10 reasons to visit Varna

Varna is one of the most visited cities in Europe by tourists who travel for pleasure and holidaymakers. But you might think, what is so special about Varna? Here are the Top 10 reasons to visit Varna:

Region of Varna (including Golden Sands and St. St. Constantine and Helena Resorts) well-known with its pure and tiny sands and the hot mineral springs.

Varna the cradle of the oldest European civilization. In the city you could see the original artifacts of the oldest gold treasure in the whole world (4600 – 4200 B.C.). And that is just for the start of your history tour – there are many other treasures from later periods and cultures, such as Thracian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Bulgarian …

The guests of the city of Varna are deeply impressed and fascinated with the absolutely rich collections of the many museums of Varna, the more that the fourth biggest Roman Thermal Baths of Europe are among those museums.

More at Visit Varna – the official multilingual guide for guests and visitors to the city.

Places near Varna worth visiting.


University Botanical Garden – Eco Park – city of Varna

The University Botanical Garden – Eco Park – city of Varna was established in 1977 on the territory of a former nursery-garden, and since 11 May 2002 it has been opened for visitors as the first ecological park in the country. It was declared a protected area by Decree No РД-198 of 05 March 2004. Among its priority activities are the protection of various plant species outside their natural environment and of protected species of the Bulgarian and foreign flora.

This is the first eco park in the country which combines artificial and natural ecological systems. The park is situated on an area of 360 decares. The plant collections include more than 300 species of exotic trees and bushes, and the herbaceous plants are more than 100 species. The botanical garden is also famous for its rich collection of irises, which are more than 250 variations. The ecological park offers exotic meetings with plants from the whole world: sea oaks, tulip-tree, ginkgo biloba, sterculia, parrotia persica, broussonetia papyrifera, evergreen oak, mamont tree and many others. More than 30 species of roses are grown in the Rose Garden and the Ecological Park.

Learn more here.

Saints Constantine and Elena

Saints Constantine and Elena is Bulgaria’s oldest resort complex. It is located 8 km from downtown Varna, between the city and The Golden Sands Resort. The area’s climate is typically continental Mediterranean, with hot dry summers; the median temperature during June is 22 degrees centigrade.

The resort is situated in a forest of deciduous shade trees, and there are 7 mineral springs within its domain. The springs are between 1,800 and 2,050 meters deep with an average constant flow of 175 liters a second, and their temperature is between 40 and 60 degrees centigrade. Thanks to these hot springs, the resort has long been one of the Black Sea coast’s most popular spas.

The resort derives its name from the venerable monastery Saints Constantine and Elena located here. Details of the monastery’s history are not known, but what is known is that it was rebuilt during the first half of the 19th century.

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Nature Park Zlatni Piasaci

Zlatni Pyasatsi Nature Park is the smallest Nature Park (13.2 in Bulgaria and situated 17 km northeast from Varna. The area is parallel to the coastal line, forms the west border of the resort Golden Sands [Zlatni Pyasatsi] and reaches the Kranevo village in north. Parks average length is 9.2 km and average width – 1.2 km. The highest point is Chiplak Tepe (269.3 m a.s.l.), and the average altitude is 110 m.

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Aladzha Monastery

Aladzha Monastery is situated in a beautiful area 14 km north of Varna, near Zlatni Pyasatsi Resort (Golden Sands Resort), in the centre of Zlatni Pyasatsi Nature Park (Golden Sands Nature Park). There are no reliable historical records as to when the monastery was established, but there is evidence that it already existed in the 10th – 12th centuries.

Aladzha Monastery is one of the few cave monasteries in Bulgaria where the different premises and their functions are clearly distinguishable. The monastery premises are carved and arranged on two levels in a limestone rock that is almost 40 m high. The monastery church, the monastery cells, the refectory, the kitchen, the small cemetery church, the crypt (ossuary), and the farm premises are all situated on the first level. The second level is a natural rock recess in the eastern part of which lies the monastery chapel.

A group of caves known as the Catacombs is located about 600 – 700 m to the west of the monastery. The archaeological finds such as pottery, coins, graffiti, etc., discovered there provide evidence that the Catacombs were inhabited by people during the early-Christian Age (5th – 6th centuries).

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Dikilitash (Pobiti Kamani (Upright Stones)

The natural phenomenon Pobiti Kamani, also known as The Stone Forest and Dikilitash, is situated on an area of 7 square km at a distance of about 18-20 km from the city of Varna, and a few kilometers from the town of Beloslav.

The natural landmark consists of an ensemble of stone columns, up to 10 meters high, hollow or thick cylinders, crossed cones, variously shaped and sized rock blocks and multiple stone pieces, spilled around the entire complex.

The Pobiti Kamani had been famous as a sacral place since antiquity, but they were documented for the first time in 1829.

