Varna is the third largest Bulgarian city, which is also known as the Pearl of the Black Sea. Tourists mostly refer Varna as a hidden gem because there is so much to explore out here. Architecture, ruins, beautiful beaches, good food, oldest gold treasures, among others; are must-to-do things in Varna. It is an amazing destination that can be enjoyed solo, with family, or a group of friends. Once here, you can spend your time with nature as well as culture and explore the spirit of Varna, Bulgaria.
You can easily spend a week in here while discovering the beautiful sights, beaches, and civilization. Begin your trip by visiting the most popular places that have been mentioned below in the Varna Travel Guide. If you are visiting Varna in summer then remember that it is going to be very hot. So, it is better to go slow with your trip and have a relaxed holiday.
Things To Do In Varna, Bulgaria:
Beaches Of Varna:
You should allot at least two days from your itinerary for exploring various beaches in and around Varna. Hiring a car for a day would be a good idea to explore various beaches by driving around. You can either spend your day in getting tanned by stretching out on fine golden sands or swim in the clear blue waters.
There are innumerable restaurants and bars close to the beaches to keep your tummy full so that you can go back to the sea quickly. Although there are many towns and villages that have beautiful beaches like Kranevo, Kamchia, Biala, Shkorpilovtzi, etc. yet tourists prefer staying in resorts like Golden Sands, Albena, and others so that they can spend time with their loved ones in secluded beaches.
Nightlife Of Varna:
As you walk down the streets of Varna, you will notice innumerable nightclubs and bars all over the city that stay open all night. Your trip to Varna would be incomplete without exploring the nightlife so make sure you spend at least 2-3 nights in various clubs. The clubs provide specific theme based music so you will get to see different ambience in each of them.
It is recommended to spend a night hopping various bars and discothèques to find a club of your preferences. Some of the famous nightclubs of Varna are the Cubo Bar (Central Beach, Varna), Avenue Varna (Palace of Sports and Culture, Varna), La Playa (beach club), and Xtravaganzza (Coastal Avenue).
Shopping In Varna:
If you are tired roaming around the city, then shopping would bring back all your energies! Bulgarian crafts are extremely colorful, so taking them back home as souvenirs would certainly be a good decision. Some of the commonly found products in the local markets are scented cosmetics, beautiful pottery, hand-drawn items, handmade jewelry, and much more. Some of the reasonably-priced shops can be found at Piskulev Street and in Varna Market, which is located in the center of the city.
Once you are done shopping in the local markets, you can head straight to the larger malls that have dozens of multinational brands. One such mall is the Mall Varna, which is ideal for a family visit. Kids can have a great time in the children’s club, ice rink, and bowling alley, while adults can shop for branded cosmetics, clothing, perfumes, and much more in the Mall Varna.
If you are interesting in buying Bulgarian cosmetics and perfumes then you should visit the Rose of Bulgaria shop. It is a famous brand in Varna and the shops can be found in all major shopping malls as well as in the central streets. To purchase paintings, decorative items for home, figurines, luxury jewelry, handmade books, etc., you should visit the Tina Art Shop gallery. In the gallery, you will be able to find products that are available for a range of prices so there is something for everyone out here!
What To See In Varna, Bulgaria?
Archaeological Museum Of Varna:
Established in 1887, the Archaeological Museum of Varna displays original artifacts from the Paleolithic Age to the Middle Age. In the year 1898, it was constructed for the purpose of building a Girls High School. Later, in the year 1906, it was transformed into a museum and its first exhibition was held successfully. Since then, there have been various exhibitions and events held on a regular basis.
It is located in the heart of the city, at Maria Luisa Boulevard. The museum is open on all days in the month of June to September and the visiting hours are 10am to 5pm. In the month of October to May, the museum stays closed on Sunday and Monday. The timings for these months remain the same. You will require at least two hours for viewing the museum properly. Don’t forget to check out the mesmerizing gold artifacts that are displayed in the museum.
The price of the ticket for an adult to enter the Archaeological Museum Of Varna is 10 BGN (Bulgarian Lev – currency). Students can avail the discount provided by the museum and enter by paying 2BGN at the ticket counter. Children below the age of 6 can visit for free of cost. If you are traveling with a group then don’t forget to ask for a discount at the ticket counter.
