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Varna

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Varna [1] (Bulgarian: Варна) is the third-largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia and Plovdiv. Commonly referred to as the marine (or summer) capital of Bulgaria, Varna is a major tourist destination, business and university centre, seaport, and headquarters of the Bulgarian Navy and merchant marine

Understand

Get in

By plane

  • Varna Airport [2] (IATA: VAR) (ICAO: LBWN), 8 km west of the city centre. Easy bus and taxi connection to city centre and resorts. There is a free shuttle bus between Varna Airport, Varna city centre and Burgas Airport. [3]

Airlines and destinations - connections are mostly seasonal (the list is not full):

  • Air Via (Berlin-Schönefeld, Berlin-Tegel, Frankfurt)
  • Austrian Airlines operated by Tyrolean Airways (Vienna)
  • Bulgaria Air (Amsterdam, Berlin-Schönefeld, Berlin-Tegel, Cologne/Bonn, Dublin, London-Gatwick, Madrid, Milan-Malpensa, Sofia, Vienna)
  • Bulgarian Air Charter (Berlin-Schönefeld, Berlin-Tegel, Cologne/Bonn, Frankfurt)
  • Jetairfly Brussels
  • Thomsonfly (East Midlands, London-Gatwick, Manchester)
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle (Oslo)
  • Ural Airlines (Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Yekaterinburg)
  • Wizz Air (London Luton)
  • Vim Airlines (Moscow)

By train

The central train station is located within walking distance from city centre and cruise terminal, there is 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 it's way to Varna this train also stops in Lviv (25 h) and Bucharest (8 h). 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 amongst 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. [4]

Get around

There is a pedestrian area and a coast area with a lot of fun for the tourists. There you can get around by foot. If you live in the tourist suburbs of Varna, you can come to the centre by bus, by trolleybus, by a rented car or by taxi. Be careful with taxis: you may pay 10 times the right price, so check for the fare per kilometer - look at the small square paper plate located in the lower corner of the rear doors' windows. Good taxi companies are , OK Trans (OK Транс), Varna (Варна), Evro (Евро),Triumph (Триумф Такси), Alpha taxi (Алфа такси). Typical price is around 0.79 leva (0.40 euro) per km.

Rent a Bike

Explore the Bulgarian Sea Capital and ride with an experienced guide along to the Black sea coast. The route takes you to the Varna Sea Garden and a few of the most famous beaches of Varna. VARNA BIKE rental. ([5]) For Self-guided Site Seeing in Varna by bike!

See

Varna Archaeological Museum has constantly carried out archaeological investigations and excavations on various sites all over Northeast Bulgaria. They now compose the Museum exhibition, more than 100 000 objects – monuments of past epochs from Varna, the Region and Northeast Bulgaria. The most important of them (one tenth of the whole Museum collection) are represented in the Museum exhibition halls. The Museum's arguably most celebrated exhibit is the Gold of Varna, the oldest gold treasure in the world, excavated in 1972 and dating to 4600-4200 BCE, which occupies three separate exhibition halls.

The museum also manages two open-air archaeological sites, the large Roman baths in the city centre and the medieval grotto of Aladzha Monastery at Golden Sands Nature Park.[6]

Naval Museum one of the symbols of Varna. Situated in the southern part of the sea garden.Beautiful museum building was constructed in 1890.The most valuable exhibit is the destroyer "Drazki" placed there in 1957, known for torpedoing the Turkish cruiser "Hamidie" on November 12, 1912 during Balkan war. This is the only ship of its type to be preserved until today. [7]

Museum of Ethnography The exposition of the Ethnographic Museum - Varna is sutuated in a revival house of so-called "symmetrical type houses" built in 1860. The museum shows the rich diversity in culture and lifestyle of the population of Varna end of the second half of the XIX and early XX century [8]

Battle of Varna Park Museum "Varnenchik" is memorial complex located in a unique park in an area of ​​30 acres. Located in the western part of Varna at the battlefield place dating back to 10.11.1444, where in the name of liberation of the Balkans and southeastern Europe perished Polish-Hungarian king Władysław III of Varna (Varnenchik). In the exposition are the armor and weapons,paintings,flags and sculptures of the era. [9]

