Bulgaria – the town of Sveti Vlas
By Atanas Aleksiev
Hey! My name is Atanas and I would like to tell you a little bit about my hometown Sveti Vlas.
My family owns a guest house and a restaurant here and we have been in the tourism business for as long as I can remember.
After reading this, I hope you’ll consider visiting beautiful Vlas!
Влас (Cyrillic for Vlas)
The “fancy” (according to Bulgarian standards) town is located south of the Balkan Mountains, by the Black sea cost of Bulgaria. It was built by the foot of the mountains, so our grandmas are not happy at all about these hills they have to go up and down.
Moreover, it is just 8 km away from Nessebar (included in the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1983) and it’s right next to Sunny beach. Sometimes when foreigners ask me where I am from and I say Vlas, I immediately have to follow up with “it’s close to Sunny beach”- to which I get the same exact reaction “Ooo, Sunny beach, party!”
…having said that, if you are looking for a calmer place where there aren’t two bars per capita, then Sveti Vlas is for you.
Just a bit of history
The first period of building in this area dates back to 2nd century AD and was started by Thracians and Greeks. As everything in Ancient history, the town was burned down again and again from 14th century through 18th. Later in 1886 after building the small village where it is today the name Sveti Vlas appeared on maps (during the Ottoman rule it was called Kücük).
The population has grown to about 4000 people and every single one of them knows how to parallel park on a hill. Not only that, but most of us own a guest house, a small family hotel or a restaurant. I guess that if you can’t welcome guests, you don’t qualify for a true Vlaschanin – a person from Vlas.
Of course for those of you who are not into friendly human contact, low prices, home-cooked meals and so on you can always stay at one of the 4 or 5 stars hotels in the newest part of the town. But due keep in mind, no one will actually remember your name there or invite you for dinner with his family.
You won’t taste some traditional meals cooked with love by grandma who will not care that you can’t speak Bulgarian. For the last few years more and more people choose the guest houses because they want to feel at home and welcomed even if they are miles away from home. Plus, who can better tell you what to do here than a local?
What to do here?
There is something to do for everyone here! But let’s not get crazy- it’s no New York…yet. For those who love hiking you can always take upon on the hiking trails in the Balkan Mountains that start from here.
Every few kilometers there are benches with shade where you can catch your breath and enjoy the fresh air and the sounds of all the birds singing – hopefully a grandma has prepared some sandwiches or “Mekici” (a typical Bulgarian pastry) for you.
If you prefer to work on your tan, but don’t want to share your private space with five other people as in Sunny Beach, then just grab your towel and head down to the sea. No matter where you are in town, you’ll eventually reach the beach.
We have the biggest and most modern yacht port in Bulgaria where you can enjoy diverse kinds of cuisine with an amazing view of the coast itself. From the yacht port you can also get a boat trip to Nessebar, Sunny Beach or even Pomorie. It is also the favorite place for couples to have a romantic walk by the beach, under the moonlight while listening to the gentle sound of the wave’s whisper.
In contrast, if you are not a character in a romantic comedy you can go to the Ancient Theater. I have to be honest, it’s not like the one in Plovdiv, but it’s the place where during the summer almost every night there are culture events happening.
In addition the MMA tournament is held there every summer, so you can say we have our own gladiator’s arena (said no one ever) but it is still better than nothing- great way of combining culture with people beating each other up till one of them falls to the ground…
Quiet place, close to party
Another good thing about Vlas is that it is a quieter place. This is why most party animals go crazy in Sunny beach, but then they walk back to or catch the first bus to Vlas, where they can sleep and rehabilitate. In addition there are busses every 8 to 10 minutes going to Sunny Beach or Nessebar and many other places so you can explore without worrying how much a rented car would cost.
An authentic town
In conclusion, the small friendly town of Sveti Vlas is a good choice for those who seek to have a relaxing, carefree holiday in a welcoming environment. All the restaurants, small beach bars and shops with the traditional Bulgarian rose products will guarantee that you have a good time here.
You can always find fresh fruit and vegetables that were actually grown in the near gardens and taste “something real” as the proud farmers say. Experience the great combination of green mountains and awesome beaches at fairly good prices for accommodation, food and travel.
PS. Don’t forget to ask a granny for those delicious mekici.