Difference between revisions of "Varna"
Revision as of 18:48, 25 March 2015
Varna  (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
Airlines and destinations - connections are mostly seasonal (the list is not full):
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 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.
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.
Varna is Bulgaria's only cruise destination. The passenger cruise terminal is located near the city centre which is close to the train station and walking distance to the Sea Garden and beaches. There are bus and taxi connections to the city centre, the bus stations, airport, and resorts.
Navisped operate cargo and passenger ferries that connect Varna with Ukraine, Georgia and Turkey. Routes, dates and prices are constantly liable to change and all inquiries should be directed to their english-speaking customer service team. Their passenger service is typically busy in the Summer and quiet other months.
Navbul ferries do NOT arrive or depart from the passenger cruise terminal, but the cargo port approximately 20 kilometres away from the city. The road to the port includes crossing a small car ferry which could add as much as another 30 minutes to the journey therefore it is not recommended to taxi and hitch-hiking could be problematic. If you are without your own transport, it might be possible to be driven out to the port with Krasimir or any other Navisped employee who will also be the one who will process your ticket and immigration forms. The Navisped office in central Varna will NOT be able to sell you a ticket, although they are very friendly!
On board the Sevastopol, you will be provided with fantastic food each breakfast, lunch and dinner, including fruit, bread, fish, lots of soups and lots and lots of meat. Bottled water is available, but limited per day. It is recommended to bring your own snacks (biscuits etc.) and most definitely your own alcohol, fruit juices, yoghurts and similar. Nothing is available to buy and you can bring whatever you want on board, although customs at your destination will be thorough. The beds are comfortable, the bedrooms and bathrooms clean and well maintained with powerpoints and a table and chair and all with windows. In the communal areas there is a tv and dvd player, but limited choices on offer and little else in the way of entertainment.
Importantly it must be noted that ferries on the Black Sea are regularly delayed by days at a time and a 4 night trip can easily turn in to a 7 night trip. Regardless, the ferry is an enjoyable and relaxing experience.
If you're staying in the tourist suburbs of Varna, you can come to the centre by bus, by trolleybus, by a rented car.
There is a pedestrian area and a coast area with a lot of fun for the tourists. There you can get around by foot.
Explore the Bulgarian Sea Capital and ride to the Varna Sea Garden and a few of the most famous beaches of Varna.
Be careful with taxis: you may pay 10 times the right price, so check for the fare per km - 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.
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.
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. 
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 
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. 
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. 
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 ,
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.
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.
University of Economics and College of Tourism
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.
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. Mains about 5 lev.
The Happy Bar and Grill, a Bulgarian restaurant chain, based in Varna. Tasty kebabs.
"Bistro Europe" - Boulevard Slivnitsa 11. French-like cuisine, quite expensive for what you're getting.
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.
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.
There are 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 beach front 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.
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.
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)