For many of our readers the Black Sea port of Varna may be more memorable as the place Dracula embarked from in the 1992 film version of Bram Stoker’s classic. While Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins did a nice job entertaining us, the reality of Varna, Bulgaria, and Bulgarian Sea Resorts is far more entertaining. Argo Travel decided to take a look at one of Varna’s oldest and most famous seaside resorts, Riviera Holiday Club.
The Black Sea is not one of those attractions most English speaking tourists have branded into their conscious. School kids in the US scarcely even hear the name except in preparation for a single geography question, on one test, in their entire academic career. This sad reality of our educations system, grows far sadder when that same school kid plans the same old European vacation to Barcelona, Mallorca, or for the all too worldly and adventurous Cyprus. The world essentially leaves off the ancient haunts of Hercules and Jason of Argonaut fame, and the marvelous Black Sea resorts. But a golden fleece still awaits the adventurous – and the educated traveler.
Varna’s climate is humid and sub-tropical, with a mean temperature from May until September of between 16 degrees and 23 Degrees Celsius. And for historical context, the area of Varna has been inhabited since the 5th Century BCE, and some nearby artifacts suggest human habitation at or around 100,000 BCE. Evidences of this can be seen at one of the city’s most visited attractions, the Varna Archaeological Museum (pictured below). We must leave the touristic discovery of this fabulous city for future articles however, for it is Varna’s glorious seaside and accommodations we seek today.
With the opening of the Oasis Hotel in 1956, the legacy of Riviera Holiday Club had its beginnings. This symbol of Black Sea resort lifestyle grew with Varna’s oceanside mystique, and now the boutique hotel’s famous infinity swimming pool (below) is Varna’s symbol of 5 star luxury – at least one of them. With the addition of the five star Imperial in in 1976 (second from bottom), the Riviera Holiday Resort quickly became Varna, and the Black Sea’s premier seaside resort community.
Subsequent additions of the Riviera Beach 1 (image top), Riviera Beach 2, the Lotos, and Nympha (bottom image) have essentially branded this beach resort as THE place to visit or vacation in or around Varna. From the most exclusive 5 star pampering you can imagine, to down to Earth – yet luxurious accommodations on a budget, Riviera Holiday Club covers the gambit. Gourmet dining, exclusive spa treatments, any service you can name exists at this wonderful old resort – this is where the term old means ageless refinement.
If we could take you to this fine resort, sit you down at perhaps the Oasis’ La Terrasse restaurant, let you enjoy home made ravioli stuffed with lobster – a nice Bulgarian or Romanian wine – the sounds of the sea echoing, you would go wouldn’t you? Well, maybe you should? Prices for the venerable and charming Oasis start from €54 per night. The only negative I can find about this resort is the relatively limited access to online booking. There is a reservation form only on their site, and most Eastern European travel booking sites are outdated or incorrect.
For more images and information about travel to Bulgaria, Argo recommends Travel Bulgaria, Bulgaria Travel org, and of course the Riviera Holiday Club main site. You can also call the resort at (+359 52) 386 707. As for online travel agencies, until Argophilia’s main travel component is in place, ZET Travel is the best we’ve seen.