Cruise Port Atlas | Nessebar, Bulgaria Day Trips | Attractions

Nessebar, Bulgaria Day Trips | Attractions

Alternate Spellings: Nesebur, Nessebur, Nesebar

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Nessebar: Star Clippers, Voyages of Discovery, Windstar, Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea, Cunard, Princess

Key Attractions: St. Sophia Basilica, St. Stephans (New Bishopric), Christ Pantocrator, St. Spaas, Sunny Beach, Aquapark, Nessebur Archaeological Museum

Byzantine ChurchesBishops Throne in St. Stephens Church of Nessebur

Port to St. Stephans - .5 KM, 7 minute walk
Port to all other churches - no more than 20 minutes from the port

The largest church in Nessebur is the St. Sophia Basilica, which is also one of the earliest, built in the 6th century AD and rebuilt in the 9th.  All that remains are the side walls and the liturgical end with its semi-circular apse where the altar would have once stood.  The church is sometimes known as the Old Bishopric.

The most important church that contains many of the historic and artistic features is St. Stephans (also called the New Bishopric).  The building was first constructed during the period of the 11-13th centuries, but much of the interior decoration is from a wide range of later dates.  There are more than 250 murals inside illustrating biblical stories.  In addition, there is impressive furniture carved from wood, such as the bishop's throne (right).

The most photographed is the Christ Pantocrator Church (below) because of its good condition and stunning exterior brickwork.  The interior is now a commercial art gallery.

The small St. Spass Church was built during Ottoman rule.  Our guide explained that the plain exterior was the result of Turkish persecution.  The interior has a more rustic feel than St. Stephan.  Its walls are covered with  paintings of the life of Christ and Mary.

Photos by JM

Christ Pantocrator Church

Icons, Carvings and Wall Paintings   Byzantine Architecture   World Heritage Site  

Uneven surfaces and hills    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Sunny BeachSunny Beach

Port to Sunny Beach - 6 KM, 15 minutes

Sunny Beach was first constructed during the Soviet era beginning in 1958.  It is now the largest resort area in Bulgaria with massive hotels and condos, water parks, wide beaches, entertainment facilities (including Bulgarian music and dancing), discos, bars and restaurants.  For those who are cruising to relax who are not interested in historical sites, this is a lovely beach area as long as you are not looking for serenity.  There are lots of activities for children in the area including 2 Aquaparks, one due west of Nessebur and the other in the northwest part of Sunny Beach itself.  Paintball and Kart-Racing are also popular attractions.

The name says it all!   Views of the Black Sea   Sun and Fun  

Strenuous Walking    No Wheelchair Accessibility

Photo by JM 

Icon in the Archaeological Museum

Archaeological Museum

Port to Museum - .5 Km, 6 minute walk

The Nessebur Archaeological Museum was established in 1956 and moved to its present facility in 1994.  Though small, the collection is impressive and includes artifacts from the prehistoric era as far back as the 12th century BCE, the Thracian era, the Greek colonial era, and Byzantine times.  My favorite part of the display was the icons on the lower floor, which show works from the 13th - 19th century.  At right is an icon of Christ from the 17th century.  During the Ottoman era a school for icon painters was established in Nessebur and some of their works are included in the collection.

Icons, Carvings and Wall Paintings   Byzantine Architecture  

Flat Walking    Not Wheelchair Accessible

Photo by JM

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible