We arrived in Burgas, it was mid June and already hot with the temperature in the late twenties. The first thing that struck me was the laid back atmosphere, I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting it but it felt like Spain or anywhere else in the Mediterranean.
The car rental desks in the airport were closed until 10am at which point the staff arrived looking casual and relaxed. They slowly organised themselves and when ready, opened up their shutters so we could talk to them. Picking up the car was straightforward and within half an hour we were on our way to Sozopol. On route we stopped at a supermarket to pick up some supplies, a good idea if you have an apartment as it’s cheaper than buying from the smaller local shops. Water, bread, salami and some beers loaded in the car and we were off. Half an hour drive and we reached Sozopol. I was immediately in love with the place, we had stunning views of the sea as we drove to the hotel and I couldn’t wait to explore. After a few wrong turns we arrived at our home for the week, Green Life Beach Resort, around 3kms from Sozopol. We’d booked a one bedroom apartment there which was incredibly good value for money. We weren’t particularly close to the centre of Sozopol but there was a beach nearby and private swimming pools, plus we had a car so were happy to be out of the busier centre.
The apartment was perfect and had a great view from the balcony of one of the swimming pools. We immediately changed into our beach clothes and headed out to get lunch and explore the area. We stopped at one of the restaurants on the beach for lunch and enjoyed some local cuisine, tarator, a cold cucumber soup and tsatsa which are small white fish fried whole and served with fries (and often accompanied with a Bulgarian beer like Zagorka). Full from lunch it was time to relax on the beach. Another surprise for me was how beautiful the white sandy beaches were. Also quiet if you compare to most of the other European destinations, I was in heaven, a whole week of good cheap food and gorgeous beaches.
The moment that I truly fell in love with Sozopol and Bulgaria, was when we went out for dinner on our first evening. We’d parked the car and were walking along the old cobbled streets. The weather was perfect, the atmosphere relaxed and the place, well, it was simply beautiful. So many buildings caught my eye and I found myself looking at everything, trying to take it all in. I admired the trinkets and souvenirs on sale in the narrow streets and I couldn’t resist buying the local rose products when I learned that Bulgaria is one of the largest producers of rose oil in the world.
We had a romantic dinner by the sea, fresh grilled fish and this time with delicious Bulgarian wine. There was a cool breeze, I could hear the sound of the waves gently crashing to the shore and this was when I said “I’ve found a little piece of heaven on earth”. I couldn’t believe that this place wasn’t crowded with thousands of tourists; it’s cheaper than everywhere else in Europe and has everything you could wish for. Was it a secret? After dinner we strolled slowly again through the town, buying ice creams from a small stall and stopping to take photographs. I was happy and sad at the same time, I knew I had 6 more days of this to come but I also knew right then I would never want to leave, I would enjoy every second of my lazy days in Sozopol!