Artist Martin Stephenson

Martin Stephenson

Telephone 00359-887-227-161

Thank-you for your enquiry, about a painting holiday with me in beautiful Sozopol, Bulgaria.

Please find below all the information for your holiday, if you require anything further please e-mail or or telephone us on the number above.


My painting holidays run from mid June until mid October every year.


795 Euros per person for 7 nights bed and breakfast in a double/twin room in a 3 star family run hotel overlooking the sea, including 6 painting workshops. Not including flights or transfers.

Discounts for non-painting partners and guests willing to share a room.


Full Payment : via paypal 30 days prior to your holiday, or balance in cash on arrival.

Deposit : 150 euro secures your holiday.


Flights to Bourgas Airport from most regional UK Airports. The flight time is about 3 hours 15 minutes.


Transfer time from Bourgas to Sozopol is just  45 minutes, using our English speaking locally based taxi service.

Transfer Costs : 35 euro per taxi each way.


Whilst Bulgaria is in Europe, like the UK it has yet to adopt the Euro, though Euro or Sterling can be changed at thel banks in the Town into the local currency, Bulgarian Lev. There are also many cash machines around the Town.


Your accommodation is normally in a family run 3 star hotel overlooking the sea and St.Ivan Island in Old Sozopol, which is just a few minutes walk from the our Studio.

To see your hotel please click on the link

Alternative accommodation is also available, from self catering apartments, family run guest houses, right up to 5 star luxury hotels. If you would like a quote for other types of accommodation please let us know in advance of your booking.


Sarah & Martin

On arrival at your hotel, you will be met personally by your tutor Martin and the holiday manager Sarah, for welcome drinks. Sarah will also be collecting you on the first morning to show you the way to the Studio. Just a five-minute walk through the cobbled streets, if you are staying at Hotel Diamanti.



Your tutor Martin will demonstrate regularly during your holiday, and be on hand for critique as your course progresses.


Your six painting classes will be 4 hours long and start every day at 10am until 2pm with a break for refreshments half way through. All professional quality materials are provided, but feel free to bring your favourite materials if you prefer. The beginners watercolour course is studio based, as the weather in Bulgaria is typically Mediterranean so can get hot in the middle of the day. For those that have painted watercolours before you will know how important it is to be able to control the drying time, and the studio is air-conditioned, so is  perfect for beginners.

The materials you will be provided with are

300gm English Bockingford Rough Paper


Tintoretto Artist Quality tubes of watercolour paint. These will be for sale if you want to buy them during your holiday.


Artists quality brushes

The studio is well equipped, and stocked with alternative materials like , pastels, charcoal, goache, gesso etc etc. But if you want to request any other materials to work with please let me know beforehand. You will also have lightweight easels to use. In addition for those that want to paint plein air or back at the hotel, a kit can be provided for a small refundable deposit.

At the studio you will be provided with chairs, tables and easels for those that like to stand to paint.


A splash of Colour in Sozopol

The subject matter we will be painting will include Land and Seascapes, Still Life, Florals and of course the Old Wooden Houses in Sozopol. You will be experimenting with more advanced techniques as your holiday progresses.



Sozopol is an established holiday resort, and as such all tastes and budgets are catered for. Your Holiday Manager Sarah or I can point you in the right direction when you eat out. With it’s Greek roots, Sozopol has many fine Greek Restaurants, specialising in freshly caught fish from right opposite the Studio. Whatever your budget, value for money is always the case. And don’t forget those tomatoes in the local ‘Shopska’ salad. No doubt there will be one word of Bulgarian you will learn during your holiday and that will be when accompanying the local Rakia and that will be ‘Nazdrave’ which means cheers. Remember to look the person in the eye though when you do it, a local custom.


Kalithea Panorama

Sozopol is a former Greek Fishing port called Apollonia, and has a rich and ancient History, recorded in the many Museums and archeological sites. It also boasts a tradition for the Arts. Visitors coming at the end of August/Beginning of September will be thrilled by the Annual Apollonia Arts Festival, with concerts and Art Exhibitions. Sozopol has been a mecca for artists for many years, something reflected in it’s many art galleries.


Your afternoons and evenings are free and you will find plenty to do without even leaving the Old Town. Evenings are usually spent wandering the cobbled streets, among the Restaurants, Bars and Gift Shops. Maybe a late night movie at the open air cinema or an ice cream.

During the season you can also take the hydrofoil to ancient Nessebar another ancient port Town across Burgas Bay.

There are even natural healing mud baths over in Burgas, and they are completely free of charge. Float in the salt water, cover yourself in mud, roll in the sand, bake until cooked then plunge into the turquoise sea to wash it off. You will feel invigorated afterwards. If guests want to do this excursion Sarah and I will take you for a nominal extra fee. Whilst in Burgas you can even visit an art shop to stock up on those essential items.

The Natural Mud Baths in Burgas

So as you can see for painters and none painters alike Sozopol will be a feast for all your senses.

But it’s not all ‘Ye Olde Worlde’ here with many chic music bars, jazz clubs and two very modern yacht marinas, both with great night life, for those wanting to dance the night away.


The Boat Sozopol

During your holiday you can also indulge in yoga classes or massage therapies with Sarah, who has practiced her therapies for more for than 20 years around the World. Therapies available include Thai, Sports/Deep Tissue, Swedish, Indian Head Massage and Reflexology. Sarah’s Yoga and massages work around the painting classes, so it’s possible to do them too. Both Yoga and Massages are subject to extra charges. Check out Sarah’s stuff here.




On the final afternoon we will have a mini exhibition and critique at the Art Studio followed by an hours sunset cruise around the bay of Sozopol.


During your holiday you will have been given a link to download my e-book ‘Watercolours for Beginners’ to serve as a reminder of all you have learned. But it doesn’t end there I am always available even on skype if you get stuck or need some help and advice.

Copy of Final E-Book Cover Design

My teaching style is simple, informative and fun. My step by step techniques are geared to you learning in a progressive manner at a speed to suit you. My clients from all over the World come back time and time again for help with their watercolour journey.

They started with one simple step, their first lesson with me. I hope your own ‘journey’ will start in Sozopol with me in the near future. Even experienced painters have said ‘no one ever told me that’……

If you want to read about their experiences with me please read my blog by clicking on this link

The rooms  with sea views at Diamanti Hotel book up fast so it’s first come, first served. As Mr. Pontin used to say for his holidays ‘Book Early’..

Copy of Sarah

Sarah is the person in charge of bookings and logistics and you can book with her directly, or if you have any questions you can email her at or telephone her on the number at the top.

For general enquiries, if you would prefer, please use the contact form below.

We look forward to meeting you in Sozopol.

Martin and Sarah



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