Sveti Ivan


The largest Bulgarian island in the Black Sea (0.7 sq km), Sveti Ivan lies 3km north of Sozopol's old town. The island's history stretches back to Thracian and Roman times, and includes a monastery from the 4th century AD. Sveti Ivan made international headlines in 2010 with the purported discovery of the remains of St John the Baptist. There are no scheduled excursions to the island, but private trips can be arranged along the Fishing Harbour (from around 60 lv).

Sv Ivan is also an important bird sanctuary, with some 70 species of birds reported here. Visits are restricted during the spring nesting season.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Sozopol attractions

1. Church of Sveta Bogoroditsa

0.93 MILES

This 15th-century church was built below street level, as required at the time by the Ottoman rulers. Set in a courtyard with a giant fig tree, it is one…

2. Church of Sveti Georgi

0.97 MILES

This attractive church boasts a fine painting of St George and the Dragon over the entrance and an impressive 19th-century iconostasis. The custodians…

3. Southern Fortress Wall & Tower Museum


This museum occupies a former granary and part of the fortification walls of the medieval town, dating from the 5th century AD. At this time, Sozopol was…

4. Fishing Harbour

1.04 MILES

Boats line up picturesquely along the fishing harbour, along the western edge of the peninsula. Many of the boats can be chartered for short-term…

5. Archaeological Museum


Housed in a drab concrete box near the port, this museum has a small but fascinating collection of local finds from its Apollonian glory days and beyond…

6. Sveti Zosim Chapel


This small working church in the shady gardens opposite the bus station was built in 1837, on the foundations of a much older structure. Dedicated to the…

7. St Anastasia Island

7.39 MILES

This small volcanic island makes for a fun day of exploring. The island, which has served as a religious retreat, a prison and pirate bait (according to…

8. Preobrazhenie Gospodne Church

8.35 MILES

This most atmospheric of the town's churches is located in the oldest part of the settlement, on the far eastern end of the outcropping. The church dates…