Sunny Beach is the largest beach resort in Bulgaria. It has more than 800 hotels with more than 300,000 beds. The main attractions are the beach and the night life.
Everything in Sunny Beach is centered around tourism. It feels more like a fairground than a city. It has little to do with the real Bulgaria. You might as well be in Salou or any other party town.
Sunny Beach is a popular holiday destination among many European countries. Probably the main variety of people visiting are young people (around 20s) attracted by the very well developed night life in the resort. Other part are foreign groups and families, mostly Russian and German. It may not provide too much activities for children, but many of the restaurants do have a small playground or such.
There are no street names except Flower Street for the main pedestrian street from the main road down to the Beach Promenade and the pier.
Sunny Beach pretty much shuts down for winter. The season is often divided into three:
Low season from beginning of May to mid-June, September
Middle season: mid-June to (mid-)July, mid-August to September
High season: (mid-)July to mid-August, or even until end of August
However May is probably not recommended as even if some hotels are open, many restaurants etc. apparently don't open until June. Same goes for the end of season.
Sunny Beach is usually entered via Burgas airport (IATA: BOJ) (ICAO: LBBG) , which lies about 25km from Sunny Beach. There are domestic and international flights to about 116 destinations in 33 countries, by more than 69 bulgarian and foreign airlines.
Public buses run from the main street in front of the terminal and cost 5 BGN to Sunny Beach (2013).
Taxis are found outside the arrivals. Ask for the price first as most of the drivers will try to overcharge you. You can also book a private taxi beforehand. There are multiple operators, some are agents and some providing direct bookings with the operator. The prices are roughly 60 BGN one-way for 1-4 persons, and 115 BGN return trip.
International road I-9 (Burgas - Varna) is passing next to the resort.
There are several places across the resort where you can rent some sort of personal transportation - electric scooters (gopet), bikes, rickshaws, segways, motopeds and other.
Sunny Beach is not very large so you can cover it mostly on foot. The main beach strip with the beach bars and shops is about 2.5km long. As the shops, bars, and restaurants are mostly quite alike and the main areas of interest are pedestrians-only anyway there's little need for covering longer distances apart for just the fun of it.
There are number of buses between Sunny beach and nearby settlements. Routes, timetables and prices are available here. For short distances (e.g. to Nesebar) the ticket fee is 1 BGN (as of 2013). Buses are quite crowded during rush hours. Many of the buses have a section for people with strollers so using buses is a good choice for people with children as well.
By tourist 'train'
Reaches only part of the boulevard and runs only rather short distances (e.g. the train from Nesebar takes you only to the southern part of Sunny Beach from where it is still 4km to the center). No regular timetable, runs when it's full. Can be a bit of a wait. There are multiple routes, so make sure if the train you see is the train you need. Ticket fee is 3 BGN in one direction (as of 2013).
Not very useful in Sunny Beach. Distances are small, the main streets are pedestrian only and traffic in Bulgaria is rather dangerous. The streets in the main resort area are also often dead ends or just loops so you cannot really get anywhere unless using the main road.
By horse carriage
Not very fast but you travel in style.
Regular fee is 3 BGN/km (as of August 2012). However there might be some scammers, so check the tariff before you enter the cab and keep an eye on the counter.
There is boat connection between Sunny Beach and Nesebar. The boat docks at the central pier and travels every 20 minutes.
There are couple of dive shops in Nesebar offering courses and fun dives in the Black Sea.
There are a lot of shops and stalls everywhere, and especially in the central area. The selection in the stalls selling certain type of goods is pretty much the same in every such stall. Items are usually cheap and quality varies. It is not customary to haggle although sometimes shopkeepers spontaneously offer a promotion. Foreign currencies are not accepted, but there are plenty of exchange offices.
Shops are selling well known brands but as a rule of thumb: if you see something in Sunny Beach it is probably a copy, regardless of the price.
There are various restaurants and kiosks selling food all over the settlement, but the variation among them is quite limited. The fast food stalls all serve pancakes, baked stuffed potatoes, pizza slices (3 BGN), and chicken kebab (7 BGN), and some also hamburgers. Majority of the restaurants have a very long and unfocused menu so you will likely find pizza, pasta, Mexican or Indian food etc. from the menu of a steak house. The upside is that food is cheap, and you should get your stomach full of tasty meat for less than 20 BGN.
Most major beer brands are available. Local brands Shumensko and Kamenitza are cheaper (1-3 BGN for half a liter in restaurants, 1.5 BGN in supermarkets) and not bad.
You should not have problem with getting a place to sleep. Literally almost every building you see there is a hotel. However, have in mind that in the summer season most of the places are already taken, so it would be better to not go without a reservation.
As all seaside resorts - be aware for thieves. Keep an eye for your belongings (especially when you are on the beach).
The other main problem you may encounter are drunk people. Don't argue with people that seem affected by alcohol - some of them might become violent.
There are some rumours of food poisoning. Don't eat food that doesn't look good. There are duners and kebaps sold at the streets that might give you a belly ache.
Tap water is safe to drink as well as at most of the places in Bulgaria.
Most of the hotels have wifi zones. Some of them are open, other are paid hotspots.
There are lots of paid phones along the resort streets.
Nessebar is only a few kilometers away.
Irakly is a wild beach nearby. It is popular among campers as it is a true opposite of the Las-Vegas-looking Sunny Beach.
There is a bus station in Sunny Beach. There are regular bus routes to Burgas and Varna (buses to Burgas leaving every 20 minutes). There are also buses to other cities in Bulgaria - Sofia, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Vidin, etc...
Burgas and Varna are major transport hubs and once you get there, you can go everywhere.