20 Sozopol sights worth seeing
Sozopol is an old big city in the south-east of the country. According to the classic genre of Bulgarian cities it is divided into two parts: new and old. The sights of Sozopol are mainly concentrated in its old part: there are tombs, ancient temples, remains of the amphitheater and local museums.
And if you’re still at a loss as to what to see in this city during your vacation, we offer you an overview of the top 20 must-see sights.
| Photo: wikimedia
We recommend starting in the old part of the city and walking through the cobblestone streets along the high fences. Architecture lovers will appreciate the two-story buildings of the XVIII-XIX centuries, located along the narrow and cozy alleys.
In 1974 the old part of the city was named an architectural and archaeological reserve. There are 200 rare buildings in the Renaissance style. The foundations are lined with stone and the brick walls are lined with wood. The roofs are covered with high-quality Turkish tiles.
The city is surrounded by a medieval fortress wall with towers, partially restored. There are also an ancient Byzantine granary, a water supply system from the 5th century BC, a wooden well from the IV-III century BC and a chapel from the XIII-XIV centuries.
Address: Sozopol – Old Town, Morski Skali Street, Sozopol, Bulgaria.
St. Ivan Island
One of the biggest Black Sea islands in the country. Its area is about 66 hectares. It is rightfully recognized as a natural and archaeological reserve, so it has been protected by the authorities since 1965.
It is interesting to visit the lighthouse on the island, which guides the ships to the Burgas Bay. A tall monastery was built here in the Middle Ages, which received the status of “royal” in 1308. At one time it was destroyed and rebuilt, then destroyed again by the Ottomans, as evidenced by the ruins. There are also many species of curious birds, including a colony of herring gull.
Archaeological excavations are constantly taking place on the island, which is interesting to watch. The island is open to all comers, but there are no separate excursions. You can get here on your own by boat from the port of Sozopol.
Address: Saint Ivan, Bulgaria.
Church of St. Zosima
The church was built in 1857 on the foundations and ruins of a medieval church. It was named in honor of the martyr who lived in ancient Sozopol, which at that time was called Apollonius. Zosimus is considered the patron saint of the city.
The temple is a single-nave with an altar and an apse built of hewn stones. The main entrance is crowned with an arch decorated with stucco. Inside the chapel is a memorial plaque from the 5th century dedicated to the sailor’s deceased wife. The tombstone is covered with ancient inscriptions and drawings. There are also iconostases from the 19th century in the church, and of particular value is an icon created by the famous local artists Dimitri and Jani.
Address: Church Zosima, Apolonia Street, 8130 Sozopol, Bulgaria.
Church of St. George
The Orthodox church was built in honor of St. George the Victorious in 1860, so in the architecture there are characteristic notes of the Renaissance. There used to be an old basilica from the 4th century.
The church is a brick building with an apse, a wooden porch and a bell tower. The entrance is crowned with a picture of St. George the Victorious. Inside the church are valuable icons of the XIX century, which gather pilgrims and believers from all over Europe. People come to worship the relics of St. John the Baptist, St. Andrew and part of the Holy Cross.
Address: “St. Martyr George”, Apolonia Street, Sozopol, Bulgaria.
The famous Archaeological Museum has at the disposal of the Holy Synod Church of St. Cyril and Methodius. The city library is also located in the same building as the museum.
On the territory of the museum there are exhibits, which relate to different periods of the city’s history, from 4,000 years BC to the present day. There are also artifacts related to maritime affairs of ancient times (e.g. anchors and bayonets of II-I centuries BC). The museum is a center of underwater archeology. The history of the city is represented by ancient coins, cultural and household items, antique ceramics and medieval vessels.
Address: Archaeological Museum, site “Khan Krum”, Sozopol, Bulgaria.
Church of the Virgin Mary
This medieval Orthodox church was built in the fifth century on the site of an old temple. It is a three-nave pseudo-basilica with an apse. The building material was hewn stone and wooden supports.
Over the centuries, the building was reconstructed. The interior has preserved a marvelous carved iconostasis with floral ornamentation, the 18th-century bishop’s throne and the pulpit.
In 1927 the church became a site of national historical heritage.
The temple functions to this day – it is the center of Orthodox religion for locals and tourists.
Address: The Holy Virgin Church, Anaksimandar Street, Sozopol, Bulgaria.
Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius
Thinking of what to see in the old part of Sozopol? Pay attention to the Orthodox Church dedicated to the Equal Apostles Cyril and Methodius, who, according to legend, are the creators of the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabet.
The church was erected in 1889 by the master Usta Gencho for the refugees. It is a single-nave basilica, which is 25 meters long and 13 meters wide. A little later a tall (23 m) bell tower was completed.
