Balchik is a Black Sea coastal town 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 (also known as Dionysopolis, after Dionysus), later a Greek-Byzantine fortress, stood on the site of an older Thracian settlement. In the First Bulgarian Empire in 7th century AD, the place's name changed from Krounoi to Karvuna; in the Second Bulgarian Empire, it became an important administrative centre of its Karvunska Hora district, and was marked on Italian portolans as a port with the Italianized name of Carbona. In the 14th century, it briefly became capital of the spinoff Dobrujansko despotstvo (Principality of Karvuna). 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).