A Quick Guide to Old Nessebar, Bulgaria
Disclosure: Our Jet2 flights from Edinburgh to Bulgaria were free of charge, however we paid for our excursion to Nessebar ourselves, and I was not required to post about it.
One thing I learned during our week in Bulgaria is that the country is a bit of a hidden gem, really. Sure, Nessebar is a popular tourist destination, as the huge hotels along the Black Sea coast prove, but in the UK, at least, it’s still not all that well known. Before we flew out, for instance, every time we told someone we were going to Bulgaria for a holiday, there would be a moment’s pause, while the person desperately attempted to arrange their face into an expression of polite interest, while obviously thinking, “Bulgaria? Why, though?”
For everyone who secretly had that reaction, then, here’s some photographic evidence of why you might want to visit Nessebar, Bulgaria:
These photos were taken in Nessebar, which was just a twenty minute taxi ride from where were staying at Wave Resort, just along the coast. (Word to the wise, here: although the hotel estimated the taxi fare would be around 15 lev each way, the taxis were unmetered, and we were charged 30 lev on the way there and 50 on the way back: we paid up, because it wasn’t really worth haggling over, but if you don’t want to be caught out, I’d recommend asking the price BEFORE you get in!).
Nessebar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and absolutely packed with history, including churches dating back to the 5th century, and fortified ruins at the entrance to the old part of the town, which was once an island, but which now forms a peninsula attached to the mainland. This is Old Nessebar, as distinct from the much more modern part of the town back on the mainland, which is home to multi-storey hotels and other developments. We stuck to the old town during our visit, and, despite spending a good few hours there, didn’t manage to see it all – it’s definitely a place we could have happily spent a good few days in, without getting bored.
As well as the various churches, and other reminders of Nessebar’s past, we were also completely charmed by the network of narrow cobbled streets, and leafy squares, filled with outdoor cafes and tons of different shops. (Quite a few of which were selling fur coats and jackets: Bulgaria was still warm at the start of September, but gets some pretty cold winters, and I guess real fur isn’t quite as controversial as it is here in the UK…) Having explored some of the streets around the centre of the town, we decided to take a walk around the perimeter of the old island: we only got as far as this picture-perfect little restaurant, though, where we stopped for a drink (and to pose for some photos, obviously):
We found food and drink really cheap in Nessebar, which I’m guessing is one of the reasons it’s so popular as a package-holiday destination (The resort of Sunny Beach is just a little further along the coast from here, and, by all accounts, is much more like some of the busier resorts you’ll find in Spain, and Greece, with lots of hotels and bars…). We didn’t get to see nearly enough of the country during our short time there, obviously, but what we did see has definitely whetted our appetite for more: and if you’re heading that way yourself, I can definitely recommend a visit to old Nessebar – or, ideally, more than one, if you really want to see it all!