Five Awesome Things to Do in the Bulgarian City of Burgas
March 17, 2019
by Antonia Ivanova
Burgas is one of those cities in Bulgaria everyone is proud to say he originates from. Although the title “Bulgarian Seaside Capital” belongs to its bigger sister Varna, Burgas has been undergoing a cultural and architectural surge the past few years that has made it more beautiful and interesting than ever.
Its unique charm comes from the fact it combines the opportunities of the big city with the leisureliness of the sea town. And in summer it can truly be called one of the pearls of the Bulgarian seaside.
Having lived in Burgas for more than twenty years, I have discovered its many curious faces, some of which you can’t read about in standard guides. So here are five things to do in Burgas for you to completely fall in love with it.
Take a walk downtown
It sounds simple but, trust me, you won’t regret it. Like in other towns and cities in Southeastern Europe, life in Burgas happens in the street.
There are two main pedestrian streets in Burgas – Alexandrovska and Bogoridi – which intersect at the locals’ favourite meeting place – The Clock. Both streets are lined with shops, bakeries, cosy restaurants and galleries, all open till late in the evening.
I would suggest you start at Troykata Square on Alexandrovska Street, walk down until you reach The Clock and then follow Bogoridi all the way to the Sea Garden – Burgas’s most beautiful park.
Have a beer in the Sea Garden in the evening
I just mentioned the Sea Garden above and I will repeat myself – that’s indeed one of the most beautiful places you can spend your time in Burgas.
The Sea Garden stands between the beach and the city, offering pleasant shade during the hot summer days.
However, only when the sun sets does it really come to life. The Sea Garden is the favourite place of locals and tourists to take a walk at dusk or have a beer in the evening.
You can have a drink in one of the restaurants or bars but if you really want to get to know the city in person, try opening your can or bottle on a bench.
Yep, drinking alcohol in the park is perfectly okay, in moderation of course. If you take a walk in the park in the evening, you’ll hardly find an empty bench. Everyone will be sitting, having a beer, talking or playing the guitar.
There is no such thing as intruding either. Bulgarians are extremely hospitable and friendly to tourists. You’ll only need to be open yourself and just say “hi”. I’m sure that will grant you a company for the evening, if not a free beer.
Go to the Salt Lakes on bike
Burgas is probably the most bike-friendly place in Bulgaria. Bike lanes encompass the whole city, offering a cheaper and greener form of transportation. There is also a rent-a-bike service with stations and routes all over the city.
To me personally, the most beautiful and scenic route is the one starting at the Casino in the Sea Garden and going north to the Salt Lakes.
The bike lane follows the long pedestrian beach alley. It goes past the premises of the Black Sea Salt Factory, offering a sneak peek into how salt is transported by little trains and left in large heaps to dry.
The most interesting spot on the route lies right behind the factory. I like to call it “a free outdoor spa”. You’ll know you’re there when you see people walking around, caked in something black from head to toe.
That’s medicinal mud which is said to cure all kinds of diseases or skin problems. Behind the muddy bog, you’ll also see curious pools full of pink water. That’s lye, which also possesses healing properties.
If you’re up to it, you can go and take a mud or lye bath yourself. There’s nothing to lose really since both of them are completely free of charge.
Go paragliding over the beach
Burgas is one of the few places on the Bulgarian coast where the conditions allow paragliding. There’s a paragliding club called Free Flight which offers tandem flights over the beach for as little as 90 euro.
If you’ve ever wondered what the sea looks like from a bird’s viewpoint, that’s your chance to find out. The flight is only 20 minutes long but the views to the Sea Garden and the beach are mind-blowing and I’m sure will last a long time in your memory.
An added bonus, as the club’s website states, is the opportunity to land on the beach at a spot of your choosing. So, while you’re up in the sky, scan the beach for attractive sunbathers and present yourself to them in the most spectacular way.
Take a boat trip to St. Anastasia Island
St. Anastasia is a beautiful little island off the coast of Burgas. It has a long and interesting history, having been home to a medieval monastery, a 20-century prison, and even an art commune.
Today, the city offers boat trips to the island and back several times a day, throughout the year. The ships leave from the city port which is easily accessible by bus or on foot. There’s even an electric shuttle bus which you can take from a number of pick-up points in the Sea Garden.
The island itself has a museum and a church, as well as a guest house where you can stay for the night. You can have delicious local food at the restaurant. There’s also a little coffee shop where you can have a unique cold or hot drink made with herbs grown on the island.
I’d suggest you book a room at the guest house and spend a night on the island, lulled by the song of the sea. Get up early in the morning, turn east and watch as the sun illuminates the rocks at the foot of the island.
Then grab a coffee at the shop and get your boat back to the city, diving in all the other sweet things it has to offer.