Most people who visit Burgas, Bulgaria use the city only as a getaway to the Black Sea coast. But there are actually a few cool things to do in Burgas and it’s definitely worth giving the place a chance, even if you are about to spend only a day in Burgas.
I’ve been twice to Burgas so far. The first time I didn’t like it all that much, to be honest, but I blame gloomy October weather for that. It was much better when I was visiting Burgas for the second time, at the beginning of summer when it was warm and lovely.
I enjoyed the place so much more and I actually think it’s a pretty fine destination and one of the best places to visit in Bulgaria.
When planning your Bulgaria itinerary be sure to include Burgas in it too, you might be surprised just like I was.
Table of contents
- 1 How to get to Burgas
- 2 Where to stay in Burgas
- 3 How to get around Burgas
- 4 Things to do in Burgas
- 4.1 See Lake Atanasovsko – the pink lake
- 4.2 Enjoy the most beautiful park in Burgas – Sea Garden
- 4.3 Relax at the beach
- 4.4 Explore the central part of Burgas
- 4.5 Visit Burgas marina
- 4.6 Fall in love with Bulgarian food
- 4.7 Appreciate concrete structures
- 4.8 See beautiful Saints Cyril and Methodius Cathedral
- 4.9 Go for day trips
- 5 Final thoughts on visiting Burgas
- 6 Travel Resources
How to get to Burgas
Most likely you will fly to Burgas as the local airport offers connections to numerous destinations all over Europe.
The airport is well-connected with the city, bus no 15 departs every 20 minutes from near the airport (you need to walk like 2 minutes to the bus stop at the roundabout however it looks like some buses arrive directly at the airport) to the South Bus Station in the center of Burgas. The ticket costs 1,50 leva and can be purchased on the bus.
If you fly to Burgas late in the evening and there are no buses to the city you can stay in the nearby village Sarafovo, located 5 minutes walking from the airport. I did it twice (as both my flights landed around midnight) and I can definitely recommend this option.
Then, after a good night’s sleep, you can continue in the morning to Burgas, either by bus or walking along the sea and stopping at Lake Atanasovsko on the way – the distance from Sarafovo to Burgas is around 5 km and the lake is exactly in the middle.
If you travel overland you can also easily get to Burgas by train or bus. There are a few daily trains connecting Burgas with Sofia via Plovdiv, there are also bus connections on the same route.
You can also get by bus from Varna and other places along the Black Sea coast as well as from Istanbul, Turkey.
Where to stay in Burgas
There are plenty of accommodation options to choose from in Burgas. I recommend staying somewhere central so you will be near all Burgas attractions as well as bus and train station to go for day trips.
During my last trip, I stayed at Marina Burgas Hotel and I can definitely recommend it. It has a fine location in the harbor, a short walk away from Burgas highlights, the rooms and spacious and comfortable and the breakfast is delicious (and served with a great view over the harbor). Click here to check current prices and book the place.
You can also search for other accommodation in Burgas here.
How to get around Burgas
Most likely you won’t need to use public transport when visiting Burgas since all the attractions are located in the central part of the city and you can easily walk everywhere. The only exception is Lake Atanasovsko which is around 2,5 km away from the center but you can’t get there by bus so walking is your best option too and it’s a nice stroll along the beach anyway.
If you need to get to some further places there is a fine network of city buses. You can check the connections here.
Things to do in Burgas
And now, here are the best things to do in Burgas!
See Lake Atanasovsko – the pink lake
This is probably one of the most surprising things to do in Burgas. While many travelers are raving about the pink lake in Mexico, you can find one in Bulgaria too and it’s only a walk away from Burgas.
Lake Atanasovsko, as that’s the name of the place, is a fairly large lake north of the center, on the way to the airport. It is known for its diverse flora and fauna, but a small part of it is pretty unique and might be interesting not only to nature lovers.
If you approach the lake from the seaside side you will see what’s called Burgas Saltworks, the area that is used for healing and therapeutic purposes. Kind of like on the Dead Sea, people float on the pink waters of Lake Atanasovsko and then cover themselves in the mud.
To enter this part of the lake you need to pay 2 leva to the machine (it accepts coins of 0,50, 1, and 2 leva) and then go through the reel. The area is open daily from 8 in the morning to 8 in the evening. When I visited the place around 11 in the morning on Monday it was fairly empty with only a few people around.
Enjoy the most beautiful park in Burgas – Sea Garden
In the center of Burgas, along the seaside, you will find Sea Garden – a beautiful park that is a natural barrier between the bustling city and the Black Sea. It is a wonderful place to enjoy a stroll or relax in the green area.
The park is large and well-maintained, with a few flower carpets, numerous cafes, and plenty of statues around (many of them were weird concrete forms so something I enjoyed greatly).
You will definitely come here when visiting Burgas but it is worth spending a bit more time in Sea Garden to see and appreciate it properly. This is really one of the most pleasant places to visit in Burgas!
Relax at the beach
Since Burgas is a seaside city you can be sure to find a fine beach there too. And the good thing is it is located right in the center of the city.
There might be better beaches along the coast but this one is good too, it’s sandy, easy to get to, and offers all the amenities you might need (sunbeds and umbrellas to rent, bars along the beach etc). If you are looking for a day out at the beach you don’t need to go any further.
