Why You Should Visit Sozopol in Bulgaria

Why You Should Visit Sozopol in Bulgaria

Most visitors to Bulgaria travel to the larger cities, such as Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo and Plovdiv, or to the Black Sea. However, if you do’t want the tpical party destination by the Sea and pair it with wonderful seaside views, then Sozopol (Созопол) is ideal. It’s not far from Burgas and the Pink Lakes and makes for a great day trip. Here’s what you should know before visiting Sosopol. Fun fact: Sozopol used to be named Apollonia (Ἀπολλωνία).

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Why You Should Visit Sozopol in Bulgaria

Top 12 Things to See in Sozopol

  1. Sozopol Port

  2. The town’s history dates back all the way to the 7th century BC, Ancient Greek times. Back then it was called Antheia (Άνθεια) and quickly became the most important, largest and richest Greek Black Sea hub for trade. So you gotta at least check out today’s port in Sozopol.

    Address: Яхтено пристанище за Марина порт, 8130 Sozopol, Bulgaria

  3. Archeological Museum

  4. To really dig deep into Sozopol’s history, a visit to the Archeological Museum is due.

    Address: ulitsa Han Krum 2, 8130 Sozopol, Bulgaria

  5. Ancient Gate of Sozopol

  6. One of the best sunset spots on Sozopol is the ancient gate. Huge chunks of it remain and you can climb down the cliff a bit for the best lookout over the Black Sea and the setting sun over the horizon.

    Address: 8130 Tsentar, Sozopol, Bulgaria

    Why You Should Visit Sozopol in Bulgaria

  7. Sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone in Sozopol

  8. Just a quick walk away from the ancient Gate, you can find the remains of the sanctuary dedicated to Demeter and Persephone. The site is said to have been built in the 6th century BC.

    Address: 42.425361, 699829, bul. “Bulgaria” 27, 5006 Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

  9. St Ivan and Peter Islands

  10. Walking around Sozopol port, you will spot the two nearby islands of St Ivan and Peter (Ostrovi “Sv.Sv.Ivan I Petar”). They are protected areas and cannot be visited but look beautiful nontheless.

  11. Sozopol Old Town

  12. Apart from the old Grecian archeological findings, the Old Town in Sozopol is very special. The traditional wooden houses are well preserved and you can get wonderfully lost for a bit among the cobble stones.

    Why You Should Visit Sozopol in Bulgaria

  13. Ethnographic Museum

  14. For such a small town, Sozopol sure surprised with two museums. The first dedicated to the very ancient roots and the latter to more modern historical past. It is more of a house musem, the Ethnographic Museum and you can enter one oft he stunning wooden houses.

    Address: ul. “Kiril i Metodiy” 34, 8130 Tsentar, Sozopol, Bulgaria

  15. The Castle of Ravadinovo

  16. Before you swoon over an intact castle in Sozopol, this isn’t real. It is a rather modern interpretation of what a fairy tale castle ought to look like. But there’s a wine cellar and stellar views, so who can complain? It makes for great photos, there is horse riding, a sculpture park, summer cinema and art gallery onsite.

    Address: The Castle of Ravadinovo, 8146 Ravadinovo, Bulgaria

  17. Diving Center Sozopol

  18. Do you fancy getting close and personal with the local sealife? You can book a (scuba) dive at the town’s PADI Dive Centre. They offer diving training for individuals, families and groups, too.

    Address: ul. “Yani Popov” 27, 8130 Tsentar, Sozopol, Bulgaria

  19. Sozopol Beach

  20. Sozopol has a central sandy beach, which offers great views over the Old Town. And it has a beach bar. It’s a great spot to watch the sun rise – if the clouds decide to part.

  21. Orthodox East Church

  22. A church pretty in white and hard to be missed as it stands in stark contrast to the historical nearly black wooden buildings, you should step inside if you can.

    Address: pl. “Han Krum”, 8130 Tsentar, Sozopol, Bulgaria

  23. St. Martyr George Church

  24. Another beautiful old church, St George is worthy of a quick peek. As is typical for Bulgaria, it is of the Orthodox denomination.

    Address: ul. “Apolonia”, 8130 Tsentar, Sozopol, Bulgaria

    Why You Should Visit Sozopol in Bulgaria
    St Nicolai Chapel
  25. St. Nicholas Chapel 1

  26. While we’re at it and you are at the Gate, step inside the small room of the chapel on the southern wall. Here, you can find wonderful wall paintings of “St. Nicholas the Miracle Worker” (Южна крепостна стена, “Св. Николай чудотворец”).

    Address: 8130 Tsentar, Sozopol, Bulgaria

  27. St. Nicholas Chapel 2

  28. An alternative chapel for St Nikolai is just up the road in Old Town. I am not entirely sure but it might refer to St. Nicholas of Sofia the New (Свети Николай Софийски Нови) , who was a Christian saint and martyr from the 16th century.

    Address: ul. “Milet” 46,8130, Център Tsentar, Sozopol, Bulgaria

  29. St Thomas Island

  30. Only 15 kilometres (9 miles) south of Sozopol you can admire actual wild cacti in Bulgaria. That’s the only place they grow! They are called opuntia cacti and came all the way from the botanical garden in Bratislava, Slovakia. The island once houses a chapel dedicated to St Thomas, hence the name.

Why You Should Visit Sozopol in Bulgaria

Best Time to Visit

As is typical for the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, high season is in summer. That makes perfect sense because the weather is nicely warm, the Black Sea is nicely refreshing and days are long. However, busy season can already start in May and last until September.

