Bulgaria has been named the best value holiday destination in Europe for the second year in a row - and with summer holidays here starting at little more than £200 including flights and accommodation, it looks set to become an ever-popular choice for budget-conscious Brits in search of a decent beach holiday.
If you're thinking of coming here, you'll probably want the answer to the most important question of all: where are the best beaches? The Bulgarian Black Sea coast boasts white and golden sand beaches, spectacular mountain scenery and plenty of history for a varied beach holiday. Quiet, lively, laid-back and romantic - whatever type of European beach break you're after, there is something for everyone in Bulgaria.
Sunny Beach is the most famous of the resorts and while it may have earned itself a reputation among young Brits looking for party destinations abroad, this popular spot is also home to an eight-kilometre Blue Flag beach, family-friendly hotels and a wide selection of water sports.
If you're after a tranquil spot away from the crowds, Ahtopol is a great alternative for a cheap holiday. The pretty seaside town has an excellent beach, delightful restaurants and affordable three-star hotels. Historic Nessebar is UNESCO-protected and combines beautiful beaches with a history dating back 3,000 years. Here you can stroll the cobbled streets of Old Nessebar and discover the remains of 40 churches from different periods of history, as well as sunbathe on the stunning fine sandy beach.
Duni offers affordable luxury ideal for couples and Varna is perfect for those looking to experience a buzzing beach city break. Whether you're after a relaxed or entertaining beach break, Bulgaria is affordable, fun and family-friendly.
Browse ten of the best beaches for holidays to Bulgaria...
Bulgaria's best beach resorts
Bulgaria holidays: Best beach resorts
For glorious scenery head for Golden Sands, where you will stay amid broad-leaved forests and enjoy views of the sparkling blue sea. This large beach resort is famed for its mineral spring with healing water, the fun entertainment for families and breathtaking Blue Flag beach. There is a wealth of water sports to try, including windsurfing, jet-skiing and yachting. Stay at the five-star Melia Grand Hermitage with Balkan Holidays. It is located near the beach and boasts a Spa Centre.
Sozopol is popular among young Bulgarian tourists and attracts artists and writers who are inspired by its history, relaxed atmosphere and charm. It is one of the oldest and most appealing coastal towns in Bulgaria, with its two sandy beaches, old town characterised by 19th-century stone and wooden buildings, and thriving new town. Holiday Lettings offers apartments and villas for rent in Sozopol.
As the Black Sea's largest city and seaside resort, Varna offers 20km of sandy beaches, a huge selection of hotels and buzzing city life. Relax at the beach, visit the museums, hit the shops and enjoy the nightlife in this energetic beach city. Don't miss a stroll in the Sea Garden, where you will find an open-air theatre, the Navy Museum and planetarium. Stay at the three-star Hotel Alekta with Balkan Holidays. It is located just a five-minute walk from the sandy beach.
Nessebar combines beautiful beaches with a history dating back 3,000 years. The town is UNESCO-protected and houses the remains of 40 churches from different periods of history. Perfect for those who fancy experiencing a traditional Bulgarian setting, the seaside town offers lovely seafood restaurants, Bulgarian handicrafts along the cobbled streets of Old Nessebar and the fine sand South Beach, where you can watch the yachts come and go from Nessebar Yacht Club. Stay at the four-star Sol Hotel Marina Palace with Balkan Holidays. It boasts wonderful views from the rooftop bar and pool.
Europe's best value holiday destination offers a lively atmosphere, energetic nightclubs and an 8km Blue Flag beach. Sunny Beach is a modern holiday town home to affordable restaurants and shops, a range of water sports and a waterpark. It's ideal for young travellers looking for buzzing nightlife, while family-friendly and home to many hotels with kids in mind. Stay at the Evrika Beach Club Hotel with Thomson, located right on the beach with its own mini waterpark.
Remote from the major Black Sea resorts, Ahtopol is the perfect place to escape the crowds and ideal for families looking for an even cheaper alternative to the other Bulgarian beach destinations. Ahtopol is set on a small rocky peninsula and is known for its ancient seafaring activities. There is an excellent beach, delightful restaurants and plenty of peace and quiet in this tranquil resort. Stay at the three-star Hotel Agata Beach via Booking.com. The hotel has two hot tubs, free WiFi and a panoramic view of the Bay of Ahtopol from a multi-level terrace.
Quiet, picturesque and relaxing, St Konstantin is a beach resort full of oak, beech and pine trees, and small sheltered sandy beaches, with rocky coves and inlets. It is ideal for travellers looking for less commercialised resorts and a laid-back, affordable break. There are numerous hot mineral springs, and with the fresh mountain air, this is the place for a healthy, relaxing holiday. Stay at the five-star Grand Hotel Varna with Balkan Holidays. The hotel boasts nice gardens and is a short walk to beach.
