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