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St Vlas - luxury and style on the coast

A luxurious beach resort located at the foot of the southern end of the Balkan Mountains (often referred to as the Stara Planina Mountains) in the calm Bourgas Bay makes it the only place on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast where all of the beaches face directly south. Its reputation as an up-market tourist resort is growing as it continues to provide a chic alternative to neighbouring Sunny Beach. It is now home to Bulgaria's largest yacht marina and attracts a great deal of wealthy new tourists as a consequence. St Vlas' beaches are almost two km in length and 16 metres in width. In 2007, the beach was extended using rocks and sand dug out during the construction of the marina. St.Vlas itself is a small town with just over 3,800 inhabitants. It lies 4 km north of Bulgaria's largest coastal resort Sunny Beach and 9 km away from the historical town of Nessebur.

It provides spectacular views across the bay to historic Nessebur with the forest-covered mountains as a backdrop. This rare combination of mountain and sea climates makes it an ideal health resort particularly for those with lung diseases and along with its tranquil setting it provides the perfect environment for rest and relaxation. The small town provides a host of amenities including a selection of small shops, good restaurants and bars as well as a post office. It is tastefully set out with landscaped grounds and adds to welcoming atmosphere, particularly suited to families and those in need of a quiet and relaxed holiday.

Everything in the town is within walking distance and there are plenty of taxis for the less able. There are regular public mini busses between St Vlas, Sunny Beach, Nessebur and Bourgas and several water taxis available to some of these destinations. The nearest international airport at Bourgas is 30 minutes drive away and has regular flights to the UK.

There are three beaches along this golden stretch of fine sand to choose from in St Vlas; the longest, Central Beach, is peaceful and uncrowded. A little further south, a small intimate beach offers camping facilities and stretches from the Sun Palace complex to the Riviera complex. To the north lies the lively new Dinevi Marina with its dazzle of harbour-side restaurants and cafes. There are innumerable activities available during the summer season including trips aboard pirate ships, jeep safaris around the unspoilt countryside and organized dives to the treasures of the deep. To the eastern end of the village there is a small port full of local fishing boats.Of all the resorts along the Black Sea coast, St Vlas stands out amongst the rest.

The Dinevi Brothers commenced construction of the Marina Dinevi in June 2006 making this the first private yacht port in the country. At the port, you can hire or buy yachts and obtain help and advice from a professional team of consultants. The marina covers 26 decares with an aquatorium of almost 40 decares. Moorings for 300 yachts are available, including moorings for 50 boats over 25 meters in length. Boats are secured on six floating walkways with access to power, water, mobile re-fueling facilities, Internet, cable TV, telephone and fax available at each mooring space. The marina is enhanced by a 24-hour manned security service with a surveillance camera system. The port has also been opened up as a border point with its own customs and border administration to deal with entry into the country. Facilities open to the public include a five-star hotel, fish restaurants, a piano bar, a sailor bar and other entertainment enterprise, a supermarket, shops, a sport and recreation center, a doctor's office, and a bank. The development accommodates the offices belonging to the port administration and border police as well as providing conference halls for private enterprise. Yacht owners will be able to take advantage of the specialised yacht equipment and repair shops, a 50-ton boat hoist with haul-out opportunities and a slipway to get boats into the water.

Dinevi have paid much attention to the protection of the surrounding environment by encouraging the development of a purification facility capable of processing household waste from the multitude of yachts. Hiring a yacht for four or five hours costs from 120 euros and luxury boats cost more, but a shorter organized cruise costs as little as 30 euros a person. Most yachts can take in around four to six people.

Emine Cape is the central cape of the Stara Planina Mountain and one of the country's most impressive capes, the other being Kaliakra on the northern coast. It's frightening 60-metre-long steep drop to the sea provides some breathtaking views. One of the best ways to see the rock and the lighthouse perching on the top is by boat from Bourgas. It lies around 20 km to the north of St Vlas.

Nessebur is a UNESCO, world heritage site. Situated on a rocky peninsula on the Black Sea, the more than 3,000-year-old site of Nessebur was originally a Thracian settlement (known as Menebria). At the beginning of the 6th century B.C., the city became a Greek colony. The city's remains, which date mostly from the Hellenistic period, include the acropolis, a temple of Apollo, an agora and a wall from the Thracian fortifications. Nessebur is full of historic nineteenth century Revival architecture and medieval churches. It is a quaint cobble stoned town with many small winding alleys, which used to be a thriving Greek and Roman port and was one of the last places to be ruled by the ailing Byzantine Empire. Noteworthy sites include the wooden windmill and the Archaeological Museum, which contains a vast collection of relics ranging from statues of various gods to gold jewellery including some delicately crafted earrings decorated with lion’s heads. The ancient churches pay homage to a range of eras from Byzantine to early Bulgarian. The Church of Christ Pantokrator is noted for its colourful exterior decoration, whilst the Church of St John the Baptist is puritanical in design. The Church of the Saviour houses a spectacular collection of frescoes and the Church of Sveta Bogorodista houses a remarkable collection of religious icons dating back to the 17th century.