Visitor’s Guide To Getting By In Ravda, Bulgaria (Eating, Shopping, Buses, Banking, Gym)

Ravda, is a nice little town in the greater Burgas region of the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. It takes a little bit less of the limelight from the more popular and busy nearby resorts of Sunny Beach and Nessebar. But it’s still a great little town, but it does quieten down even more in the off season and a lot of places close down in September/October for the winter.

It’s still a great place to go though, and this article we’re going to give a practical guide for getting around and finding the key things you need in Ravda for a short or long stay (transport, buying food, eating out, exercise, speaking English etc).

We hope to give someone that’s just arrived in Ravda an easy guide to help them find their way around quicker and get to where they need to go. I must admit, when I first got here, it wasn’t immediately obvious where to find a lot of things, nor how to get to nearby towns, and English isn’t widely spoken here, so I hope this guide helps out people find their way around this town a bit easier.

Let’s get started!

The Central Square in Ravda

Let’s start with a good central point you can use as a reference point to know where everything is and get where you need to go.

Here’s the central square in Ravda, where the Guild Hall is:

This is a good central point to use; here’s what’s in all directions from there, as you face the Guild Hall:

Behind you – If you turn around from this shot and walk back down the road, it’s the last part of the main strip where all the bars/restaurants/takeaways are (including the popular Levant Fish Restaurant, plus if you go right down the end, you get to the Emerald Hotel Resort, plus the Rutland Beach/Rutland Bay apartment complexes, plus roads on your left that lead down to the coast/promenade.

To the left – To the left of this shot as you face the Guild Hall, there’s a small supermarket where you can get essentials, plus the bus stops going to and from Ravda. Also if you follow the main road that goes to the left of this shot, you’ll find a bank with an ATM to draw out cash, plus if you walk 15-20 minutes, you’ll find the larger Lidl supermarket plus a Masterhaus (DIY store).

Straight ahead – If you follow the road you’re on from this shot and just keep going past the Guild Hall, then you basically snake round for the next couple of miles, and there’s a bit more of the main strip of takeaways and restaurants. You keep going to Nessebar (2-3 miles), and then Sunny Beach (another couple of miles further on from Nessebar).

Center of Ravda Map

The red dot at the bottom is the center; the road to the right leads to Nessebar/Sunny Beach, the road up above goes to the Lidl, the road to the left goes back down to the end of the strip and the coast, and also the Emerald Resort/Rutland Beach/Rutland Bay complexes

Supermarkets In Ravda

Where to get food is one of the first concerns for when you land in Ravda, and there’s lots of options in the form of very small shops/off licences/supermarkets, all along the main strip before and after the Guild Hall.

But some of them are quite expensive, so your best bet within the centre of Ravda is the supermarket on the corner of the main square, just opposite from the Guild Hall picture above:

This is a decent supermarket with a lot of the essentials you’ll need, including toiletries, processed meat, snacks, cakes, beer, wine. And prices are reasonable from when I’ve used it. You’re better off going here than the smaller mini-shops along the strip, which can rip you off a bit.

There’s also a fresh fruit and veg stand just around the corner from here, round the back of the supermarket, and a butcher’s further along that road as well.

But if you want a larger supermarket with more choice, and especially fresh meat/fruit, then you need go to the Lidl, which is about a 15-20 minutes walk from this supermarket. Just walk straight up the main road that goes to your right from this shot (or to your left if you’re facing the Guild Hall) and eventually you’ll get to the Lidl at a crossroads.

If you moving on to nearby Sunny Beach, see our supermarket guide for there as well (there’s much more choice up there)

Where To Eat Out In Ravda

We need to split this into On-season (summer) and off season, because there’s a big difference and Ravda quietens down a lot in the autumn/winter/spring months, with lots of places closing down:

On season (May-September) – Basically, take your pick! There’s loads of places you can eat out – cheap restaurants, higher-end restaurants and fast food pizza/burger/kebab joints. All along the main strip which runs along the main road where the Guild Hall central square is, in both directions. If you’re wanting a higher quality, higher end option, try the Levant fish restaurant (heading back down the road away from the Guild Hall), or there’s another pricey but decent place just round the corner from the central supermarket, behind the children’s play area. Castello‘s is also a good pizza restaurant next to Levant, and stays open til late Sept/early Oct.