Inside the church, there is a beautiful iconostasis of the XVII-XVIII centuries.
After 1944 the church was first a city museum, then a storehouse and was even a museum of underwater archeology. Since 1989 the building was returned to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and after a long reconstruction it was reopened for services.
Address: St. Cyril and Methodius, “Khan Krum” Square, Sozopol, Bulgaria.
The Castle in Ravandino
The Castle in Ravandino.
Do you want to see a real medieval castle? Then go to Sozopol, where the ancient castle with the poetic name “In Love with the Wind” is situated. It belongs to retired policeman Georgi Tumpalov.
The construction of the castle began more than 20 years ago, and Georgi mines the stone himself on the nearby mountain Stranja, delivers and lifts it up, without the use of special equipment. According to some reports, the man does not even have an engineering plan for the future construction. Perhaps he does not need one, as Gheorghi has traveled the world for many years and became familiar with the architecture of castles. The man himself claims that when he first arrived at this place in Sozopol he was captivated by the free winds and the beauty of the local landscape and he immediately wanted to build his own castle here.
Address: The Castle of Ravadinovo, Ravadinovo, Bulgaria.
Black Sea Fjords
Fans of natural wonders should go to the south of Sozopol where the famous Black Sea fiords are located. There are caves in the rocks with their own flavor. Do not forget to bring warm clothes, so as to protect yourself from piercing breezes and cold rooms.
Location: Devetashka Cave, Devetaki, Bulgaria.
The mountain is located not in the town itself, but in the surrounding area and has a second name “Copper Mountain”. It reaches a height of 375 meters, so it is ideal for active hiking and climbing. If you want to climb to the top on foot, you will have to wade through dense thickets of oak forest, so take care of the tight outerwear.
There is also an ancient fortress at the top that tourists love to visit. There is a beautiful panorama of the city and the surrounding area.
Address: Peak Bakarlaka (Copper Reed), Bulgaria.
The Strandzha mountain range.
Another beautiful attraction is just 6 kilometers away from Sozopol. You will find yourself in a resort village, which is stylized as a monastery of the Middle Ages. Hotels and cottages for guests are on every step.
Dyuni has its own beach, which is 4.5 kilometers long and 100 meters wide. The fine golden sand is perfect for resting with children. From time to time small dunes appear here, after which the resort is named. The sea is calm with a flat bottom and the depth increases smoothly, so it is safe to swim here. Lovers of active recreation can do diving, windsurfing, yachting, water skiing, etc. There are also several swimming pools and tennis courts.
There are also wilderness areas with quiet bays and steep cliffs.
Address: Dunes, Bulgaria.
Not all tourists like to relax on local beaches, where there are a lot of people, noisy cafes and callers, and cleanliness leaves much to be desired. At 15 kilometers from the city there are two paradise and very well maintained beaches, each of which is 2 kilometers long. The resort “Primorsko” was even awarded the prestigious award “Blue Flag”.
The southern part with fine golden sand is ideal for sunbathing and swimming. There is also the International Youth Center. The northern part of the beach gathers lovers of active recreation with windsurfing, skiing, parachuting, etc. You can reach the beaches by private car or by small train from the center of the resort.
Address: Primorsko, Bulgaria.
Beautiful natural landscapes meet you in the area of the Ropotamo river bed. You can wander in the deciduous forest among oaks, willows and beeches, look at the huge water lilies, breathe in the exceptionally fresh air. The yellow water of the Ropotama River itself flows through the Strange Mountain before flowing into the Black Sea water area.
Around the river valley there are bizarre rocks, among which the locals managed to discern the Lion’s Head. This ecologically clean place is located 15 kilometers from the city. You can get here by your own car or by bus, or you can rent a boat.
Address: Ropotamo River, Bulgaria
The ancient construction is the center of cultural life of the city. It was built in the II century, but it was found only in 1972 – it was “helped” by a strong landslide. The find was immediately excavated and restored, and the specialists were able to preserve the ancient atmosphere.
The amphitheater serves as a stage area to this day. Here are regularly held literary evenings, local dance groups, vocalists and theater troupe perform. You can also visit modern photography and art exhibitions. Between holidays, the amphitheater holds guided tours for tourists, where everyone can stroll through its expanse.
Address: Amphitheater Sozopol / Amphitheater Sozopol, area “Khan Krum”, Sozopol, Bulgaria.
Golden Fish Beach
Golden Fish beach is located in the north of the city and is 6 kilometers long and up to 60 meters wide. In the peak season it is always crowded with people, as there is a very convenient transport interchange. There is also a great infrastructure for recreation: showers, sun loungers and umbrellas, children’s area and a surfing school. Perhaps the only drawback is paid parking.
