Camping in BulgariaTravel
For all the campers and mobil-home drivers,
here we go with the information about camping in Bulgaria in general, tips for free pitches and campsites that we used on our trip (in order of touristic regions) and our experience with them.
We stick to our own experience and observations, as you can find general information about immigration, speed limits, vignette etc. easily on the internet or in the relevant literature.
At the beginning we have to mention that we are not interested in big and fancy camping-complexes with pool, entertainment, restaurant etc.. On the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast big hotels got the upper hand over campsites, what means that not every sign that says „Camping“ leads to a campsite but ends in front of a new apartment-bloc, whom the camping probably had to give way.
But don’t loose heart, there are nice spots! And especially inland and in the beautiful South-West we have found some lovely spots and great campsites, that refute the bad picture that you could get when searching for camping possibilities in Bulgaria via internet!
We would always prefer a snug place somewhere in the wild to a mediocre campsite. Besides we are not depending on an external power connector because of a photovoltaic system and we’re okay with some days without showering! Correspondingly we’ve chosen our pitches.
We have reached all of the places with our Carado T132, (Fiat Ducato multijet, 5,98m lengths, 2,32m width, 2,91m height, FWD), if there were any difficulties you’re gonna find that mentioned in the text.
Officially wild camping in Bulgaria is not allowed. But the Bulgarians like the Romanians in our experience are quite generous concerning interpretation of the law. We found one or the other permanent camper-settlement, where caravans spent the whole summer with complete outdoor kitchens, TV, mobile photovoltaic arrays etc. and they seem to be tolerated without problems. Compared to Romania we saw a lot of local camper vans, although the majority of campers has caravans with double- and triple-awnings and lots of practical, sometimes fancy equipment or they stay in huge tents.
Road-conditions are quite good, even lots of the leads towards beaches are tared till the end or consist of tolerable dirt roads, anyway they sometimes can have big pot-holes or can be rutted, but they can be done by most (small to modest-sized) camper vans and even caravans as we have seen several times. And the mountain-roads are often asphalted up till heights around 1500 m and could be done without problems!
And a little tip: usually Bulgarian campsites do not provide toilette-paper! Think of it, before it’s too late and throw the paper into the bin, not in the closet!
FOR DIRECT LINKS CLICK ON THE TEXT MARKED IN BLUE !!!
BLACK SEA COAST
Beforehand: On the whole the Black Sea Coast for a huge part, especially the central coast, is a package-holiday-dream with huge hotel- and apartement-blocks for every budget, all-inclusive-tempel and long beach-sections with precisely laid out sun-beds and armies of sunshades. And lots of campsites had to give way to various hotel-projects, even if they have been shelved as carcasses. This means that not every caping-sign has a corresponding site! And when you have a look for sites on relevant websites the problem is reflected quite clearly. And because of this it’s also difficult to find free spaces directly at the beach (especially the good beaches), unless you don’t mind to stand on not at all charming, charged parking-lots or on spaces outside of apartement-blocks.
But no worries, you’ll be able to find nice spots, free ones and official ones. And there are also peaceful beaches if you’re not into banana-boat, visiting one of the innumerable aqua-parks or spending money in the repeatedly identical souvenir-shops.
1.) BETWEEN KAVARNA AND BALCHNIK, CAMPING SAINT GEORGE RESORT
Kavarna, Prigos Str. 1, N 43.406762286839204 E 28.249411582946777
Telefon: +359 888 729693
Price: 06/2016: ca. 15€ with water & electricity
Situated beautifully in a bay, directly at the sea! The location is a winner! Pitches on meadows, the ones with the best view are all tilted, there are only few flat ones and not a lot of shade. Combined electricity/water connection all over the place, so you’ll always find one near you. At the beach one part is with charged sun-beds, the rest is free. Beach-Shower. Nice beach-restaurant with really good food!
You’ll find a second restaurant at the entrance, which we didn’t visit. The camping-Wifi only works around the reception, but near the beach you can use the one of the beach-restaurant. 50 m in front of the site is a small shop were you can get some basic stuff. No ATM in the surroundings! No special grey-water disposal.
Sanitary Facilities are old and fairly run-down! Using the toilettes could be done only just without too much revulsion. Showers are a little better. In the women’s part they there was a completely worn and dirty chair (as storage place??) that should be disposed the sooner than better! The only garbage disposal is near the reception, none on the site.
Furthermore they are construction the belonging resort, what dampens the view to the inland direction, but it’s much nicer to look at the sea anyway 😉
And the drinking water sometimes stinks strongly of sulphur…sometimes it didn’t at all. But we couldn’t detect any health impairments.
