After years of being disregarded as a ‘Plan B’ summer destination, the Black Sea region is set for a historical growth in the post-pandemic scene, with some going as far as calling it the ‘new Mediterranean’ — but what makes it so popular right now?
The Budget Alternative To The Med
The Black Sea is a cross-border marginal sea whose misleading name often scares away the least knowledgeable tourists. As any quick search will tell you, it is far from being an uninviting, moody, dark sea: it is beautifully azure and serene, with sandy beaches that stretch for miles on end and numerous swimming spots.
Granted, it is not crystal clear compared to the seas surrounding Greece or Croatia, but it is beautiful nonetheless and just as postcard-perfect — and worth noting, not one degree colder than the Mediterranean during the peak season. Color-wise, think of Cancun’s teal-tinged Caribbean Sea versus the Mexican Pacific‘s deeper blue, and you’ll get the idea.
Unless being able to see your legs while submerged in translucent water is that big of a deal, we wouldn’t consider paying 76.7% more on an escapade to Ibiza worth it. And trust us when we say the Black Sea Coast is still very clear and a lot more affordable as a sunny break, with all the countries that line it offering cheaper vacation rentals and lower consumer prices.
In certain parts of the Eastern Balkans, where tourism has always come second, international traffic is already up by 43% year-on-year, proving the appeal of the Black Sea as a destination keeps increasing. Furthermore, all Black Sea countries have reopened for tourism following the COVID setback, and collectively they form one of the freest zones to travel in the world.
Looking at consumer prices, it’s not hard to see why it’s so trendy at the minute:
- Vacationing in Burgas, Bulgaria, you can expect to spend 24.4% less than you would in Malaga, Spain
- A meal in an inexpensive restaurant in Sinop, Türkiye, will cost on average a negligible USD$1.86
- Long-term rentals in the city of Batumi, Georgia are 53.2% less expensive than Nice’s in France
- The cost of living in the whole of Romania is roughly 58.7% lower than in Western Europe
We know it’s hard for some to imagine how a European summer would feel like a complete experience without island hopping in the Aegean, eating gelato in a small town in Liguria, or going for a romantic strolls at sunset in Valencia, Spain, but here you’ll also find plenty of:
- Sun, sand, and fun
- Beachfront resorts (except they are usually half the price)
- Scenic drives
- Gorgeous nature
- Ancient cities that predate many Mediterranean ports by many centuries
Which Countries Are On The Black Sea Coast?
The complete list of tourist destinations on the Black Sea can be found below:
The Bulgarian Riviera is full of golden sand crescents, marine parks, as well as quaint, stone-built villages that have somehow been ignored by the Instagram hordes and are just begging to be explored. Both Burgas and Varna, the two main airports in the area, have seen passenger numbers grow jointly by 59% year-on-year.
Eurasia’s number one digital nomad hub may not traditionally be included in summer getaway lists due to its predominantly cold temperatures throughout the year, but it does reach pleasant temperatures in the upper 80s or 90s between June and early August. The bustling coastal city of Batumi and the seaside resort of Kobuleti are your best bet for catching a tan in the Caucasus.
Bordering Bulgaria to the North, Romania has a Black Sea coastline stretching for 152 miles, dotted with fishing villages, ancient sites, and water parks. The largest urban center facing the ocean is Constanța, where tourists can relax by the picturesque Plaja Eforie Nord, visit Roman ruins, and admire the classical architecture of the city center.
Turkiye’s top attractions are situated on its Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, but the underrated Black Sea province is home to plenty more gems that are yet to be tainted by mass tourism. Trabzon, for instance, is full of Byzantine landmarks and late 19th-century heritage houses with rococo facades, while the small town of Asmara is best known for crowd-free beaches and its laid-back nature.
Two other countries border each other along the Black Sea, namely Ukraine, and Russia, though they are not mentioned here due to the ongoing conflict, which makes them extremely dangerous to visit.
Get There While It’s Still A Hidden Gem
The Mediterranean has always been the go-to destination for Americans crossing the pond in spring and summer. Known for its lovely warm weather and Roman heritage, this region is definitely not one to be missed on a trip to Europe, but the Black Sea has its own charm and plethora of historical sights, and it won’t be quiet and peaceful for much longer – especially in the age of viral TikToks.
When it comes to cuisine, the Southeastern Europe diet is equally rich in protein and seafood. Red meat, pork products, dairy, and fish are consumed daily, in addition to locally-grown vegetables and potatoes. Winemaking is a defining trait for many Black Sea states, too: as a matter of fact, Georgia is the cradle of wine, having created it 6,000 years.
As the wise travel experts have proclaimed already, the cost of travel to Southern Europe has risen across the board – even Croatia, which once was perceived as the budget alternative to Italy, has succumbed. Fortunately, now you know the ‘Med’ is not the only warm sea in Europe.
Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com