Earth : Europe : Balkans : Bulgaria : Bulgarian Black Sea Coast : Varna
Varna is the northern one of two major Bulgarian cities on the coast of Black Sea (the other one is Burgas).
Airlines and destinations
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 avalible from Sofia, Plovdiv, and Rousse.
There is one direct international trains always avalible. Night train #059 departs Kiev daily, journy 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.
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. 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 are a pedestrian area and a coast area with a lot of fun for the tourists. There you should 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. Take careful with the taxis: You may pay 10 times the right price, and to check for the the fare per kilometer look at the small square paper plate located at lower corner of the rear doors' windows. Good taxi companies are City Taxi 1, OK Trans (OK Транс), Varna (Варна), Evro (Евро), Maxa (Макса) and Pontea (Понтеа).
City landmarks include the Varna Archaeological Museum, exhibiting the Gold of Varna, a cache of chalcolithic grave-goods, which constitute the oldest gold treasure in the world, the large and well preserved Roman Baths, Władysław Warneńczyk Park Museum, the Naval Museum, displaying the museum ship torpedo boat Drazki, the Museum of Ethnography.
The Sea Garden is the oldest and perhaps largest park containing the Varna Aquarium, the Varna Dolphinarium (opened 1984), the Nicolaus Copernicus Observatory and Planetarium, the Museum of Natural History, a terrarium, a zoo, and other attractions. The Garden is a national monument of landscape architecture.
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. Additionally, 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 metrpolitan Assumption of Mary Cathedral; the early 17th-century Theotokos Panagia; the St. Athanasius (former Greek etropolitan cathedral); the seamen's church of St. Nicholas the Miracle Worker; the Archangel Michael's chapel; and the Sts. 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.
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
In May of 2008, there were three large shopping malls (Grand Mall, Pfohe Mall, Central Plaza, and Mall of Varna) and another four projects in various stages of development (Gallery Mall, Cherno More Park, Varna Towers, and Varna Stadium) turning Varna into an attractive international shopping destination. There are also several international big-box retailers (Metro, Kaufland) on the outskirts and traditional downtown shopping streets with boutiques and gift shops. Plenty of tourist stuff in the resorts sold in small stalls.
Varna is cheap compared to Western countries, but expensive compared to Bulgarian standards. The tourist industry distorts the general price level. But, you can have a meal for 3-4 Euro. Also the price of the taxi is more expensive compared to the other bulgarian cities.
The Happy Bar and Grill, a Bulgarian restaurant chain, is based in Varna. It's cheap - midrange, and serves tasty kebabs.
Sea Paradise is a great fish restaurant by the beach. Meals are approximately 10-15 euros. To get there, enter the pedestrian street by the beach and follow it north until right before the first pier. Call 0878-62-4010 for reservations. No credit cards accepted.
The beach at night tends to have the most night life in the summer. Best night clubs in 2007: Extravaganza, A-Lounge (Varna beach alley), Agression, Bonkers, Masai, PR Club (Golden Sands), Totally Romantic (Kabakum beach).
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 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
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 pick pocketers so be careful.
If you are driving a car be careful where you stop because it can be remover from the well known machines "spiders" wich will move your car and you will need to pay a penalty fee and lose much 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)