Golfing in Bulgaria need not be limited to Sofia. To the east of the country, the main city on the coast is Varna and nearby you’ll find three stunning courses.

HOW TO GET THERE
Bulgaria is just over three hours away by air. British Airways and Bulgaria Air serve Varna International Airport, 20 miles from the golf resorts.

WHAT’S THERE
Two links resorts sit side by side on the coast – Lighthouse Golf Resort and BlackSeaRama, with a spectacular third on the way.

Lighthouse Golf Resort opened in 2004 and is the work of Ian Woosnam and European Golf Design. The finishing three holes are a great challenge; the 16th is a true par 5 with water in play before a sloping green, the 17th a shortish par 3 back over the lake, and the 18th a memorable par 4 with water down the right. Next door is the Gary Player-designed BlackSeaRama, which opened in 2008. The panoramic views of Varna Bay are particularly special, as is the signature 18th. Hit it right off the elevated tee and your ball will topple down the cliff.

BlackSeaRama

BlackSeaRama’s stunning 18th

OFF COURSE
The Spas come with all the trimmings, and the close proximity of the Black Sea makes it a perfect place to relax on the beach or enjoy a vast array of water sports. BlackSeaRama boasts expansive practice facilities including the academy – which features the very latest video swing analysis – and a superb clubhouse overlooking the coast. Hotels are in the stages of being built, but the villas are already proving popular.

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS
Golden Sands is a perfect place for recreation and entertainment. Varna itself is the biggest city on the Bulgarian coast and attracts those in search of a livelier evening. Kaliakra Cape stretches over a mile out to sea and is popular with walkers wishing to escape and take in the views.

COST
Lighthouse Golf Resort’s prices for summer 2010 start at £285 per person, which includes flights and transfers, three nights accommodation and two rounds of golf. Prices at BlackSeaRama start at £429 per person. Four, five and seven-night durations are available at both resorts with the option to buy additional rounds at the alternative course to where you’re staying. Offers for the Spring are due to be announced. For more details visit balkanholidays.co.uk

THRACIAN CLIFFS
When the Gary Player-designed Thracian Cliffs opens in 2010, the Black Sea Coast will feature three excellent links courses complete with all the facilities a golfing holiday needs. Be wise which tees you play off here, as there is little room for error. Island greens and island tees are the order of the day, so accuracy is paramount.

Where next?

Golf travel: Golfing in Murcia
Rest of the world: Golf in Mauritius