Below are just a few photos of the village …
Where Is It?
St Vlas is approx. 5 kms north of the busy, purpose-built holiday resort of Sunny Beach. When I say a “village” it’s actually now been declared a “town” for some reason but I still prefer to think of it as a village. It’s constantly being developed with new apartments and hotels. Luckily none of the buildings have many storeys – planning regulations have made sure of that, so it continues to have a nice cosy sort of atmosphere.
The area is basically split by the road that leads from Sunny Beach to a holiday resort known as Elenite. We haven’t been to Elenite yet but it’s another place to go on our list (and then I’ll be able to talk about it a bit more).
St Vlas (also known as Sveti Vlas or just “Vlas”) has a lovely feeling to it. As I said, it’s divided by the main road. The village square is to the one side of the road and the other side is where most of the hotels and apartments are and, of course, the amazing beaches and stunning marina (“Marina Dinevi”).
I’ll talk a little about the village side first. If you can imagine, the area is sort of tiered into several levels leading up from the main road. It’s scattered with traditional Bulgarian houses, just a few little hotels and small apartment blocks plus bars and restaurants within each tier as well as little shops etc. The village is backed by the Stara Planina mountain range which help give the area its own healthy eco-climate.
The village centre has a pretty pedestrianised area with a fountain, trees and shrubs. Some evenings there are little stalls where people sell paintings, jewellery and the like as well as activities for children (face painting, decorating pots and that type of thing). Occasionally there’s some entertainment too – we watched some traditional Bulgarian dancing one evening – it was really enjoyable seeing the traditional costumes as well as some more modern stuff and all age groups joining in. Live music also adds to the atmosphere some evenings too. We’ve even been there when a chap came along with some battery-operated cars for children to ride on (they have to pay of course). He stayed there for a couple of hours and then took everything away again – you’d never have known if you weren’t there.
As well as the usual bank, post office, council office etc., the square is surrounded by many shops and small supermarkets selling all sorts of items. There are also many restaurants scattered around – some enjoying beautiful views across the sea. None of the bars and restaurants are expensive and there’s usually a pretty good variety of food in all of them. I’ve got to say our favourite restaurant is the Central.http://stvlaslife.com/central-restaurant It’s up some steps so overlooks the village square. Always a lovely welcoming atmosphere (and great for people watching!).
Over The Road
On the other side of the main Vlas road the tiered effect continues down to the sea. There are many apartment blocks within each tier plus some hotels. There’s a huge choice of shops and restaurants offering all sorts of items. Each apartment block usually has either a restaurant within it or a small shop so there’s no end of choice.
The Beautiful Beaches
When you reach the sea there’s a choice of three beaches (the one to the left, beyond the marina), is more exclusive than the other two but all are just as beautiful. There are three beach bars/restaurants on this side as well as rows of parasols and sunbeds for hire and some luxurious four-poster bed areas with suspended mattresses surrounded by cooling drapes to help keep you cool as you have a snooze. There’s also a free zone of course. There’s loads to do on this beach including volleyball, keep-fit stations, a gym, crazy golf and a great children’s play area. You can also hire jet skis etc. from here if you want something a bit more exciting. The three bars/restaurants are very different from each other. The first one leads directly from the car parking area. It has a very attractive entrance with large seahorses at each side leading to a a circular bar area surrounded by comfortable sofas with huge cushions (or you can sit on a bean bag!). As usual there’s a massive list of drinks/cocktails to choose from (they’re a little pricey but, hey, you’re on holiday!). The next one up is a more formal bar/restaurant (we haven’t been to this one so can’t really comment on what they offer – we’ll maybe go there some time – for research purposes of course! And then at the very end of the beach, before the slope leading up to apartments such as Etara, is a small beach bar that serves drinks and snacks – this one is our favourite at the moment.
To the right of the marina there are two more beaches, again with rows of parasols/sunbeds for hire. There’s a couple of bars/restaurants on this beach: “Cool & Hott” where you can buy a lovely cold beer or have a cocktail and a quick snack while you laze about on their comfy sofas, and then there’s one which I presume is called “Windmill” as it’s based around one – the seating here is a bit more formal. This is a new one for 2014 – there used to be a place on the same site (shame about the name though …. “Spastic Bar”) which did pretty good food but sadly this has gone now and been replaced by this other one. The Bulgarians tend to do this – you think there’s nothing wrong with a place and then they knock it down and change it!!.