2.) OBZOR, CAMPING ZORA
Obzor, N 42° 49′ 27.2″ E 27° 52′ 47.5″
Telefon: +359 556 32 171 oder+359 898 21 8027
Price 06/2016: ca. 18€ with electricity & water, 10% discount with several camper-cards.
Great campsite with everything you need! It’s a little oasis in an otherwise classic seaside-town with diverse restaurants, bars and the same trash- and souvenir-shops as everywhere. The site is well-tended and clean and layed out with loving care. They also rent small bungalows. The generous pitches are divided by hedges or trees. Each pitch got it’s own electricity, water supply and even gray-water disposal. Special place for chemical toilet.
Relatively new sanitary facilities, that is always clean. Washing-machine by charge. Free Wifi, not at the whole site but around two really nice pavilions and the open kitchen. 5 minute walk to the long and wide sandy beach, that has spaces for the package-tourists but it’s big enough to find a nice spot, or you enjoy spending the day in one of the beach-bars with day-beds. It’s a lot calmer than further south.
The campsite is associated with 5 others in Bulgaria that advertise with „guaranteed quality experience“. We’ve have been to a second one, Eco Camping Batak (you’ ll find it further down in the article) and it was excellent too! That let’s us assume that the other sites have good standard and conditions too, although we haven’t visited them (yet!) and we are gonna provide their websites here. We would love to hear from you if you know the spots and have been there for further exchange of experiences!!
Veliko Tarnovo: www.campingvelikotarnovo.com
3.) PITCH BY THE SEA BETWEEN BURGAS AND SOZOPOL
Near Chernomorets, N 42° 26’ 36″ E 27° 37′ 31 5“
Price 06/2016: free
On our way down south direction Sozopol we suddenly saw through the trees several big tents and caravans along the coast. As we found out they belonged to a small bulgarian long-time camper group, that resided in a coppice. They had made themselves a quite cozy home with TVs, mobile photovoltaic panels and huge outdoor-kitchens. There a some shady pitches left under the trees that stand along a a rutted dirt-road. The ground consists of forest-floor with flattened high grass and is quite leveled. Directly in front of the coppice lies a long, small and quiet dark-sanded beach with clear, flat water and you get sunrise and sunset free of charge!
There are 2 possible accesses from the main road No. 99 coming from Burgas direction Sozopol. The access-road runs parallel ti the 99. The first, northern turn-off lies directly after a navi-base. For the second one, further south you have to leave for the town of Chernomorets where you’ll get on the access-road by a left-turn. From the access-road there are 2-3 dirt-roads into the coppice.
The only disadvantage is the traffic noise from the nearby mainroad, but at night it was relatively calm and the crickets were even louder!
4.) SPOT ON THE CLIFFS BETWEEN TZAREVO and ACHTOPOL
between Tzarevo and Achtopol, ca. N 42° 8’ 32“ E 27° 53’ 42“
On the road No.-99, the main connection on the south-coast, there are at least 3 cliffs around 6km behind Tzarevo where you can stand, with lots of flat space. We chose the one with the above mentioned coordinates, to the North and to the South cars and 2 other camper vans where parked on the neighbouring cliffs. You reach them directly from the road No.99 by following easily visible small roads, that are first tar/gravel and/or easily passable paths on meadows. „Our“ cliff had a possibility to climb down to the sea but was not really suitable for swimming, the other 2 cliffs lead to rocky bays and one even to a small beach.
No facilities! No shade but nice chilling wind!
5.) ACHTOPOL, CAMPING DELFIN
1km north of Achtopol, N 42° 06’ 24″ E27° 55’ 09″
TEL.: +359(0)887 38 40 71, +359(0)888 40 32 04
Price 07/2016: 20 BGN (ca. 10€) incl. electricity
Campsite on a cliff near Achtopol. The site is mainly renting constantly set-up caravans, as kind of bungalows with terraces with great views, fully equipped. But they’ll find a spot for you. The views are great, sanitary facilities are relatively old but rather clean. There is a mini-market and a beach-restaurant at the adjoining bay. No shades, but wind that chills!
Wifi, water-supply, no special facilities for water-, toilet-disposal!
PLOVDIV AND THE RHODOPE-MOUNTAINS
1.) TZIGOV CHARK/LAKE BATAK, RHODOPE-MOUNTAINS, ECO CAMPING BATAK
Lake Batak, N 41° 57.513’, E 24° 09.305’
TEL.: +359 (0) 894 20 99 11
Price 07/2016: 32 BGN (ca. 16€) + 5 BGN electricity (ca. 2,50€)
One of our favorite sites!!! Great, likable owners, Chris & Yana, who have given up their former life as financial consultant and lawyer to create this spot at 1090 m above sea-level, with a magnificent setting directly at the banks of Lake Batak with views over the lake and to the surrounding mountains. And they are managing the site from an ecological point of view! Lots of space, great sanitary facilities, a snug seating-area with BBQ-facilities, washing-machine, shopping-service, strong Wifi.