Off season (Sept/Oct-May) – In mid-September into October, many of the food places start to close down, so you’re only left with really a few options. The Levant fish restaurant stays open, as does the one next to the supermarket, but all the fast food places close down. Your options are much more limited in the off season, and you might need to walk or get the bus into Nessebar for more choice eating out, or buy food and eat in instead.

How Much English is Spoken in Ravda?

This is where it can be difficult when you first land in Ravda. I’ve done a guide on spoken English in Bulgaria as a whole, but specifically for Ravda, here’s a bottom line answer:

In general, English is not very widely spoken in Ravda, and you will need to use some basic Bulgarian words or point and gesture to get by in shops there. Some staff in the bigger restaurants and hotels may speak a little English, and the menus may also be in English, but other than than, not very many people speak English there.

You can definitely get by in Ravda just by using miming and pointing, but don’t expect very high levels of English fluency there, except in the places that attract a lot of tourists in the on-season. Staff at the Emerald Resort definitely do speak decent English, and there’s always someone that speaks at least a little English in the other medium sized hotels/resorts (Rutland Bay/Beach etc). They also speak a little English at Levant and Castello’s when they’re open, and also in local pharmacies sometimes.

But other than that, don’t expect many locals to speak English; you’ll get by a bit easier with some basic Bulgarian phrases like “dobro den” (good day). See our guide for more on this.

How Do Buses Work in Ravda?

This was something else that wasn’t immediately obvious when I first arrived in Ravda, and the bus timetables are also only in Bulgarian and not in English, which doesn’t help.

The main bus stops in Ravda are in the main square, next to and opposite the Guild Hall.

In the picture of the supermarket above, the bus stop right outside it is the line that leads from Ravda to Nessebar and Sunny Beach. The stop opposite this, outside the Guild Hall, is the line that leads away from Ravda towards Burgas/airport/Pomories. See the section below for more details.

This does mean that if you’re in the one of the resorts/hotels further down the strip heading away from the Guild Hall and towards the coast/promenade (Emerald Resort, Rutland Beach/Bay), you won’t have a bus line right outside your place. You will need to walk 10-15 minutes to the center square to catch the bus, which means you may need a short taxi ride if you’ve got a lot of luggage.

You pay for the bus when you get on it in Ravda. There’s usually a separate person on the bus from the driver, sat at the front when you get on, who takes payment. Just say where you’re going (Sunny Beach, Nessebar, Burgas etc) and they’ll print off a ticket and take payment from you. Ravda to Sunny Beach was 2.50 lev (about GBP/EUR 1.15-1.20) one way as of autumn 2022.

Again don’t expect very high levels of English from some of the conductors, but you can get by just by naming where you’re going and asking to see the receipt if you’re not sure on the cost.

Getting From Ravda To Nearby Towns (Nessebar, Sunny Beach, Burgas)

Again because the bus stop timetables are not in English, it can also be hard to figure out which way is which in terms of bus routes further up the Black Sea coast (towards Nessebar/Sunny Beach), and further down the coast (back towards Burgas and the airport).

Q. How do you get from Ravda to Nessebar/Sunny Beach by bus?

To get to Nessebar/Sunny Beach from Ravda, take the bus from the stop right outside the corner supermarket and opposite the Guild Hall on the main square. You pay when you get on; a one way trip is about 2.50 lev. Bus lines 7, 10 and 17 go from Ravda to Nessebar and Sunny Beach and run regularly throughout the day. It takes about 25-30 minutes to get from Ravda to Sunny Beach on the bus.

Check out the supermarket photo above; the bus stop right outside it is the one you need to go TO Nessebar/Sunny Beach. Nessebar is a few miles from Ravda, so it takes 10-15 minutes on the bus. Sunny Beach is a few miles further still and takes another 10-15 minutes from Nessebar.

Be careful coming back though, as the last bus from Sunny Beach is about 8pm, and they don’t always turn up on time either. Always check the last return bus when getting off. There is an information desk at Sunny Beach bus station where they might be able to help you with any questions.

And then the opposite bus line going in the other direction, it’s just the stop on the other side of the road:

Q. How do you get from Ravda to Burgas by bus?

To get to Burgas (Бургас) from Ravda, take the bus from the stop right opposite the corner supermarket and outside the Guild Hall on the main square. You pay when you get on; a one way ticket to Burgas costs 6.50 lev (about GBP/EUR 3). Bus lines 10 and 22 go from Ravda to Burgas, around every 30-40 minutes during the day, and the journey takes about 45-50 minutes.