The Sea Garden is the oldest and perhaps largest park.It is associated with the name of the Czech Anton Novak. At the request of municipality in 1894 K.Shkorpil invited the landscape engineer in Varna. There is a long alley of the Bulgarian revival with busts of the most honorable figures of the era.Perfect place for a pleasant walk, bicycle ride or outdoor sports. It contains also zoo and terrarium. The waterfront promenade underneath is lined by a string of beach clubs offering a vibrant (albeit noisy) scene of rock, hip-hop, American-style pop, house, and chalga (Bulgarian pop folk). The city beaches, also known as sea baths are dotted with hot sulphuric mineral springs and punctured by small sheltered marinas. The Garden is a national monument of landscape architecture.

Varna Aquarium The aquarium's exhibition focuses on the Black Sea's flora and fauna which includes over 140 fish species, but also features freshwater fish, Mediterranean fish, exotic species from faraway areas of the World Ocean, mussels and algae. [10]

Varna Dolphinarium the only dolphinarium on the Balkan Peninsula, one of the most entertaining attractions of city. Built in 1984 and has 1134 seats.

Nicolaus Copernicus Observatory and Planetarium [11],

The 2.4 km long, 50 m high Asparuhov Most bridge is a popular spot for bungee jumping.

Notable old Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox churches include the metropolitan Assumption of Mary Cathedral; the early 17th-century Theotokos Panagia; the St. Athanasius (former Greek metropolitan cathedral); the seamens' church of St. Nicholas the Miracle Worker; the Archangel Michael's chapel; and the St. Constantine and Helena church of the 16th century suburban monastery of the same name.

Varna's centre was rebuilt in late 19th and the earlier half of the 20th century by the nascent Bulgarian middle class in Western style, with local interpretations of Neo-Renaissance, Neo-Baroque, Neoclassicism, Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

Aladzha Manastir (Аладжа Манастир) outside Varna is a beautiful monastery, which is dug in a giant rock. The entrance fee is quite low, and it's a very beautiful, and quite weird thing to see.

Pobiti Kamani (Побити Камъни) , literaly "the rocks which got hit", also outside Varna, are a bunch of gigantic rocks, standing up, in the middle of nowhere. The rocks are said to radiate energy and a lot of hippies stop by.

Do

There is a large tourist place where you can enjoy whatever entertainment that can be bought for money. There is something for every taste. But, you can also have nice walks in Varna.

  • Varna Green Tour (Tourist Info Center), Varna, Square St. Cyril and Methodius (Kozirkata next to the Clock Tower and opposite of the Cathedral), +359 879461347, [12]. Free Bike tour in Varna, the sea's capital of Bulgaria. Explore Varna on a Bike. You will see beautiful green part of Varna city and many landmarks such as: The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin, The Sea Garden, The Aquarium, The Dolphinarium, The Roman Baths and many others. Rent a Bike and discover Varna by your own Bike tour. (,2 hours)
  • Free Varna Tour (The free English-language sightseeing walking tour of Bulgarias sea capital), Corner of Hristo Botev Blvd and Vladislav Varnenchik Blvd (In front of the Cathedral), +359887699875, [13]. The free English-language sightseeing walking tour of the sea capital of Bulgaria - Varna. Every day at 11AM and 6PM (13th April - 14th October). No reservation required. Just show up at the starting point. Upon request during the rest of the year. Free.


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)

Work

  • Shipyard
  • Ship repair yards
  • Cargo port, East and West
  • Chemical plants near the Varna lake

Buy

There are a couple of large shopping malls (Grand Mall, Pfohe Mall, Central Plaza, Mall of Varna, Varna Towers) turning Varna into an attractive international shopping destination. There are also several international big-box retailers (Metro, Kaufland, Carrefour) on the outskirts and traditional downtown shopping streets with boutiques and gift shops. Plenty of tourist stuff in the resorts sold in small stalls.

