better to travel early in the year (May to June) when the temperatures are cooler.
Albena is right on the coast of Bulgaria, which is neighbored by the countries of Romania to the north, Greece to the south and Macedonia and Serbia to the West. While this means that you could travel from any of these countries into Bulgaria, it is probably more worthwhile to fly directly to the Bulgarian coast itself to save you the trouble of navigating through Eastern Europe's traffic.
Albena's closest airport is the 'International Airport of Varna' or VAR which welcomes around 1.5 million visitors every year; many of whom are traveling from the main European airports. VAR is around 25 miles away from Albena itself, therefore hiring a car or taxi from there to Albena is recommended.
As with most holiday destinations there are plenty of car hire companies dotted along the Bulgarian coast. If you are staying exclusively within Albena however, there may be little need to hire a car past the initial journey unless you have limited mobility. This is because most attractions and amenities are within walking distance of each other.
Costing just 1 Lev per child and 2 Lev per adult, Albena's 'Little Train' is a wonderful way to get around the area. Also known as a 'Noddy train', it goes right through Albena in two different routes.
The Bus station is located about 10 minutes outside of the center of the resort which take you to other areas such as Golden Sands, Dobrich and Balchich which are also along the coast. Ticket prices are usually no more than 4 Lev for an adult taking the bus.
A cab in and around Albena will not set you back a huge amount and if anything a taxi driver can be one of the best ways to tour the area! There's no-one with better knowledge of where the attractions are and which are the best than a taxi driver, but it is best to negotiate the price with them first.
If you are planning to stay within the resort area in central Albena then you are unlikely to feel the need for transport. From the beaches and hotels everything is available within walking distance and the streets are lined with top restaurants and cafés for you to enjoy along the way.
Understanding the different menus can be difficult in Albena when you don't understand the language. However, most of it will be much like Greek food, with lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, and cheeses used. The most similar cheese to feta cheese in the region is the white Sirene, which is often placed on salads and just about any other food you can imagine. Kashkaval is another popular cheese in the area and is very comparable to Gouda. Olives and red peppers are also main ingredients and are often combined with grilled meats to make incredible stews. Vegetarian dishes can be difficult to find but once you do, it will probably be one of three main veggie meals in Albena: bob chorba, which is stew that is quite minty; tarator, which is a cucumber soup which is served cold; and Shopska salad. Visitors, especially those from the United States may be misled by some of the dishes claiming they are 'American.' One is a sauce made from ketchup and mayonnaise and the other is American pizza, which uses corn as a topping.
Albena Beach (Sand beach)
Location: The Black Sea
Instead of several small beaches interspersed with city life that you'll find in other resort areas, Albena Beach is one long seven kilometer stretch of the Black Sea which makes you feel as though there is nothing else in the world except for you and the sand! The water, which actually appears to be black, is some of the calmest in the world and holds the perfect conditions and temperatures for swimming and engaging in numerous water sports. The scenery is perfect with the white sands in sharp contrast to the water and it's one of the best places in the world to watch the sun go down!
A seaside holiday wouldn't be complete without water sports on the coast. Albena resort on Varna bay offers banana boating, jet skiing, parasailing, surfing and more, along with the opportunity to learn by being coached or by taking a one-off lesson.
This area is great if you're looking to get out of central Albena for the day. Here you will find horse riding trails, lessons and tours through the national park, a museum located within a cave and the sprawling sands of the beach.
If you're a nature lover then Albena's national park is the ideal day out for you. Just outside of the beach resort you will find the National Park nestled under the hillside trees. Visitors can get there quickly and easily by taxi.
A tour in military 4x4 vehicles through the Batavo forest will give you an insight into life outside of the Albena resort. Enjoy a water fight with family and friends along with Bulgarian barbeque food, beer and dancing.
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