Bulgaria

Hiking around Bulgaria: 3 cities, lakes and a wild beach on a spit

Hiking around Bulgaria
Hiking around Bulgaria

At the beginning of our holiday in Bulgaria we included a day’s walking tour. Just imagine – going 19 kilometers along the coast, visiting three new small towns and doing a lot of sight-seeing and visiting the Lake Pomorie.

As a reward for such a tiresome walking activity, we swam on a wild beach on a spit, healing themselves with the lake’s black sand and enjoying its surprisingly clean and warm water.

Yes, the walks may be exhausting but we will never forget the experience, for sure.

Advantages and disadvantages of hiking routes

About advantages and disadvantages of hiking routes
About advantages and disadvantages of hiking routes

Like any other rest, hiking has its own advantages and disadvantages, especially in comparison to traditional tours or independent tourism by public transport.

The advantages:

  • Significant savings.
  • Aerobic activity — it gets your body working and helps in reducing several illnesses and conditions such as obesity, heart attack and stroke/
  • An opportunity to experience the beauty of the country.
  • An opportunity to explore the townsfolk and their way of life and customs.
  • A chance to go “off the beaten path” and explore sights that are not frequently visited by tourists or are not mentioned in travel books and guides. This makes your walking tours a lot more interesting and unforgettable.
  • Finding a piece of quietness and solitude, away from the noise and escaping life’s every day stresses.

The disadvantages:

  • Altitude sickness (especially if you have gotten used to low altitude places).
  • It is usually physically demanding.
  • You can be at high risk to injuries and sickness especially if your body is not properly conditioned before the hike.
  • No medical assistance in sight, so you can count only on yourself if something unfortunate happens on you and your hiking companions.

Our route: Nessebar – Ravda – Aheloy – Lake Pomorie – Pomorie

Our route Nessebar - Ravda - Aheloy - Lake Pomorie - Pomorie
Our route Nessebar – Ravda – Aheloy – Lake Pomorie – Pomorie

We got out right after breakfast at 8 AM and went to Ravda, a fairly large resort village about 3 kilometers from Nessebar. From Ravda we went by foot to Aheloy, and then – to a spit.

We arrived at the spit at about noon, and stayed there for several hours. The water was very warm and clean.

Then, off we went to small march to Pomorie, doing sightseeing and then finally going back to our hotel by a public bus (we arrived “home” in the evening).

Our advice: if you want to try to repeat our walk, be sure to plan it on the first days of vacation – it is very exhausting, we would definitely not have gone anywhere on the tenth day of our rest.

If desired, you may well do the opposite: go from Pomorie to Nessebar and then take a walk in the city during the evening — it is fantastically beautiful at this moment.

Essential items for your hiking trip

What is required to take for this independent tour
What is required to take for this independent tour

First of all, you should dress accordingly to this activity, such as long-sleeved shirts and headdresses that will protect you from the sun and other natural elements such as the wind, insect bites or plants with sting or venom, etc. Remember that you’ll be outdoors for several hours, and there are areas where the is no shade at all. Additionally, you may want to wear a good pair of sunglasses to keep your eyes protected from the glare and dust carried by the wind.

As you will go along the way, it is highly likely that you will encounter some pretty landscapes, so we know you could not afford to forget your camera or video camera. But anyway, almost everyone has a smartphone and all smartphones have a built-in camera. But if you want to level up your photography game, you might as well want to bring your high-quality DSLR camera or a GoPro to capture all the action.

Let’s get back to the most basic essentials. Do not forget to bring a bottle of water, light snacks or a small portable picnic set. Of course, you don’t want to bring loads of food and drink or else they will bog you down in your climb, but make sure that you have enough to help you go through a day’s outdoor adventure.

Also, make sure to bring towels, sun shades, visors and bathing suits — on the way you will see a lot of different beautiful beaches. You may be overwhelmed by the sight of the water that you probably want to go for a dip!

Also, make sure that you bring enough money — you will need it the most for your journey back to your hotel. Bus tickets cost 3 to 3.5 levs depending on the stops.

Do you really need a navigator?

How to use a navigator along a way and whether is it needed at all
How to use a navigator along a way and whether is it needed at all

Generally speaking, you do not really need a navigator at all. You will never get lost as you are constantly move along the coast, follow your companions on your paths and don’t turn in any other direction. However, a navigator can help.

We used SitiGid Navigator with free map of Bulgaria. We highly recommend you that you choose to display the main tourist attractions and places for photos, so that you can find more places quickly (which will be discussed later).

As a conclusion: the direction of movement will be clear to you constantly. You just need to go ahead, leaving the sea on your left. The navigator will also help you better define the remaining travel time and find interesting sights.

