Wind and wave characteristics and their long-term variability in the Black Sea over a period of 31 years are investigated in this study. The state-of-the art spectral wave model SWAN is implemented to perform a 31 - year wave hindcast in the area of interest. The simulation results are used to assess the inter-annual variability and long-term changes in wind and wave climate in the Black Sea for the period 1979-2009. The SWAN model is forced with the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) winds. The model is calibrated and validated against available wave measurements at six offshore and near-shore locations spread over a large region in the Black Sea. The calibration was performed by tuning parameters in the white-capping and wind input formulations against available measurements for 1996 at three offshore locations (Gelendzhik, Hopa, and Sinop). The validation was carried out using measured data, at Gelendzhik, Hopa, and Sinop offshore locations, Gloria drilling platform and Karaburun and Filyos near-shore locations. From the 31-year simulation results, the long-term spatial distributions and changes of the mean wind and mean and maximum wave characteristics and their inter-annual variabilities were determined. The calibration improved SWAN model performance by 11.6% for H-m0 and 3.3% for T-m02 on average at three locations. The mean annual significant wave height (H-m0) and mean wind speed (WS) indicate the occurrence of higher wave heights and wind speeds in the western Black Sea compared to the south eastern coasts of the Black Sea. The coefficient of variation over the Black Sea for H-m0 and WS shows that the variability for H-m0 is higher than that of WS. It is also observed that the variability for H-m0 is higher in areas (such as offshore Gelendzhik, Russia) where the variability of WS is high. Besides, the storms mentioned in the previous studies (such as Galabov and Kortcheva, 2013; Tarakcioglu et al., 2015) are observed in four interesting characteristic areas with maximum H-m0 determined in this study over the Black Sea.