Like Nessebar, Balchik can trace its history back more than 2,000 years to the Ancient Thracians. That history is not as immediately obvious, but it is still a charming old town, some 15 miles north of Varna, with plenty to keep visitors interested. It enjoys an attractive location, pinned to the Black Sea Coast by being at the foot of sandy cliffs that dominate it from above. Much of its appeal lies in wandering the streets lined with whitewashed houses. The picturesque setting has attracted generations of artists who come to paint the scene—Balchik seascapes are regularly seen in galleries across the country. The lack of beach here has kept mass tourism at bay, giving the town a sleepy feel that only adds to its charms. Between the two World Wars the town found itself part of the Kingdom of Romania, and during this time the Balchik Palace was built as a summer residence for Queen Marie and her family. The elegant whitewashed villa (open daily) and the adjacent Botanical Gardens are the town's most popular landmarks to this day.
Balchik, n/a Bulgaria, Bulgaria