Bulgarian Saint-Tropez: Saint Vlas and its attractions
Saint Vlas (Sveti Vlas) is a small town in Bulgaria, located on the Black Sea coast. Since 1963 — climatic sea resort. Now there are a little over 4,000 people living in Sveti Vlas, and 40% of real estate belongs to citizens of Russia and other republics of the former USSR.
History of Saint Vlas
The first settlement on the territory of modern Sveti Vlas appeared in the II century AD. It was a Thracian settlement called “Larisa”. The city received its modern name in the XIV century in honor of Blasius of Sebastia, a Christian saint, patron of livestock.
In the XIV — XVIII centuries there were several Orthodox monasteries destroyed by the Ottomans.
During the period of Turkish rule, the settlement bore several different names, the name Sveti Vlas was returned to him only in 1886.
Until 1920, mostly Greeks lived in the village, but after a series of wars, Bulgarian families from different regions of Bulgaria appeared in it. The Greeks moved to Western Thrace, transmitted by that time of Greece.
A new stage in the history of Sveti Vlas began in 1963, with the opening of the climatic resort here. The next revival comes in the 2000s, during the period of intensive development of the Black Sea coast. The status of the city resort received only in 2006.
Not far from Sveti Vlas there is a noisy resort complex Sunny Beach (Sunny Beach Bryag) and ancient Nessebar.
Sveti Vlas Resort
For 54 years of its existence as a resort Sveti Vlas has become one of the most popular resorts in Bulgaria. This is facilitated by a number of circumstances:
- curative and mild climate;
- convenient location in the immediate vicinity of major centers, but at the same time and in some distance from them, providing an unhurried, comfortable rest;
- a large number of cloudless sunny days;
- the purest mountain and sea air;
- coniferous forests in the vicinity;
- warm sea — even in December, the sea can warm up to +15 degrees;
- beautiful beaches.
Sveti Vlas resort is great for family vacations, and the local climate creates natural conditions for the treatment of respiratory tract and asthma.
The resort’s beaches are wide and sandy, located in small coves well suited for swimming. The total length of the three beaches of Sveti Vlas is 1.5 kilometers. The beaches «Marina» and «Central» are located on both sides of the Marina Dinevi yacht harbor — the largest yacht port in Bulgaria.
The beaches of St. Vlas provide the full range of «classic» services: here you can ride on yachts, jet skis, «bananas», water skiing; windsurfing For children there are special areas. There is no problem with food either: there are numerous cafes and restaurants on the beaches and in the city, shops are working.
The best time to travel to Sveti Vlas is from the beginning of June to the end of September. At this time, the air temperature warms up to + 25-26 degrees, and the water temperature — up to + 23-25˚C. The exhausting heat in the resort does not happen, this contributes to a fresh, ion-rich sea breeze.
Resort hotel complexes do not resemble monotonous, dull buildings. Each of them is decorated in an original style, has patios with pools and bars, sports grounds.
Prices for living here are moderate, and this is despite the fact that the resort has become a favorite place for recreation and residence of the local (and foreign) elite. By the way, the proximity of the “powerful of the world” provides a high level of protection of public order in the resort. There is also no need to worry about active construction in the city: construction work at resorts in the summer months is prohibited by the laws of Bulgaria.
There is no embankment as such in Sveti Vlas, and all the necessary purchases and services for vacationers can be purchased on the two main tourist streets — Tsar Simeon and Mak, from which you can look at the yacht port. Tsar Simeon — the main shopping street of the town, passing through the central square with office buildings.
Sights of Saint Vlas
One of the main attractions of the city — built in 2007, the temple of St. Blasius — the patron saint of the town. It was built on the site of a monastery destroyed by the Turks. Orthodox shrines are kept in this temple — the relics of Saint Blasius and a particle of the Life-giving Cross.
Another Orthodox church is the temple of St. Athanasius the Great, built in the middle of the XIX century.
From the ancient Orthodox monasteries were picturesque ruins, as well as the church of Vlacherna and St. Andrew.
Among the cultural attractions should be noted the grand open amphitheater «Arena», on the stage of which you can watch performances of youth groups of modern dance, theatrical performances, various shows.
Other attractions in St. Vlas include local and international regattas, rally supercars, beauty contests, car shows, fashion shows, nautical schools competitions and much more.
By the way, the Marina Dinevi yacht harbor can also be called one of the attractions of Sveti Vlas: it is designed for 300 yachts, with 50 places meant for royal yachts over 25 meters long. The harbor is especially gorgeous at night when the beautiful lights illuminate the even rows of masts, the coastline and the mysterious glimmer of the sea.
On the territory of the marina there are expensive restaurants, shops of leading fashion brands, casinos and other attributes of “Dolce Vita”.
Excursion to ancient Nessebar
If you are bored with a beach holiday, and local sights are explored far and wide, then you can organize an excursion to the ancient town of Nessebar (Nessebar), located just 10 km from St. Vlas. To do this, you can hire a yacht or take a sightseeing tour, they are offered in any hotel.
Tourist interest is primarily Old Nessebar — one of the oldest cities in Bulgaria and Europe, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its age is more than 3000 years old, and in the territory of Old Nessebar, turned into a pedestrian zone, there are about 40 ancient temples and other evidence of its centuries-old history.
The main attractions of Old Nessebar:
- Christ Pantocrator Church (XIV century) with richly decorated facades;
- Church of St. Stephen (XI century) — Orthodox church, made in the Byzantine style;
- Church of St. John Aliturgitos (XIV century);
- Church of St. John the Baptist (X century);
- the church of St. Sophia (V — VI century), made in the Byzantine style;
- Church of St. Paraskeva (XIII century);
- the fortress wall is part of the city’s fortification system;
- old windmill — a symbol of Old Nessebar;
- remnants of the antique amphitheater;
- Turkish Fountain;
- the ruins of the early Byzantine baths (XI — XIII century);
- The Ethnographic Museum, the exposition of which tells about the life and crafts of the inhabitants of Nessebar;
- Archaeological Museum, introducing the history of the ancient city.
In New Nessebar, you can visit the water park «Aqua Paralys» — the largest water park in the Balkans.
Sveti Vlas is a well-groomed, flourishing Bulgarian Black Sea resort with a convenient location, excellent tourist infrastructure and a healing climate.