On the south coast of Bulgaria, there’s a small resort that can successfully compete with its northern neighbors, such as Nessebar. Maybe not as crowded and not as cheerful as them, but its attractions are even more tempting. Especially for diving enthusiasts.
We’re speaking of Sozopol here, which is situated approx. 31 km southeast of Burgas. It’s considered by many the cultural capital of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. It boasts of the beauty of its long and wide beaches, slow life mode and artistic community. The city is liked by musicians, painters and photographers, who spend their holidays here. Besides, in summer there are numerous cultural events, concerts and exhibitions.
An important point on the list of Sozopol’s virtues are the prices - both the accommodation and food cost are much lower than in Nessebar.
Two faces of Sozopol
Sozopol is divided into two parts: the new and the old one. The new one is located south of the bus station and is called Charmanite. It vibrates with music coming from the discos and cafes, is full of laugh and bustle. In turn, the old one is located on a small rocky peninsula in the northern part of the city. It’s covered with a net of cobbled, narrow streets with charming wooden houses standing on the stone basements. Nearly 200 of them are included on the list of high-class monuments.
In the old part of Sozopol you can find a romantic seaside promenade, ideal for evening walks with your loved one. When we feel hungry, you can sit in one of the many cafes, bars and folk taverns.
Underwater paradise – an offer for divers
The city is beautiful, no matter from which side we look at it. It also amazes with the beauty of underground world, luring diving enthusiasts. Both beginners and advanced adherents of underwater swimming. Local schools offer the so-called underwater walks as well as trainings at all levels of difficulty. Some of them also organize night dives. In this way you can see the fissilized cedar forest nd learn the secrets of shipwrecks settled on the seabed.
And what’s worth visiting? Certainly the bay of Saint Stephen, which is a home to virtually all species of flora of the Black Sea. Also fauna, growing on the seabed like a wild forest is extremely rich here. The big attraction of the bay - literally and figuratively - is a submerged ancient anchor. Underwater landscape is dotted with beautiful underwater cliffs.
Next to the old part of the city there’s an underwater wall, in the past connecting three islands and forming a gate to the port. As the time passed by, the sea level rose by more than 7 meters, ignoring the artificial barriers and sinking the islands. We'll find him, when diving between the St. Ivan Island and the northern part of the promontory. Both next to it, as well as next the ancient breakwater, extending in the vicinity, the bottom is covered with dozens of anchors. The oldest ones date back to the seventh century BC. The marine mud also hides glassware, Byzantine ceramics and antique amphorae.
The beauty of the water and land
The island of St. Ivan is interesting also from the land. Today it’s uninhabited by the people, but is a home to approx. 70 species of birds. It has the status of a nature reserve, and has a nineteenth-century lighthouse and the ruins of the thirteenth-century monastery and church.
After a long and busy day, you can finally rest a little bit. About 3 km from the city center there’s Camping Gradina. There’re over 250 positions for motorhomes and caravans, 50 bungalows and over 400 places for tents. Within the campsite you can find a bar, restaurant and shop. The place is nice and often appears on travel forums – it’s highly appreciated by caravanners.
Sozopol is really worth a visit. The city, whose symbol is the anchor, has a lot to offer - and not only for fans of diving.