Address: Beach “Gold wheelhouse”, Bulgaria.
Central beach. | Photo: www.bdmundo.com / Flickr.
As you can guess, during the season you have to be occupied at dawn, despite the fact that the width of the beach is 600 meters. Although there are a lot of people, but the water is almost always clear. Here you can find everything you need for recreation: marquees and sun loungers, umbrellas, booths, water transport for rent, food courts, a playground and so on.
Address: Sozopol – Central Beach, Sozopol, Bulgaria.
Harmanite is a famous beach with good accessibility from any part of the town. So, if the central beach is crowded, then tourists head here. All the more so because it is 2 times bigger than the central one. There are many restaurants and cafes, excursion points and souvenir shops.
The continuation of Harmanite beach is Budjaka beach with the same infrastructure and landscapes.
Address: Harmanite Beach, 46 Ropotamo Str., 8130 Tsentr, Sozopol, Bulgaria.
The beach Kavatsite.
The huge sand spit is carefully guarded as there are many private hotels. But there is also a free zone where tourists are camping. Along the beach there is a highway and both free and paid parking lots.
The beach is equipped with showers and sun loungers, water transport rentals, volleyball courts, massage centers, food courts, etc.
Address: Kavatzite-piasachni diuni, Pirin Street, Bansko, Bulgaria.
Chapel of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker
The Chapel of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker.
The small and neat church was built near the port, so it offers a beautiful view of the water area. Local fishermen and sailors are known to consider St. Nicholas their patron saint, so they initiated the construction of a chapel in his honor.
The room is attached to the archaeological museum. Nearby there are benches for parishioners and tourists, a fountain with drinking water. Immediately above the entrance hangs an icon, over which the famous artist Ivan Bahchevanov worked.
Address: Kostel St. Nikolai Chudotvorets, Sozopol, Bulgaria.
Sights of Sozopol
Ravadinovo Castle Ropotamo Reserve St. Ivan’s Island Harmani Beach Golden Fish Beach Smokinite Beach Dunes Resort Sozopol Amphitheatre Camping Kavatsite Central Sozopol Beach Chapel St. Nicholas the Wonderworker
This site contains Sozopol attractions – photos, descriptions and travel tips. The list is based on popular guidebooks and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you can find answers for what to see in Sozopol, where to go, and where to stay in Sozopol.
Ravadinovo is a small Bulgarian village situated near the Black Sea coast. It became world famous after Georgi Tumpalov, a former sportsman and policeman, started building his own medieval castle here.
Tumpalov – the owner, architect and builder in one person, so the work is still not finished, although tourists are already allowed here (the entrance costs about 3 euros). Most of all the castle resembles works of Gaudi, diluted with Byzantine inclusions. The building is surrounded by a lush park with amazing pavilions and a pond with swans. The building has plans to open a high quality tourist complex.
Ropotamo is situated 50 km from Bourgas and 20 km from Sozopol. Ropotamo was given the status of a protected zone in 1940, and any visitor could enter its territory.
In 1962 Ropotamo was declared a cultural park, and it became one of the favorite tourist places. However, due to the influx of visitors, the ecological balance of Ropotamo was disturbed, so in 1992 the park became a strictly protected area.
The reserve is home to 250 species of rare birds (71 species were included in the Red Book)
and grows a hundred plant species, which were gradually included in the Red Book of the country.
In Ropotamo you can relax, walk through the park and take a ride on a pleasure boat, which is called “boat for a walk”. The cost of an hour walk will be approximately one euro. Tourists are offered a choice of boats: smaller and larger. The boats do not have a schedule – they leave after they are full. While waiting for the “boat to go”, you can go to a cafe near the pier.
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St. Ivan Island
Saint Ivan Island is the biggest Black Sea island in Bulgaria. Its area is 66 hectares, and its highest point is 33 meters above sea level. The island is located one kilometer away from Sozopol.
The island is a natural and archaeological reserve, protected by the state.
There is a lighthouse on the island, which directs the ships to the Burgas Bay.
The island was a sacred place for the ancient Thracians, who built their sanctuary there in the 6th century BC. A large monastery was built there during the early Middle Ages and in 1308 it was granted royal status. In the middle of the 15th century the monastery was destroyed, and only a few years later it was rebuilt. In 1629 the Ottomans destroyed it again to prevent it from becoming a shelter for the pirates of the Black Sea.
St. Ivan Island is an object of constant archaeological research. In 2010, the relics of St. John the Baptist were found here, which are now on display for worship in the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius in Sozopol.
There are no organized tourist visits to the island. But it is accessible for tourists. You can get to it by a boat from Sozopol port.