The resort village of Ravda – excellent beaches but few attractions

It is really not difficult to get to Ravda. It is necessary to pass a few kilometers along the highway. If you turn the road to the left, you will be able to soak up the sun on one of large, semi-wild beaches. We decided in the morning, when it is not so hot, to pass a maximum distance.

After 10 to 15 minutes we started in the suburb of Ravda with one of the city’s bus stops. There are good hotels (mostly four-star ones) even in the suburb.

In the city there is nothing really interesting and curious. During a short walk we were able to find only one lovely fountain and a small church, which, unfortunately, was closed.

So you can only check out and admire lovely modern hotels, have your fill at cozy restaurants and buy an item or two at souvenir shops. The city has a water park.

Ravda seemed to as very green, but it was not exactly a very shady town. In Nessebar streets are clearly narrower, but more shady. Ravda doesn’t have that much trees, but you can find a large number of several different plants and flowers.

As for the prices of Ravda — they are almost the same as in Nessebar, but slightly lower than in Sunny Beach – it is purely a resort village which mainly puts its focus on tourists.

Having decided to allocate another half an hour, we walked to a beach. It is located in 5-7 minutes from the city center.

The first beach we visited was Academica, located closer to Nessebar. The total length of the protected area is 330 m, but the beach was much bigger. Paid sun beds and sunshades occupy about half of the territory. The remaining space is allocated for holidaymakers on towels. Some travel reviews websites write about the huge number of rotting algae on the beach, but this information is outdated already. We didn’t find any algae there; instead, we saw nothing but clean beaches so it is clear that the most of the algae have been removed.

Prices at the beaches of Ravda are a bit lower than in Nessebar. Sunshades and sun beds, for example, cost 6 levs instead of 8. You can see the rescue team in their posts, sunshades and sun beds ready to be rented and a dedicated corridor for water sports.

If you walk a little further south, you can find another beach, much more green, but a little spontaneous. It is called the South Beach of Ravda. You’ll have to go down to the beach for a long time. At the resort you can find changing cabins, sun beds and sun shades for rent, a massage, shower rooms and rescue workers in their posts.

Aheloy – a small town but a lot of luxurious hotels

We didn’t get to walk along the beaches in Aheloy as there were large pebbles and there was no passage. There are two options to get to Aheloy —  either to walk along the dirt road along the beach, or to get to the highway far away from the beach. It takes you to the city.

We chose the first option. Walking on the dirt road along the coast, you will arrive in Aheloy as quickly as 15 minutes. Had we chosen to go to the highway, we would have arrived at about 45 minutes.

We only chose to see hotel complexes along the coastal strip. In

During this walk we did not go directly to Aheloy, it is located 15 minutes walk from a coast. So we choose to see only hotel complexes near a coastal strip. In contrast to popular resorts of Sunny Beach or Golden Sands, the beaches in Aheloy are not so crowded and beautiful. You can enjoy doing fun activities there without getting bothered by large crowds.

The hotels in Aheloy are not located on the coastal strip, but they are surrounded by untouched nature. So it is really interesting to walk far from Aheloy.

hiking in Bulgaria
A beach in Aheloy

Wild beaches near Aheloy

Just beyond the luxury hotels you can find beautiful wild beaches with a small and modest camping site. Nearby you can see a small area of the plant, where the salt is evaporated from the lake. You can also look at wooden houses, where the locals like to rest.

From this point, the sand on the beaches became black, which people consider it to have healing properties. The black sand is reputed to be beneficial for the muscles and the bones. You can see visitors smearing themselves with the black mud from head to foot. Do not hesitate and get yourself some curative mud –it is safe and clean. Only in Lake Pomorie you can get free curative mud.

Lake Pomorie and a spit between Aheloy and Pomorie

Walking on the sand along the coast was quite difficult and rather tedious. So we thought we might go up the damn, where there was a pretty good dirt road. However, it turned out that climbing up there was pretty difficult because the dam had rather big rocks which we had to literally crawl up to the top.

Healing mud, rare species of birds and plants

Once we reached the top of the dam, we noticed right away that there were many people swimming in the lake, fishing and smearing their own bodies with mud obtained straight from the lake.

It is best to go to Lake Pomorie during the windy weather, which occurs especially during the afternoon. In the morning the winds are not that strong enough to keep you protected from the swarming mosquitoes.

Lake Pomorie has lots of natural treasures to offer. There you can see rare species of plants (you can read about that on the information/notice board that’s erected beside the lake) as well as a large species of birds, including waterfowl. For instance, we saw lots of birds which included gulls, swans with little nestlings, pelicans, cormorants and herons.

