The Best Things to Do in Varna, Bulgaria

By GremlinTravels | Jan 1, 2022
Europe > Bulgaria > Varna

Varna is the third largest city in Bulgaria, and the largest city on it's black sea coastline. As well as having some great beaches, parks and nightlife, the city is also full of history. This makes it the perfect destination for sun and relaxation, while doing some Varna sightseeing. Explore the best things to do in Varna with our list of the best Varna attractions below.

1. Visit The Sea Gardens


The sea gardens of Varna are large, nicely planted gardens that sit between the city and the beach. Home to a range of bars, cafes, attractions and activities, the sea gardens really are the life and soul of the city and provide a space that everyone can enjoy. It is common to see people jogging, children playing, locals having a morning coffee and couples watching the sea, making the gardens a great place to relax and enjoy Varna city life. The gardens also provide direct access to the beach.

Opening times: Open 24 hours, daily
Entry/Tickets: Free to enter

2. Varna Cathedral


Built in the late 19th century, Varna cathedral is a landmark of the city and one of the top things to do in Varna. Formerly named The Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral, its most notable features are its copper domed roofs and the intricacy of the exterior architecture. Damage to the cathedral as a result of the world wars means that it has been improved and added to over the course of the past 100 years, including several gifts from Russia.

Opening times: Daily from 08:00 to 18:00
Entry/Tickets: Free to enter

3. Varna Beach


Of all the things to do in Varna, having some time by the beach and the black sea should be high on your list. Varna is blessed with beautiful golden sand beaches and clear water. The beach is easily accessible from the city centre through the sea gardens and has a variety of beach bars and restaurants all the way along it. There are more beaches further along, so if you're looking for something quieter then you can head to one of these.

Opening times: Open 24 hours, daily
Entry/Tickets: Free

4. Archaeology Museum


Located in the centre of Varna, the Archaeology museum is one of the must see Varna attractions for any one interested in history or wanting to learn more about Varna's past. In 1906, the museum held it's first exhibition. Today, the museum is home to many artefacts and items from the Ottomans, Greeks and Romans, amongst others. The oldest piece of worked gold in the world is also proudly on display at the museum, at a staggering 7000 years old!

Opening Times: Tuesday - Saturday from 10:00 to 17:00, closed Sundays and Mondays
Entry/Tickets: 10BGN ($6) per adult, 2BGN ($1.25) per child
Where to Buy: In person, on entry

5. Take A Day Trip To Balchik


Located 45min away from Varna by bus, or 35min by car or taxi, a visit to Balchik is a great day trip from Varna. The town of Balchik is a quaint seaside town which has a small beach, shops and restaurants. The star attraction of Balchik is the Palace and Botanical Gardens, located just outside the centre of town. The Botanical Gardens are home to more than 2000 species of plant and cacti and have been beautifully planted.

Opening Times: Palace is open daily from 08:00 to 20:00
Entry/Tickets: 14BGN ($8.25) total (8BGN + 6BGN, separately for Palace and Botanical Gardens)
Where to Buy: Buy in person on entry

6. Retro Museum


Varna's retro museum offers visitors a fascinating insight into what life would have been like in the communist era. Some of the items on display include household objects, kitchen appliances and slogans of the communist party. The star attraction of the museum is a collection of 50 communist era cars that were driven on Bulgarian roads some 30 years ago. A trip to the museum is the perfect way to do something a little different while in Varna or a great way to spend a rainy day.

Opening Times: Daily from 10:00 to 20:00
Entry/Tickets: 12BGN ($7) per adult, 6BGN ($3.50) per child
Where to Buy: In person, on entry

7. Roman Baths


Dating back to the year 100, Varna's Roman Baths complex once belonged to the Roman city of Odessus and is one of the oldest things to do in Varna. They are one of the largest remaining Roman Thermae in Europe. As you wander through the remains of the baths, you will see some remarkably well preserved sections of buildings and equipment that was used to heat the baths.

Opening Times: From May-Oct, Tues-Sun 10:00 to 17:00, from Nov-Apr, Tues-Sat from 10:00 to 17:00
Entry/Tickets: 5BGN ($3) per adult, 2BGN ($1.25) per child
Where to Buy: In person, on entry

8. Aladzha Monastery


Aladzha Monastery is the largest cave monastery on the black sea and offers an intriguing view into the life of a medieval hermit. The cave is split into two levels, in limestone rock, and was inhabited in the 13th and 14th centuries. There is a church, a kitchen and dining room to explore but the terrain of the area can be a little challenging, so be sure to wear good shoes. Surrounding the complex is a forest of trees, some of which are rare species. It may be located outside of the city but this is one of the top Varna attractions to see. You can take a car or the bus no.29 to the monastery. Alternatively, you can join one of the many tours that stop at the monastery, many are available to book online.

Opening Times: Open daily May-Oct, 09:00-17:00, from Nov-Dec & Mar-Apr closed Mon-Tues, closed Jan-Feb
Entry/Tickets: 5BGN ($3) per adult, 2BGN ($1.25) per child
Where to Buy: In person, on entry

9. The Stone Forest


Located 12km outside of the city, getting to the stone forest requires a car rental, public bus or joining a tour. However, the journey is worth it to see these giant stone pillars that oddly stick out of the ground. Covering an area of 13sq km, the stone columns are located in the only desert in Bulgaria. Although the cause of the formations is still debated, it is said that they are actually artificial and have been made by methane oxidation carried out by microorganisms. You can take public bus no.43 from Varna to the bus stop 'Razklon Banovo' in Slanchevo Village.

Opening Times: May-Sep from 10:00-19:00, closed Mon-Tues, Oct-Apr from 10:00-17:00, closed Sat-Sun
Entry/Tickets: 3BGN per adult, 2BGN per child
Where to Buy: In person, on entry

10. Euxinograd Palace


Located around 15min outside of Varna, Euxinograd Palace was once a monastery. However, following the Bulgarian revival Procne Ferdinand, who had become fond of the area, asked architects to redesign the gardens around the French chateau. The gardens were beautifully planted with a range of plant species including tropical plants. Today, the building is the summer residence for the Bulgarian president but visitors can wander the gardens and some of the palace's outbuildings. You must make a reservation to visit the palace by emailing the following euxinograde@government.bg.

Opening Times: Mon-Fri 10:00–15:00, on weekends and holidays 09:00–14:00
Entry/Tickets: Guided tours from 5BGN ($3) per adult, 3BGN ($1.25) per child
Where to Buy: Reserve space in advance

Europe Things to do Varna Bulgaria

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Written by GremlinTravels
Hello and welcome to Gremlin Travels! As an experienced travelling couple, we want to make travel planning easier, simpler and less complicated. This is why we created our travel website and blog, Gremlin Travels, specialising in essential travel guides that combine only the most useful information in a simple, compact format. We also have a growing range of travel articles, travel tips and walking tour videos.

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