What to do in Nessebar?

Image source: Unsplash

Picture this: strolling through sun-soaked cobbled streets lined with intriguing ancient ruins after a morning of snorkeling through the crystal-clear waters of the black sea coast before settling down to an evening of wine tasting. That’s Nessebar.

Nessebar, while not a familiar name, is the historical capital of Europe. Beating off competition from Athens, Lisbon, and Plovdiv, the hidden gem even claims the title of ‘oldest city in Europe. 

But you’d just have to ask any one of the town’s 27,273 friendly locals to know that the city’s heart also beats with newness, fun, and all things spectacular. 

So, if you’re wondering how to plan your itinerary for your visit to Nessebar – we’ve got you covered. Here’s your guide on …

Things to See & do in Nessebar

Discover the Old Nessebar

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Nessebar is a historical treasure trove. From the moment you enter the island-like city that juts from the coast, it’s clear that a lot has happened here over the years. 

New markets line the paved streets that give way to archeological wonders. Narrow, winding streets are filled with quaint shops, cafes, and restaurants. And as you explore, you’ll discover that you’re never more than a few quick steps from a splendid church. 

In fact, there are so many churches packed into Nessebar that the entire town has been named a UNESCO site. 

To truly delve into the historical and cultural wealth old Nessebar has to offer, consider taking one of the town’s many self-guided or guided tours.

Wind Back the Clock at the Archaeological Museum

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As the most ancient city in Europe, Nessebar’s museums have a lot to work with. Step inside the Archaeological Museum and journey through periods spanning the Eneolithic, Thracian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Bulgarian civilizations.

The permanent exhibition “Nessebar Down the Centuries” walks you through the town’s 3,000-year history. Historically located at the crossroads of several civilizations and trade roads, Nessebar gathered exquisite golden jewelry, marble reliefs, fine pottery, and splendid pieces of art over the years. 

And with tickets priced around $1.30 to $3.00, this is history that won’t put a dent in your pocket. 

Go on a Church Crawl

Image source: The Traveller’s Guide

Being a city of churches, we thought we’d give you a short list to make things a little easier on your itinerary:

  • Church of Saint Sofia: The most famous Nessebar church. Formed from 5th-6th century ruins that catch the eye and capture the imagination.
  • Church “dormition of theotokos”: Intriguing Russian Orthodox church.
  • The Church of St. John Aliturgetos: The only church in Nessebar that hasn’t been sanctified.
  • The Church of St. John the Baptist: A domed cruciform church built of undressed stone, and one of the best preserved churches in the city.
  • Church of Christ pantocrator: A must-see 14th-15th century architectural masterpiece.

And the list goes on … There’s 15 churches in total to find and explore.

Make a Splash at the Aquapark

Image source: Tripadvisor

What is the Aquapark? Arguably the most fun place in Nessebar (or Europe), the Aquapark is a huge waterpark that’s a favorite among locals, tourists, and thrill-seekers alike.

Why should I visit? 60 attractions, 38 water slides, 3 pools, a kid’s zone, relaxing tents, and food corners serving up hearty meals after a day of play. Need we say more? 

First things first, the Aquapark is Europe’s champion waterpark, with the widest variety of attractions across the content. Packed into the park are 10 million liters of water flowing through several fun waterslides and crystal-clear pools. Measuring in at 55 000 square meters of area, the Aquapark is entirely walkable and can be enjoyed wholly within a day. 

All day long, shouts of glee can be heard as visitors discover the joys of the Space Shuttle Water Slide and King Cobra Water Slide.

And if you’d like to rest your feet after a day of action, step out of the sun and into one of the park’s idyllic gazebos.

Afternoon and all-day tickets are available, with adult all-day tickets being the equivalent of $22.00. Child, senior citizen, and family tickets are also available at lower prices. 

Get Quirky at the Ecobar

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What is the Ecobar? A Wonderfull little bar set in an underground cavern leading to a little outdoor oasis where the cocktails flow freely. 

Why should I visit? Visit for a totally one-of-a-kind experience while surrounded by Instagram-worthy scenes. 

Where is it? The address is 7a “Han Asparouh” str. (The bar is somewhat hard to find, but locals are familiar with the bar and will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.)

More about Nessebar’s hidden gem:

The Ecobar prides itself on offering “a drink with a difference.” And they’re not exaggerating when they say different. Nothing can prepare you for what lies behind the Ecobar’s cave-like exterior. Adventure inside to be greeted with a lush garden and turtles swimming to and frog. 

Image source: Tripadvisor

Sit yourself down among the refreshing water gardens and be greeted with a smile from the famously friendly staff that’ll serve up one of the bar’s even more refreshingly superb cocktails. And while the concept may be lighthearted, the cocktails are strong. The best part? All cocktails are about 5 – 6 leva or less – a steal!

Somewhat like a fantasy bar, water runs underneath your feet as real trees hang overhead. A gentle breeze blows throughout the establishment – perfect for those hot days. And just like an actual cave, you’ll find stalactites and stalagmites. Described by a visitor as “A totally unique experience and a must-find if in Nessebar.” We say: heed their advice. 

Fair Warning: No food is served at the Ecobar, so be sure to eat beforehand! That said, if you’re a peanut-lover, you’re in luck – they’re supplied in abundance at the Ecobar.

