An article by: Nilsu Emre
Bulgaria’s Varna is called the Ibiza of the Balkans.
It is true because Varna
promises an unforgettable vacation
with its history, culture and pleasant
WHERE TO SEE
Varna is one of the stars of the Black Sea. It’s rooted, modern and organized. Dedicating itself to tourism and tourists, this city’s population increases by five in summer. First, walk around the city. The first attraction to see in Varna is the historical train station, standing out with its Art Nouveau style. If you continue walking by the shore, you’ll arrive at the Morska Gradina (Sea Garden), the biggest park in the Balkans. Stretching across the Varna coastline and known as the biggest park in the Balkans, the Sea Garden is home to many structures: The Naval Museum upfront with its interesting and huge historical ships, an Aquarium dating back to 1932, the trees planted by the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and Bulgarian cosmonauts, various cafés, playgrounds, cycling trails, many statues and a spectacular landscape.
After the park, you can shop a little and take a nice lunch break. You can pass through Slivnitsa (closed to traffic) and Kniaz Boris I Avenues and the Preslav Street in order to explore the city texture and colour your trip. The next stop should be the Varna Cathedral, which has become the city’s symbol. The Opera House right across the cathedral and the Nezavisimost Square are ideal spots for taking photographs.
This city is the perfect summer destination for holidays –make sure you spend time at the Varna Coastline. You can enjoy the sea, catch your breath at the cafés with the Black Sea view, try the seafood at the restaurants along the coast, watch the migratory swans playing on the beach and have a dinner here.
But don’t content yourself with these; a Varna trip is never complete without a visit to the Archaeology and Ethnography Museum, the Roman bathhouse, the Aladzha Monastery, the Dolfinarium – a must for families with kids -, and the Zoo with 72 animal species.
WHERE TO STAY
Varna and the surroundings are home to hundreds of hotels and holiday camps, which are increasing day by day. Some of these hotels stand out with their spa facilities, however you can also find “All inclusive” holiday camps or many golf hotels situated on verdant lands. Located on the Black Sea shore, the hotels appeal to parents with their children’s clubs and activities.
- 25 km away from Varna, Burgas is a coastal town where you can spend the weekend. You should include the Slanchev Bryag (Sunny Beach) area on your holiday destinations.
- If you continue to Varna from Burgas, you’ll see the ancient city of Nessebar, included on the UNESCO World Heritage List and it is 1,5hr-drive away from Varna. Nessebar will make your trip more interesting with its atmosphere resembling the Aegean Sea.
- If you like rock music, you should definitely stop by Kavarna, 12 km west to Kaliakra. Organized every year, the Rock Music Festival stages world-famous bands such as Deep Purple, Scorpions and Manowar.
- Home to two mosques and Ottoman style houses, Dobrich, where mostly Turks lived during the Ottoman period, is only 45 minutes away from Varna by car. The historical city is delightful with its park with a pond, ice rink and shopping streets that are closed to traffic.
- Your alternative stop to eat fish and swim may be the Balchik coastal town. A countryside region in Dobrich just as Balchik, Albena deserves the title the Black Sea Riviera.
- In addition to the public and above beaches located at the Varna center, the St. Constantine and Elena are also good alternatives to swim. Moreover, you shouldn’t exclude the Zlatni Pyasatsi Holiday Area from your Varna trip.
WHAT TO EAT
Now that you’re in Varna, you should try some of Bulgaria’s special dishes:
- The Shopska Salad is great to eat after swimming in the sea.
- You can eat Palachinka, a kind of pancake, as something sweet or hearty.
- Don’t miss out on the fried Kashkaval cheese.
- Drink “boza”
- And don’t miss out the indispensable elements of a Bulgarian breakfast: kifla, banitsa and milinka.
WHAT TO BUY
Among the most popular souvenirs to buy in Varna are stewpots and rose perfumes or soaps.
Nilsu Emre was born in Istanbul. she moved to Bulgaria in 2011. She lives in Dobrich since then working at their corporate family business “VES Ltd.” producing mens shoes while writing travel articles and city guides for various magazines. She loves to explore new places and different cultures. In 2020, her first book “Eren and Selin’s Travels” (Eren ile Selin’in Gezi Takvimi) was published in Turkey and her 2nd book is underway this year. She allowed us to share her article about the fun city of Varna which is one of her favorite cities in Bulgaria.