1. Feel the liberation on the Lipite Beach in Sinemorets
Encircled by dramatic rocks and dense pine forests, the Lipite Beach is perhaps the most beautiful beach on the Black Sea coast. Due to its rather remote location, accessible only on foot, its natural beauty remains utterly unspoilt by commercialism and large masses of beachgoers. Enjoy the playful waves and let the sense of being away from civilisation fill your heart, soul and mind with liberation. To find out more, check out our full blog post here.
2. Have a dinner in Startsi Razboynitsi in Varvara
Due to Bulgaria’s rocky past, traditionally Bulgarian architectural and interior design style haven’t retained much of their integrity. Modern cities and little villages alike are often an eclectic mixture of influences or much too often just the product of pragmatism and financial constraints. But in recent years, more and more shabby chic places have been popping up and down the country, and these evoke a romantic and nostalgic sense reminiscent of Bulgaria’s faded glory and ‘rise and fall’ past. One of these, a restaurant called Startsi Razboynitsi, is situated in the little hippy and bohemian village of Varvara. The place was opened by the infamous late bohemian Pavel ‘Palyo’ Vezhinov, son of Pavel Vezhinov, one of Bulgaria’s most celebrated authors. It is frequented by Bulgaria’s most prominent intellectuals and artists and it’s worth your visit even if it’s just to celebrate the memory of its extraordinary founder said to be the main catalyst behind Varvara’s nowadays artistic and bohemian appeal. The restaurant offers extremely delicious traditional Bulgarian cuisine in a rustic bohemian setting which combines belle époque touches with exposed brick walls. It also has a lovely spacious garden where you can dine under the trees.
3. Watch the sunset from Koraba (The Ship) Bar in Sinemorets
Koraba is a relaxed and hippy bar in Sinemorets, perched on top of the rocks overlooking the Black Sea and River Veleka’s estuary. In the late afternoon, it offers majestic views of the sun setting behind the hills of the Strandzha Mountain, which you can blissfully enjoy with a cocktail on the background of ethnic jazz vibes. I’m told the bar greets each summer with a new design, hand-delivered by the sisters Sandra and Yona.
4. Admire the Bulgarian Renaissance architecture in Sozopol’s old town
Scattered over a series of peninsulas on the Black Sea Coast, the town of Sozopol is one of the oldest cities in Bulgaria, and one of the country’s few towns where Bulgarian Renaissance architecture dating back to the 18th and 19th century is preserved. Take an afternoon to meander on the little cobbled streets of the old town, which are lined with these unique houses; see the ancient city walls and have a drink in one of the many bars along the water, soaking the romantic views of the sea crashing against the rocks on which Sozopol is perched.
5. Party in the hippy and trendy Wake Up Bar in Varvara
Wake Up bar is situated on the main beach in Varvara, hidden between the rocks of one of the seven bays surrounding the little artistic and bohemian village. It’s a hip place with two DJ decks, two bars on different levels and a bunch of artfully bedraggled young and trendy staff. Grab a cocktail and enjoy the trendy electronic beats pulsing from powerful speakers and the dramatic views to the sea. The tiny sweeping beach is peppered with bamboo umbrellas, bean bags and small wooden tables, tastefully designed to merge with the nature around, and serviced by the bar staff.
6. Be active and kayak down the Veleka River
If you’re in for a more active leisure time, you can hire a two-person kayak and sweep down the Veleka river. Paddle for about an hour and a half down west, and you’ll reach the Silkosia Reserve, situated in the oldest protected area in Bulgaria, part of the Strandzha Nature Park. Even if you don’t have the time for a three hour return journey, you can just paddle around the place where you hire the kayak. The river there is picturesque and stunning, and wide enough to suit a more zigzagging trajectories if that’s your kayaking level. If you need more convincing, check out our blog post here.
7. Watch a traditional folklore dance show, while enjoying a delicious dinner in Vyatarnata Melnitsa
Vyatarnata Melnitsa (The Windmill) is a rustic Bulgarian restaurant in Sozopol’s old town, where you can dine in an authentic Bulgarian revival ambience, while enjoying the free-of-charge folklore programme taking place every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Situated on the edge of the cliffs, the restaurant reveals great views over the sea, which can often come in combination with strong winds, so make sure you choose one of the more protected tables if it’s a particularly windy day. The cuisine is very delicious, offering an abundant variety of traditional Bulgarian dishes and more creative combinations, all prepared from fresh ingredients. We particularly enjoyed the homemade sausage, which we washed with a Quantum red wine, one of the few Bulgarian wine options on the list.