The oldest Bulgarian coastal town (population 4 987 citizens) is located 34 km south of Bourgas on a slender rocky peninsula. This charming place is a popular tourist resort best known for its casual ambiance, sandy beaches, and distinctive nineteenth-century stone and wood houses. With a relaxed and artistic feel, and boasting two long, wide beaches, Sozopol is touristy, but not tacky.
Sozopol divides into two areas: Old Town on the peninsula, and modern town, Harmanite district on the mainland. There are two beaches: one nestling within the curve of a sheltered bay where the peninsula joins Harmanite; the other further south, beyond a headland. Walking between the two entails a foray into the backstreets of Harmanite, uphill from a solitary wooden windmill which now serves as a bar.
The touristic hub of Sozopol is a cobbled concourse between the peninsula and Harmanite, flanked by souvenir stalls and portrait artists, always thronged with strollers and bombarded by a cacophony of rock and pop. Alongside runs a shady municipal park, carpeted with cottony wads of blossom during early summer; east of this is the beach. Sheltering among the trees is the pale sandstone Chapel of St. Zosim, honouring the patron saint of seafarers, the Orthodox Church's answer to Apollo. The Church of St. St. Cyril and Methodius, further north, is used as a concert hall during Apollonia Festival.
For the first ten days of September, Sozopol hosts Apollonia Arts Festival, comprising classical music, jazz, theatre and poetry, and frequent open-air pop concerts take place throughout the summer. Be warned that finding accommodation can be difficult in July and August, when the tourist season is at its height.
The first settlements belonged to the Thracian tribes. In 7th century BC colonisers settled there and called the town Apollo. The numerous finds are evidence that this small town used to be the trading centre of the whole Black Sea Coast. The town was ruined by the Romans and restored again in 18th century.
Sozopol Old Town
A stroll along the old town's twisting, narrow cobblestone lanes reveals a host of National Revival-era houses, their stone foundations and overhanging upper stories of weathered wood. Sea-facing Morski Skali and Millet streets are lined with small restaurants and cafes, ideal for taking in the views while digging into a plate of tasty locally-raised midi (mussels).
Notable sights in the Old Town include the 17th-century Holy Virgin Church and the church of St. Zosim. Also, Sozopol's Archaeological Museum features a collection of amphorae, stone anchors, and model ships, as well as the Art Gallery.
At the beginning of September each year there is a major international art festival called Apollonia.
Kavatsite, Smokinya, Veselie, Zlatna Ribka, Gradina. They offer bungalows of different categories, sites for caravans, tents and automobiles.
The best beach in the area is at Dyuni Resort 6 km south of Sozopol. Past Dyuni, the coast road passes by the Arkutino swamp, a 62 hectare area of floating water lilies, irises and creeping liana vines. A few kilometers further south is Ropotamo River Nature Reserve; tour boats routinely ply the verdant-rich lower stretch of the river to the sea. Very near is the famous island of Snakes. To the north is the village of Chernomorets, which borders Gradina Camping.
During summer, private vans and state buses provide hourly daily service to and from Bourgas. The bus station is opposite the seaside park next to the open-air bazaar and there is a taxi stand in front.