They offer lots of activities like kayaking, mountain-biking, hiking-tours, yoga and pottery and painting-classes. Furthermore they can arrange itineraries for groups and things like team-building events for companies.
A marvelous peace of earth for just relaxing and feeling at ease or as well being active! And the open-minded, extremely helpful and just fantastic owners are a further point!!
2.) 2 PARKING POSSIBILITIES/SPOTS IN PLOVDIV
Like in most bigger cities it is not easy to find a good overnight spot. It’s the same with Plovdiv. There is a campsite a little outside the city-center to the West at Bulevard Bulgaria N 42° 09’ 15″ E 24° 42’ 28″, but it looks anything but inviting. That’s why we spent the first night on the PARKING LOT OF KAUFLAND at N 42° 08’ 52.5“ E 24° 47’ 02.8″ verbracht, what wasn’t that bad. The supermarket is open from 7am – 10pm and at 11pm the street lights where shut down and we had a pleasant, relatively quiet night, despite a bigger through road near by.
The next day we were looking for a possibility to park the camper from where we could walk to the old-town. And what we found was a place that was equally suitable for an overnight stay! What we did….It is a big, formerly charged PARKING LOT UNDER HUGE TREES, where the cashier’s hut is still present, but which is now open and free of charge.
It is spacious enough for even bigger camper vans and caravans, is situated pleasantly at the river (Maritsa) and it’s in 10-15 minutes walking distance from the city center and the old-town! Apart from us there where max. 3-4 cars during the day.
Looking from the old town you’ll find it on the opposite side of the river at N 42° 9’ 21“ E 24° 45’ 3“. You cross the river via the bridge of Bulevard Tsar Boris III Obeditinel and take a right turn into the first road after having passed the bridge, Bulevard Maritsa, directly above the river and you’ll see the parking at once.
1.) PARKINGLOT IN BOROVETS
at the end of the village , N 42° 15’ 49“ E 23° 36’ 16″
Borovets outside skiing season is a tranquil spot with lots of closed hotels and restaurants and, as the owner of the recommendable restaurant „Vicky’s Pizza“ assured us, you can easily park on all open parking lots without problems as long as you do not impede anybody and don’t start building up a long term camp!
We chose an admittedly slightly sloping but really nice and quiet spot on a graveled parking lot under coniferous trees, that in winter will probably be pay parking and spent 2 nights. There was a garbage can an we could use the free Wifi of „Borovets Sports“. And as Borovets is small everything’s in walking distance.
2.) CAR PARK FOR HIKING TRAILS NEAR PIONERSKA HUT / SEVEN RILA LAKES
at the road 6206 between Panichiste and Pionerska Hut at N 42° 15’ 15“ E 23° 18’ 15“
On the above mentioned road we found several turn offs that lead to small car parks for hikers or holding bays where you could spend a night. Also on the payed parking lot that belongs to Pionerska Hut / chairlift to Seven Rila Lakes (5 BGN, ca. 2,50€/day), you could park several days but it is relatively sloping.
We found a place, from where several hiking trails start, opposite a hotel, that was flat and hidden behind some trees. So we decided to stay.
After some time a guy that seamed to be the porter or the cook came out of the hotel and saluted us in Bulgarian and Italian and as we answered in Italian he promptly shot out that the spot belonged to the hotel and for parking they charged 10€! 10€??? That’s lot of dough in Bulgaria!! So we asked if the price would include toilet/shower/water etc. He faltered and said no. We told him that if things were like that we would leave, because for that price you can get a campsite with electricity, water supply etc. and we thought that his idea of a price was fairly overdone especially taking into account that the place at the chairlift cost 2,50€ a day! As a result he suddenly said that it was ok if we stayed overnight and that his boss was not here etc. blabla and that this was just because Davide was Italian!! WTF???
Our impression was that someone had tried to make some extra money, because there were either signs saying the car park belonged to the hotel, and the proper parking spaces for the hotel were inside the fenced terrain. Finally we stayed and spent a pleasant night. But as mentioned above there would have been alternatives down the road and you’ll even find to wells with really good water.
WATCH OUT! Staying overnight/camping is not officially allowed on the big car park after the monastery at N 42° 8’ 21“ E 23° 20’ 56“!!!
It would be a great spot, big, flat, and completely deserted after the monastery has closed, but we have been sent off by national-park security at around 19:30. As we’ve read several reports of campers staying overnight here, controls maybe only take place once in a while or during high-season (it was beginning of July).
