The Best Things to See and Do in Sozopol

Sozopol | © Stanislav Trifonov/Flickr
Sozopol | © Stanislav Trifonov/Flickr
Photo of Maria Angelova
5 February 2018

If you like the combination of sandy beaches, historically rich towns, and affordable prices, consider the Bulgarian coastal town of Sozopol for your next summer vacation. The charming town has been on the shore for thousands of years and is known as one of the cultural and artistic hubs along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Here are some of the best points of interest that you should include in your itinerary.

The Old Town

The Old Town is the most picturesque and memorable area in Sozopol. Its almost 200 old houses are representative of the typical Black Sea architectural style of the 19th century – the first story is built of stone and the second – of wood. You don’t need a map – just let yourself get lost among the buildings in search of beautifully decorated windows, photo-worthy wooden doors, and old ladies leaning from their balconies.

The Old Town, Sozopol, Bulgaria

Saint Ivan Island

Located less than a kilometer (0.5 mi.) from the shore, the island of Saint Ivan is the largest in the Bulgarian Black Sea. The island was a sacred place for the ancient Thracians and, later, for the Christians who built the monastery of Saint John here. You can take a boat to the island from the port of Sozopol. Just be aware that the island is closed to visitors from April to the end of July because it’s a mating spot for herring gulls.

Saint Ivan Island, Sozopol, Bulgaria


Saint Ivan Island (on the left) and Kirik Island (on the right) | © Evgord from bg/WikiCommons

The Southern Fortress Wall and Tower

Remains from the fortifications that used to defend Sozopol from sea attacks can be spotted and visited today. The Southern Fortress Wall and Tower have been restored and are open for visitors daily during the summer (with visits by appointment in the winter). The knowledgeable guides will walk you through the centuries and bring history to life in front of your eyes.

52, Milet Str., 8130 Sozopol, Bulgaria, +359 550 22 267

The Holy Virgin Church

The Holy Virgin Church is one of the most interesting religious stops in Sozopol. It was built around the 15th century and was part of the island monastery of Saint John. Its ornamented iconostasis was crafted at the end of the 18th century by some of the most prominent masters of that time.

Anaksimandar Str., 8130 Sozopol, Bulgaria


Holy Virgin Church in Sozopol, a street view | © Vmenkov/WikiCommons

Apollonia Art Festival

Apollonia was the name the ancient Greeks gave to the town in honor of the god of arts Apollo. Nowadays, the most important art festival in Sozopol’s summer schedule is Apollonia. It features classical music, theatrical performances, concerts, films, and literature readings on various stages across town.


Finally, several of the most popular summer seaside campsites are located close to Sozopol – Gradina, Zlatna Ribka, Kavatsi, and Smokinya – many of which have a beach party vibe.