- Third largest city in Bulgaria and major seaside resort, with about 300,000 residents.
- The oldest gold treasure in the world was discovered at the Varna Necropolis – coins, jewellery and weapons dating back to 4,600 BC.
- Established as Odessos in the 6th century BC.
- Nicknames: The Sea Capital of Bulgaria.
- Currency: Bulgarian Leva (BGN).
- Spoken languages: Bulgarian.
- Best time to visit: from May to September.
- Arriving via airport: public transport to the city is 1 BGN, while a taxi costs 10 BGN.
WHERE TO STAY
During the off-season (October – April) it is better to stay near the center of the city – hotels along Boulevard Kniaz Boris I. From May to September, it is more convenient to stay on the Golden Sands (the main summer tourist attraction).
- GT Varna is the main way to get around. The public transport consists of bus and trolleybus (there is no subway system). A single ride costs 1 BGN, while a ride to Golden Sands costs 3 BGN.
- Taxis are the other way to get around. The most reliable companies are Omega (052-388 888) and Transtriumf (052-644 444). Fares start at 0.99 BGN, with an additional 0.79 BGN for every kilometer (0.89 BGN after 11 PM).
- Drinking age is 21, last call is 5 AM.
- Hip/local scene: bars along the coast (directions).
- Trendy scene: clubs Xtravaganzza and 4as Pik (directions).
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- Varna Archaeological Museum. Come check out the infamous Gold of Varna, the oldest gold treasure in the world.
- Cathedral Sveto Uspenie, the most famous Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral in Varna.
- The Aladzha Monastery is a medieval Orthodox Christian cave monastery complex.
- The Stoyan Bachvarov Dramatic Theatre is the most famous theatre in Varna, and occupies a historic building in the centre of the city.
- Take a walk in the Golden Sands on a sunny day. Great for people watching and getting a taste of Bulgarian culture and traditions.
- The Sea Garden is a great place for a stroll – relax and observe the untouched nature.
- Bulgarian people have a good sense of humour, and are generally tolerant to jokes and comments of all kinds.
- Where to find good cheap eats: just about anywhere in the city! Check out the small restaurants and fast food joints on Varna’s side streets.
- Dangerous areas: avoid the neighbourhoods of Vladislavovo, Vuzrajdane and Mladost. Other than that, Varna is a very safe city as long as you exercise common sense.
RECOMMENDED VARNA GUIDE BOOKS
We were unable to find any good guidebooks specifically focusing on Varna. A general recommendation for travel in Bulgaria:
Recommended trip duration: 1-2 days