Primorsko: From Arkutino to the mouth of the Ropotamo River

As an alternative way to reach the mouth of the Ropotamo River, except for the hiking trail starting from Primorsko, there is also an eco-path whose start is at Arkutino Beach. Sequently is passing through Cape Caya and continues to the mouth. The path consists of an alternation of dunes and forest and the route is smooth and relatively flat. Along the way, you can see many rare sandy plants, moreover and the bizarre rock formations of Cape Kaya. This route belongs to Ropotamo Reserve.

How to reach the mouth of the Ropotamo River, Primorsko through Arkutino Dunes and Cape Kaya – map, route and GPX file  
Download GPX file

Length: 3.7 km

Displacement – 33m

Travel time – 1 hour in one direction

An appropriate and safe place to park the car is in the parking lot in front of the swamp Arkutino (7 km before Primorsko) or to use the parking lot in front of the hotel complex close to Arkutino Beach. The reason for that is because there is nowhere to park at the start of the hiking trail.

The parking lot in front of the swamp Arkutino observed in the direction of Sozopol - Primorsko. To the right is the swamp and to the left is the Arkutino resort.
The parking lot in front of the swamp Arkutino observed in the direction of Sozopol – Primorsko. To the right is the swamp and to the left is the Arkutino resort.

The swamp Arkutino

Also, a visit the hiking trail in the summer can combine with a visit to the Arkutino swamp. Translated from Greek, it means “The Bear’s Swamp” (αρκούδα – meaning bear). Its location is close to the main road, behind the parking lot.

For the purpose of tourist walks, there is a specially constructed bridge that crosses the marsh.

Due to heavy rainfall in recent years, populations of white water lilies have declined sharply, and now the surviving plants are quite far from the bridge. If you want to photograph them, it is advisable to have a camera that zooms in at least four times. The marsh belongs to the territory of the Ropotamo Reserve.

Flowering white water lily (Nymphaea alba) photographed in July at the Arkutino swamp. The photo was taken with a telephoto lens with 5x optical zoom. Depending on the climatic conditions, flowering may continue until the autumn.

There are two options for joining the hiking trail leading to the mouth of the Ropotamo River – to go along the asphalt road in the direction of Primorsko or to go along the sandy strip of Arkutino Beach. As can be seen, in the GPX file above, there are both routes – going on the asphalt, returning through Arkutino beach. Below there is a description of each of the options.

1. The first possibility – walking along the asphalt road

Further on, one has to walk 700 m with caution along the main asphalt road Sozopol-Primorsko, due to the passing traffic of cars. The start of the eco-trail is with a slot in the traffic barrier looking like this:

The beginning of the hiking trail leading to the mouth of the Ropotamo from the main road

There is also a plate with a map of the Ropotamo Reserve, that shows the route.

Protection of the Ropotamo Reserve

From this point is the entry into the Reserve, and that requires the observance of specific rules: forbidden lighting a fire, camping, plant cutting, going out of the defined hiking trails, disturbing of wild animals and driving with a motor vehicle.

For more details, or if you intend to carry out particular activities other than a simple tourist walk, see this page with links leading to the full text of the laws and exact borders.

Route description

Further, there is a walk through the dunes of Arkutino Bay, where can see the rare plants Sea wormwood, Seaside eryngo, Sea daffodil and more.

The dunes of Arkutino Bay
 Sea wormwood – Artemisia maritima
Sea wormwood – Artemisia maritima. It is a sand plant up to 1 m high. It is used in the pharmaceutical industry; a high-dose application can be toxic.

 Seaside eryngo ( Eryngium Maritimum).It is a protected species under the Biological Diversity Act of Bulgaria. Flowering is July-October.
Seaside eryngo ( Eryngium Maritimum).It is a protected species under the Biological Diversity Act of Bulgaria. Flowering is July-October.
Sea daffodil - Pancratium Maritimum
Sea daffodil – Pancratium Maritimum. It is a protected species under the Biological Diversity Act of Bulgaria. Flowering is in July.

