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Travel advice Eastern Europe

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Travel advice Eastern Europe

© 2013-2019

BURGAS

First impressions

 

In my 'Bulgaria section' you can find many more places to travel to!

I highly recommend checking out the Wikitravel Burgas article for some good suggestions on museums and yearly events you shouldn't miss!

It was a hot Friday and I got home from work. I was restless and decided to visit the beach for the weekend. I had only been once before; in Varna, Balchik and Albena. I wanted to visit the Burgas province this time, the last province on my list. Bulgaria has 28 and I had visited all - apart from this one. Also, I was curious about the city. It's the country's fourth and is beautifully located - on the coast with a famous sea garden. I had to go. And so, I found there was a bus at midnight. I got to the Central Bus Station and bought a ticket to Nesebar, a bit north of Burgas. The ticket cost me 33 levas (May 2017). We left the city and took the highway to Plovdiv. We stopped there, as well as in Stara Zagora and Sliven. Only then I fell asleep, to be woken up by the morning light in Burgas. It was then only 40 minutes more to Nesebar, where I decided to go so I could stay in the bus a bit longer. Otherwise, I would have been in Burgas far before 6 with nothing much to do. Nesebar itself was still completely asleep. A nice town. I then took a bus back to Burgas, found a hotel and explored the city.

Side note, there are overnight trains as well (check the Bulgarian Railway website).

I directly noticed how well-maintained the city is. A lot of renovations and investments seem to have been done. The infrastructure is especially good - modern bus stops, new buses, excellent roads and good pavements. Just a pretty, European city. Burgas gave off a completely different vibe than any city in Bulgaria. I definitely liked it. The city is not too big; yet it does have a large city feel. The wide boulevards, parks and classic style of the buildings give the impression that Burgas has always been well of. A strategically located city with a rich past and certainly a bright future as one of Europe's gateway to the Black Sea.

The city's name

Similar to the Spanish city Burgos, the name Burgas is said to derive from the Latin word "burgos", meaning tower. Such tower used to be in the current port of Burgas. Interestingly, there are several other theories of where the names come from. 

A bit of history and what to see in the area

The place was already inhabited in ancient times. In the Bronze Age there were already several settlements and fishing villages. Nesebar and Sozopol, nearby, had always been bigger centers of trade. Burgas started developing quickly only in the 20th Century. It was then found that Burgas was an ideal location for a port. The Burgas Bay is nowadays an area with industry. In addition, the bay attracts many tourists. There's many places to see - and to each his own. There's Sunny Beach for the young folks, the towns Nesebar and Sozopol for sightseeing and many family resorts. I got to visit Nesebar, of which you can see pictures below. As I got there just after sunrise, it was very quiet. Yet, it's a very pretty town. Then I also had a swim in Primorsko, which is south of Burgas. It has a north and south beach, both beautiful. The Thracians left many architectural finds all over the region, including the prehistoric rock sanctuary Beglik Tash nearby. Make sure to visit the place!

You have many more places to see in the area. Such as right north of Burgas - the Thracian Tomb in Pomorie. Just search 'Thracian Tumulus Pomorie' in Google Maps, it's situated right on the main road between Burgas and Varna.

Cape Emine, a bit farther north from Pomorie, is the easternmost point of the Stara Planina mountain range. This is where the Kom-Emine route ends, the country's oldest, longest and most famous mountain trail. The cape is very pretty and surrounded by nature, such as the Irakli nature reserve right north of Cape Emine.

Then south of Burgas, the landscape turns into dense forests with small villages both on the coast and inland. There's several resort towns with beaches, then the area gets less populated if you continue towards the Turkish border. The beaches are beautiful and some have forests beginning right behind you. You can enjoy the unique smell of both pine forests and the sea. The area you're in is called Strandzha. About 80% of Strandzha is forest. It is of enormous ecological importance and has five natural reserves. One of these is the Silkosiya Reserve, the first of the country. Just one fact to show the area's biological wealth - Strandzha is on the Via Pontica, the second-largest bird migratory route in Europe. There are 269 bird species in the area! You have plenty to see in Strandzha, many say the area has a certain 'magical feel'. And even though I haven't had the opportunity to go yet, I can attest that I had this feeling elsewhere in Bulgaria. When an area has very little - or even no population at all, you feel in deep connection with the nature around. The Strandzha area has several villages, such as Brashlyan, with wooden architecture that's typical for the area.

Eating out in Burgas

Being a large city, Burgas has many places to enjoy a good meal. There's obviously Bulgarian restaurants, yet there's excellent sushi places, and international restaurants with some fine cuisine. Be sure to try some fish - especially along the beach in the Sea Garden you can find some good places to enjoy local specialties. The Tripadvisor list is good for selecting a restaurant. Along the beach, many places serve good bites. Especially 'tsatsa' is popular, it's fried whole fish in English 'sprat'. Very well enjoyed with a cold beer.

Where I slept

I spent the night in Burgas, in Guest House Elit. I liked it and in particular found the service to be very good. I asked about buses and trains back to Sofia, then the kind lady behind the reception called the bus and train station and made me a list of options. My room had a nice and very large balcony, where I had a 'Burgasko' beer in the evening. As the area attracts a lot of tourists, you have plenty of options for leisure hotels. Yet, Burgas being the country's fourth city, there are business hotels as well. You can choose as you see fit; just remember that you could get discounts at the sea resorts in low season and at the business hotels in high season. Not that the hotels are too expensive - there's  a lot of competition. It's simply worth visiting a few and selecting the best one for your needs.

The first pictures below are from Nesebar, north of Burgas.

BURGAS - CITY

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BURGAS - AT NIGHT

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BURGAS - INFRATRUCTURE

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BURGAS - SEA GARDEN & BEACH

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