Explore the central part of Burgas
Burgas might not be the most beautiful city you can find in Bulgaria but it has its moments and the central part of it is definitely one of them.
There are two pedestrian streets – Aleksandrovska and Aleko Bogoridi – perpendicular to each other, and strolling them is a real pleasure. Along the way, you can see some of the most beautiful houses in Burgas (not that there are many of them, unfortunately) or sit down in one of many cafes and restaurants to observe the life around you.
If you wish to visit museums there are a few of them here too, such as the Archeology Museum, Regional History Museum, or Museum of Natural History.
This part of the city is really vibrant and always full of people and together with Sea Garden, it was my favorite place in Burgas.
Visit Burgas marina
Now this place was a big surprise for me. I randomly booked my accommodation there (in Marina Burgas Hotel, highly recommended) and found myself in probably the coolest area of the city.
In the evening the marina is vibrant and alive. People go for a stroll, restaurants are full of happy crowds, locals go fishing and the atmosphere is simply amazing. Burgas Marina is still developing so I guess soon it will be even more hip but even now it was such an enjoyable place to visit. All the industrial spots around only added up to the overall cool feel of the place.
Be sure to be here in the later afternoon / early evening when the place is full of people as that’s when you can truly appreciate it. You can walk all the way to the lighthouse at the end, along the way you will be able to see everything this area offers.
Fall in love with Bulgarian food
Bulgarian food is among my very favorite cuisines in the world and it is already a good reason for me to visit Bulgaria. Every time I’m in the country I use my time eating all the goodies there are available and I’ve never been disappointed. I even learned to make some of the dishes at home so I don’t need to wait for my next trip to Bulgaria.
Since I’m a vegetarian I’m always more than happy that there are so many delicious and meat-free options to choose from. Yet I almost always end up ordering tarator (the cold soup made of yogurt and cucumber), shopska salad or fries topped with Bulgarian white cheese (sirene).
Those of you who like meat will also find plenty to choose from in every restaurant but apparently grilled meat or fish are the best to try.
My favorite restaurant in Burgas is 8 Mamas. It’s hidden a bit on the main street near Sea Garden and has an extensive menu, delicious food, and fair prices. I’ve been there during my both visits to Burgas and the quality of food didn’t change. The place had always some local customers too and that’s always a sign for me that it really is good.
Appreciate concrete structures
It’s no secret I’m a big fan of brutalist architecture and I always thought Bulgaria has some spectacular concrete masterpieces (just look at Shumen or Buzludzha). To my big joy, I found some really fine concrete pieces in Burgas too.
In Sea Garden, there are numerous concrete art sculptures from the 1970s and 1980s, made by local artists, and some of them are really good. You will easily spot them when wandering around the park.
The most important one is Pantheon to the Heroes in the Antifascist Struggle from 1981 – you can find it a bit further in Sea Garden. It is a beautiful monument but looks abandoned these days, unfortunately.
In the center of Burgas, at the end of the pedestrian Aleksandrovska street, you can admire a pretty fine Alyosha monument, dedicated to Soviet Army, with interesting sculptures at the bottom (it is a bit similar to the same monument in Sofia).
Next to it, you can see the impressive building of the Regional Court, another good example of brutalist architecture.
See beautiful Saints Cyril and Methodius Cathedral
The Saints Cyril and Methodius Cathedral is one of the most beautiful churches you can find in Bulgaria. It was designed by the Italian architect Ricardo Toscani at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and built in a grand style.
The church is impressive from the inside but the interior is pretty amazing too, with marble columns, stained-glass windows, and a beautiful dome.
The cathedral is located in the center, a short walk away from Aleksanrdovska street, so it’s worth doing a small detour to see it.
Speaking of Burgas churches, you might also spot another interesting one in the center, where two pedestrian streets meet. The Surp Hach Armenian Church, built in 1853 by the Armenian community in Burgas, is a bit hidden behind Hotel Bulgaria and is a great example of the Armenian sacral style. It’s definitely worth seeing it when you are around.
Go for day trips
With the convenient location and plenty of fine connections, Burgas offers some really good day trips around.
The most popular ones are two beautiful seaside towns Sozopol (30 km south of Burgas) and Nesebar (30 km north). Both can be reached by the buses departing from the South Bus Station in the center of the city.
You might also take a boat to Saint Anastasia Island.
If you want to venture a bit further you can go all the way to Varna (another big city on the Black Sea coast, 115 km away) or go inland to cities like Stara Zagora or even Plovdiv.
And if you feel like hiking a bit there are Strandzha mountains at the border of Bulgaria and Turkey. There are many options and you will surely find day trips from Burgas that suit your interests.
Final thoughts on visiting Burgas
After my first visit, I didn’t think I would return to Burgas. I’m glad I gave the city a second chance as it was so much better and more enjoyable the second time around (thanks to fine summer weather, I guess).
Burgas really offers much more than it seems at first and can be a great stop for a day or more. I really enjoyed the vibrant atmosphere, the beautiful Sea Garden park or harbor area, and the central part of the city.
Burgas is not a typical seaside resort but that’s what makes it better. You can enjoy the combination of relaxing holidays and all the city has to offer.
When you plan your own trip to Bulgaria and especially its coast don’t miss Burgas, you might be as positively surprised as I was.
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