The tiny village of Sinemorets offers lovely white beaches and slow-paced village life. The beaches boast fine, white sand and deep, warm sea. Sinemorets is close to the Strandzha Nature Reserve, which offers a cool retreat on hot summer days. The park is ideal for hiking and bird watching. The village has small coastal tavernas and restaurants serving seafood and Bulgarian specialities. Here you will find large luxury hotels and small guesthouses. Booking.com offers a range of hotels in Sinemorets.
For luxury on the Black Sea coast, head for the resort of Duni, which was built in 1987 and offers relaxation, sophistication and peace. There is a large golden sand beach with crystal clear sea and visitors can practice windsurfing and volleyball. Until late autumn the air in Duni carries a fragrance of sea and forest. While it is a luxurious setting, this holiday spot is affordable too, with a range of four and five star hotels ideal for couples and families. Stay at the four-star Pelican Hotel at Duni Royal Resort with Thomas Cook. The hotel has a chilled-out atmosphere and is located close to the beach.
Famed for its laid-back atmosphere, Obzor was once where Roman emperors came to relax in the summer. The Black Sea resort has an 8km golden sand beach with clear, shallow water, making it ideal for families. Sunbathing on the beach is the most popular thing to do and the town's main square is a great place to come for dinner overlooking the fountain. Stay at the four-star Sol Hotel Luna Bay Resort with Balkan Holidays. It is located directly on the beach and is ideal for families or couples.
The Black Sea Coast resort of Sunny Beach in Bulgaria has been named the best value holiday destination for 2014 by Post Office. Ten typical holiday items including a bottle of water, suncream, insect repellent, a three-course meal and a cup of coffee cost just £43.26 in Sunny Beach, compared to £102 in Sorrento, Italy, which a Post Office survey found the most expensive destination for tourists.
In Marmaris, Turkey, a cup of coffee, bottle of beer, can of Coke, glass of wine, bottle of water, suncream, insect repellent, English newspaper, two-course lunch and three-course evening meal will cost you £54.11, making it the second best value holiday destination.
On Spain's popular Costa del Sol, holidaymakers will pay an average of £1.02 for a cup of coffee, £1.70 for a bottle of local beer, £1.02 for a bottle of Coke, £1.49 for a glass of wine, 32p for a bottle of water, £5.43 for suncream, £1.49 for insect repellent, £1.66 for an English tabloid newspaper, £15.28 for a two-course lunch and £25.47 for a three-course dinner, bringing the total to £54.88 and making the sunny southern Spain one of the most affordable places for a holiday. The Costa del Sol was also recently named a top holiday home rental spot, along with Dubai, Cyprus and Paris.
Fancy hitting the beach in Benidorm? According to Post Office research, ten typical holiday items in Costa Blanca will cost you £55.18. The affordable Costa Blanca is also home to Alicante, but if you're looking to escape the crowds, Guadalest, Elche and Algar are the spots to check out.
With easyJet, Monarch and Thomson offering cheap flights to the Algarve and the cost of ten typical holiday items at just £56.44, the coastal region of Portugal offers great value, beaches and plenty of activities.
Resort costs in Paphos are £62.35 for ten holiday items and while this might be considerably higher than Sunny Beach in Bulgaria, Paphos offers better value than Bodrum in Turkey (£95.58), Nice in France (£96.33) and Tuscany in Italy (£100.52).
Crete is the place to head for fantastic food, gorgeous beaches and pretty mountain villages. The Greek island has emerged as 14 per cent cheaper than Corfu at £66.47 for typical holiday items, compared with £77.34, a reversal of results for the two holiday hotspots last year.
The Istrian Riviera offers a mix of ancient towns set high above vineyards and secluded bays. Often compared to Italy and France, this lovely part of Croatia is still relatively undiscovered by Brits and boasts affordability at £71.86 for usual holiday items, while popular Split in the south of the country costs £80.57.
With its world-famous theme parks, shopping and outdoor activities, Orlando is a favourite holiday destination for families, couples and friends. Travellers to the sunny destination in Florida can expect to pay £76.21, making it the most affordable destination outside Europe and retaining its place in the top 10 at ninth place.
Ionian island Corfu may be 14 per cent pricier than Crete but this lush spot in Greece offers sparkling seas, olive groves and family-run tavernas for £77.34 - less than Ibiza (£97.23), Sliema in Malta (£82.63) and Palma in Majorca (£77.45).