The island is also home to many birds. More than 70 bird species have been registered on St. Ivan Island and the nearby island of St. Peter. There is also the largest colony of herring gull (Larus argentatus) in Bulgaria.
In the photo mode you can see the sights in Sozopol by photos only.
Harmani Beach is located in the New Town of Sozopol. Compared to the Central Beach, it is longer and wider, so there is much more space available. There are numerous cafes, bars and restaurants near the beach. Entrance to the beach is free, and rent umbrellas and sun loungers is $2.
The beach is safe, as there is its own rescue service. However, you should not forget about caution and be careful, because passing near the shore undercurrents can be dangerous even for good swimmers. When the sea is rough, the security guards warn holidaymakers not to swim. You can sunbathe topless on the beach, but nudism is prohibited.
Golden Fish Beach
The beach is 3 km away from Sozopol, in the direction of Bourgas. It is actually part of the camping camp of the same name. Most of the vacationers here are surfers.
The beach “Golden Fish” is long and wide, besides it is a lot quieter than some neighboring beaches. Entrance to the beach is paid – 25 cents a day. It will cost more to enter by car, as will an umbrella rental.
On this beach topless sunbathing is allowed, but nudism is prohibited (although sometimes, despite the ban, in remote corners of the beach you can see offenders without bathing suits). In the surfing school, which is located next to the beach, you can rent equipment and try to learn how to glide on the waves on a board. And a little further away there are several restaurants where you can eat.
Smokinite is another campsite which is situated 5 km south of Sozopol.
If you want to get into a youthful atmosphere during your vacation, then go here. As a rule, this beach is frequented by romantics, young people, and sometimes nudists. The coast here is studded with fine golden sand, the water – clear, clean and warm. There is a drawback – sometimes there are strong undercurrents and waves. Smokinite is also great for families going on vacation by car.
The beach is not guarded, so be careful and then nothing will spoil your vacation.
The beach of Dyuni resort is 4.5 km long and over 100 m wide. Like many other beaches in Bulgaria, the sand here is fine and golden, with small dunes. The sea in the area is calm, the bottom is flat and the sea depth increases gradually and smoothly, so it is safe to swim here.
You can go exploring around the village, hiding completely “wild” corners and quiet small bays, hidden between the cliffs. Fans of windsurfing and other sea sports prefer to relax here. In addition to extreme entertainment, there are several tennis courts and swimming pools.
The Sozopol Amphitheater is the center of the cultural life of the town. It was built in the II century and it was found only in 1972 after the landslide of 1972.
It has been fully restored, and in spite of the fact that the building is many times inferior in its grandeur to its analogues in other cities, here you can still feel the spirit of the ancient and sublime. And the amphitheater itself, as in ancient times, serves the people, turning in summer into a playground. Theater performances, literary readings, songs and dances, art and photo exhibitions, and many other cultural events are held here.
When there is no party going on, the amphitheater welcomes many tourists who take a leisurely stroll and are enthralled by what they see.
Camping Kavatsite is situated not far from Sozopol. Tourists usually stay here in tents and trailers, but for the fussy ones there are bungalows with showers and even apartments.
The Kavatsite camping area is large enough to accommodate 20 tents and 50 trailers. The parking area and the beach are separated by only 50 meters. Tourists choose Kavatsite for its remoteness from noisy resorts and seclusion. Here you can fully relax and be alone with nature. The beach is 3 km long.
The picturesque sand dunes of Kavatsite captivate many tourists. As a rule, lovers of romance and lovers of a quiet and relaxing holiday try to come here. As they say, tired of the bustle of the city? Then you are right here!
Central Beach in Sozopol
Central beach is a nice, free, sandy beach, a corner of solitude and peace almost in the center of resort civilization. Water here is clean, the sea is partially protected from waves of the peninsula of the Old Town. The beach is quite narrow, because come for their portion of “relaxation” is better in the early morning. An excellent place for recreation with the whole family, here you can also sunbathe topless. However, the attitude towards the nudists on the beach is rather negative. Those who really want to, it’s better to visit the beach in May or October, when the water is already warm, but many tourists still do not think so.
As for entertainment, there is a full range – from jet ski rentals, fun on the banana and beach volleyball to sweets, dancing and drinks. Beach vendors are very nice and haggle friendly.
Coordinates : 42.41439600,27.69955500
Saint Nicholas Wonderworker Chapel
The Chapel of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker is built very close to the port with a beautiful view of the sea. Local sailors and fishermen consider St. Nicholas their patron saint, and it was at their request that this chapel was built. The chapel of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker is attached to the archaeological museum. There are benches and a drinking water fountain near the entrance. Above the entrance there is an icon painted by the artist Ivan Bakhchevanov.
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