Travel Guide Europe Bulgaria Varna

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Introduction

Varna is most probably the most beautiful Bulgarian city and it has very rich historical and cultural heritage. The area around Varna has been home to many ancient civilizations and a trading and cultural capital of the region during the past several thousand years. The Varna Archaeological Museum is home to the world's oldest man-made golden ornaments and to many more samples and cultural artifacts of numerous civilizations, who have lived her - the Thracians, the Greek, the Roman, and the Bulgarians. Varna is surrounded by sea and forest and the area is stunningly beautiful in all seasons. The mild and warm climate also makes it a very good place to live in and have a memorable summer vacation.

Varna is the third largest city in Bulgaria, as well as the largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. The city is also known for its ancient name - Odessos. When it comes to history, the oldest gold treasure in the world was discovered in Varna. It was found in the Varna Necropolis, which more than 6,000 years old.

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Neighbourhoods

  • The Greek Neighbourhood - One of the oldest parts in Varna. The name comes from the Greek citizens who lived there when Varna (and Bulgaria) was still enslaved by the Ottoman Empire. The Greek Neighbourhood is close to the sea and the Sea Garden. The Varna Train Station is also nearby. The Roman Thermae are also located in the Greek Neighbourhood.
  • Centre - The central part of Varna is the best place for shopping activities. There are also various significant places that are worthy of visiting. The Varna cathedral Sveta Bogoroditza and the Palace of Culture and Sports.

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Sights and Activities

Some of the most beautiful sights of Varna are of course situated near the sea, as the main area hosting them is the Varna Sea Garden - a park created about 100 years ago. The Sea Garden is a favourite place of all locals, who take their walk in the beautiful and quiet alleys, sit on the many sea-view benches to have a chat with friends or ride a bike on weekend days.

The Sea Garden is right above the beaches of Varna, where you can truly enjoy the summer and the warm sea water. All locals and travellers also enjoy the nightlife of summer Varna, which is centred around the beaches in the many restaurants and night-clubs. Listening to great music on the beach with your friends at some of the great clubs and welcoming the sunrise is a traditional Varna experience.

The central alleys of the Sea Garden are crowded even at 5:00 am in the summer season and it is a friendly and safe area (you should, of course, stay on the central part of the park just in case).

The main touristic and shopping street is about 100 metres from the entrance of the Sea Garden and it is connected to the whole of the city and the resorts by frequent transport (when using the public transport always keep your belongings safe, as just like every major touristic destination Varna in the summer also attracts pickpockets).

Roman Thermae is one of the recommended places for ancient history lovers. The baths are constructed in the late 2nd century AD and are surely an attractive tourist destination. There are many other small Roman ruins scattered throughout the city, and some people believe that there are many more ruins under the city that are still not found.

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Events and Festivals

Varna is home to several summer art festivals. There is a classical music festival, two short-film festivals, a theatric festival and a film festival.

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Weather

Varna has a humid subtropical climate, with considerable maritime and continental influences. The summer begins in early May and lasts till early October. Temperatures in summer usually vary between 15 °C-20 °C degrees in the night and 25 °C-35 °C during the day. Seawater temperature during the summer months is usually around 22 °C-27 °C degrees. In winter temperatures are about 0 °C at night and 5 °C-10 °C degrees during the day. Snow is possible in December, January, February and rarely in March. Snow falls in winter only several times and melts down considerably fast.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max5.5 °C6.5 °C9.6 °C14.8 °C20.1 °C24.8 °C27.1 °C27.3 °C23.8 °C18.4 °C13.1 °C8.1 °C
Avg Min-1.1 °C0 °C2.4 °C7.1 °C11.8 °C15.7 °C17.8 °C17.6 °C14.4 °C9.8 °C5.5 °C1.6 °C
Rainfall38 mm41 mm34 mm44 mm40 mm46 mm37 mm32 mm31 mm36 mm50 mm45 mm
Rain Days9981099756789

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Getting There

By Train

Varna Airport (VAR) offers flights from all over Europe in the summer. It is also covered by some of the low-cost carriers, which makes it easy and cheap to come to Varna.

By Train

The central train station is located within walking distance from city centre and cruise terminal, there is a bus and taxi connection to airport, bus stations, and resorts. Daily services are available from Sofia, Plovdiv, and Rousse.

