Sozopol is a small town located on a scenic bay along the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, 35km south of the port city of Burgas. It has over 7,000 years of history and it is one of the oldest town along the Black Sea in Bulgaria.
Today, Sozopol is one of the most popular seaside town in Bulgaria. The preserved ancient town has a romantic atmosphere and many things to see. During a day trip to Sozopol, you can see the cobblestone streets of Sozopol Old Town, traditional Bulgarian architecture, fortified fortress walls and gorgeous beaches.
And you don’t have to stay in Sozopol to see what the town has to offer. The best way to see Sozopol is by taking the Burgas to Sozopol bus from Burgas, which is an excellent city as a homebase for visiting other towns along the Black Sea Coast.
Keep reading and find out all the best things to do in Sozopol and how you can see everything in one day.
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What you need to know before going to Sozopol Bulgaria
Before you hop on the bus from Burgas to Sozopol, take a look at some of these useful travel tips for your Sozopol day trip:
- You can visit Sozopol throughout the year. But similar to other Bulgarian towns along the Black Sea Coast, most restaurants, shops and local bed and breakfasts are only open during summer. So plan your trip to Sozopol between June and September.
- I recommend starting your Sozopol day trip early. Try to arrive in Sozopol by 9am so you can comfortably follow my 1-day itinerary.
- Things to bring for your Sozopol day trip: cash, water, mobile phone (with data), beach towel, sunscreen
- Plan your visit to Sozopol with the following festival and event:
- Apollonia Art Festival (end of August – early September) – artists come together for the annual event which includes exhibitions, theatre shows, musical performances and more.
Burgas to Sozopol: how to get there
The best way to travel from Burgas to Sozopol is by taking 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.
Burgas to Sozopol bus
- Burgas Bus: from Burgas Station South Terminal bus stop #5 to Sozopol Bus Stop
- Time: 40 minutes (1 bus per hour starting 6am to 8pm between Monday to Friday and less frequent for weekends and public holidays)
- Cost: 5 lev (pay on bus)
- Check: Burgas Bus website for bus schedules
Sozopol Attractions Map
Below are all the best attractions of Sozopol, Bulgaria. Red pins are all the must-see attractions and are part of the one-day itinerary, while the blue pins are other things to do in Sozopol if you have more time.
And I organized all these attractions into an efficient itinerary. All you have to do is follow the numbered pins and read the description for each attraction.
Best things to do in Sozopol in one day
1. Explore the main square of Old Town Sozopol
The Burgas bus stops in front of the main square of Sozopol. From there, you can explore the narrow medieval cobblestone streets and see preserved narrow houses made of stone and wood that are synonymous with old Bulgarian architecture.
There are more than 180 residents constructed from the 18th to 19th century. These Revival houses of Old Town Sozopol have two or three floors, exterior wood panelling, stone ground floors and charming courtyards.
You can also find small hotels, galleries, shops, restaurants and an open-air theatre around the main square.
2-8. See churches and monasteries in Old Town Sozopol
When I was researching what to see in Sozopol, I discovered that there are more than 20 Orthodox churches and 5 monasteries in the ancient town. Wow! That is a lot for such a small area.
But you don’t have to see all of them to get a feel of the history of Sozopol. Here are a few to check out:
- St. Zosim Church – an Eastern Orthodox Church built in 1857, was named after St Zosim Sozopolski, considered the patron saint of Sozopol. See the embossed image of the patron saint above the door.
- Saint Nicholas Chapel – a small Orthodox Church near the harbour.
- St Cyril and Methodius Church – built in 1889, the church has colourful frescoed ceilings and Bulgarian icon paintings by Ivan Dimitrov. Also, see the holy Saint John the Baptist relics on Saint Ivan (Saint John’s) Island.
- Medieval Church – built over the ruins of residential buildings from the 2nd century BC. However, the church was destroyed by fire in the 19th century.
- Church of St George The Victory-Bearer – a Bulgarian Revival church in the center of Old Town that houses valuable religious icons.
- The Holy Virgin Church – a late medieval Bulgarian Church built during the Ottoman era where the wooden church was built half-buried in the ground. See the Jesus Christ and Holy Virgin icons.
9-10. Visit Sozopol Archaeological Museum and Ethnographic Museum
There are two museums in Sozopol Old Town.
Sozopol Archeological Museum (8am-5pm June to October; 8am-12pm November to May; closed Mondays and Sundays and winter; 7 lev) has many artifacts from 6th century BC to 17th century AD. See ancient ceramics, vases, terracotta statues, medieval amphorae, and Christian art.
But what most visitors are excited to see is the famous Sozopol vampire. The city discovered two 700-year-old skeletons with iron stakes through their chest in 2012, and is now displayed in this museum.
Ethnographic Museum (9am-6pm; 7 lev) is a small museum in a restored Bulgarian wooden house. It is dedicated to all things Bulgarian and life along the Black Sea Coast. See traditional local crafts, including things related to agriculture, fisheries, winemaking, weaving and much more.
11. Walk towards the Southern Fortress Wall and Tower
Sozopol was called Apollonia when the first settlement arrived on the Bulgarian coast in the 4th century BC. As the settlement grew, fortresses were built to protect the peninsula.
The fortress walls were fortified with new protective walls later on. And what you see today are the new fortress walls.
There are several ways to get to the Southern Fortress Wall and Tower. I followed a small stairway in the Old Town, and a few minutes later, I was greeted with a magnificent view of the southern coast.
12. Walk along the Fortress Walls of Sozopol
The Fortress Walls of Sozopol line mostly along the peninsula’s southern coast. These are new fortified walls (they look pretty new), and you walk along the entire length.
Along the way, see the Ancient Gate of Sozopol, which is now a reconstructed gate. There are two towers (bastions), a granary, and an ancient well.
Descend a flight of stairs so you can reach the base of the fortress wall. Here you can admire the fortified wall from sea level.
Continue walking along the coast until you reach the next attraction.
13-14. Medieval Monastery St Apostles at Cape Skamni
At the northeastern tip of the Old Town Sozopol Peninsula is Cape Skamni. And at this cape, ancient ruins are part of the Medieval Monastery St Apostles. When you walk past the parking lot, you can see the outline of the church.
Cape Skamni is also an important archeological site. During several excavations between 2011 and 2015, ancient figurines and ceramics were found. It is said that these belonged to the Sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone from the 6th century BC.
Other remnants of ancient fortresses and chapels were also found at Cape Skamni. However, not much is left today at the cape. But you can still wander the rocky coast and see what’s left.
15. See the remaining parts of the Northern Fortress Wall
At the north end of the Balkan Peninsula, there are fragments of a fortress wall with an archway. This was part of the fortification where the North Tower once stood. Archeological studies showed that the wall was built at the end of the 6th century.
Also, there was a small necropolis from the 14th century in the area. And many ceramic kilns and pottery from the 6th century BC were found here as well.
However, not much is left today except for the fragmented wall. Feel free to explore beyond the archway; the rocky coastline is stunning.
16-17. Relax on Sozopol Central Beach or Harmonite Beach
After all the site seeing in Old Town Sozopol, find a spot on Sozopol Central Beach and enjoy some fun in the sun.
The golden sand beach is free to access. Plus, there are loungers and umbrellas you can use. I assume you have to rent them because I’ve had to do that at other Black Sea beaches. But when I arrived at Sozopol Beach late afternoon and grabbed one of the loungers, nobody came to ask for money.
Or check out Harmanite Beach, which is a 10-minute walk from the edge of Sozopol Central Beach. It is not as busy because it is further away from the Old Town. Or because it is a nudist beach at the southern end?
18. Wait for the next bus to Burgas at Sozopol bus stop
When you are ready to return to Burgas, walk to the Sozopol bus stop and wait for the next bus going back to Burgas. Below is the bus stop sign with a timetable.
The Sozopol bus returning to Burgas runs between 6am-9pm Monday to Friday and less frequently between 7am-9m on weekends and public holidays. Double-check the schedule online so you don’t miss the bus. Pay cash on bus.
Other things to do near Sozopol
There are other things to do in Sozopol besides the attractions mentioned in the itinerary. If you stay overnight in Sozopol or return to Sozopol another day, here are a few more things to see (see blue pins on the map):
- Cruise around Sozopol coast – take a 1-hour boat trip around the coast of Sozopol and see the Balkan Peninsula from a different perspective.
- Kavatsite Beach – a quieter and less-touristy beach south of Harmanite Beach. It is rated 6th out of 84 beaches in Burgas region. Lots of beach bars and restaurants.
- Castle of Ravadinovo (8am-5pm; 25 lev) – spend the day discovering a zoo, chapel, winery and all the dreamy things at the “Castle in Love with the Wind.” But you’ll need a car to get there.
Sozopol food guide: where to eat
Bulgarian Black Sea Coast cuisine consists of mainly seafood, including Black Sea mussels, grilled and fried fish (sea bass, jack mackerel, goby), calamari, shrimp, whelk and more. But you also can find some typical Bulgarian food as well.
Most restaurants in Sozopol line the coast, which means wherever you dine, you will always get a gorgeous view of the sea. Try one of these places in Sozopol:
- Tangra – try traditional Black Sea cuisine on the north side of the Sozopol peninsula
- Restaurant Neptune – get a table by the water and try a variety of local seafood
- Del Muro – one of the restaurants on the southeast side of the peninsula overlooking Sozopol Central Beach
- Art Hotel Sozopol – can see Sozopol Central Beach at the lovely cafe at a local hotel
- Mehana Sozopol – excellent traditional cuisine with live music at night
- Workshop of the Merry Pancakes – its sweet and savoury pancake is affordable and delicious
- Boutique Wine Shop – try the local fig wine
- Homemade green fig jam – Sozopol is famous for its green fig jam because the whole town is covered in fig trees. Buy a jar from a small stand in Old Town Sozopol (I pinned the approximate location on the map).
Are you ready to take a day trip to Sozopol from Burgas?
If you visit the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, include Sozopol on your itinerary.
Personally, I don’t think you need to stay overnight in Sozopol, and you can stay in a bigger city like Burgas and use it as your home base to visit other towns in the area. Burgas has many buses connecting to different towns along the coast, like Nessebar, Sunny Beach, Pomorie and more.
Let me know in the comments if you want to travel solo to Sozopol or have suggestions to improve this itinerary.
Thank you for reading my Sozopol itinerary 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 Travel Guide: Things to do + Getting there + Day trips
- Day trip to Nessebar and Sunny Beach in Bulgaria
- Varna Travel Guide: 9 Things to do