I haven’t gone into much detail with the marina yet but it’s worth the wait! Vlas Marina . It’s an absolutely beautiful area to walk along, watching the different boats and yachts bobbing about on the water. To the one end the traditional little fishing boats are lined up, ready to go out for their daily catch, and then there’s rows and rows (or should I say ‘pontoons’?) of boats and yachts, all different sizes tied up and stretching all the way around to the marina entrance. We love strolling past all the different crafts – sometimes seeing people sat around their little tables usually with a bottle of wine or even champagne, enjoying the atmosphere.
Can’t Wait …
We’re popping over to St Vlas at the beginning of March (only for a week sadly) so watch this space for more updates …. St Vlas Marina March 2015
Hi, I’m visiting my mum next week and my aunty also has an apartment in st vlas, your pictures are lovely , how bustling will it still be next week?
Hi Natalie. Thank you for your kind comments. I’ve recently come back from St Vlas. The weather was really good but I’m afraid you won’t find many places open as the season has now sadly come to an end. Central Restaurant, Siana and the restaurant opposite the red supermarket is still open as well as Gloria Mar supermarket, the red supermarket and the smaller shops along the main stretch to the village square. It was pretty quiet everywhere but still worth going (as it always is). Most of the hotels have closed in Sunny Beach but there are some shops and restaurants open. Hope you have a great time.
In the square in the village the corner restaurant is open all year with great food. Several of the apartment complex restaurants are open close to the Marina, eg Monastery (above the beach) is open all year round and it’s lovely. Lazur 1 is too and it’s cheap and welcoming. Try them out.
Hi Diane. Thanks for your input. I think your comments support my view that the season could be a little longer than it is. I’m sure if people knew how lovely the weather can be in October for instance, surely the bars, shops and restaurants would not close quite so early. The hotels would then maybe extend their dates and the flight timetables would follow suit. It seems such a shame that the season is so short.
Hi Ann. I have taken my time reading through your fascinating site and can see no mention of my ‘poison’ fishing! Can you fish off of the Marina wall, and can you fish off of the jetties by the hotel (I’m staying with my good lady wife and teenage daughter and son next August for two weeks.
Unfortunately I’m disabled so will probably be unable to get on and off a boat (Although I’ll be willing to try) so will be limited to casting a line from the afore mentioned harbour/hotel jetties
Really looking forwards to it, the last time I was in Bulgaria was in 1990, skiing in Pamporovo, and they just loved our ‘pounds sterling’ in cash back then
Thanks in advance
Hi Ian. I have the feeling that there are “no fishing” signs around Vlas marina but I may be wrong. I’m pretty sure there are fishing trips available though (from Sunny Beach if not from Vlas) but don’t know whether you’d be able to access them, as you say, because of your disability. I’m not being very helpful I’m afraid. There are several small fishing boats moored at the marina (one of which is owned by the father of our taxi driver, Vasko). If I’m able to find out any information I’ll let you know.
Whether fishing or not though, I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time.
Hi Ann, I have been reading thru your pages, i am going to premier fort beach hotel, St Vlas, Bourgas Area, in June of this year, i am disabled and i have never been to Bulgaria before, so i am a little apprehensive of what i will find, ive usually stuck with places that i know and are accessible for me, but my family wanted to try something different this year, could you tell me if the pavements are suitable for a rollator, i usually use a mobility scooter but i have been told the pavements are not suitable for a mobility scooter and i think that is what has put me on edge a bit, i dont want to be stuck in the hotel all the time im there, but i cant walk very far un aided, i have been told that the hotel is at the bottom of a bank but as long as i keep stopping to get my breath and as long as my oxygen holds out ill be ok i think hahaha, as long as the pavements are not potholed etc, i think really i just want someone to put my mind at rest hahaha
Hello Lesley. I don’t know the Premier Fort Beach Hotel but looking at their website, I think it’s the area between St Vlas and Sunny Beach, quite close to the sea, so I’m unable to comment specifically on the hotel. I have to say, most of the pavements around the area are pretty good so hopefully you won’t encounter many problems. You may find it a bit more challenging if you venture down to the beaches and marina at St Vlas from the main road but there are taxis around if you have problems. I’m not sure if I’ve been much help but I am sure you will enjoy your holiday. Kind regards. Ann