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St Konstantin and Elena, Bulgaria

St Konstantin and Elena, Bulgaria is just 10 km north of Varna, there is a small, quiet, lush green beach resort with some fantastic spa facilities. St Konstantin and Elena have a striking character different to all of the other Bulgarian beach resorts; it lies amidst a beautiful, verdant, natural park scented with century old fig, cypress and lime trees, along a coastline strewn with small, discreet bays and tall cliffs creating a paradise for those who love to fish or dive. It also boasts a precise microclimate, high in calming light-weight negative ions and an abundance of mineral springs making it the perfect place for those looking to relax or indulge in specific healing spa treatments.

Getting There

The nearest international airport is Varna located around 15 km away from the resort. St Konstantin and Elena in Bulgaria lies directly on the main coast road into Varna and consequently there are regular busses running every ten minutes (from 6 am til 11 pm) into the city. There are also plenty of taxis around the resort, which will take you into the city for around 10 lv.

A Dip Back in Time

St Konstantin and Helena was Bulgaria’s first ever beach resort. It was constructed in 1908 more as a health spa to help patients with tuberculosis recover and recuperate. The majority of visitors at this time came from Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. Back in the early 1900’s the resort also attracted wealthy people from Varna who were still living under Ottoman rule. The richest visitors stayed in the monastery and some built summer houses in the woods. The resort was originally called ‘Druzhba,’ which means friendship and many locals still call it by this name. Its present name originates from the nearby 18th century St. St. Konstantin and Elena Monastery, which today offers chic tourist accommodation and a first-rate restaurant.

Entertainment and Recreation

The resort offers all of the traditional beach sports and recreation, but is unique in the fact that it also has a year-round public spa. This attracts locals and holiday makers regardless of the temperature because the healing water is naturally warm. Visiting the open air spa only costs 5 lv. and it is a great place to meet and make friends. Many of the hotels offer some excellent spa treatments and some like the Grand Hotel Varna have their own natural mineral water swimming pools.

The only thing that remains from the original monastery, from which the resort takes its name, is a small underground church, where regular services are still held. Close to the resort is the Baroque style Evksinograd Palace, once the summer home of Bulgarian royalty. Built under the name of “Sandrovo“ by Prince Aleksandâr Batenberg in 1882, and renamed (combining the Greek word euxine (hospitable) with the Slavonic grad  (town or fortress) by his successor Ferdinand, Evksinograd Palace is the summer home of the President. Whilst not open to the public it can be seen from the coast on one of the many boat trips on offer from the resort. It has a beautiful garden with fountains, and steps leading down to the private beach. Another nearby place of interest is the Sofia University Botanical Garden, known as Ecopark Varna. This wonderful natural parkland with flora and fauna tended by the University has plenty of spaces for children to run free or play ball games and it is a great place for a picnic with facilities for a BBQ too.

Eating, Drinking and Accommodation

The resort offers many comfy hotels, a mix of new and old, although the old are far less prominent now. The resorts leading hotel is the Grand Hotel Varna; from the outside its concrete, communist architecture looks a little off-putting, but inside the elegance and calm of a modern five star hotel rules. It offers some of the best hydrotherapy facilities including sea water and mineral water baths, pearl and galvanic baths, aromatherapy, underwater gymnastics, traditional anti-aging and anti-stress treatments, cosmetic treatments, mud therapies and programmes for relaxation and weight loss. It also has its own sports field. The best thing about the Grand is that you don’t need to stay at the hotel to enjoy its facilities. There are two supervised children’s-play areas: one for young children with a ball park and age-appropriate toys, and another for children from seven years old.

There are plenty of restaurants and bars in the resort offering a wide range of cuisine from traditional Bulgarian to typical Italian. The hotels’ restaurants also offer good food; the Grand Hotel takes its cuisine seriously with several restaurants including the gourmet "Belle Époque," and the Italian “Dolce Vita.” Some of the best restaurants in the resort are the Manastirska Izba, housed in the monastery building, the Bulgarska Svatba, the Sedemte Odai and the Sirius Fishing Ship restaurant, located on a hill overlooking the sea. Nightlife during the season is buzzing with everything from nightclubs to traditional Bulgarian dancing. Like all northern Bulgarian beach resorts prices are not cheap in St Konstantin and Elena Bulgaria and many tourists choose to catch the bus into the city and eat there.