Your Guide To Bulgaria: Why Cape Kaliakra is such a fast-growing destination...
Bulgaria is in relative terms a new name on the golf travel scene compared to Spain and Portugal, but it is now six years since it received one of the most prestigious awards in golf tourism. It was awarded the title of 'Undiscovered Golf Destination for 2012' by the respected industry body International Association of Golf Tourism Operators (IAGTO).
Its main lure is the Cape Kaliakra area, which you reach from the UK by flying into Varna directly, or via So a. Cape Kaliakra has three options to choose from: Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort; BlackSeaRama Golf & Villas and the Lighthouse Golf & Spa Resort.
Gary Player designed two of the courses, Thracian Cliffs and BlackSeaRama with former Masters champion Ian Woosnam responsible for the Lighthouse.
So, there is more than 50 holes of top- quality golf within five minutes’ drive of each other, with the emphasis of thrilling holes and spectacular views. Thracian Cliffs is the headline act, a Player Signature Course that was a sensational venue for one of the most prestigious events on the European Tour calendar – the Volvo World Match Play Championship – in 2013.
The Bulgarian resort attracted 24 of the best golfers in the world – including Ryder Cup hero Graeme McDowell – to compete and even the star names were dazzled by its beauty.
Player was helped by the 164-hectare site being a truly inspirational playground for golfers of all standard, who can admire the sea view from every hole on the 18-hole championship course. It opened in 2011 and the ‘Black Knight’ described Thracian Cliffs as the “Pebble Beach of Europe" and its quality was rewarded by Golf World magazine, who ranked the course among its Top 100 in Continental Europe in both 2011 and 2013.
IAGTO then named the jewel of Bulgarian golf as the 'European Golf Resort of the Year 2014' while it has also hosted the Bulgarian Open Amateur Championship. BlackSeaRama and The Lighthouse are excellent supporting venues, meaning the Cape Kaliakra area can offer a week-long holiday where you can play every day and only tackle the same holes twice... yet not have to travel more than a few hundred yards to get to the 1st tee of all of them. That is a huge benefit.
Throw in fabulous weather – it has a temperate-continental climate with distinct seasons of hot summers and cold winters – and all the amenities and activities you would expect of a luxury golf resort, and it is easy to see why this destination is proving alluring to so many. The value for money is also outstanding, offering a level of service and quality that is on a par with Belek, and for similarly outstanding price.
Bulgaria: For the non golfer
Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort offers sea- view properties, wild natural beauty and 2km of private white beaches – Bendida Beach and Argatha Beach. Choose from luxury hotel facilities with a village-like atmosphere – Marina Village and Hillside Village – along with a well- equipped Spa, sports facilities and fine gourmet restaurants where guests can experience the great taste of Bulgarian natural organic products and a great selection of Bulgarian wines.
Oh, and you can experience the famous sunsets at Cape Kaliakra; the word 'Kaliakra' is of Byzantine Greek origin and is a combination of the word 'beautiful' and 'headland' or 'fortress. Or visit the Balchik Palace, which was the favourite summer residence of Queen Marie of Romaniaas well as the adjacent Balchik Botanical Garden. So much to do...
Bulgaria: Travel Essentials
The Climate: A nice surprise; expect warm weather from May to as late as October inclusive, with hot sun in the middle of summer.
Getting There: Bulgaria Air and British Airways fly from London to Sofia, and WizzAir – from London to Sofia and Varna.
Time Difference: GMT+2