Balchik (Bulgarian: Балчик; Turkish: Balçık; Greek: Κρουνοι, Krounoi, Διονυσοπολις, Dionysopolis; Romanian: Balcic) is a Black Sea coastal town and seaside resort in the Southern Dobruja area of northeastern Bulgaria. It is located in Dobrich Oblast and is 42 km northeast of Varna.
The town sprawls scenically along hilly terraces descending from the Dobruja plateau to the sea. The ancient Greek colony of Krounoi in Moesia (also known as Dionysopolis, after Dionysus), later a Greek-Byzantine fortress, stood on the site of an older Thracian settlement.
Under the Ottoman Empire, the town came to be known with its present name, which perhaps derived from a Gagauz word meaning „small town” (as opposed to the „large town” of Varna). Another opinion is that its actual name derived from Balik’s name.
After the liberation of Bulgaria, Balchik developed as centre of a rich agricultural region, wheat-exporting port, and district (okoliya) town, and later, as a major tourist destination with the beachfront resort of Albena to its south.
The ethnic composition gradually changed from mostly Gagauz and Tatar/Turkish to predominantly Bulgarian. However, the town retains a sizable Turkish minority, and a Ottoman mosque remains to serve the Muslim minority.
Between 1913-1916 and 1919-1940, Balchik was part of Romania.
The town is the site of Marie’s Oriental villa, the place where her heart was kept, in accordance with her last wishes, until 1940 (when the Treaty of Craiova awarded the region back to Bulgaria).
It was then moved to Romania. Today, the Balchik Palace and the adjacent Balchik Botanical Garden are the town’s most popular landmarks. Currently, three 18-hole golf courses are being developed around town, two designed by Gary Player and one by Ian Woosnam.