Burgas is the fourth largest city in Bulgaria and is the gateway to the Black Sea. There are a few interesting things to do in Burgas, but the most enticing reason for visiting Burgas was it’s the proximity to the saltwater sea and the accessibility to other towns and beaches along the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast.
I didn’t know much about Burgas until I started researching places I want to see in Eastern Bulgaria. Several places popped up including Burgas, Sozopol, and Nessebar. And I wanted to stay in one spot and do several day trips along the coast. And Burgas was the perfect solution.
If you are travelling solo to the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, then keep reading. I put together this post to show you how to get to Burgas, where to stay, and of course, all the best things to do in Burgas. Plus, I included day trip ideas so you can fully enjoy the Bulgarian coast.
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What you need to know before going to Burgas Bulgaria
Before you travel to Burgas, take a look at some of these useful travel tips:
- You can visit Burgas throughout the year. Most attractions are opened throughout the year but local events and other activities are scheduled throughout the summer.
- Summer is warm and dry while winter can be very cold and snowy.
- It is possible to see all the attractions in Burgas in two days. But stay a few more days as Burgas is an excellent home base for seeing other towns along the Black Sea Coast.
- Burgas is a safe city for solo female travellers. I was there for five days and didn’t have any issues day or night.
- Plan your visit to Burgas with the following festivals and events:
- Burgas Sand Sculpture Festival (July to September) – an annual event at Burgas Park Ezeroto (the lake).
- Spice Music Festival (August) – 2-day music festival with the best hits of the 90’s
How to get to Burgas Bulgaria
Burgas Airport is 10km northeast of the city centre. Many flights from within Europe fly directly to Burgas. Popular routes include London, Glasgow, Dublin, Krakow, Bratislava and many more.
There is a bus from the airport to Burgas Station South, and it arrives at bus stop #1.
Many long-distance buses travel from Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and other destinations within Bulgaria. Several major bus companies include Union Ivkoni.
Tip: Burgas has two bus stations: Burgas Station West and Burgas Station South. When you search for bus tickets, double-check which bus station you are arriving at.
Taking the Bulgarian State Railways is another way to travel to Burgas from Sofia, Plovdiv and other places in Bulgaria.
The cost and schedule are similar to the long-distance buses. You can purchase tickets online or at the train station the day before your travels. And you can choose first class or second class seats.
How to get around Burgas
The best way to see Burgas is by walking. You can get to all the Burgas attractions on foot.
For other attractions outside the city centre, take the suburban bus. Many buses go to Sozopol, Nessebar, Pomorie and other places along the Black Sea Coast.
Check the Burgas Bus website which has information on the city lines and suburban bus lines. And I also included the instructions on how to get to each destination outside Burgas below.
Burgas: things to do in the city centre
1. Sunbathe at Burgas Beach and swim in the Black Sea
Visiting Burgas Beach and swimming in the Black Sea has to be the top of your to-do list when it comes to site seeing in Burgas. And luckily, the entire eastern coast is lined with a golden sand beach and is accessible to the saltwater sea.
The beach is almost 3km long and stretches from the marine station to the south and to the start of Lake Atanasovsko. It’s a nice beach with many loungers, umbrellas, beachfront cafes and restaurants. Perfect for swimming and suntanning and it is walkable from the center of the city.
Also walk across the 300m-long walkway to The Burgas Pier and look back and enjoy the panoramic view of Burgas Beach. It’s quite stunning!
2. Wander around the Sea Garden
Next to Burgas Beach is the a wonderful maritime park called the Sea Garden. The park covers about 72,000sqm of land between Burgas Beach and the city centre and has a series of promenades which can take you to different corners in the park.
There are lots to see within the park including the Burgas Equestrian Centre, Luna Park and open-air theatre. Also see the well-maintained gardens, fountains, and unique statues scattered throughout the park. Plus, there are numerous cafes that are ideal for a quick beverage and snack.
And if you visit during the summer months, check out the Sand Sculpture Festival. The theme of the festival changes every year and admission is very affordable.
3. Wander around Burgas Old Town
The city center, or Burgas Old Town, is located on the city’s southeast side. The pedestrian-only area has two main streets: Aleksandrovska (from Burgas Station South Terminal to Alyosha Monument) and Aleko Bogoridi (from the middle of Aleksandrovska and goes all the way the Sea Garden).
Between the two main boulevards and all the small streets in between, there are many historical buildings, fountains, outdoor cafes and restaurants, shops, and museums.
The pedestrian-only area is a lively place. And it is the best area to stay in Burgas, especially if you want to be within walking distance of Burgas Beach, the Sea Garden, and Burgas Station South Terminal for day trips to other towns along the Black Sea Coast.
