|Coordinates: 42.069428, 27.968331
It is located within natural park Strandja very close to Sinemorets One of the most picturesque and beautiful places on the south Black Sea coast. It encompasses an area of 1511.2 ha around the mouth of Veleka River and the lower part of its catchment basin. It protects the valley of Veleka River, the nearly 500 m long sand split between the river mouth and the Black Sea coast. The split is several dozens of meters wide, which changes according to season and weather conditions. Often during winter and spring it is covered in flood waters from Veleka River. Interesting communities of rare plant species such as cottonweed, woundwort, sea carrot, coastal umbrell, etc. can be found here. On the river you can see the endangered species yellow water-rose (Burduche).
Over the protected area passes the European “highway” for birds – the migratory route Via Pontica. Outside the nesting season, here there are birds which use the wetland for wintering or resting during their flight such as small and large grebes, common cormorants, shags (a globally endangered species), and mute swans. Other bird species can be seen only in the sea near the coast – black-necked grebe, shags, red-crested pochard, shelduck, several species of gulls, etc.
There are 32 species of fish in Veleka River, 7 of which are included in the Red Book of Bulgaria – eel, carp, kutum, rainbow fish, three-spined stickleback, etc.
The protected area is part of Natural Park Strandja and also of Veleka – Rezovska rivers. It is defined as a priority wetland of national importance. The area is also part of the protected zone “Strandja” under the European Union Birds Directive from Natura 2000 network.
Conservationists are making great efforts for the protection of the area of mass construction. There are serious investor interest in this area, which is one of the last undeveloped corners of wilderness in southern Bulgarian Black Sea coast.
Popular tourist places to visit in the protected area are:
|Popular places for panoramic pictures of the mouth of the river. It can be reached in a few minutes on foot if on the left of the entrance
to the village, you take the trail leading to the popular crooked tree, distorted by strong winds, on the hill above the river. This spot reveals a beautiful view of the split, the mouth of the river, the beach to the northeast, and the green hills of Strandja to the northwest.
A walk along the sand split to the mouth of the river, good seasons – summer and autumn. Sometimes in spring the sand split is hard to reach because of the high waves and the disappearance of a small part of the beach under water (at the beginning of the sand split), as well as because of the large river spills. In good weather it can be reached easily on foot, going down a path to the beach in the northeastern part of the village (at the end of the last street).
A boat trip on the upper and lower reaches of the river – starts from the pier on the river on the right side, immediately after the bridge across the river before Sinemorets. The boat trip upstream gets to “Tzarskoto kladenche (well)” area
The pier below the bridge across Veleka River is also a suitable place for picnicking – there is a shelter which can seat 8 people and there is also a fireplace.
A walking geological route Ahtopol – the mouth of Veleka River. It takes about 2 hours. It starts from the port of Ahtopol or from the south end of the town and goes south following the beach curves, along the rocky hills above the beach. There are slight climbs followed by slight descents above the quiet bays. In May the hills are dotted with several species of orchids and many wild flowers. The trail gets to an observation area on the rocks above the mouth of Veleka River which reveals
beautiful panoramas. This is the end point of the route. There are two ways of going back to Ahtopol. One is to backtrack, and the other is to continue walking southwest, up along the river, and get to the bridge across Veleka, where you can take the asphalt road.