A Local's Guide to Varna, Bulgaria

Advisor - Simona Grinnell
Curated By

Simona Grinnell

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  • Bulgaria

  • Beaches

  • Food & Wine

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Beaches

vine-covered colonnade overlooking the sea
Curator’s statement

Despite being from Sofia, Varna is closer to my heart because of its unique blend of beautiful beaches, vibrant culture and welcoming atmosphere, all of which create a truly unforgettable experience.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay

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A sleek and modern stay in the heart of Varna, Bulgaria.

Hotel & Casino “Cherno Moré”

This elegant, comfortable hotel is near both the beach and Varna's charming streets.

Modus Hotel

A design-obsessed, stylish boutique property with 29 tasteful rooms.

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Things to do in Varna

sea port at sunset

Varna is Bulgaria's third-largest city and a beautiful destination on the Black Sea coast. Varna is a city rich in history and culture, with stunning beaches, delicious food and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy.

Visit the Varna Archaeological Museum: This museum is one of Bulgaria's best, and offers a fascinating glimpse into the ancient history of the Black Sea region. The museum features impressive collections of ancient artifacts, including the famous Gold of Varna, one of the oldest gold treasures in the world.

Stroll along the Sea Garden: This beautiful park runs along the coast and features winding walking paths, colorful flower beds and even a small zoo. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the Black Sea while taking a leisurely stroll through the park.

Check out the Roman Baths: These impressive ruins are some of the best-preserved Roman baths in Europe and offer a fascinating glimpse into the ancient history of the region.

Relax on the beach: Varna boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Bulgaria, with miles of soft, golden-sand and crystal-clear waters. Some of the best beaches in the area include St. Konstantin and Elena Beach, Albena Beach and Golden Sands Beach.

Explore the Aladzha Monastery: This stunning medieval monastery is carved into the cliffs and offers a unique and breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside. Visitors can explore the caves and learn about the history of the monastery and the region.

Advisor - Simona Grinnell

A note from Simona

For something a bit different, I recommend visiting the Retro Museum in Varna, which is a hidden gem that offers a fascinating glimpse into the country's Communist past through a collection of vintage artifacts, including cars, radios and household items. It's a unique and off-the-beaten-path attraction that is not to be missed.

Places to eat & drink in Varna

gourmet meal with a white plate featuring a filet of fish

SeaCrets Restaurant: Located right on the beach, this seafood restaurant offers a variety of fresh catches, including grilled squid, sea bass and mussel soup.

El Kapan: This traditional Bulgarian restaurant serves up delicious dishes such as lamb stew, grilled meats and banitsa, a savory pastry filled with feta cheese and spinach.

Burrata Italiana Varna: This cozy Italian restaurant serves up delicious pasta dishes and wood-fired pizzas. Try the spaghetti carbonara or the truffle pizza for a truly indulgent meal.

Day trips from Varna

view of the sea and a small pillar through a brick window

Balchik: This charming seaside town is located just a short drive from Varna and is home to the stunning Balchik Palace, a former summer residence of the Romanian royal family.

Kaliakra Cape: This dramatic cape juts out into the Black Sea and is home to a historic fortress and stunning natural scenery.

Nessebar: This historic town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features stunning examples of medieval architecture, as well as beautiful beaches and seaside restaurants.

Need to Know

Craving more Bulgaria travel tips? Check out my other guide: A Local's 3-Day Guide to Sofia, Bulgaria.

Advisor - Simona Grinnell

Travel Advisor

Simona Grinnell

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Bulgaria.