Byala is a quiet seaside resort in the central part of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast with an amazing sea view and a quite special beach.
Bordered by vineyards, the town of Byala is gaining popularity as a holiday destination and is already featuring over 100 restaurants and bars.
Byala’s beach is rather long, about 2 km, but very narrow. The easternmost reaches of the Balkan Mountains form a steep, white wall of cliffs in the area of Byala, enclosing the beach between the cliffs and the sea. Due to their orientation, these cliffs provide natural shadow after about 4 pm, therefore sunbathing is not possible after that time on most parts of the beach. On the other hand, the high shores provide a fantastic sea view from all over Byala.
The beach has very few amenities, only a couple of bars and buffets. Although Byala’s sand is not the finest in Bulgaria, it is still not coarse at all. The northern part of the beach is only accessible through stairs so disabled access can be a problem there. We also have to remark that the seabed may have some slippery rocks scattered all over the beach.
Overall, Byala’s beach is beautiful and quiet with clear water, a nice place to relax as it doesn’t get crowded even in the peak months.
The first settlement in the region of Byala was founded by ancient Greek colonists, probably around the 6th century BC near Cape St. Atanas. According to available information, the settlement was called Aspro in the 2nd century BC – meaning ‘white’ in Greek. During Roman times, Byala’s prosperity benefited from its bigger neighbor, Templum Iovis (today’s Obzor). After the Roman era, the town was in Byzantine possession for several centuries. Later the region entered the First Bulgarian Empire.
What to see in and around Byala
Byala Municipal Museum
Opened in 2012, the museum aims to preserve and exhibit the archeological findings at Cape St. Atanas along with the cultural traditions of the Byala region. Besides the historical artifacts, the museum has an art gallery too.
The white cliffs in Byala have important geological significance: they visibly expose the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary, the mark of a large meteorite impact that happened around 66 million years ago. Byala is the fourth place in the world where such traces have been found, proving the giant cosmic cataclysm that led to the end of the dinosaur era. The demonstration center displays fossil fragments found in the area.
Cape St. Atanas (or St. Athanasius)
Cape St. Atanas, located south of Byala, used to be a religious center during the Greek colonization and later on during early Christianity. Bulgaria’s biggest antique winery was also discovered here, dating back to the 6th century AD. The cape, featuring the ruins of the ancient fortress, a Christian basilica and the winery is open to visitors since 2014. Besides the historical monuments, Cape St. Atanas is already worth a visit for the amazing panorama itself. On the southern side of the cape there is a nice little beach, a fishing marina and a restaurant.
Kara Dere, located 6 km north of Byala, is one of the last truly wild beaches in Bulgaria. The area has no infrastructure, the spacious beach is surrounded by forests and bushes. It is a popular campsite, also favored by the lovers of watersports and nudism. The unspoiled sandy beach, spanning over 3 km, can be accessed by car as well.
Gorica Zoo (BG: Зоопарк Горица) is located near the village of Goritsa, less than 10 minutes (7 km) by car from Byala. It’s a nice small zoo featuring mostly rural animals, perfect for families as children can enjoy feeding the animals. The zoo also has its own restaurant offering traditional Bulgarian food.
Byala (BG: Бяла) is located around halfway between the cities of Varna and Burgas (53 and 75 km respectively) along road no 9 (international E87). Its southern neighbor, Obzor is only 6 km away. The town has good bus connections as several bus services running between Varna and Burgas stop in Byala.