Pobiti Kamini or Stone Desert or Stone Forest, whatever you call it, is the only place in Bulgaria where archaeologist found evidence of human life in the Mesolithic. Located on the North West Varna Province, Stone Forest is the lone desert of Bulgaria with sand dunes and several natural rock formations. The rock pillars are up to 7m high that resemble frozen fountains, animals, or cascades. Although you may feel that rocks can’t be interesting and may skip visiting the Stone Forest; however, in reality it is really fun to see these hollow pieces with rough surfaces.
Stone Forest is about 20kms from the centre of Varna, and you can travel by hiring a taxi or car. Usually tourists visiting Varna, always add this calm and magical place in their must-see list. If you are planning your holiday to Varna in winters, then remember that the Stone Forest will remain closed on Saturday and Sunday. Rest of the days, the timings will be 10am to 5pm. In the month of summers, the forest is closed on Mondays and the timings will remain the same for rest of the days. You can purchase the ticket from the ticket counter right outside the Stone Forest. Price is 3 BGN for adults and 2 BGN for students and children. Also, ensure to carry a scarf or hat and lots of water to stay protected from the heat in the summers.
Dormition Of The Mother Of God Cathedral, Varna:
Commonly known as The Cathedral, it is the most iconic place in Varna and you should not miss it at all. Once here, you will notice large number of tourists as everyone has this beautiful Bulgarian Orthodox Cathedral in their must-visit list. The Varna Cathedral is the largest and most famous house of worship in the city of Varna. It is located in St. Cyril and St. Methodius square.
The domes and the roofs are decorated beautifully, and you will certainly fall in love with the intricate designs. Moreover, the unique lighting enhances the entire cathedral completely. Reaching the area is easy because it is one of the most popular tourist areas, so the locals would be more than happy to assist you. You can either travel by bus or hire a taxi. The Cathedral is open on all days and the timings are 7m to 6pm each day. Entrance is free to all.
Where To Stay In Varna?
Golden Sands Resort:
Staying in a resort will certainly be a better choice than in a Varna city. Although it will be a bit expensive, but the innumerable facilities that you get in a resort will make your holiday a memorable one. However, Golden Sands resort is a bit different as you can book rooms in affordable as well as expensive hotels that are built in the huge 1800 hectares resort.
The Golden Sands resort is the largest resort that is located on the Northern Black Sea coast. It is about 19kms from Varna city and is popular for its purest sand on the Black Sea coast. If you are traveling on a budget then you can select the inexpensive hotels as there are hundreds of inns of different pricing and facilities in the resort.
Golden Sands is famous for hot mineral water springs, purest sand on Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, clean and pollution free beaches, among others. Some of the tourists visit the resort in the month of May to September as at that time, the temperature of water and climate is perfect for treating various ailments like arthritis, bronchitis, neurosis, asthma, etc.
You can select a hotel as per your choice as there are some that provide all inclusive accommodation while there are others who would let you select the services that you require. You can book the hotel online by visiting their official webpage. There is no dearth of restaurants, bars, fast-food joints, inside the Golden Sands resort; so, you can enjoy scrumptious Bulgarian cuisine or select any of your favorite international delicacy.
If you want to explore the nightlife of Bulgaria, then you can visit the clubs and bars that are located amidst the resort. In the day, you can spend your time with family by playing golf, swimming, animation, pony riding, casinos, water sports, and slides. In short, the resort is filled with abundant activities that can be enjoyed by all age groups. If these are not enough to keep you occupied, then you can participate in the number of events and competitions that are held each day in the Golden Sands resort.
Traveling to Golden Sands resort is easy! It is very close to Varna International Airport so taking a flight to Varna would be the best choice for you. If you are in any other part of Varna, then you can take a bus from the city to reach the resort or you can hire a private taxi or minibus.
