It is easy to make the most of a two-day stay in Varna, Bulgaria‘s popular coastal spot, if you know where to go and what to do. Follow this insider’s guide to make sure you’ve experienced the highlights of the seaside capital of Bulgaria.
Start the day with a local breakfast – in Bulgaria, fried and baked pastry delicacies are a norm for the morning, so putting your diet on hold might be a good idea. Try mekitsa (deep fried pastry similar to a doughnut) or banitsa (baked pastry with eggs and Bulgarian feta cheese), both available at every bakery. Just follow the smell in the morning and your nose will lead you to the right place.
There are numerous places to sip your morning coffee, but the café of The Three Dolphins Hotel is truly special for its brew made from coffee beans roasted in a family shop in Austria, served in a warmly hospitable setting.
27, Gabrovo Str., Varna, Bulgaria, +359 52 600 911
As you are in the city where the oldest gold crafted by humans was discovered, don’t miss seeing it at the Archaeological Museum. A number of the museum’s halls are dedicated to the major archaeological finding that was discovered by accident during construction works in 1972.
41, Knyaginya Maria Luiza Str., Varna, Bulgaria, +359 52 681 030
For lunch, delve into traditional Bulgarian food at the Staria Chinar – a restaurant chain where you can try local delicacies like pig’s ears or intestines.
Pristanishten kompleks Varna, Bulgaria, +359 87 954 9494
You are at the seaside, so you can’t miss some basking in the sun while sipping a cocktail. The good news is that from the Sea Garden you have a direct access to the beach with a choice of beach bars offering sunbeds, drinks, and laid-back music.
Varna loves Mediterranean food, and many venues offer authentic, high-quality meals in a cozy homely setting. Sit in the garden of Olea, a branch restaurant from the BM chain, and try their seafood and fish dishes cooked with homegrown vegetables.
Akchelar str. 22, Varna, Bulgaria, +359 88 664 7400
After dark, stop by the Singing Fountain on Nezavisimost Square to watch the night show with lights and music, where the jets of water reach heights of more than 40 meters (131 feet).
Even if your hotel has a gym, start the day with a walk or a jog in the Sea Garden Park of Varna. In the morning, it’s full of runners and cyclist taking their dose of sea breeze while keeping fit. Boost your fresh mood with a dash of vitamins ordering a freshly squeezed juice from Take Me located just a stone’s throw from the official entrance of the Sea Garden, or choose a café from the many lining the pedestrianized Slivnitsa Boulevard.
Then, head on to the Festa Dolphinarium where you can enjoy the show of the clever mammals – they are best at dancing, playing basketball and spilling water on the audience. Consider buying tickets in advance as this attraction is very popular in summer.
Festa Dolphinarium, Varna, Bulgaria, +359 52 302 199
If you need to chill out a bit, do it in style. Halle 3 is an indoor skateboard school that also houses a chill zone and ping pong and soccer tables. The hall also functions as an alternative urban space with a wide range of events – you can come across an English movie screening, a dance party or a craft bazaar – whatever it is, let yourself be immersed in Varna’s alternative youth culture.
3, Hristo Botev Blvd., Varna, Bulgaria, +359 87 874 2440
Another peculiar attraction that you might like if you haven’t experienced what it is to live in a Communist society, is the Retro Museum with its extended collection of Communist-era cars, everyday objects and a corner dedicated to wax figures.
2, Akademik Andrei Saharov Str., Varna, Bulgaria, +359 88 600 1070
If you’re visiting in summer, check the upcoming events taking place at the Summer Theater of Varna (it doesn’t have a designated website, so you could ask your hotel to assist you with the program). Situated in the cool Sea Garden, very close to the Black Sea, this place is one of the main cultural hubs in Varna in the summer, hosting concerts, theater, opera, and festivals.
Summer Theater, Varna, Bulgaria, +359 52 612 803