There is one direct international train always available. Night train #059 departs Kiev daily, journey time is just under 35 hours. On its way to Varna, this train also stops in Lviv (25 hours) and Bucharest (8 hours). During the summer seasons several more destinations are added. Which cities have a direct connection varies from year to year but expect Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Minsk from the east and Prague and Warsaw among others to be on the list.

By Car

Varna can be reached by Haemus Motorway (A2) from Sofia, E70 from Rousse (and Bucharest), E87 from Constanta, Romania, and Cherno More Motorway (A3)/E87 from Istanbul, Turkey.

By Bus

There are two bus stations in Varna, one serving the local area and one for longer connections to Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Burgas, Plovdiv, Istanbul, Greece, Romania, Central and Western Europe. They aren't that easy to find, so take a taxi. As you approach them from the city centre, the station to the left is the local one, to the right is the long distance one.

By Boat

Varna is Bulgaria's only cruise destination. Cruise terminal is located near city centre, close to train station, walking distance to Sea Garden and beaches. Bus and taxi connection to city centre, bus stations, airport, and resorts. There are ferry lines (buses only) to Ukraine and Georgia. There a ferry to Ilichevsk (Odessa) in Ukraine and Poti & Batumi in Georgia.

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Getting Around

By Car

Driving a car in Varna can be quite a challenge. Sticking to the main streets should be your top priority because there are many small streets where you can easily get lost (even with your navigation) or confused by the driving/parking habits of the citizens. In the summer, the traffic is heavy and there are lots of traffic jams, especially during working hours of the day.

By Public Transport

Probably the best idea, if you are not a fan of the long walks or bikes. The public transportation is relatively cheap and can get you to almost every part of the city (you can even get to some of the nearby resorts, such as Golden Sands, St. Konstantin and Elena, etc.). It's not the most comfortable way of getting around the city, because it's extremely crowded and hot in the summer.

By Foot

You can easily take a tour around Varna's centre by foot. This is a recommended way to visit the Sea Garden, the Roman Terms, as well as other sightseeing in the central parts of the city.

By Bike

The most recommended way to travel around Varna. There are well-established cycle paths around the interesting parts of the city. Renting a bike is the best way to see most of the Sea Garden in one day.

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Eat

  • Halbata - a variety of traditional and international dishes at very nice prices. In summer you can choose between sitting inside or the outside garden. Located just across Archaeological Museum in a yellow-green painted house.
  • Sundogs - also described as a pub by many, Sundogs is the go-to spot for many foreginers that live in Varna for its urban atmosphere and great food
  • Godzilla, a family friendly place, known for its pizzas
  • The Happy Bar and Grill, a Bulgarian restaurant chain, based in Varna. Tasty kebabs.
  • La Pastaria - offering traditional Italian food, home made pasta and pizza. Dragoman street 45.
  • BM - a nice restaurant offering mainly traditional cuisine as well as sea food. Located at the end of sea garden near to the Port of Varna.
  • Graffiti Cafe & Bar. High quality food items.
  • Massa Kitchen, great atmosphere with a wide range of food options.
  • Staria Chinar, traditional and Black Sea food, with many locations in the city.

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Drink

The beach at night tends to have the most night life in the summer. Best beach nightclubs in 2011: Extravaganza, Copa Cabana, 4 as pik (chalga), Cubo.

There are also clubs and bars in the city but some of them are closed during summer: Horizont, Cargo, Bolla bar, Planet Club.

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Sleep

There is a number of hotels in the city ranging from 5 to 2 stars. North of Varna, along a continuous 20-km-long strip, are the beachfront resorts of Euxinograd, Constatine and Helena, Sunny Day, Chaika, Riviera, and Golden Sands, with a total of more than 60,000 hotel beds, plus several villa communities offering private lodgings.