Again, be careful to check the last times coming back when you get off, as buses don’t always run super late back to Ravda.

Also, the timetables are only in Bulgarian, and not English, which doesn’t help, but here are some common town names translated into Bulgarian, so you know what to look for:

  • Sunny Beach – Слънчев бряг
  • Ravda – Равда
  • Nessebar – Несебър
  • Burgas – Бургас
  • Pomorie – Поморие
  • Varna – Варна

Banks in Ravda

Again Ravda is quite a quiet town, so there’s aren’t loads of banks where you can draw out money. But there is one on the road that leads to the Lidl. If you stand facing the corner supermarket from across the road (pictured above) and go on the road to your right (or to your left if facing the Guild Hall), there is a proper bank with an ATM where you can draw out money just a little up this road.

Warning – There are yellow and blue branded ATMs all over the streets of Ravda, but DON’T use them unless you’re desperate, as they charge rip off fees. Go to a proper ATM instead.

Also, if you’re from one of the major English speaking countries (UK/USA/Canada/Australia), and are looking for a good bank card that allows you to draw out cheap in Bulgaria without fees, then check out Wise’s Borderless Card, which allows you to open Bulgarian lev balances and spend them for free on your card, and withdraw GBP/EUR 200 worth of lev per month for free at any bank ATM. See here for our post on this. A great option for travelers.

Gyms in Ravda

If you’re looking for somewhere to exercise while in Ravda, then the Emerald Hotel Resort is the best option I’ve found so far. It’s right at the end of the strip, heading back down and away from the Guild Hall center square as you look at it (see top picture above). There may be other options, but this is the one I’ve found so far.

It has a gym, sauna and indoor swimming pool plus lots of other spa/massage/general pampering options, and both guests and non-guests can use it. But be warned, prices aren’t the cheapest.

But if you’re wanting a place to go to exercise, ask at the reception at the Emerald Resort, and they’ll direct you down to the spa/gym down below, where you can ask about different membership or use options.

Price will vary depending on what you want to use, but as a general guide, be prepared to pay about 15 lev (GBP/EUR 6-7) to use the gym/pool as a one-off (day pass). You can get multi-visit passes that work for 10 visits that work out about 10 lev (GBP 4.50) per visit, or monthly memberships for around 130 lev (around GBP/EUR 55-60).

Weather & Climate in Ravda

The Black Sea Coast towns of Bulgaria do tend to have a milder climate than some inland areas, with the result that you have a pretty good climate most of the year round in Ravda, with only the first quarter of the year really cold. Otherwise, you tend to get pleasant to warm days most months of the year.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect in terms of weather in Ravda throughout the year:

  • Q1 – Jan-March – This is when it’s pretty cold in both the day and night, often down to single figure Celsius. Be sure to have coats and jumpers, and put some rugs down in apartments with hard floors to lessen the cold effect. You can still get pleasant, clear-blue-sky sunny days, but the temperature does still stay quite cold in the first quarter, as the sun is at it’s lowest point in the sky and you don’t get  many daylight hours.
  • Q2 – April – June – Starts to warm up again in April, with pleasant sunny days. From mid-May onwards, you’re back in the summer season, with warm days, going to hot in June. Stays warm at night as well.
  • Q3 – July-Sept – Fully in the summer season now, with very hot days (35+ Celsius) and doesn’t cool down that much at night either some days. Air conditioning is pretty widespread in Bulgaria, but you’ll need it this time of year. July and August are scorching hot, and you can even get summer like days (25-32 Celsius) in the first 3 weeks of September as well. Then at the end of September, it starts to slowly turn and go a bit cooler, though the days are still very nice. Starting to get a bit cooler at night though, but you can still sit outside no problem most nights.
  • Q4 – Oct – Dec – Heading into autumn, you can get still get very nice days (20-24 Celsius during the day) well into October, still plenty warm enough to sit outside and read books or sunbathe. Starting to go noticeably cooler at nights as well, but you can still sit outside with a jacket on at night well into October and it’s fine. During the daytime, you can still get nice days where’s it’s 20-22 Celsius and sunny right though November and even December. I’ve spoken to people who’ve even enjoyed 22 C in the day on Christmas eve. But in Nov-Dec, expect much lower night time temperatures – you can’t really sit outside at night in these months. But when the sun is out in the days, it’s still very pleasant.