Hotels For Wedding Or Honeymoon:
For couples in love, Varna offers a plethora of hotels that provide cozy and romantic rooms. If you are visiting Varna on your honeymoon, then you can select one of the hotels that have been mentioned below in Varna, Bulgaria travel guide:
- Plaza Palace Hotel: Located near the entrance to the Sea Garden, Plaza Palace Hotel provides comfortable and beautifully decorated rooms / studios.
- Albizia Beach Hotel: Situated about 8kms from Varna center, the Albizia Beach is a popular local resort that offers spacious rooms with private terrace and mesmerizing views of the beach.
- Horizont Complex: It is located near the Sea Garden and offers glamorous and huge rooms. You can even explore the nightlife of Bulgaria by visiting the stylish Horizont nightclub that is within their vicinity.
- Apartment Divine: Located on the sixth floor of a historic building in Atlanas Beshkov Street, Apartment Divine is about 15minutes walk from the beach. The classy apartment has a large rooftop terrace, fully equipped kitchen, and many more amenities to make your stay comfortable.
Luxurious Hotels Of Varna:
Some of the top-rated luxurious hotels that are located in Varna have been mentioned below:
- Grand Hotel Dimyat: It is located next to the Sea Garden and is about 6 minutes away from the beach. The bright and comfy rooms provide innumerable amenities like free WiFi, minibar, safety vault, tea and coffee making facilities, private bathroom, etc. You can have a relaxed holiday by spending time in their heated swimming pool, fitness zone, adventure showers, relaxing zone, among others.
- Interhotel Cherno More: The hotel provides its personal casino and a well-equipped gym for all its customers. It is located in close proximity to the Sea Garden. You can have a wonderful time with your family by staying in this beautiful hotel and relishing the Bulgarian cuisine in their top floor restaurant.
- Panorama Hotel: This luxurious hotel is situated on Primorski Boulevard, and is close to the beach and center of Varna. If you want to have a relaxing holiday by getting a private massage and sauna, then you should book a room in Panorama Hotel.
Five Things To Keep In Mind While Traveling To Varna:
- It is not a perfectly neat and clean city, so you will have to ignore a few things.
- Bargaining can be done at the time of street shopping in the local markets. Mostly, the shopkeepers reduce the final price by 18-20%.
- Carry plenty of Bulgarian currency while visiting local markets. Although the shopkeepers accept US dollars and Euros, their rates would be extremely unfavorable for you.
- Beaches of Varna are open for public, so you do not have to pay any charges except for water sports or rental of beach equipment.
- The local shops usually close down by 7pm and the shopping malls by 9pm. Most of the supermarkets and food stores are open for 24 hours.
What To Eat And Drink In Varna?
In Varna, you will be able to find every gourmet across the city; hence, it will suit everyone’s taste buds. Some of the Bulgarian cuisines that the locals suggest are red meat, seafood, grilled vegetables, among others. Although you will get international cuisine too; but, when you are in a new city, you should certainly taste the local food. Moreover, the meals are inexpensive in comparison to the restaurants of other cities. You can try out the pastry-based snacks that are easily available at the beachside snack shacks for a reasonable price.
If you like drinking wine then you should try the local wine and beers that are accessible in the wine shops of local markets. The traditional Bulgarian drink is known as Rakia, which is a very strong drink so you should consume it wisely. Some other delicacies that you should not miss in Varna are Banitza (baked pie), Shopska Salad, Kebapche (pork and beef minced meat), and meatballs.
To conclude, Varna is the most popular Bulgarian town that has been loved by tourists from all over the world. Your trip to Varna will surely be a memorable one if you follow the aforesaid travel guide to Varna. An entire week can easily be spent in exploring Varna, Bulgaria attractions so plan your itinerary accordingly. Whether you like to visit beaches, view nature, study archaeology, analyze architecture, or simply have a relaxed holiday; you can do it all in Varna!
You can plan your trip with children, family, friends, and your loved ones as there is lot to do for all ages. Moreover, you may consider booking your tickets for the month of August to enjoy the Bulgarica Fair that is held for three weeks. In the fair, you will be able to purchase several handicrafts, folk products and artistic stuff that have been created and designed by the locals. Have fun!
Also you can read my own travel story in Varna and Golden Sands – Real Holidays In Golden Sands, Bulgaria