There are 2 official campsites if you follow the road. Camping Bor and Camping Zodiac (this one is a member of the mentioned Union of quality-campsites)
And furthermore we have been told by several campers that you could park at the end of the valley as you follow the only road till it stops, near 2 restaurants, were the hiking trails start.
We saw another big camper van that was parked to spend the night on the pay parking in front of the monastery. Maybe if you pay you can stay there.
But as we wanted to drive on early anyway we decided to hurry up and get to Blagoevgrad where we spent another quite pleasant night on a KAUFLAND-PARKING!
PIRIN MOUNTAINS AND THE SOUTH-WEST
1.) PARKING SPACES IN FRONT OF THE INFO-CENTER PIRIN-NATIONALPARK, BANSKO
Pirin Street, Bansko N 41° 49’ 22“ E 23° 28’ 34“
Bansko is a lot more relaxed in summer than in winter but anyway there was a lot more going on than we’d expected. Anyway many hotels and restaurants are closed and even the huge car park in front of the (operating) gondola was closed in July. We stayed 2 nights on the parking spaces in front of the Info-Center Pirin Nationalpark at the exit of the village which is the entrance to the park. On Sundays the center was closed anyway, but even on Monday there were max. 1-2 other cars parked shortly. No one bothered us.
You’ll find it diagonally opposite the Mountain View Hotel. As well the hotels Wifi as well as the one of the center are free and strong enough! The parking space was more or less flat and just long enough for a 6 m Camper. And we had some shade. If you follow the road for another 50-100 m there are more free spots on the opposite side, but they are more sloping (N 41° 49’ 14.3“, E 23° 28’ 28.8“), and you will find a well where you can stock on fresh mountain water!
If you plan to hike Mt. Vihren or to hiking in it’s surroundings you could try to find a place along the road, there are several holding bays that could be suitable. Or try it at the biathlon stadium, thats situated on the way to Mt.Vihren. Officially it’s forbidden to camp in the national park, we do not know if there are controls, but rather think not.
Additionally there is the CAMPSITE BANDERITSA with laid out terraces for tents at N 41° 46’ 0.4″ E 23° 25’ 27.3“. Camper vans will find few spaces on the adjacent car park. For hiking you can park shortly before Vihren Hut on the ride hand side (N 41° 45’ 25“ E 23° 24’ 59“), if you’re gonna be driven away for the night is in question. And I guess that if you make a request it should be possible to stay overnight on the parking lot of Vihren Hut (probably for a fee), or they are gonna send you to Banderitsa Camping.
2.) KROMIDOVO, KAMPING KROMIDOVO
2871 Kromidovo Village, Petrich District, Blagoevgrad Province, N41° 27′ 15.12″ E23° 21′ 47.88″
This site is really special to us!!❤️ It had been warmly recommended to us twice by long-term travelers. Now we know why!
We came to spend 2-3 days, to visit Melnik and to stock up on cheap supplies before going bak into Euro-Land…We stayed 8 days, only left with a heavy heart and could have spent the whole summer!
Beforehand you have to know that you won’t find a conventional campsite, even if you got your electricity plug-in’s, excellent sanitary facilities, Wifi etc. It’s more like „camp-in-my-garden“ and for us it felt more like staying in the garden of good friends.
And when suddenly out of nowhere a group of 8 camper vans turns up, that only just could be fit onto the terrain, you suddenly get a strange feeling like being catapulted to the Italian riviera….
This garden belongs to the British couple John & Sara, who 3 years ago have bought the plot and the house to live there. They rent out 2 rooms and their garden. The whole spirit and the energy of their place has nothing in common with a classic campsite and it could happen that you’ll stay longer than you’d planend, start helping with the garden or further brightening up the ground. And as we did, you could leave with new friends! Assumed you let yourself get involved and enjoy the the silence and peach of the spot as well as Sara’s and John’s hospitality!
Some more facts: the site is situated where Bulgaria, Macedonia and Greece meet. It is run on ecologically, e.g. you can use the washing-machine but only with biodegradable powder and there is no possibility to dispose chemical toilettes. They supply electricity, water, have great showers, Wifi a fire-place for BBQ and you are sincerely invited to use the whole ground, the terrace, balcony etc.
At the moment there is only little shade as the trees are still growing. The terrain is quite flat. You can visit the nearby mineral-water pool for a small fee and there is a mini-market where you can get some really basic stuff.
Honestly I was hesitating to share this gem with the world! But a) the two guys definitely deserve every kind of recommendation and b) we assume that only people will stay there for a longer period of time that highly esteem that kind of spirit and how special the place is!
If you’re one of them, please give them a big hug!!