For thousands of years the nature has carved stone pieces in order to turn them into impressive sculptures, which look like people, animals, monsters, mythical creatures, etc. “The Stone Guards”, “The Camel”, “The Throne”, “The Stone Forest” are names of just a part of these natural pieces of art.

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Museum of Mosaics, Devnya

The Museum of Mosaics is located in the town of Devnya. It is an in situ museum that is housed in a specially constructed building whose purpose is to preserve the archaeological discoveries. A big Roman building with exquisite mosaics was discovered in this place during archaeological excavations carried out in 1976. The museum was constructed over some of the foundations of this building.

The ancient building dates back to the time of Emperor Constantine I the Great – the end of the 3rd century – the beginning of the 4th century. It was an urban house (villa urbana) that took up the area of a whole quarter of the Roman town of Marcianopolis which was one of the biggest towns in this part of the empire. It was designed as a typical Greek-Roman atrium-peristyle house where the inner courtyard (atrium) was surrounded on three sides by residential buildings and a colonnade.

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Kamchia – Reserve

The Kamchia Reserve covers the lower valley of the Kamchia river, the localities of the municipalities of Avren and Dolni Chiflik. The reserve is situated at a distance of about 25 km south of Varna in close proximity to the resorts of Kamchia and Shkorpilovtsi.

Kamchia was declared a reserve by Decree No 14289 of 29 June 1951 of the Ministry of Forests. Because of its important environmental protection and ecological importance, in 1977 it was included in the global network of biosphere reserves as a part of the program “Human and Biosphere” of UNESCO for protection of the most representative ecological systems on the planet. The dense forests along the lower valley of Kamchia river are especially valuable for the reserve.

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University Botanical Garden

The University Botanical Garden in Balchik was established in 1955 by Acad. Prof. Daki Jordanov on the territory of the park of the former summer residence of Queen Marie of Romania. Today the Botanical Garden spreads over an area of 190,000 m² and accommodates collections with over 3500 plant species. It is a site much visited by tourists. Moreover, it is a Monument of Culture, a protected area under PAA (the Protected Areas Act) and a Washington Convention Rescue Center.

At the University Botanical Garden there are separate differentiated parts.

The Greenhouses display a permanent exhibition of cacti, succulents and sub-Mediterranean species which is the largest in the Balkans. On a covered area of ​​800 square meters can be seen over 2600 species representatives of the plant families Cactaceae and Euphorbiaceae. The exhibition is impressive not only because of the diversity of species, but also due to the fact that it contains more than 400 world-protected species of this group and some unique species such as the Galapagos cactus. The oldest specimens in the collection are large-sized cacti and succulents over 70 years of age. In the botanical garden in an attractive way is presented the transition between Mediterranean vegetation and desert plant dwellers.

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Dalboka, mussel farm and restaurant

In the north, in Dobrudzha in one of the most clear regions of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast in the beautiful Kaliakra bay is located the Dalboka mussel farm. Here are cultivated ecologically clean Black Sea mussels, which are famous for their gustatory qualities and healthy components.

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Madara national historical-archeological reserve

The national historical-archeological reserve “Madara” is located 17 km northeast of Shumen, 2 km from the village of Madara and 75 km from Varna.

Towering cliffs, beautiful natural surroundings, and plentiful water drew people here from the dawn of history.

First settled during the Neolithic Age (the late Stone Age), it has been occupied ever since. Over the centuries, rock sanctuaries were founded here, as were palaces and other habitations, fortresses, temples, hermits’ retreats and monastic complexes, places for solitude and for communal celebrations. Visitors can observe evidence of the material and spiritual cultural development of many ethnic groups – the earliest inhabitants, Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs, Bulgars, Turks, and others. Today dozens of monuments and artifacts from all epochs can be seen.

Learn more here.

Kaliakra Archaeological Reserve

Cape Kaliakra and the architectural reserve on its territory are located 12 km southeast of Kavarna. It is an oblong, narrowing rocky peninsula that juts out about 2 km into the sea. The rich history, the well-preserved landscape, and the beautiful panoramic views make Cape Kaliakra one of the most attractive tourist spots on the Black Sea Coast.

The slopes of the cape take a 60 – 70 m plunge straight into the sea. The waves have carved caves and arches at its foot that can be approached only by the sea. In the past these tunnel-caves were connected to the fortress and were used for loading and unloading ships.

Kaliakra is a nature and archaeological reserve. It stretches over 687.5 decares and comprises wild steppes and incredible coastal rocks. More than 400 plant species can be found in the reserve. A total of 310 kinds of birds live on the territory of Kaliakra and 100 of them require special measures for their habitats preservation. 106 of these bird species are protected at European level. The European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) nests here. The region is extremely important for migrating birds because Via pontica, the second biggest migratory route in Europe, passes through it.

Learn more here.


Other useful information about Bulgaria


Other useful information about Varna