4. See socialist sculptures and architecture around Burgas
After the USSR declared war on Bulgaria in 1944, a new political system was set up, and many civil liberties were terminated. And the Bulgarian Communist Party ruled the country for 45 years.
Today, you can still see the remnants of communism in the city of Burgas in the form of socialist monuments and brutalist architecture (design of utilitarian influenced by socialist principle).
Look for these monuments and buildings in Burgas if you are interested in socialist architecture and sculptures:
- Alyosha Monument – an 11m tall reinforced concrete statue of a Soviet soldier dedicated to WWII.
- Regional Court – the courthouse building is an excellent example of brutalist architecture.
- Pantheon to the Heros in the Antifascist Struggle – a large brutalist concrete sculpture in the Sea Garden dedicated to those who perished in the struggle against fascism in the Burgas region.
- Cyril and Methodius Monument – a small sculpture of the brother saints who translated the Bible into the Slavic alphabet, making it accessible to the masses.
5. Visit one of several museums in Burgas
There are four museums in Burgas that are part of the Regional Historical Museum, which is the largest in southeast Bulgaria. Pay 6 lev for each one separately or pay a combo price for multiple museums, which is cheaper i.e. two museums for 9 lev, three museums for 12 lev, etc.
- Ethnographic Museum (10am-7:30pm) – learn about Bulgarian folk culture inside a 19th-century residential home. There are two floors of displays, including traditional costumes from every ethnographic group in the Burgas region, different textiles and everyday items.
- Archaeology Museum (10am-7:30pm) – housed inside a 19th-century former schoolhouse, see artifacts from prehistoric times, Antiquity and Middle Ages. Make sure to check out the tomb of a Thracian princess.
- Natural History Museum (10am-7:30pm) – learn about the biodiversity in the Burgas region.
- History Museum (10am-7:30pm) – if you want to learn more about Burgus, this is the place.
6. See the churches of Burgas
Like many old European cities, there are a lot of churches in Burgas. Rightfully so; the city has over 3,000 years of history!
When it comes to visiting some of the best churches in Burgas, there are two that you should check out:
- Saints Cyril and Methodius Cathedral – it is the biggest Orthodox church in Burgas and is considered the symbol of the city. It is named after the brother saints who translated the Bible into the Slavic alphabet. See the stunning stained-glass windows, beautiful marble columns and spacious dome.
- Surp Hach Armenian Church – built in 1853 by the Armenian community in Burgas, the church is hidden behind Hotel Bulgaria. It is an Armenian Orthodox church in a typical Armenian architectural style. It is one of the oldest churches in Bulgaria and is designated as a cultural heritage monument.
7. Try Bulgarian Black Sea Coast cuisine
Bulgarian Black Sea Coast cuisine consists mainly of seafood such as Black Sea mussels, grilled and fried fish, calamari, and other seafood from the Black Sea.
And in Burgas, many restaurants serve fresh seafood and traditional Bulgarian food similar to what you might find in Sofia. Classic Bulgarian dishes like shopska salad and tarator are always on the menu.
I tried all of these places while I was in Burgas and I love them all.
- Golden Anchor – a lovely Bulgarian restaurant at the east end of Aleko Bogoridi, next to the Sea Garden.
- 8 Mama’s – a small restaurant inside a house. One of the best restaurants in Burgas serving homemade traditional Bulgarian food – I went twice!
- Walnut Tree Bistro – popular alfresco restaurant on Aleko Bogoridi.
- The Brewery – excellent Veritas beer, the first craft beer in Burgas. Been brewing since 2015.
- Papa beer – drink craft beer at this casual beer hall or sit outside on the curb.
- Cardamon Soul Food & Drinks – they have a strong cocktail game!
Other things to see in Burgas: day trips from Burgas
8. Take a dip in the pink salty water at Lake Atanasovsko
Lake Atanasovsko is a pink lake north of the city center. The picturesque lake got the pink hue from the highly concentrated saline water.
The north park of the lagoon is a conservation area where you can see diverse flora and fauna and an is an excellent for bird-watching. I read somewhere that 316 out of 423 bird species in Bulgaria are found here.
And the south part is used for salt production. This is where you can find Burgas Saltworks (8am-8pm; 2 lev). You can take a dip in the pink salty lake, slather the mud on your skin and enjoy the healing properties.
How to get to Lake Atanasovsko: the easiest way is to walk north from Burgas Beach. The walk is 3km along the coast.
9. Take a day trip to Sozopol
Sozopol is a small costal town located on a scenic bay along the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, 35km south of Burgas. The town has over 7,000 years of history and is one of the oldest town along the coast.
