What to do for a day in Nessebar Bulgaria:
- Explore the ruins of 3,000 years of successive settlements from 4 empires.
- Experience the history of an ancient town.
- Have a great meal with an amazing view.
Nessebar Bulgaria is an easy day trip from Burgas or especially from Sunny Beach.
We spent a day in Nessebar Bulgaria during our affordable luxury beach holiday in Sunny Beach Bulgaria and recommend you take a guided walking tour of Nessebar so you can appreciate the rich history on display there.
Getting to Nessebar from Sunny Beach
Sunny Beach Bulgaria is 10 km long.
And off of the southern end of Sunny Beach is the UNESCO certified town of Nessebar with recovered ancient ruins, shops and restaurants.
Getting from Sunny Beach to Nessebar simple.
There are taxis and pedicabs that can take you, but don’t waste your time or money on those.
Take the City Bus from Sunny Beach to Nessebar Bulgaria
There is a city bus that goes back and forth from Nessebar in the south to the tip of Sunny Beach in the north.
There are about 20 bus stops along that stretch. So a bus stop will never be more than a half of a kilometer away from you on the beach road!
You wait at a bus stop, hop on the next southbound bus in the direction of Nessebar and pay the attendant on the bus a few leva.
If you miss a bus don’t worry: another will be along presently!
Geography of Nessebar Bulgaria
Nessebar Bulgaria is both a town and an outdoor museum that exists in two distinct parts.
The new town is on a peninsula at the south end of Sunny Beach Bulgaria. This modern area includes large hotels and other commercial activity. New town Nessebar is pretty boring.
But across a narrow man-made land bridge is the ancient part of the settlement.
In fact, until a land bridge was installed the old town part of Nessebar had been an island.
We hopped off the bus before the old town Nessebar stop so we could take in the approach to and crossing of the land bridge.
Nessebar Bulgaria History and Ruins
Old town Nessebar bears evidence of occupation by a variety of different civilizations over the course of its existence.
The first evidence of settlement in Nessebar Bulgaria dates to 3,000 years ago.
Originally it was a Thracian settlement called Menebria.
At the beginning of the 6th century BC, the city became a Greek colony. The city’s excavated remains mostly date from this period.
They include the acropolis, a temple of Apollo, an agora and a wall from the original Thracian fortifications.
Other excavated ruins include the Stara Mitropolia Basilica.
In the Middle Ages Nessebar was one of the most important Byzantine towns on the west coast of the Black Sea.
There are many remains of churches from 12th and 13th century.
However, the importance of the city was diminished under 5 centuries of Ottoman rule.
And after the Liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1878 Nessebar was a sleepy fishing village.
It wasn’t until after 1925 that excavations and renovations to the old town began.
And with the explosion of beach-going tourism on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast interest in Nessebar Bulgaria blossomed.
The city’s abundance of historic buildings led UNESCO to include Nesebar in its list of World Heritage Sites in 1983.
Depending on how fast or slowly you want to tour, you can see most of what Nessebar has to offer in a couple hours or an entire day.
Your best approach is to start your tour of the Old Town from the Archaeological Museum. A self-guided walking tour route starts from the museum and passes by all the major attractions in the old town.
Or you can book a guided walking tour of Nessebar. This is the best way to understand the long and complex history of Nessebar and all of the ruins it contains.
Where to Eat in Nessebar Bulgaria
When you first pass through the old town gates you are met with restaurant huskers aggressively propositioning you to have lunch or dinner at the restaurants just inside the gates.
Many of these restaurants have good views but tourist prices.
But we had an affordable luxury recommendation.
Kiparis Restaurant Nessebar Bulgaria
Tucked on the far tip of old town Nessebar Bulgaria is Kiparis Restaurant.
Kiparis is in a beautiful location overlooking the sea.
Rather than badgering us to eat at this restaurant the waiters were polite, warm and welcoming.
The menu has mediterranean, Bulgarian and seafood dishes and is translated into several different languages.
The food was great but the atmosphere and views were amazing.
If Nessebar is ‘The Pearl of the Black Sea’ then Kimparis is the pearl of the Pearl!
Bottom Line – Nessebar Bulgaria
But if you have any interest in history whatsoever then any visit to the Bulgarian Black Sea coast is incomplete without paying a visit to Nessebar Bulgaria.
It is an easy day trip from Sunny Beach and one well worth taking.