With all the wonderful sights of flora and fauna, bringing your camera is absolutely a must, especially a digital camera with a powerful zoom. You should also bring a pair of binoculars that will allow you to watch the birds more closely, but from a comfortable distance.

Wild beaches on a spit with black healing sand

The main charm of this walk proved to be a wild beach on the spit of Pomorie. Just imagine: perfectly clean and warm waters. You can do a lot of things there including sunbathing, swimming, having a picnic or just relaxing.

While people have gotten used to the usual white-sand beaches, here in this beach in Pomorie the sands here are black. There are also seashells which you can pick up and gather; some of these seashells were still live.

Since this area is considered a wild beach, it is not quite commercialized. A lot of people would like sunbathe nude. If you walk closer to Pomorie, you can see several nudist beaches. It is the perfect place to rest and relax comfortably by your lonesome.

We had a little picnic, ate purely Bulgarian products: tasty cheese, bread, and even inexpensive sausages. We advise you to bring along at least a couple of bottles of water, as you need lots of it after a tiring walk.

hiking in Bulgaria
The main part of Pomorie

Pomorie – one of the best resorts in Bulgaria in terms of price and quality

We got to Pomorie fast enough, because we had a rest on the beach. Where the braid ends and start wooden vacation houses are often sold healing mud in bottles. If you do not want to extract it by yourself – you can buy it.

Near the city there is an area where it is necessary to go by an asphalted road. There’s no shade, and the sun burns unmercifully. So it is better to pass this part of the road as quickly as possible. On the other hand in this place can be seen swans.

At the beginning of our journey, the city seemed to us too modern, everything was actively built up with high-rise buildings, but the further we went deep into Pomorie, the more beautiful it became.

It should be said, that the city is divided into two unequal parts – the new city, located on the mainland and the old part, in the form of an island connected to the mainland by two rather narrow isthmus. Of course, in the old part, on the outskirts, you can find a lot of new buildings, but closer to the center the city becomes more beautiful and romantic.

The central street of the city is called Knyaz Boris I street (by the way, in almost every Bulgarian city there is a street with the same name). It’s quite a wide pedestrian avenue with lots of shops, restaurants and cafes. Here you can sit in a nice park, watching kids playing at a playground. Near the park there is the Church of the Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary, which we will discuss a bit later.

In Pomorie are a lot of parks, greenery and shadow. There is almost no noisy nightclubs. The city is more suitable for a measured family vacation. In the city are living a lot of children, there is a cinema. Here are regularly held concerts of various national ensembles, choreographic collectives, as well as pop stars arrive.

Attractions of Pomorie – what can be seen in the city and nearby?

In terms of attractions, Pomorie is not too rich. Walking through the streets of the city, you can see a lot of nice old buildings, small monuments, gazebos.

Besides of lovely old town and a few paid museums, here you can see the Monastery of St. George (it is located in the new part of the city, we recommend) and the Thracian tomb (located outside the city, we do not advise). During this trip we did not got there, but visited the other day.

In the old part of the city will be interesting to look at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, located near the central park and wander through charming medieval streets of the city.

If you still have any strength, you can visit local beaches. They are quite beautiful and well maintained. Prices of sun beds and sunshades are certainly lower than in Golden Sands, Sunny Beach and Nessebar.

Prices in shops and restaurants – cheaper than in Nessebar and Sunny Beach

Prices in Pomorie are significantly lower than in Nessebar and Sunny Beach. Even in the most central streets. Of all the resorts we visited in Bulgaria exactly in Pomorie we had acquired most of souvenirs.

All this is also true for restaurants – where you can eat 3-4 times cheaper than in the town of Nessebar and portions are much larger.

We advise to read: a separate article about the town of Pomorie.

A way back by bus – timetable and prices

Our return journey began at a bus station in the old part of the city. It was a bit more expensive (a ticket to Nessebar and Sunny Beach cost us 3.5 levs), than from the bus station of the new city (only 3 levs). And buses from here go much less often.

But there are also advantages. Firstly, right next to the station there is a big fruit market with very low prices. Every time we would to Pomorie, we would buy something here. Fruits can be washed directly on the market in a special fountain.

Prices for fruits at the market are very different. The cheapest peaches will cost 0.8 levs  and the most expensive being 4.5. However, even cheap fruits are always delicious and you can choose the ones that are not rotten yet.

Check out another article: a bus schedule from Pomorie to other cities of Bulgaria.

Closer to 6 pm we went home – we were very tired. Our bus reached to our destination in all of 20 minutes. From a bus window, we could not only enjoy seeing the route, but also had the chance to view at Lake Pomorie from a completely different side.

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