Eat

Budget

There are many good restaurants at very descent prices comparing other EU countries.

Alba - 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.

Mid-range

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.

Splurge

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.

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.

Budget

  • Flag Varna Hostel, [14]. 10 minutes walk from the beach and the bars. The owner goes out of his way to make all guests feel welcome. The staff are happy to spend time showing the guests around the town by day or by night. From 9 EUR.
  • Varna Hostel, Apartment 9, floor 3 , 16 Dunav st., +35952/ 977 645; +359 896 928 437, [15]. Located in the very centre of Varna, 200m from the central train station. With wifi access, TV and multimedia systems in the communal area, single and double bed accommodation, free tea and coffee, in recently renovated apartment. Website is dead and it might be closed. 11.80 euro.
  • X Hostel Varna, 16th Street 19, Euxinograd (Bus 8, 9, 11, 109, 309 or 409 to bus stop Marek where you find signposts.), +359 (0) 885049084 (), [16]. 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.
  • Motivi Hotel, [17] 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).

Mid-range

  • Alekta Hotel is in the northern part of the Sea Garden, on the outskirts of the town, 200 m from the sea and about a 20 minute walk from the town center, which can also be reached by regular bus services or by taxi.
  • Amfora Hotel is situated 8 km north of Varna in St. Konstantin, [18]. The hotel is nice and not far from the coast (about 15 min).
  • Ellinis Hotel built in 2005 is on the main road connecting Varna with the sea resorts "St. Konstantin and Helena" and "Golden Sands", 12 km from the airport, 1500 m from the beach, and 5 minutes away from the city center. All rooms have balconies with sea views.
  • SesBreath apartment, 21 Petar Enchev st, +359898424022, [19]. 2 nice bedrooms with a lounge, dining room, kitchen and shower room about 50m far from the central beach.

Splurge

  • Hotel Divesta is in the center of Varna, close to the main bus station.

Stay safe

Varna is in general a fairly safe place, though special caution should be taken in regards to the mafia. There have been several cases of tourists being assaulted by the mafia for improper behavior, such as the brutal beating of an Icelandic teenage girl in the summer of 2007. Try not to give anyone who might be driving a black sports car, wearing a suit with glasses a bad eye. Common sense, courtesy and respect is always the best thing you can pursue.

Stay away from people offering money change on the street they are all cheaters. They usually are located in the area of the Cathedral(kozirkata) and also it's a typical place for pickpocketers so be careful.

If you are driving a car be careful where you stop because if you violate the parking restrictions, your car may be removed by the authorities and you will need to pay a penalty fee, not to mention losing a lot of time.

Contact

Get out

Outside the city are the Euxinograd palace, park and winery, the Ecopark Varna Botanical Garden, the Pobiti Kamani rock phenomenon, the cave monastery Aladzha, and the Kamchiya biosphere reserve (UNESCO-protected)

  • Golden Sands Resort is 17 km north from downtown Varna.
  • Sveti Konstantin and Helena is 10 km north from downtown Varna - it is a small, but peaceful and very green resort. Many nice hotels offer mineral water SPA services, due to the abundance of hot mineral springs all over the area.
  • Albena - 30 km north from Varna. An old style resort, with an architecture from the Communist times. Peaceful area though. Since the whole resort is owned by a single private company, it is one of the very few places on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast that does not suffer from overbuilding.
  • The town of Balchik features a small palace and a beautiful botanical garden; 40 km away (north)
  • Many wild beaches south of town (Pasha Dere, Shkorpilovtsi, Karadere, Irakli)
  • The town of Kavarna (Каварна) is 60 km away north. It holds the Kavarna Rock Fest in early July, the largest rock event in the Balkans and Black Sea region.
  • Cape Kaliakra - the longest cape in Bulgaria. Stunning views to the sea and the red cliffs. A place with rich history and many legends. Worth visiting. 80 km away, north.
  • The high rocky coast near the small Kamen Bryag (Камен бряг, literally: Rocky Coast) village has been popular among Bulgarian hippies; 82 km away (north)
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