Albena – The white swallow on the Black Sea

“Albena” did not exist then. As a pupil, every summer I would work as an apprentice with the fishermen from Balchik. My brother Dyako had entrusted me to Kolyu the Black. We would come out to the shore of the Dolphin bay at noon. Figs, big as the girls’ breasts, grew there, and they would satisfy our thirst with school-day thoughts. In the golden autumn, we would also poach the co-op’s grapevines, where large clusters of amber-colored “Bolgar” grapes were hanging. Kolyu the Black would tell a legend that these were the nipples of the breasts of Yovkov’s Albena. Fishermen tales… Later, life guards would tell a similar legend. They would tell free-spirited Polish, Russian, and German ladies that this is the bay of the most beautiful Bulgarian woman, who one evening went swimming along the moon-glade and was transformed into a mermaid. She would come back at dawn, before the divine sunrise coming from the ancient Balchik. She was called Albena and was a descendent of the Albena described by the great Bulgarian writer Yordan Yovkov in his story “Albena” as far back as 5 November 1927. 

They say that more than 50 years ago, Bulgaria’s head of the state, Todor Zhivkov, heard this legend and approved the construction of a modern tourist complex in this place, which he named “Albena” at its opening on 24 August 1969.

Today, the “Albena” resort is the Pearl of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Its beach is up to 150 m wide and stretches for a whole 5 km, reaching at its Southern end, where the amazing hotel “Gergana” is situated, the mouth of the Batovska river. Some jokingly call it the Dobrudzha Amazon. In fact, this is where the Baltata reserve is situated, home to rare protected plant species. Tourists also enjoy many types of birds in the shade of trees with crowns reaching some 35-40 m high.

Those who visit “Albena” for the first time are astonished by the greenery surrounding the hotels. And the diners. This is so, because the resort is home to the largest arboretum on the Black Sea coast with its immense number of trees and bushes, among which many rare species, as well as colorful flower carpets.

“Albena”’s crown of pearls features the caringly maintained beach and the sandy sea-bottom which slopes so gently and is so welcoming to young children that the resort gradually became a preferred holiday place for young families from all corners of the world. It attracts older people as well, with its medical center offering countless health procedures and mineral waters. Sometimes I even wonder how many children were conceived here in more than 50 years. This is exactly how long many visitors from Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Russia, France, Poland, Czechia, Serbia, and many other countries have spent their summers here.

Famous world-renowned celebrities have come here, such as Fidel Castro, Indira Gandhi, Leonid Brezhnev, Chao Tzu-yang, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Sukarno, it has been praised by Lopez Portillo, Richard Nixon, Jhon Atanasoff, cosmonauts, actors, athletes, scientists known around the world…

Both luxury and more modest hotels practically every year perform at the height of their star rating, and extend their services with each passing year. Today, “Albena” is a living organism of specialists, hotels, restaurants, clubs, pools, sportsgrounds, national and international scientific, cultural, and sports events, with unlimited possibilities for short trips to sites within Bulgaria and our neighboring countries.

Last summer, “Albena” was once again the white swallow, the big hope of tens of thousands of tourists for the safest holiday during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. In an extremely difficult situation, the resort guaranteed the health of tourists with a high quality of the tourist product.

Once, I was with my family on the seaside for one day at a renowned small resort on the Black sea coast. We were not entirely happy with something on the menu and sulked. The owner came and asked us about the reason for our dissatisfaction and where we were coming from. We told him that every year we spend our summer holiday in “Albena”. And he added:

  • Ah, “Albena”… “Albena” is a high goal… We make an effort to reach her, but she keeps flying ever higher!…

Make sure to spend at least one holiday in “Albena”. I know you will then go there again and again…

You’ll see why!

Such is life!

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