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Introducing Sveti Vlas

Just 5km north of Sunny Beach (Slânchev Bryag), Sveti Vlas is one of the latest holiday resort developments on the Black Sea coast. Originally settled by the Thracians, who called it Larisa, it was renamed in honour of the patron saint of cattle farmers in the 14th century, but there are few obvious signs of its history today. Instead, everywhere you look, a new multistorey hotel or apartment complex is shooting up, and in 2007 Bulgaria’s first private marina, with space for 300 yachts, was completed here, along with an upmarket hotel and restaurant complex. The marina also has a new border checkpoint, making Sveti Vlas an international gateway to Bulgaria.

The ‘centre’ of Sveti Vlas, such as it is, revolves around the bus stop, around 250m or so uphill from the beach. Here you’ll find a post office, bank and several cheap restaurants and snack bars, but little else. The main road, ul Tsar Simeon, is lined with cafés, small shops and several internet centres.

The narrow curve of sandy beach isn’t the best the Black Sea has to offer, but compared with Sunny Beach it’s mercifully uncrowded (for now). The water is shallow and there are some water sports available, including jet-skiing (10 mins 40 lv). The beach is bisected by the snazzy new marina complex, which encompasses a row of upscale restaurants, bars and shops.