72 Hours In Varna: Your Perfect Seaside Weekend
Anyone who’s ever travelled around the Black Sea Coast will tell you that Varna is one of the best places that you can visit there. It’s a lively, vibrant city, bursting with culture, attractions and beautiful beaches. With so much to do and see it’s no surprise that so many people prefer to spend their summer vacation in the Sea Capital. But what would you do if you had only 72 hours there? Here’s our guide on how to spend a weekend in Varna, while visiting some of the best and most popular places in town!
Begin your sightseeing journey in the centre. Varna’s centre is a great place to do some sightseeing and really get a feel of the town’s atmosphere. The entire area is pedestrian-friendly and many of the town’s key sights are located in close proximity to each other. Here are a few places worth seeing before exploring the food & drinks scene later today…
The Cathedral is one of Varna’s symbols and a truly spectacular sight worth seeing (especially when it’s lit at night). If you’re in the centre, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever miss it. The Cathedral is open to visitors during the day. The murals inside are unique and you can also climb to the top if you feel like it. The view is quite worth it!
The Sea Garden
The Sea Garden is one of the locals’ preferred places for walks and relaxation. There are countless long alleys inside the park with beautiful flowers where you can take a walk, relax and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. There are also many museums and attractions located within the garden such as the zoo and the Naval Museum – you can visit them for free with Varna City Card!
If you want to save yourself a bit of walking, you can enjoy a ride on the Tourist Attraction Train – one of the most popular activities for kids and adults alike. One of the lines departs from the Sea Port and the other from the Aquarium. With Varna City Card you get one free ride on each line!
The Central Sea Alley
The central alley is one of the best places to be during the warm months! You can enjoy the fresh sea breeze while walking along the alley (it gets pretty busy in summer) and you can also go for coffee or a meal at one of the many restaurants, cafes and bars there.
Stop by a traditional souvenir shop such as Balkanik 51
Want to buy something to remember Varna by? Balkanik 51 is a place for traditional, Bulgarian handmade souvenirs. Here you can select from a great variety of magnets, traditional Bulgarian ceramics, woodwork, household tablecloths, towels and many others.
Products made from the famous Bulgarian Rosa Damascena are amongst the best things you can buy here. This includes rose water and oil, rose jam, tea and even liquor! Traditional mountain herbs are also a good pick as well as different types of Turkish delight.
With Varna City Card you get 10% off all souvenirs at Balkanik 51!
Enjoy a night out at Pampero Bar
Pampero Bar is located in the centre of Varna and is one of the local’s favourite spots. People like to hang out there, enjoying the regular live Dj performances while socializing and having drinks with friends. The bar’s cosy atmosphere as well as artistic interior, do make it a great place to spend an evening.
With Varna City Card you get 10% off the menu!
Taste local draft beer at the Black Sheep Brewhouse
The Black Sheep Brewhouse is the perfect place for the lovers of beer. The restaurant serves over 40 different types of draft and bottled beer, both local and international. The typical pub setting, amazing draft beer, game nights and traditional pub food have turned it into one of the hottest spots in town. On the food menu, you will find many English and American classics such as burgers, fries and onion rings. They go perfectly with a cold beer and some good company!
What to see with Varna City Card?
Now that it’s day 2, it’s time do some more exploring! What about some good places to have lunch? After all the sightseeing and amazing places you still have to visit, it’s good to sit down and rest your feet as you refuel with a good meal.
Enjoy a delicious lunch at Pizza – Bar La Casa al Mare
Fan of Italian food? In Pizza – Bar “La Casa al Mare” you can enjoy many traditional Italian classics. The restaurant offers some of the best pizzas in town, as well as freshly made salads, pasta, risotto and bruschettas. Their lunch menu has some incredibly affordable options to choose from and it changes every day so you can always try something new.
Try the pizza pancetta e funghi, it’s simply the best. You also can’t go wrong with any of their homemade Italian desserts.
With Varna City Card you can enjoy a free drink with your order!
Pizza Sea Horse
Pizza Sea Horse is another local’s favourite and a great place to stop by for lunch and relax. You’ll find it in the centre just next to the State Opera House. For over 25 years the restaurant has been serving a wide variety of pizza, salads, grill, pasta, and deserts.
See the world’s oldest golden treasure at the Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum in Varna is certainly a place worth visiting. It’s one of the largest archaeological museums in the country that shows original finds from the Paleolithic Age /about 100 000 years BC/ to the Middle Ages /7th – 8th/ century and the Bulgarian National Revival era.
Not only will you get a glimpse into the region’s ancient heritage, but you will also get a chance to see the oldest golden treasure in the world, dating back to 4600-4200 BC.
With Varna City Card you get free admission to the Archaeological Museum!
Retro & Wax Museums
Travel back in time inside the Retro Museum and see what Bulgaria looked like during the Socialist era. The entire museum is dedicated to the period from 1945 to 1989. Here you can see on display some really unique collections of restored vintage cars, many Soviet, German household items as well as Polish cosmetics and Bulgarian cigarettes.
Inside the Wax Museum, you can see some very realistic wax sculptures of prominent historical figures. These include famous Bulgarian people as well as leaders of the ex-soviet countries. You can find both museums inside Grand Mall Varna.
With Varna City Card you get free entry at the Retro museum and 20% off the entry fee at the Wax museum!
Wine and dine at Restaurant Wine & Cellar Darzalas
Your tour around Varna wouldn’t be complete without a taste of some local wine and a traditional meal. Restaurant Wine & Cellar Darzalas is one of Varna’s finest dining spots.
The restaurant has аn authentic stone cellar with over 500-year-old and rare local wines. You will be able to try some really amazing wines, many of which have been produced in the region by local wineries. What are some good grape varieties to try? Mavrud and Rubin are amongst everyone’s favourites.
The restaurant also offers a wide variety of local dishes and appetizers that go perfectly with a glass of wine. Some good things to try? The grilled meats and clay pot classics are all good choices. The cheese platter will introduce you to some amazing Bulgarian cheeses such as feta (made from cow’s or goat’s milk). And let’s not forget the famous Shopska salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and feta), it’s simply delicious!
With Varna City Card you get 15% off the menu!
Where to eat with Varna City Card?
Time for an exciting 1-day trip outside of Varna! You’ll truly be amazed by the diversity of nature as well as the rich cultural and historical heritage of the region. Here are two sites are that are absolutely worth visiting…
The Stone Forest
The Stone Forest is certainly one of the most interesting places you can visit close to Varna. This incredible phenomenon is one of few natural deserts in Europe and it’s pretty easy to get to from Varna (you can go with either car or bus).
It is believed that the unique shape of the rocks formed as a result of environmental factors – sea waves, wind, rain, algae. The Stone Forest is the only place in Bulgaria where the archaeologist found evidence of human life from the Mesolithic period (it is believed to be 50 million years old).
With Varna City Card you get free admission to the Stone Forest!
This unique cave monastery is one of the few in the country and a very popular tourist attraction. You can find it just next to the resort of Golden Sands, 18 km from Varna. Although there is no exact record of when Aladzha Monastery was established, it is believed that it had already existed during the 10th – 12th centuries.
The initial monastery has been carved and arranged on two levels in a limestone rock that is about 40 meters in height. On the first level use to be cells of the monastery, the cemetery and crypt, the kitchen and other farm premises. On the second floor used to the monastery’s chapel.
With Varna City Card you get free admission to Aladzha Monastery!
While there’s still much to see and do in Varna and the region, this guide will definitely give you a good start. And if you prefer to explore more sights or more food&drinks locations, have a look at our other guides for ideas!