Varna – the sea capital of Bulgaria
Varna is the second largest city in Bulgaria. The town of Varna is also known among the Bulgarians as the naval capital of Bulgaria. This is a beautiful city located at the Bulgarian seaside with lost of attractions and things to see. Varna is also a tourist destination well-known by its sandy beaches and touristic sights.
Baroque, nineteenth-century and contemporary architecture are pleasantly blended with shady promenades and a handsome seaside park. As a settlement it dates back almost five millennia, but it wasn’t until seafaring Greeks founded a colony here in 585 BC that the town became a port. The modern city is used by both commercial freighters and the navy, as well as being a popular tourist resort in its own right.
Things to do in Varna
Social life revolves around ploshtad Nezavisimost, where the opera house and theatre provide a backdrop for restaurants and cafés.
The square is the starting point of Varna’s evening promenade, which flows eastward from here along bul. Knyaz Boris I and towards bul. Slivnitsa and the seaside gardens.
Beyond the opera house, Varna’s main lateral boulevard cuts through pl. Mitropolit Simeon to the domed Cathedral of the Assumption. Constructed in 1886, it contains a splendid iconostasis and bishop’s throne.
The Archeology Museum on the corner of Mariya Luiza and Slivnitsa houses one of Bulgaria’s finest collections of antiquities. Most impressive are the skeletons adorned with Thracian gold jewellery that were unearthed in Varna in 1972 and date back almost six thousand years.
South of the centre on ul. Han Krum are the extensive remains of the third-century Roman baths. It’s still possible to discern the various bathing areas and the once huge exercise hall. At the southern edge of the Sea Gardens, the Navy Museum is worth a trip to see the boat responsible for the Bulgarian Navy’s only victory; it sank the Turkish cruiser Hamidie off Cape Kaliakra in 191
Within the EU, the emergency services (police, fire brigade and ambulance) can be contacted by calling 112.
Public healthcare in Bulgaria is regulated by the National Health Insurance Fund. When travelling to Bulgaria, you need to carry a valid EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) in case you need immediate emergency treatment in a hospital. Without this you may be charged for treatment.
Here is a list of hospitals in Varna which accept EHICs in cases of emergency:
- MBAL Varna
- Military Hospital Varna
- St Anna Hospital Varna
Buses in Varna are a quick, convenient and cheap way to travel around the city and to your favourite beach resorts.
For a journey planner, full schedule and list of bus routes and stops, please check the Varna Traffic Website.
You can pay bus fares in cash only – debit/credit cards are not accepted. A single Varna bus ticket costs 1 BGN and can be purchased on the bus. If you wish to travel outside Varna, bus fares will be different.
Varna has two coach stations: Varna Central and Mladost.
There are regulated taxi ranks at all key places in Varna – airport, stations and the city centre. You can order a taxi at any time of the day or night from any place in the city, by phone, or flag one down in the street. Here is a non exhaustive list of taxi companies in Varna (in alphabetical order):
- Hippo Taxi
- OK Taxi
- Omega Trans Taxi
Varna has one airport which is located just outside the city – Varna Airport .
Where to stay in Varna ?
Are you planning where to stay? If you are travelling on a budget, you will find lots of guest
houses and hostels in Varna, as well as self-catering options. Below is a list of some of the
cheaper options (in alphabetical order):
- Avocado Hostel
- Central Hostel
- Del Mar Hostel
- Flag Varna Central Hostel
- Gregory’s Backpackers Hostel