Top 10 Reasons to visit St. Anastasia Island, Burgas
- Boat Trip
- Become an islander
Saint Anastasia is one of the most popular places to visit near Burgas. It is an unforgettable sea experience with interesting history, beautiful architecture and good food. There are fascinating legends and pirate stories about it. Saint Anastasia is the only inhabited island on the territory of the Bulgarian Black Sea. It is located in Burgas Bay. It is a volcanic rock island with an area of almost 9 decres and 12 meters high. The island is one of the best day trip destinations in the region. And here you will find 10 good reasons to visit Saint Anastasia – the most romantic place on the Black Sea coast!
1. Boat trip to St. Anastasia
Enjoy the unique sea experience on a boat! You can reach the island by boat, leaving from the Sea station in Burgas. They are departing on a schedule and buying tickets in advance (especially in summer) is recommended. Each journey takes between 30 – 40 minutes.
2. Learn about the mystery legends
There are many legends about the island, the most interesting of which is related to pirates who attacked the island and wanted to rob the monastery (It is believed that there was a golden treasure, buried on the island and protected by the ghost of a dead pirate). Then the monks hid in the holy cloister and prayed for rescue. They asked for help from the patron St. Anastasia. When she heard their prayers, she sent a terrible storm into the sea. The pirate ship sank with the pirates. Remains of the ship have stoned and nowadays can be seen on the coast of the island. More about the history of the island and other interesting legends, you can find out on spot, from our guide 😉
3. The Church & the Monastery
St. Anastasia is the only island in Bulgarian which has a church – “Assumption”. It is part of the monastery, which previously were there.
The earliest evidence of human living on the island dated back to the 4th – 6th centuries. The main part of the island takes the Monastery of “St. Anastasia Pharmacolithia” (Healer), dates back from the 15th century. During the years the monastery was burnt down a few times and attacked by pirates. The paintings are believed to date from the 14th century. The beautiful wooden iconostasis from 1802 year is worth seeing.
The monastery acted until 1923, and then it was reorganized into a prison for several years.
The church existed until 1923 and then was turned into a prison for a short time, where 132 communists and farmers were exiled. In 1925, 43 of the prisoners manage to escape with two rowing boats to Cape Chukalya and hide in Strandzha Mountain. One of the monastery parts was turned into a museum in their memory. Later it is turned into a hotel.
5. Visit a museum
In the monastery building, on the second stage, you can find an interactive museum exhibition, which describes the history of the Island.
The museum exhibition includes six rooms with different stages of the history of Saint Anastasia Island: The Treasury; “Ekamos” (shows the magical phenomenon- the bioluminescent effect of the plankton); The monastery; Prison cells; Saint Anastasia – gives information about the life of the patron of this place; Plus Ultra (from Latin – “From now on”) – the newest history of the Island.
6. You can spend the night on the island
If you wish to enjoy the romantic spirit for more than a day you have the opportunity to book a night on the Island. The accommodation rooms offer a beautiful view of Burgas Bay. The interior is designed to resume the atmosphere and the spirit of the past uniquely.
The rooms are 5 and divided into two different buildings – “Small monastery building” and “Large monastery building” which were part of the island’s monastery complex in the past.
7. Try local dishes
Do not worry if you get hungry in the middle of the sea! There is a restaurant on the territory of the island, called “100 Years Ago” which serves authentic cuisine with seafood prepared according to old monastery recipes and regional dishes from Burgas region.
The unique atmosphere will fascinate the guests with the regional traditions from the past to nowadays.
8. Buy herbs from the healing house
Saint Anastasia was a famous healer. That’s why on the island was built an authentic “Lekarna”. This is a healing house where you can enjoy a cup of aromatic tea or buy herbs, which are typical for the region. The “Lekarna” offers many natural products – hot drinks and lemonades; fresh cookies; fig jam and many more.
9. Enjoy the beautiful nature
Saint Anastasia Island is formed from volcanic rocks. The climate and seawaters have shaped interesting rock phenomenon, named after the form that they look alike – “Dragon”, “Petrified Ship”, “Gate of the Sun” and “Mushroom”. There is a small rocky beach and breathtaking views to Burgas Port, the Black Sea coast and the endless sea…
10. Live like an islander
In the 1960s and 1980s, St. Anastasia was the favourite place of the creative bohemians of Burgas. Don’t miss the opportunity to try the monastery restaurant or the herbal store with its teas and fresh juices. Feel the bohemian romance and immerse yourself in the life of islanders and local fishermen!