Off season means you only a few tourists and that local bed and breakfasts aren’t fully booked. However, businesses are slow during that time and not many restaurants and hotel might have opened their doors yet. So you should double check availability in advance or just plan a day trip and sort out your accommodation in Burgas.

Where to Stay in Sozopol in Bulgaria

While in most places, travelling in off season means plenty more options for accommodation as rooms aren’t fully booked, for Sosopol it might mean many of hotels and bed n breakfasts being closed. So it’s better to check availability as soon as you know your possible travel dates.

Low Budget Places to Stay in Sozopol

I visited Sozopol in May and found only about two hostels offering their rooms. Both were basically empty during my one day in Sosopol. I had an entire hostel to myself! It was brilliant. If you want a beach getaway in utter piece, I recommend this!

The hostel I picked and really enjoyed was Just a Hostel and the owner personally stopped by to welcome me and make breakfast in the morning. Super lovely! If you’re not a hostel type but on a small budget, try Guest House Diamant and their comfortable beds. Plus, you will likewise be greeted with outstandingly friendly service.

Mid Range Hotels in Sozopol

Mid range in Bulgaria means regular hostel prices in Western European countries, so why not splurge? Get a nice and modern hotel room with a private balcony overlooking the Sea at Zdravko Guest House.

For a typical retro Bulgarian interior, check into Hotel Bobchev, which has a garden and is only 300metres from the Port as well as the bus station of Sozopol.

Best Luxury Hotels in Sozopol

Fancy a huge hotel with giant pool? Book your stay now at Art Complex Anel. It’s like a resort with little hotel house units dotted among green paths and overlooking the Sea. There are shore pools down below as well.

An alternative is Villa Maria with a Mediterranean vibe. Rooms come with a balcony and you can add a terrace as well. In case you want to be self catering, there are kitchen options as well.

How to Get to Sozopol in Bulgaria

By Car

If you book a rental car, follow the main routes 9 and 99 southward along the Black Sea shores. It’s pretty straightforward but keep looking for the signs pointing to Sozopol (Созопол) to be extra sure. Use your Google Maps or Maps.Me app for navigation help.

It’s possible to book a taxi as well since it takes only half an hour and costs around $12. Make sure you book your taxi service through a trusted company. Ask at the reception and look for the taxi prices displayed on the dashboard. A good app for using taxis in Bulgaria is TaxiMe.

By Bus

Local buses operate between Burgas and Sospol. If you are further away, in Varna or Sunny Beach (Bulgaria’s popular beach resort), you can take a bus from there to Burgas. It costs between $2-3.

During off season, buses don’t go as regularly (and it’s mostly mini vans), so it’s wise to check schedules online. You can book online or show up at the bus station but don’t expect people to speak fluent English.

Why You Should Visit Sozopol in Bulgaria

By Tour

To take away the hassle of sorting out bus schedules and not get stuck in Burgas for an hour waiting for the minivan to show, hop on a guided tour. This way, you have a local guide, meet fellow travellers and see even more sights you didn’t think to include before. I love small group tours for those perks.

To get from Sunny Beach to Sozopol, book a day tour with Get Your Guide. They also offer day trips from Varna – another hotspot by the Black Sea – and stop by the other historic site Nessebar as well. Check availability here.

By Train

There are no trains going to Sosopol.

Top 5 Items to Pack for Sosopol

  • Travel insurance – No matter where you travel – and even though Bulgaria is quite safe and has a great health system – you need to be insured. This includes your health and travels, which is where World Nomads does a great job. Check their current rates and deals here.
  • Travel guides – If you want great insider information on cool locations, the local history and the range of restaurants and hotels onsite, a Lonely Planet guide is the best. It will also give you great ideas for day trips in the vicinity or other lesser known gems, such as Assen’s Fort and Bachkovo Monastery near Plovdiv.
  • Swimwear – You are by the Black Sea. Might as well jump into the cool waters and get a (light) tan by the sandy beach. If you are a wimp like me and need a warm shower after, it’s great that hotels are never far from the shore.
  • Bulgarian cook book – Well, maybe don’t pack it BEFORE travelling Sosopol. Instead, get one as a memento for your trip because Bulgarian cuisine is really delicious. I mean, all the shopska salads, meat and potato dishes will leave you hungry for more once you get back home. A cookbook is a great way to relive your memories and satisfy your foodie yearnings.
  • Traditional blouse – Ok, this might seem a bit tacky but folk inspired blouses with Bulgarian traditional patterns are absolutely gorgeous. They look similar to Romanian designs (and souvenirs) but are unique, of course. I bought a few in Veliko Tarnovo and got a lot of compliments – from other tourists and locals alike.

  • Why You Should Visit Sozopol in Bulgaria

    Is Visiting Sosopol Worth It?

    Sosopol is one of the cutest places in Bulgaria and well worth the day trip or at least an overnight stay from Burgas. Getting there is not hard and you can just spend some time by the beach, stroll around the historic streets or dine on authentic Bulgarian cuisine.


    Read next:

    How to Get to the Buzludzha Monument in Bulgaria
    How to Get to Boyana Waterfall and Lake in Sofia, BulgariaMost Instagrammable Sunset Spots in Plovdiv Bulgarias Bulgaria Safe for Female Solo Travellers?15 Ideas for Day Trips from PlovdivHow to Get from Sofia to Plovdiv

    Why You Should Visit Sozopol in Bulgaria

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    It had to happen, after ditching the 9-5 for a prolonged break, Annemarie's wokaholic tendencies led her to start a daily blog about her adventures. Realising how much travel has helped rebuild her confidence and and general #GirlBoss-iness, Travel on the Brain released a book about her adventures in Down Under and New Zealand and creates quirky video series focusing on story telling in destinations around the globe.
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