Doi Mai and Vama Veche
Doi Mai & Vama Veche (‘old customs point’) are the last bits of Romanian coastline before you hit Bulgarian immigration.
Both were formerly bohemian paradises, with little more to offer than desolate stretches of sand and nudism. The communists, of all people, generously set Vama Veche aside for staff of Cluj-Napoca university and it inexorably developed into a haven for hippies, artists and intellectuals.
Hello capitalism! Vama Veche’s parking lot is now packed with expensive cars desperate for nonexistent parking spots. The days of free camping are gone, and loud beachside bars have taken root. Nudists are still around (and really, the “swimsuits” the Romanians favor are little more than flat out nudity anyway), but a visible, distinctly non-bohemian construction boom foretells of big plans for the future. That said, this area remains one of the last parts of Romania’s coast that hasn’t succumbed to rabid over-development. It has character and a more personable crowd converges here, leaving the pretty-boy poseurs and aspiring models to flaunt, pose and look bored in clubs further north.
Doi Mai has also been built up in the last few years. Its beach is smaller and offers views onto, erm, a shipyard. Eating options are scant and the few decent hotels have gotten a little carried away with price versus quality. Yet, it has retained a small village charm and can make a pleasant base.
Sarcasm aside, both towns are good break from the noisier resorts to the north.