Sunny Beach is located in the east of Bulgaria on the Black Sea Coast. The Black Sea coast has two large cities, Varna (3rd largest) located on the north, and Burgas (4th largest) on the South. Sunny Beach is located between the two, approx 40 minutes from Burgas and 90 minutes from Varna. The majority of flights (approx 3.5 hours) from the UK land at Burgas airport, with package holidays offered by companies like Balkan Holidays, Thomson and JMC. Flights are possible to Varna, although it is a lot easier to reach Sunny Beach from Burgas. Sunny Beach is a seasonal holiday destination due to the areas wide temperature ranges throughout the year. Most direct flights from the UK to Burgas start in May and finish mid October. The expected weather in May and October can vary year to year so be prepared with both swimming outfits and raincoats!
The main Nessebar/ St Vlas main road runs through Sunny Beach about 250m way back from the beach/sea area. The area between the road and beach is primarily populated with Hotels, shops and restaurants, while many of the apartments are located on the areas inland beyond the road.
The currency is the Leva and the Stotinki (2.8 Leva to the UK pound). When needing to exchange UK money I found the best way was not to exchange it within the UK, but wait until you reach Bulgaria and make the exchange within the local Hotels (NOT the street booths!), I used the Bellevue next to Victoria Palace.
Based on my experience if you decide to take a Package trip to Bulgaria then you can expect some or all of the following:
1. Once you have arrived at Burgas and picked up your luggage, you will have to walk through customs. First point to note is that there are certain restrictions with regard to what can/cannot be brought into Bulgaria, one item to be careful is money. There is a maximum of 8,500 Leva per person allowed in/out without declaration, be careful to allow for varying exchange rates if you are going to be very close to the maximum.
2. Once through customs look for a holiday rep who will provide you with an information pack and tell you what coach number is waiting outside to take you to the hotel. Once on the coach another rep will provide you with some basic information about Bulgaria (e.g. the currency, temperature etc). The rep will also tell about a welcome meeting that will be arranged in one of the local bars. Depending upon when you arrive it may the same day or the morning of the following day. You do not have to attend but if it is your first time in Bulgaria they will explain some of the countries general customs (e.g. nodding your head means no, and shaking it from left to right means yes), how/where to exchange money, first aid offices, etc. The rep will also offer you daily excursions at extra cost e.g. a two day trip to Istanbul in Turkey. Once the coach arrives at the Hotel is customary to tip the coach driver.
Visitors to Bulgaria are expected to hand in their passports to the police station soon after arrival. If you are part of a package tour then the Hotel may ask for your passports when they give you your room keys. The passport(s) will be returned to you typically within 24 hours. I was never charged for this service, it was included in the package deal. If you independently (i.e. not part of a package tour) travel then you will have to register your arrival yourself and pay a small fee (I am not sure of the cost, and i think you register at the local Police station). Whether someone registers you or you do it yourself, make sure you receive a small piece of paper proving that you registered. You will need to hand this paper to an official when leaving Bulgaria and without it there maybe a fine.