A day trip to Sozopol includes wandering around the cobblestone streets of Sozopol Old Town, seeing traditional Bulgarian architecture and fortified fortress walls and some fun in the sun at Sozopol Central Beach or Harmonite Beach.
Also, have seafood lunch at one of the restaurants lining the coast and buy a bottle of homemade fig jam before returning to Burgas.
How to get to Sozopol: take the Burgas Bus at Burgas Station South Terminal. Look for bus stop #5 at the back of the terminal and wait for the next bus to Sozopol. The bus ride costs 5 lev.
10. Spend a day in Nessebar and Sunny Beach
Nessebar is a seaside city 35km north of Burgas on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. The ancient town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its abundance of historic churches and buildings, a complex fortress wall, and original 19th-century Bulgarian Revival wooden houses.
Some highlights in Nessebar includes decorative motifs, preserved fresco paintings and mosaics in restored churches from the 13th to 17th century, remaining parts of early Byzantine Baths and most of all, the Church of Saint Sophia which is in the center of Old Town Nessebar.
It is possible to see Nessebar in one day and visit Sunny Beach, a popular Bulgarian seaside resort town, at the end of the day.
How to get to Nessebar: take the M-Bus or DS Bus at Burgas Station South Terminal. Look for bus stop #3 at the back of the terminal and wait for the next bus to Nessebar. Alight at the Old Town Nessebar bus stop. At the end of the day, take the M-Bus or DS Bus from Sunny Beach bus station back to Burgas. A single ride costs 8 lev.
11. Take a day trip to Pomorie
If you can’t get enough of the Black Sea Coast, take another day trip to Pomorie, a small seaside town 20km northeast of Burgas.
The town is known for the Thracian tomb, one of the best archaeological monuments from the Roman Empire. Plus, there are two main beaches at the end of the peninsula. East Beach is smaller and faces south, while Central Beach is much bigger and faces north.
And if you want see other things in Pomorie, check out the Salt Museum, Historical Museum of Pomorie, old churches and traditional houses built in Bulgarian Revival architecture.
How to get to Pomorie: take the Burgas Bus or Concord-7 Bus at Burgas Station South Terminal. Look for bus stop #4 at the back of the terminal and wait for the next bus to Pomorie. The bus ride costs 5 lev. Alight at Pomorie Bus Station in New Town for Thracian Tumulus. Otherwise, stay on and alight at the last stop in Old Town Pomorie.
12. Boat trip to St. Anastasia Island
Take a short boat ride to St. Anastasia Island and explore Bulgaria’s only inhabited island in the Black Sea, and is only 1.5km from the coast.
The island was once raided by pirates, and the main building was used as a prison. But today, St. Anatasia Island is a quiet and charming island. Spend the afternoon exploring the medieval monastery, museum, lighthouse, and hilltop garden and admiring the wonderful Black Sea and Burgas view.
How to get to Anastasia Island: join an organized tour to St. Anastasia Island and take the 40-minute boat ride from Marine Station.
Where to stay in Burgas as a solo traveller
If you are travelling solo to Burgas for a few days, stay in a hotel or Airbnb in Burgas Old Town so you can walk around to most places and be within walking distance to Burgas Station South Terminal for day trips.
Here are some suggestions on where to stay in Burgas:
- LaDolceVita Airbnb Apartment ($$) – I stayed five days at this lovely apartment on Aleksandrovska and would highly recommend it. The living area is nice, the kitchen is well-equipped, and it is within walking distance of everything. Check Airbnb for rates and reviews.
- Marina Burgas Hotel ($$) – if I didn’t stay at the Airbnb apartment, I would stay at this 3-star modern hotel. I read many good reviews, and it is conveniently located next to Burgas Beach. Check Agoda for rates and reviews.
Are you ready to take a solo trip to Burgas, Bulgaria?
At first, I wasn’t sure about Burgas because the city didn’t seem to have that many big attractions.
But after spending five days in Burgas and visiting other places around the Black Sea Coast, I can honestly say that Burgas is worth visiting even if you are travelling alone. It is an awesome home base city where you can see other towns around the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast.
I hope you will include Burgas in your Bulgaria itinerary. Let me know in the comments what you’re most excited to see in Burgas.
Thank you for reading my Burgas solo travel post
You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Bulgaria:
- Bulgaria Itinerary: 5 and 10 days in Bulgaria
- Sofia Solo Travel: 20 best things to do in Sofia
- Where and what to eat in Sofia: 21 must-try food
- Burgas to Sozopol day trip: 1-day itinerary
- Day trip to Nessebar and Sunny Beach in Bulgaria
- Varna Travel Guide: 9 Things to do