Leaving Varna on our way south to Nessebar, we pass by the the Kamchia Nature Reserve that covers the lower stream of the Kamchia river. Because of its importance for biodiversity, the reserve is included in the global network of UNESCO biosphere reserves. The dense riverine forests are especially rich in birdlife, with the Black Sea migration flyway Via Pontica passing over.
On our way we stop to visit the late-antiquity fortress located on Cape St. Atanas in the town of Byala. It is more than just a fortress – here are the remnants of a whole port city, the life in which visitors can imagine thanks to huge colorful panels with scenes from the past. The picture is complemented by several very well-preserved sections of the city. During the excavations of the fortress many of the important buildings were found – a central street with shops, studios and pubs, three ancient wineries, a public bath, kilns for the production of ceramic vessels, a church complex, residential buildings. Its location is such that a beautiful panoramic view of sea and coast spreads around.
Reaching ancient Nessebar, we start our visit at the Archaeological Museum. It is an excellent place to get a grasp on history. With a solid collection of artefacts from the 3,000 years of the town’s existence, it covers six distinct cultures: Eneolithic, Thracian, Ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Bulgarian. Although the Archaeological Museum is not large, the quality of the collection offers an insightful look at the various stages of Nessebar’s development. The permanent exhibition “Nessebar Down the Centuries” takes you step by step through the tale of the town’s place at the crossroads of civilisations. While it displays exquisite golden jewelry, imposing marble reliefs, refined pottery, and splendid pieces of art, there’s much more to discover as you look deeper.
The maze of cobblestone streets encourages aimless wandering through this historic city, contained within a small rocky peninsula jutting out into the Black Sea. Once you enter the narrow gate in the ancient fortress wall, you’ll find yourself in a remarkable neighbourhood with memories from thousands of years of civilization. The trading atmosphere lives on with street vendors selling art and handicrafts throughout the town.
As this is a private tour, it may be easily customized to include wine tasting, birdwatching, scenic drive back to Varna or a combination of all these.
Duration of the tour: 8 – 10 hours