If you are a romantic person, you can walk along the alleys of the beautiful gardens or along the seaside. Many flowers in hundreds of colours, cactuses, big trees, artificial rivers, pools and waterfalls... in a word a wonderful place to visit!
The most important place to visit in Balchik is the Palace of the former Romanian Queen Mary - wife of King Ferdinand of Romania (reign 1914-1927).
The palace was built between 1926-1937 when Balchik was inside Romanian territory (now it's only 65 kilometers below the Bulgarian-Romanian border).
The palace is not a big palace but is very nice, the tour takes under one hour, then you can spend more than that in the wonderful gardens of the palace.
It 's referred as the Palace but actually is the former summer residence of Queen Maria of Romania. So u won't see luxurious palace! But the treasure is in the beautiful gardens. The villa is designed by the italian architects and builders Augustino and Amerigo. The gardens are "speciality" of the swiss florist Jules Jany.
Balchik is a small town and Dvoreca is a great attraction, so it's easy to find it. If coming from the main plaza at downtown, head down for the beach; If u see a white buliding with a big clock with a restaurant at the top, turn right and walk south for about 10min and you'll see the white Mauritanian style tower of Dvoreca peaking through the trees. It's right there in the beach! Keep going up the stone stairs and you'll end up inside the garden of the palace.
Visiting the Botanical Gardens... forget it if you are disabled. We were greeted by a surly guard at the gate who basically looked at our european disabled pass and told us to 'get lost'. the woman taking money was equally unhelpful and told to us to park over a mile away and walk down the hill. When I told her my wife had trouble walking more that 100m, she just shrugged her shoulders. We visited the gardens several years ago and were shown every courtesy and were allowed to park near the gardens. Definately now not a place to visit if you are disabled.
Whilst Balchik is definitely trying to position itself as a tourist attraction it is still very much a working town and as such has quite a diverse range of buildings. This makes the town itself worth a wander as you never know what'll be round the next corner.
Unfortunately I didn't have time to visit these on this trip but they certainly look well worth devoting a couple of hours to on my next excursion.
Whilst Balchik was under Romanian rule, 1913 to 1940, the Romanian Queen, Marie of Edinburgh, was so impressed with the town that she had her summer palace constructed on the seafront.
The main building is known as the "Quiet Nest (sometimes "Nook") and there are a variety of other villas in the grounds. The gardens have been constructed on terraces climbing up the hillface which have been planted and ornamented in a variety of themes. After 1940 the town reverted to Bulgarian occupation and the gardens became a research facility of the Botanical Dept of the University of Sofia.
The Balchick Palace Garden is a truly Botanical Garden, established in 1955, it's huge (65,000 sqm), with 2000 species of plants and the second largest (after Monaco's) cactus species zone (1,000 sqm). The rose gardens are fantastic, as well as the rest of the areas with flowers.
The Queenn Maria's Palace is a nice place. There are some other buildings worth visiting in the complex too. The Palace itself is very nice but if you are looking for something special you can be desappointed. There are some rooms with a few pieces of furniture. But remember it was only the summer residence of the Romanian Queen. The palace was built 1924-1926. The Queen called it the Quiet Nest.
The palace park is an imitation of the Famous Cretan labyrinth. Each stone for the church you can see in the garden was brought from the island of Crete.
First visit the whole Garden, then you can taste some Bulgarian wine in a wine house. After that visit the Palace and go for swimming. The Palace is situated a couple of meters from the beach.
I was not able to understand why I had to buy two separate tickets for one complex. One for the Palace and another one for the botanical garden I didn't want to visit because I have seen thousends of them so far. I had to buy each ticket at a different cash desk in a different place. I was told that the Palace and the botanical garden have different owners.
The picturesque park is arranged in 1924-1936 on the project of the French garden designer Jules Janine. It comprises more than 200 tree species, numerous flowers, boasting of a unique collection of cactus plants (more than 250 species).
There are more than 3000 rare and exotic species of plants in the botanic garden. It is part of the teaching facilities of Sofia University. The whole complex was called Tenha Vuva (Quiet Nest).
The old palace - built in 1924-1931 by the request of the Romanian queen Maria. The authors of the construction design are Italian architects.
The main component buildings (10 villas and a chapel) freely combine elements of various architectural styles. The Palace Complex consists of the central palace with a high tower, numerous buildings in a modern style at the time, a many-terrace park, lanes and paths, stone summer-houses propped on marvellous columns facing the sea, a throne under an old tree where Queen Maria loved to sit and watch the sunset, a small chapel where her heart is preserved.
My favourite is the botanical garden. It's associated withe the Biology department at the Sofia University. So it's not only beautiful garden but also very professional and valuable! It has more than 200 tree species, some of which are real paleontological treasure. Ginko biloba is a real living fossil for example. It is the oldest living tree species and it;s been around for 150-200 milion years...that's what i remember from my student practice in the botanical gardens ......and also that males and females flowers are separate trees, it has "naked seeds" as opposed to all trees today and it doesn't flower or fruit till is 200 years old! Cool isn't it?
Also there are thousands of rare and exotic plants and flowers, more than 250 cacti species..........and all come in so many different colors, it's unbelievable.
I don't remember ever paying to get in Dvoreca or in the botanical garden ..but may be things are different these days.
( Note to myself: gotta dig out more photos from my archives :))
Visit these gardens at Baltchik, 10 lev to get in to both the gardens and the castle of the ex-Queen Marie of Romania, called the "Quiet Nest ". Surrounded by its whitewashed cottages that overlook the sea.
If you get here on a good day, take a boat out of the harbour around the coast, its a great experience, just watch the jellyfish if you are swimming.
Entrance is 5 leva for one person and you can spend there as much time as you want. Don´t forget to see the cacti part and also the small minaret.
Don't have any data about this mosque, neither about muslim population in Balchik, but it sure looks abandoned.