The Black Sea Resort of Albena
The resort of Albena is situated s located on a long sandy stretch in the open northern part of Varna Bay.
32 km north and north-east of Varna, 502 km north-east of Sofia and 12 km south-west of Balchik.
It was built in 1969 in an architectural style reminiscent of one of Walter Gropius’ urban models and of the time of Bauhaus. Most of the hotels have a terrace-line structure with well-projected stories. The concept of this architecture is for receiving more sun in summer days. The resort has three camp sites – Albena Camping, International Camping and Ekzotika Camping, which offer great opportunities for housing tourists and holiday-makers. The Batov River is interesting with its location in a natural forest.
Ovidius came here on his way to the country of his exile – Tomi (presently Kyustendzha in Romania). To the north the shore is steep, formed of the yellow sandstone and limestone typical of the area. It is these stone slopes that supplied the material for building the resort.
Albena seems to match the landscape of the area in a most natural way. The resort was given its present name in honour of Albena, a female character of the great Bulgarian writer Yordan Yovkov, from the dramatic play of the same title “Albena”. She is a symbol of purity and beauty in Bulgarian dramaturgy and literature. The area is rich with tennis courts, bars, casinos, restaurants with entertainment, children’s playgrounds, swimming pools, golf playgrounds. One can ride a bike or a horse, one can rent automobiles, cutters, sail-boats, yachts, waterwheels and jets.
The whole range of water sports facilities is available. There is an annual auto-rally called Albena held at the beginning of May, a folk festival for songs and dances from Dobroudzha, Zlatnata Antena (Gold Antennae) Festival for TV programs, bridge competition (in June), beach volleyball competition (in June or July), etc. Albena is a point in the route of the annual regatta. The resort hosts an annual football tournament “Vladimir Grashnov”, too.
At present the resort has 43 hotels functioning. From 4-star to 1-star categories the hotels offer different degrees of comfort and luxury to holiday-makers. Albena Resort is one of the most expensive on the Black Sea coast, along with with Dyuni and Roussalka. The most famous and representative is the 17-storey Dobroudzha Hotel, in Swiss style. The newly erected Maastricht Hotel is also notable. It was built with Bulgarian – Dutch funding and welcomes guests from all over Europe. Other famous hotels are Dobrotitsa, Drouzhba and Zdravets. There is an accommodation bureau and small private reservation agencies.
Apart from the numerous restaurants at the hotels, there are many restaurants and bistros offering various dishes – from continental European and traditionally Bulgarian to Indian and Chinese cuisine. The most popular and visited places offering entertainment and excellent specialties are: Picnic Orehite, Slavyanski Kut (Slavonic Corner), Staro Bulgarski Stan (Old Bulgarian Camp), Flambe Restaurant, Stariyat Dub (Old Oak), Ribarska Hizha (Fisherman’s Hut) and especially the Arabella ship-restaurant which serves incredibly delicious seafood.
There is regular transport to Albena from Balchik, Varna, Zlatni Pyasutsi (Golden Sands) and Dobrich. Apart from the regular town buses there are a lot of private minibuses, route and ordinary taxis, water transport from the small port in the resort.
Apart from the village of Obrochishte mentioned in the section about Balchik, nearby is the village of Kranevo with remains of the ancient fortress Kranea and Gerania. There are many youth and school camps, as well as running mineral water in the village. The shore between Albena and Kranevo is high and extremely picturesque with sharply cut rocky formations. There are a lot of vine yards and small private gardens on the shore. The prices in Kranevo are far cheaper than those in Albena, also there is a great number of private lodgings for foreign and Bulgarian tourists. The holiday-makers lodged in Kranevo often go to the beaches of Albena during the day.
Between Albena and Kranevo are three big camping sites offering accommodation to tourists in bungalows and tents. There is a direct asphalt road through the area of Baltata connecting Kranevo and Albena. In the past the road was used by pirates.