Soak up the Sun at Nessebar South Beach

Image source: The Traveller’s Guide

Nessebar’s South Beach is where old and new meet. Sandwiched between Burgas and the popular Sunny Beach area, this serene beach offers a more low-key alternative, perfect for those ‘chill’ days. 

On one side, a rocky peninsula offers romantic, awe-inspiring views and connects to the mainland through a narrow jut of land. Take it all in as you enjoy a dip in the cool waters or sit back with an even cooler drink on the South Beach Bar’s shaded terrace as you look out over a little slice of heaven.

Have it all at Sunny Beach

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Just a 10-minute drive from the center of Nessebar, you’ll find a sandy haven of water sports, dunes, sun, and buzzing nightlife, otherwise known as Sunny Beach. A favorite among locals and tourists alike, the perfectly named Sunny Beach is a seaside resort that looks out over Bulgaria’s black sea coast. 

Get rowdy at the paintball park, or put your competitive side to the test at the go-kart track before finishing off the day at the water park’s many slides. 

Or, if you’d prefer, head northeast to the yacht marina at Sveti Vlas and take relaxing a trip through the seas.

And there you have Nessebar : It’s hard to imagine that such a small place could hold so much! Have fun exploring all that the wonderful Nessebar has to offer and be sure to visit some (if not all) of the locations listed above.

Where to stay in Nessebar?

Poseidon VIP Residence Club

The Poseidon apartment complex ideally located in the heart of old Nessebar will charm you: A true architectural masterpiece integrated in a neoclassical style, the details of this complex could not leave you indifferent. We were charmed by the beauty of the place, by the services offered and by the welcome we received.

Image source: The Traveller’s Guide

Arrived on site, we were warmly welcomed to take a tour of the premises. We started the visit with the fully equipped and modern apartment, the cleanliness of which is not to be discussed. The rooms are bright and large living spaces allow for a very comfortable stay. The room was spacious, comfortable and quiet: A great escape from the hubbub of everyday life. With a balcony on the ground floor, our moments on the terrace facing the vegetation of the garden were most peaceful and pleasant.

Images source: The Traveller’s Guide

Depending on the floor on which your apartment is located, you can enjoy a relaxing view, with or without a balcony, of the outdoor swimming pools and the hotel garden.

Image source: The Traveller’s Guide

An outdoor visit follows: We cross small shady, calm and pleasant alleys before discovering two swimming pools, each as beautiful and spacious as the other. The first swimming pool that we see is a magnificent lagoon swimming pool whose spaces can be privatized, which promises beautiful moments of intimacy as a couple or with friends. This is a VIP space that you can book independently.

Image source : Residenceclub

The second swimming pool of the complex is in free access. If you’re a fan of long swims, you’ll have all the space you could possibly want! You can relax on the deckchairs and enjoy the decor.

Image source: The Traveller’s Guide

In addition to the main swimming pool, the complex has a children’s pool and a playground which allows young and old to fully enjoy their holidays.

Image source : Residenceclub

By taking advantage of a stay in one of the aparthotels of the Poseidon complex, you can also take advantage of additional services:

  • Car rental service
  • Free Wifi
  • Restaurant
  • Free parking
  • Wellness center and SPA

Aphrodite Hôtel

If you’re looking for a ‘feet in the sand’ hotel, this hotel on Nessebar’s south beach is just what you need!

The hotel offers all the services you need to disconnect and feel good at your vacation spot.

Forget the hassle of everyday life: Drop off your car and enjoy your holiday to the fullest at this classically styled, full-service hotel, watersports nearby and just a fifteen-minute walk from the gates of Old Nessebar, along the beach.

The room we got is bright, spacious, comfortable and quiet. Picture yourself: You’ve just had a good night’s sleep in a clean space and a soft bed. You open the curtains and you come face to face with a breathtaking view of the sea and the horizon, just a few meters from you.

The magnificent view of the rooms with balcony and their proximity to the beach is certainly the biggest asset of this hotel. We took full view.

Image source: The Traveller’s Guide

Once out of your room, you can enjoy the restaurant offering an open and closed terrace with a view of the beach, or an indoor room to sip a drink or eat something.

We have taken advantage of this very practical and complete catering service several times. The hotel offers traditional Bulgarian cuisine, more classic European dishes and fish. You may even be lucky enough to come across a themed party: Fun and a good time guaranteed by the sea!

Image source: The Traveller’s Guide

The only concern you will have is to make a choice between the hotel swimming pool or the long sandy beach.

The Poseidon hotel has a medium-sized swimming pool always overlooking the sea. Deckchairs, parasols, drinks and attentive waiters: Everything is in place to make you spend a moment of complete relaxation.

Image source: The Traveller’s Guide

By taking advantage of a stay in one of the rooms of the Hotel Poseidon, you can also take advantage of additional services:

  • Relaxation centerSauna
  • Fitness room
  • Free Wifi
  • Free shuttle to Nessebar Aquapark
  • Car rental
  • Parking – 8BGN per day
  • Bike rental
  • Rental of deckchairs and parasols (swimming pool – free)
  • Rental of deckchairs and parasols (beach – for an extra charge)
  • Clothing and beach items shop

If you’re looking for a charming and affordable getaway, look no further than Nessebar. With its well-preserved old town and stunning beaches, this picturesque seaside town is the perfect destination for a relaxing vacation.