I had visited Varna before but it wasn’t until September 2021 that I got to experience the real magic of the city.
Although summer was coming to an end, I got to steal a few days to enjoy the breeze of the Black Sea, explore some of Varna’s preserved monuments, admire the beautiful architecture and completely fall in love with its unique charm.
This article is all about Varna – the Bulgarian sea capital. I have collected some of the most important things to do in Varna which I’d recommend to everyone to visit here.
Where to stay in Varna
During our visit we stayed at the Panorama Hotel, just 1 minute away from the beach and overlooking the Black Sea. The location was great – we explored everything on foot, and the breakfast was delicious.
Things to do in Varna in a weekend
The Roman baths
The Roman baths in Varna are one of the most preserved architectural monuments from the ancient period in Bulgaria.They were built at the end of the II century during the Roman era and represent the biggest Roman bath from the Balkans.
The whole area of the baths was around 7000 km2 and the height of the building reached over 20m.
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin
The cathedral has turned into a symbol of Varna. The first stone from its construction was placed by Alexander I Batenberg on 22. August 1880 and the construction took 6 years.
In 1941-43 the bell tower was built, and it’s around 38 meters high. The painting of the cathedral began after 1949 under the command of professor N. Rostovtsev who donated the murals used in the narthex.
Free entrance; Daily, 8AM – 6PM
Drama Theater “Stoyan Bachvarov”
The Drama Theater is for sure one of the most impressive buildings in Varna. Thanks to its central location it is hard to pass by without noticing it.
The Drama Theater is a place for cultural life in the city and the building itself is located in the center, facing Independence square. Today the building is used for theater plays, opera and symphony concerts.
The Sea garden in Varna is considered a work of park-art and is one of the most recognizable sights of the city.
The garden is a nice park suitable for a walk or relaxing in nature while being around some rare and protected plants, located along the sea coast.
The thing that makes this garden unique is the natural extension to the sea and the smooth transition from a park to seaside.
One of the sights in the Sea garden is the Pantheon – a monument built in honor of the people who died fighting against Facism in the region during 1923 – 1944.
Today the Pantheon has been declared a cultural heritage of national importance and is under the supervision of the National Institute of immovable cultural heritage.
One of the must-see places in Varna is the lighthouse – just go for a walk along the coast and you’ll come by it for suhre.
The lighthouse went through several different shapes until finally in 1994 it received its current image of St. Nicholas – patron saint of the sailors and fishermen.
Panoramic viewpoint “Galata”
For Varna “Galata” is the equivalent of “Kopitoto” in Sofia or in other words a place with a beautiful view to the city (but also to the sea).
The Panoramic viewpoint also has several benches which are a great place for relaxation. People in love can “lock” their love with a padlock on the railing – a famous worldwide tradition which has found its place in Varna as well.
Monument of the Bulgarian-Soviet friendship
A more unique sight in Varna is the Monument of the Bulgarian-Soviet friendship. I was hesitant whether to include this one in the list, but since it’s a massive monument, which can be seen from different parts of the city, I thought I’d include a few words.
This is the biggest monument in Varna and can be easily spotted even from afar.
The monument exhibits both the feeling of greatness and sadness. Sadness because it is not maintained and is left in a desperate state.
It was built during the times of Socialism and symbolizes the historic relations between Bulgaria and Russia but with the fall of the Iron Curtain the huge concrete monument turned into a symbol of a bygone era.
Museums in Varna
Archeological Museum, housing the oldest gold treasure in the world!
The Archeological Museum in Varna is a place where you can spend hours learning about the history of Bulgaria.
The museum impresses not only with its rich collection of artifacts but also preserves something very special, namely the oldest processed gold in the world. Its age dates back to 4400 – 4200 B.C. and was discovered here in Bulgaria.
The Ethnographic Museum in Varna is one of the specialized ethnographic museums in Bulgaria. The building in which the museum is located is a revolutionary house from the 1860s.
Here you can see a wide variety of exhibits showing the culture and way of life of the people from the region of Varna during the second half of the XIX century and the beginning of the XX century.
The Naval museum preserves the memories of our historical sea heritage. Ship models, uniforms and medals can be seen here representing the Bulgarian military and merchant navy.
Kids up to 7 years old – Free
Students, retirees and people with disability – 2 BGN
Soldiers – 4 BGN
Adults – 5 BGN
From April to October : 10am – 6pm; Days off: Monday
From November to March: 10am – 5:30pm; Days off: Sunday and Monday
Varna my be famous as a Bulgarian beach resort, but it’s definitely rich in history and monuments as well. So if you’re planning a stay here, be sure to set aside some time to explore some of its treasures and hidden gems.
If you’re looking to visit even more places in Bulgaria, check out the articles below.
For travelling in Bulgaria, I highly recommend renting a car so you are able to visit as many places as possible without being dependent on buses and trains. One of the biggest and most reliable car rental companies is Top Rent a Car. I’ve used their services and was very happy with them, so I can definitely recommend them. Click here to discover car rental options.
Organized tours can spare you the hassle of planning the full trip by yourself. You can find a great selection of tours at Get Your Guide – click here.
Make sure to have the offline map always installed on your phone, as they can save you so many troubles. I always use the free app Maps.Me.
Plan your trip in Bulgaria even further: