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Forget Sunny Beach. Skip Nessebar.
This Sozopol guide will help you discover the most beautiful beach on the Bulgarian coast.
Built on a rocky coastline in a quiet cove, the crescent moon of the city stretches out on two small peninsulas. Here you’ll find quaint shops, romantic restaurants, infinity pools and even boutique wineries.
Are you ready to plan a getaway to this hidden gem on the Bulgarian coast? If so, escape Sofia and hit the beach with my complete Sozopol Guide!
How to Get to Sozopol
Start your journey to Sozopol at the Sofia Central Bus Station. From here the buses to Burgas, the nearest big city to Sozopol, run ten times a day. We went with with the company Union – Ivkani and you can see the bus schedule here.
One-way tickets cost 27 lev / 16 usd and the trip takes 5.5 hours. Then, once you arrive in Burgas you’ll have to change buses at the Burgas Station to get to Sozopol.
The buses from Burgas to Sozopol leave every hour on the half hour, and cost another 4.5 lev / 3.50 usd each. The Burgas bus station is small and they leave from Gate #5. You can simply buy your ticket directly from the bus driver when you board. This final leg of the journey takes 45 minutes and will drop you off directly in the old town of Sozopol (by the way, sit on the right side of the bus for the best coastal views on the way).
To get back to Sofia, simply go the way you came. Busses leave Sozopol every hour on the hour from the stop near the entrance to the Old Town. However, the buses back to Sofia from Burgas don’t run quite as often as they did the other way, so my tip is to take a picture of the Union-Ivkani schedule when you’re at the Burgas bus station on the way out. Then you can plan accordingly and make sure you’re not waiting for hours for your bus like we were!
When to Visit Sozopol
The best months to visit Sozopol are June, July, and August.
We went for Memorial Day Weekend (the last weekend of May for you non-Americans out there) and it was definitely not the start of high season yet. A lot of restaurants and bars were getting ready to open for the season, putting out chairs, painting, fixing awnings, etc. but weren’t quite there yet.
The last weekend in May was fine for us because we were just looking to chill, but if you want a really lively town packed full of tourists then make sure you go in the high season when everything is open and the hotels fill up.
What to do in Sozopol
Daniel and I went to Sozopol for one thing and one thing only: relaxation. There’s something really great about a beach vacation in a small town, because there’s not much to do and no pressure to see and experience everything. However, there’s still more than enough going on to fill a long weekend here and this Sozopol guide has everything you need to know!
Lay on the Beach
In my opinion, this is the number one thing to do in the Sozopol guide. There are two beaches, and I prefer the Central Beach. The view is a little nicer, it’s closer to the Old Town, and it’s lined with cafes and a shop to grab beers or snacks. You can also rent beach chairs for 10 lev / 6 usd each which is a huge plus.
Seriously, the place is gorgeous. Snap a few on the Central Beach, walk along the outer walls of the Old Town, or take pictures of the winding cobblestone streets and rose bushes blooming everywhere.
Go Cliff Jumping
The water was still cold when we went to Sozopol, so Daniel and I unfortunately gave this one a pass. There’s not a lot of info about where to go cliff jumping in Sozopol online but you can try to piece together the location from the YouTube videos or just stick to the old reliable: asking a local.
Go Scuba Diving
Although the Black Sea doesn’t have the best visibility or diving reputation, it’s always worth exploring the underwater side of a destination. The Sozopol Diving Center in town has good reviews, and there are two other shops in the small city to check out as well.
Visit a Pool
If you’re not staying in a hotel that has one, you can still cool off at the pool at Hedon Beach Bar. It’s right on the water and also has drinks, shisha, great views, and live music… what more could you ask for?
See the Antique Houses
This small section of the Old Town is protected and the homes are called “antique houses.” My favorite one is called Zagarov’s House, located on Apolonia Street. If you pass by make sure you take a peek at the shop inside. The high ceilings, unique building, and beautiful art pieces all make it worth browsing for a few minutes at least.
Explore the Archeological Museum
People are believed to have settled around Sozopol over 4,000 years ago, so there is a lot of history in this small town on the sea. The Archeological Museum is small but may be worth a visit for anyone interested in Bulgarian, Greek, or Roman history.
Take a Boat Tour
If you want to see more of the Bulgarian Coast you can choose from plenty of different options with Trophy Yacht Tours. Visit islands, take a sunset cruise, get BBQ on a deserted beach, and more.
The Best Restaurants in Sozopol
Food is one of the best things about travel and Daniel and I discovered some great meals on this Bulgarian beach. Use the Sozopol guide to discover the best eats in town!
Sometimes you just want to grab something quick to eat. If that’s the case, one of the best easy, budget meals we had was the Rock Duner Kebabs in the New Town. The small stand has giant kebabs for only 4 lev / 2.50 usd.
Another budget meal option in Sozopol is crepes and there are stands dotted throughout the town on both peninsulas. Hit up Sweet Drama Crepes in the New Town for savory or sweet ones for only 3 to 5 levs, or grab one from the shops in the central square.
My favorite place to eat in this Sozopol guide is Del Muro. The restaurant was packed full of people talking, laughing, drinking, and most of all, enjoying the amazing view over the water. Actually, Daniel and I liked it so much we ate there twice! Some things were hit or miss during our meals but I definitely recommend the mussels, ribs, and bruchetta… yum. A meal here with a glass of wine will cost about $10 to $15 per person.
Another great meal we had was just up the coast from Del Muro. The Urania Bistro has another amazing view, good food, and friendly service. Two drinks, two meals, and a dessert cost about $30.
A third place to check out on your trip is the Blue Bay Hotel and Restaurant because it’s one of the best places to watch the sunset over the Sozopol Marina. It’s nice, clean, modern, and cozy, perfect to grab dinner or drinks on the water.
The Best Bars in Sozopol
The Boutique Wine Shop is the cutest little place on a flowered street in the Old Town. Stop by to grab a bottle to share outside and people watch as you do.
If you want to party until 6 am, Elvis Bar is the place to do it. Right on the beach this bar has shisha, beer, cocktails, and crowds ready to stay until the sun comes up.
Hit the beach and then cool off in the pool at Hedon Beach Bar. Stretching across the beach in the New Town, you can enjoy drinks with beautiful views right on the sand.
Want to really feel the beach vibe? Just grab a chair or lay down a towel on the Central Beach and walk up the stairs to the shop at the top. Here you can choose from a big selection of beer, wine, and alcohol for corner store prices. Buy some ice, bring it down to the beach, and enjoy a few drinks on the water.
Where to Stay in Sozopol
Sozopol is packed full of accommodation for every budget. Cheap hostels, luxury rooms, and everything in between is on offer in this beach town. If you want to stay in the best part of the city, look for accommodation in the Old Town on the left peninsula.
For budget accommodation, Daniel and I used the Guest House Diamant. The rooms were clean and spacious, private, and had large balconies with ocean views. Although it was located in the New Town it was less than 10 minutes walking from the beach, and for only 24 lev / 14 usd per night for a private room, it’s one of the best deals in this Sozopol guide.
The Complete Sozopol Guide
Sozopol is definitely the hidden gem of Bulgaria’s coast, and a must visit for anyone that travels in the country.
Use this complete Sozopol guide to find the best accommodation, restaurants, bars, and things to do in town, and then sit back, relax, and enjoy your stay on the beach.
Ready to go? Click here book your stay in Sozopol!
PS looking for more to do in Bulgaria? Check out my top three weekend trips from Sofia, learn how I spent 24 hours in Plovdiv, explore the medieval town of Veliko Tarnovo or learn how to go hiking a the popular Rila Lakes.