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2. The second option – transition along Arkutino beach

This option is related to a walk about 1 km along Arkutino Beach. Walking in the sand may not be as pleasant, but it is much safer than moving along the main road with passing cars, which is described above. Here can see sandy plants and stunning views of Cape Kaya

 A walk along Arkutino Beach in the direction of Cape Kaya
A walk along Arkutino Beach in the direction of Cape Kaya
The beginning of Cape Kaya’s eco-trail

After the dunes, there is a forest area on Cape Kaya
Cape Kaya and Ropotamo River
A view of Cape Kaya from another perspective.
To the left is the Ropotamo River and to the right is Cape Kaya.

As this point is the entry to the Cape Kaya forest, in fact, it is the entry into the territory of Ropotamo Reserve. The wood is the boundary between Arkutino Beach and Ropotamo Reserve.

Accordingly, entry into Reserve requires the observance of the rules mentioned above: forbidden lighting a fire, camping, plant cutting, going out of the defined hiking trails, disturbing of wild animals and driving with a motor vehicle.

For more details, or if you intend to carry out particular activities other than a simple tourist walk, see this page with links leading to the full text of the laws and exact borders.

This forest is a habitat of the Windflower, Fritillaria pontica and the Butcher’ s-broom, as can learn from the information boards.

The forest of Cape Kaya, Ropotamo Reserve
Walk along narrow but walkable paths through bushes called Butcher’ s-broom
Windflower - Anemone pavonina
Windflower – Anemone pavonina. A representative of Mediterranean flora. Flowering – March – April, occurs in oak forests and meadows. Protected species under the Bulgarian Biodiversity Act.

Butcher's-broom - Ruscus aculeatus
Butcher’s-broom – Ruscus aculeatus – Evergreen and shade-loving plant. The colours appear in the period February-April. It is widespread in the Ropotamo Reserve, but is generally rare and prohibited from tearing in Bulgaria.

Cape Kaya

The name Kaya itself comes from Turkish and means stone. An explanation for this is the Cape looked from the sea stands out between the dunes from both sides.

Cape Kaya, Ropotamo Reserve, Primorsko, Bulgaria
View of the Rocks of Cape Kaya along the hiking trail
Cape Kaya from another perspective
Cape Kaya from another perspective

At the end of the forest, you will find yourself again on dunes. After walking on the sand, will reach the mouth of the Ropotamo river.

The sand strip and dunes before the mouth of the Ropotamo River
The sand strip and dunes before the mouth of the
Ropotamo River
 The sand strip before the mouth of the Ropotamo River
The idea of putting their towels on the beach seems appealing to some tourists. Also, in some travel guides, wrongly, this place is mentioned as a “beach”. Accordingly, it is a common practice for visitors in the summer to combine the walk with a beach stay.

Unfortunately, it is good to know that because the beach stripes are part of Ropotamo Reserve, according to the order in it, stay for bathing and sunbathing is forbidden!

The mouth of the Ropotamo River

Unlike the asphalt road, you will find yourself here on the north side of the Ropotamo estuary. The only way back is the reverse, because its impossible to cross the river. The reason for this is the great depth of the river.

The mouth of Ropotamo River
The mouth of Ropotamo River
Fishers prepare themselves for fishing in the bays near the mouth of Ropotamo River
Fishers prepare themselves for fishing in the bays near the mouth
Fishing boats at the mouth of Ropotamo River
Fishing boats

Many fishing boats come here in the spring and fall when the seawater around is rich in fish.

If you come in the summer – then you can combine this walk with sunbathing on Arkutino beach, which is one beautiful place.

Another way to get to the mouth of the Ropotamo River is to walk across the Reserve after you enter the town of Primorsko.

After coming back to Arkutino Beach, there are some other suggestions to diversify your holiday in the area.

What else to see around the Arкutino Beach

In the south direction, you can try the following suggestions:

  1. Boat trip along the Ropotamo River. The point where the boats start is 4.5 km from here in the direction of Primorsko
  2. The town of Primorsko (8.5 km), its beaches and museum
  3. Ancient Thracian sanctuary Beglik Tash (13 km)
  4. Ropotamo Reserve and the many hiking trails around forest and sea (14 km)

In the north direction, can try the following suggestions:

  1. The wild “Chauffeurs’ Beach” in Alepu area (3.5 km)
  2. Rock Formation, similar to a fjord, at Cape Agalina (8 km)
  3. Sozopol City with its beaches and historical sites (13 km)

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