Seaside Travel Guide to the Burgas region, Bulgaria
The Bulgarian seaside attracts more and more tourists each year, curious to explore the beautiful nature, interesting traditions and local history. This summer we headed down to the Southern part of the Bulgarian Black Sea and spent a week hunting the most interesting places to visit in the region of Burgas.
If it is your first time exploring the Burgas region, you can find a lot of useful information about cultural, historical and natural sites, tours and events on the website of Go To Burgas.
(Текстът на български можете да прочетете на втората страница.)
Aquae Calidae is a modern touristic site, which not all visitors know about due to its location that is quite far from the city centre of Burgas. It is definitely worth the ride in order to check it out though. Thanks to its interesting history and modern renovation, an initiative of the Burgas municipality, Aquae Calidae makes the perfect example of an excellently developed European historical landmark.
The ancient city Aquae Calidae is famous for its healing mineral water. There is a tap water coming from a natural spring right next to the central building of the complex from where you can pour yourself some of the miraculous water. The legend tells about the three nymphs, guardians of the local springs and the nature. Since they’ve angered the Gods, they were turned into stone and stayed watching over the sacred springs forever.
The origin of the name comes from Latin and means “hot water”. An enormous complex was built here during the second century and it was a desirable place for every citizen of the Roman Empire. They believed that the water there was the one with the most healing powers in the world and through the years it saved the city several times from destruction. Besides its thermal bath function, the site also hosted culture, sporting and entertainment events. During the Ottoman Era and in particular the rule of Suleiman the Magnificent the bath regained its previous glory. The sultan heard about the miraculous healing water and after trying it himself he was so impressed and grateful for regaining his good health that he made a new building on top of the ruins of the former Thermopolis. Ever since the thermal baths are also know as the Baths of Suleiman the Magnificent. Today Aquae Calidae is restored in traditional oriental style with colors and ornaments complimenting the overall exotic vibe. In the middle there is a square pool where the hot water was stored. Since we were the last to enter, we enjoyed the interactive history presentation alone and had some time to take a few pictures inside the bath. The site gives an authentic feeling and really transports you throughout time and history!
Besides getting to know the history, you can explore the archeological excavations and the renovated main building, as well as watching a short animation movie – a 3D mapping projection on the inside of the dome. Quite an approach to really get the attention of the visitors that in our opinion more of the Bulgarian museums should acquire as well.
You may be surprised that there are islands in Bulgaria. Our article about the Saint Anastasia island caused a lot of interest and if you are feeling curious you can read more about this beautiful place, located only half an hour from Burgas, and the legends about pirates and political prisoners.
The salt pans near Burgas are undoubtedly the most pink place in Bulgaria. But it is also the saltiest – with a salt density closer to the one in the Dead Sea. Here you can take advantage of the healing properties of the salt and the lye, while enjoying the view of the blue sky and clouds melting into the pink water. How the water gets so pink, what it is used for and what makes this place a unique protected area – the answers to all these questions and more amazing photos can be found in our article here.
The ancient town of Nesebar is one of the 7 heritage sites in Bulgaria that are protected by UNESCO because of its authenticity, rich historical and cultural value. Founded in 6th century B.C, it is not only one of the oldest cities in Bulgaria, but also in Europe. Here you can visit more than 7 churches – some of them are working and very well preserved while others are remarkable archeological ruins.
Albeit the old town can get quite crowded with tourists, it is still worth a visit because of its beautiful wooden houses and narrow cobbled streets. We’d recommend to have a lunch with delicious seafood and gorgeous sea view in one of the traditional restaurants or have a stroll in the late evening when there are not that many people wandering around and you will have these cute little streets all to yourself.
Nesebar is #6 in the “100 National Touristic Sites of Bulgaria” list. We would leave you with our photo essay for more inspiration.
One of the few Bulgarian beaches that doesn’t have a tons of hotels along the coast. Happy that we’ve finally managed to visit it and see it in its full beauty, we enjoyed half a day surrounded by this lovely wilderness. In the beginning of the beach it was packed with tents and its inhabitants, but as we walked further it got more deserted and more liberated. You can see a lot of families that quite literally relive the day that they were born and who can blame them? When your tent is on the soft sand just a few steps from the vast blue sea and the green forest right behind you, you feel like you can do anything without being judged and purely enjoy the amazing nature. After all that, you probably think that we joined this naked theme, but we kept our swimwear on us. It’s just not our thing right now.
Cape Emine is located near the small village Emona and is the most eastern point of the Balkan Mountain. The locals define it as “the end of Europe”. You might wonder why – the cape is the last stop of an European hiking trail. Sadly, you can’t reach the very end of the cape where the lighthouse is because of the military base established on top of it. But you can “hike” around the rocks or if you’re feeling more adventurous and have the required experience you can ask the locals for the best path from where you can dive in to the sea.
The port of Sozopol is quite spectacular during the summer evenings. Here you can witness one of the most beautiful red sunsets! Similar to Nesebar, the picturesque old town of Sozopol houses many small shops, wooden houses, boats painted in white and blue and a lot of historic charm!
Only a kilometer away there is the biggest island of Bulgaria – Saint Ivan. The island is deserted with only ruins of the monastery that sheltered pirates in the past and the lighthouse to remind you of the civilization. That makes it the perfect place to spend a peaceful day at its beach, taking advantage that you’ll probably be alone and take all the pictures that you want. You can get there by renting a boat from the harbour which is about 20-25 euro one way. So it’s best to do that with a company of friends to share the ride in case that you don’t want to spend so much money.
A long wooden path meandering among the sand dunes, takes us to one of the most beautiful beaches along the Southern Bulgarian Balck Sea – Arkutino. Eager to see the view at the end of the path, we still made time to enjoy the sand lilies growing around.
The wildlife sanctuary “Ropotamo”, named after the river passing through, is also nearby where you can take a boat trip and explore the threatened of extinction flora and fauna.