  • Flag Varna Hostel. 10 minutes' walk from the beach and the bars. Nikolay, the manager, speaks good English and Spanish. Mostly Rumanian students are living there, and they are like a family. Shared kitchen & bathrooms. Double rooms are 60lev (50lev if you bargain). From €10 dormitory.
  • Motivi Hotel. This is a family-run hotel providing comfortable B&B accommodation. It is in the seaside resort of St. St. Constantine and Helena and has direct public transport connection to the centre of Varna (15 minutes away).
  • X Hostel Varna, 16th Street 19, Euxinograd (Bus 8, 9, 11, 109, 309 or 409 to bus stop Marek where you find signposts.), ☎ +359 885049084, e-mail: varna@xhostel.eu. Party hostel. It's a short bus drive out of the city, close to the beach and mineral baths. Easy access to Golden Sands where they organize parties and pub crawls every night (foam, beach and playboy parties). Note that 110 people got an X tattooed on them.
  • Yo Ho Hostel, Rusie 23. Nice decoration. 48lev double room.
  • Alekta Hotel is in the northern part of the Sea Garden, on the outskirts of the town, 200 metres from the sea and about a 20-minute walk from the town centre, which can also be reached by regular bus services or by taxi.
  • Amfora Hotel. Is situated 8 kilometres north of Varna in St. Konstantin. The hotel is nice and not far from the coast (about 15 min). edit

Aqua Hotel Varna, ul. "Devnya" 12, ☎ +359 52639090. This modern business hotel is situated in the city centre near the railway station. It also has six conference rooms suitable for all kinds of business events.

  • Ellinis Hotel, ☎ +359 52 761 188. Built in 2005, the hotel is on the main road connecting Varna with the sea resorts "St. Konstantin and Helena" and "Golden Sands", 12 km from the airport, 1,500 metres from the beach, and 5 minutes away from the city centre. All rooms have balconies with sea views. Single: 29lev - 40lev; double: 40lev - 50lev.
  • SesBreath apartment, 21 Petar Enchev st, ☎ +359 898424022. 2 nice bedrooms with a lounge, dining room, kitchen and shower room about 50m far from the central beach.
  • Hotel Divesta is in the centre of Varna, close to the main bus station.
  • Boutique Splendid, Str. Bratia Shkorpil 30, ☎ +359 52 681 414, fax: +359 52 681 415, e-mail: info@boutiquesplendid.net. This hotel is located in the middle of the town, opposite a grand cathedral.

View our map of accommodation in Varna

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Learn

  • University of Economics and College of Tourism
  • Naval Academy
  • Technical University and Varna College
  • Medical University and Medical College
  • Chernorizets Hrabar Varna Free University
  • New Bulgarian University Local Centre
  • University of Shumen Teacher Centre (graduate)

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet access is widely available in Bulgaria, although about 60% of the population has regular access. Broadband internet is available through cable, ADSL, fiber optics, WiMax and LAN connections. You can also access internet with your mobile phone, via GPRS or 3G. Speeds are pretty fast in the capital. Outside Sofia, speeds are significantly lower. Internet cafes are available in most towns and cities, and in some villages. Computers are usually not available in libraries, or in public places such as train stations, but free wireless access is often available in such public places and in gas stations. Many pubs and hotels will also have WiFi that is free of charge to use. In recent years, wireless access has been growing, especially in biggest cities, but is still rather limited. Paid wireless access is also available. Speeds in Bulgaria are surprisingly good! In fact Bulgaria is in top 10 of the countries with fastest wireless Internet speeds worldwide.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Bulgaria is: 359. To make an international call from Bulgaria, the code is: 00
There are three mobile operators in Bulgaria: Globul, MobilTel & Vivacom. You can buy phone cards from post offices, kiosks and other street vendors.

The pan-European standard number 112 for all emergency calls is working everywhere in Bulgaria since September 2008. If, for some reason, you can not connect to 112, dial 166 for police, 150 for ambulance and 160 for the fire department.

Post

Bulgarian Posts is the national postal service of Bulgaria. Services are fairly reliable and have been getting better and faster of the years. Still, it takes anywhere from days (domestic) to weeks (intercontinental) to send postcards, letters and/or parcels. They also have a very handy price calculator for all items, both priority as well as non-priority. Bulgarian post offices generally are open from 8:00am to 6:00pm, though some are also open on Saturday (mornings) or keep longer evening hours (mostly the central post offices in big cities or in tourist areas along the coastline). You can buy stamps and postcards at the post offices or at newspaper kiosks. Single stamps for domestic services start at 0.45 leva, for international destinations prices vary by region. For sending packages, you can also use more expensive but faster courier services offered by for example UPS or DHL. TNT and local ones like City Express or Econt are also options.

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Accommodation in Varna

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Varna searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Varna and areas nearby.

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This is version 27. Last edited at 14:06 on Sep 5, 18 by Utrecht. 22 articles link to this page.

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