Matt & Megan
Nude Beach Map. Visited 2023
Irakli Beach is a true gem. It feels like you’re on a tropical island in the middle of nowhere. Despite the fact there is a large new hotel resort towards the northern end, the beach still manages to retain it’s allure. Attracting people who appreciate the authenticity and laid back nature of the place. Bulgaria’s nude beaches are world-class but Irakli is in a league of it’s own. It’s one of the only beaches that hasn’t been overtaken by mass commercialization in this part of the world. The Guardian wrote a great article ages ago the beauty of Bulgaria’s wild beaches.
The coastline around Irakli is rugged, wild and untamed, while the beach itself is a seemingly endless stretch of sold golden sand that backs onto wooded hillsides. It seems like you are a world away from the crowded masses of tourists on Sunny Beach. Tents dot the beach and are occupied by laid-back couples, hippies, backpackers and families who are all here for the same thing – to get relax and get away from it all. Most people on the beach are nude, others who aren’t clearly couldn’t care less. If I had to guess, most clothes people here are probably trying to save themselves from heatstroke after setting up camp for a few days on the sand. If you’ve never tried swimming ‘au nature’ this is the perfect place to start!
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While Irakli is relatively easy to access it’s still off the beaten path compared to other beaches in the region. Most visitors are locals here on a daytrip or budget travelers camping on the beach. We didn’t stay the night but it is on the bucketlist for next time. It would be an amazing experience and despite the isolation you’re still barely 100m away from Vaia Bistro or The Last Wild Man – both places serving up food and drinks, however the latter is only open for lunch. Camping Irakli is right next to the beach an offers very affordable rates if you want more of a camping setup away from the sand. Obzor and Banya are the closest towns to the beach where you can stock up on supplies. Obzor is much bigger and commercialized with plenty of resorts, whereas Banya is a typical sleepy Bulgarian village with some quaint AirBnb options. I’d recommended Banya for a more true Bulgarian experience if you don’t want to stay on Irakli Beach.
Everyone on the beach were friendly enough, waving to us as we walked past. But Irakli is wide and long enough that you don’t need to setup camp right next to anyone else anyway. We saw empty camps with belongings still inside and clothing drying in the wind. It’s clear this is a very chill place and unlike any other nude beach we’ve been before. If you stayed here long enough we’re sure you’ll meet some interesting characters and have some amazing experiences. Beware that you’re directly exposed to the ocean here and Irakli can sometimes experience some strong winds and dangerous surf conditions.
Arriving via Vaya Beach Hotel you might be forgiven for thinking that Irakli’s description of being wild and untamed is untrue. However all you need to do is keep walking 200m past the resort amenities – cross the small and you’re into the nude zone. The atmosphere of both areas on the beach couldn’t be any further from each other. From 5 star accommodation to tents on the beach and expensive cocktails to cheap beers.. you get the idea. We’re hopeful that the resort is the last of the commercialization of Irakli and the beach stays true to form for a long time to come.
Overall, Irakli Beach is not to be missed. If we had to convince everyone that nude beaches are amazing, we’d take them here. Bulgaria has a stunning paradise that is still relatively unknown and definitely worth the effort. We spent a few hours here and it wasn’t long enough. If you’re after any kind of beach activities than one of the nude beaches near Varna or Sunny Beach might be more your style. Irakli is sleepy, authentic and wild.. no jetskis, loud music or activities whatsoever… and we wouldn’t change a thing!
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Hiring a car is the easiest way to reach Irakli Beach. From the highway you take a rough unsealed road for a pothole riddled 3-4km. Parking is free if you find a spot opposite the Vaya Beach Hotel, walk 200m on the beach past the resort to cross the small creek and you're into the nude area. Once you walk past the Vaia Bistro you're in the right spot but the tents and nude swimmers should be a dead giveaway.
DO NOT blindly follow Google Map's directions like we did - we almost ended up destroying our small rental car by rolling over in a ditch. Take caution if you decide to drive the dirt trail to get closer to the nude beach. There is normally parking available here but sometimes the road can be extremely rough. We'd recommend you have decent clearance and don't come this way after heavy rains. To drive right to the nude beach you need to take the dirt road to Camping Wild Irakli and the beach is a short walk.
The nearest town is Obzor which is 5km away from Irakli Beach. This is a great place to stock up on essentials and the launching point if you're coming from the direction of Varna. There is the option of renting a boat from Obzor to Irakli Beach. Apparently this is a popular way of getting to the beach in summer but we never saw any boats during our visit. You would obviously need to arrange a pickup time in advance also.
The journey to Irakli beach from Varna or Burgas is relatively easy and straightforward, and the stunning natural beauty of the beach is well worth the effort.