Varna is a city on the Black Sea and home to the oldest gold treasure in the world. Things to do in Varna Bulgaria include;
- Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral
- Sea Garden
- Varna Archaeological Museum
- Skeletons wearing gold jewelry
- Roman Baths
- Monument of the Bulgarian-Soviet Friendship
- Lake Varna
- Cherno More Varna Football Stadium
- Varna Train Station
Hotels in Varna are good value, however, those located in nearby Sunny Beach are much better value.
Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral
The iconic landmark of Varna is the Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral. As a matter of fact it’s the second largest church in Bulgaria after the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia. It was built shortly after Bulgaria gained independence from the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 19th century. The residents of Varna wanted to make something special to celebrate the liberation and they certainly achieved this. If you’re a tourist in Varna and require a map, tourist information is opposite the Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral.
Varna is home to the largest landscaped garden in the Balkans. It’s known as both the Sea Garden as well as Primorski Park. The park is huge, as a matter of fact it covers over 200 acres. There are several things to do in Varna Bulgaria located in the park. You’ll find, Varna Zoo, Naval Museum, Varna Beach, Palace of Sports and Culture, Dolphinarium as well as several majestic monuments. For this reason, the Sea Garden is a very social place where locals come to relax. In addition, there are several restaurants, bars and cafes spread out throughout the park.
The Varna sign is located in the Sea Garden. A photo with this sign is a wonderful souvenir of your trip to Varna. Good luck finding it inside the largest park in the Balkans!
Varna beach is conveniently located adjacent to the Sea Garden. I guess this is the inspiration for the name, Sea Garden! Beside the beach are several bars, restaurants, cafes and fast food kiosks. Have you ever swam in the Black Sea before?
Varna Archaeological Museum
The first civilisation in Europe was discovered on the outskirts of Varna. For this reason, historians must visit this part of the world. In fact, it’s possible to visit the actual Varna Necropolis site in the outskirts. However, the majority of the artefacts have now been moved to the Varna Archaeological Museum in the center of Varna. The museum is located in a New Renaissance style building which was originally a school. My motivation to visit the museum was to see the Varna Archaeological Museum skeletons which were discovered along with the oldest gold in the world.
Skeletons Wearing Gold Jewelry – Oldest Gold in the World
The skeletons which were excavated from the Varna Necropolis on the outskirts of Varna are fascinating. I’m sure the picture (above) motivates you to visit the museum. They date back to the chalcolithic period which is around 7000 years ago. For this reason, it’s the oldest gold treasure in the world. The people during this time were buried with their possessions. This proves those wrong who say you can’t take your possessions with you when you die!
Modern day Varna is built on top of the ancient Roman city of Odessos. For this reason, there are a couple of historic Roman sites in the city. The most popular are the Roman Baths, also known as the Roman Thermae. The part of the city is open to the public and you’re welcome to explore. As Varna Bulgaria is not a popular tourist destination, it’s likely you’ll have the Roman Baths of Odessos all to yourself.
Monument of the Bulgarian-Soviet Friendship
The monument of the Bulgarian-Soviet Friendship is exactly that. It was constructed in 1978 as a symbol of friendship between Russian and Bulgaria. An interesting fact about the monument is that it was constructed by 27,000 volunteers. Can you imagine the work required to make such a huge monument on top of a hill? It’s a 305 stair climb to the top therefore you’ll get a good workout if you visit. A reward for climbing the stairs are majestic views over the Black Sea and Varna.
Lake Varna is worth a mention because it’s the largest and deepest lake on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. Photographers will love the picturesque lake as it offers some wonderful reflection photography opportunities.
The Asparuhov Bridge crosses over the canals which connect Lake Varna to the Black Sea. In fact, it’s one of the largest bridges in Bulgaria. It’s lit up colorfully at night, as a result photographers can take perfect long exposure reflection shots of it. When you leave Varna, heading southwards, it’s likely that you’ll cross this bridge. Furthermore, a popular activity on the Asparuhov Bridge is bungee jumping.
Cherno More Varna Football Stadium – Arena Varna
Varna Bulgaria is home to a Bulgarian First Division football team, Cherno More Varna. When I visited they were constructing a new stadium and I expect it will be completed when you visit. As a result you can watch a Bulgarian First Division match in a brand new 22,000 seater stadium. Finally, Arena Varna is adjacent to the monument of the Bulgarian-Soviet Friendship.
Varna Train Station
Varna is home to a historic train station which was built at the start of the 20th century. However, this train route dates back to the 19th century. To demonstrate how old it is, it was opened by Tsar Boris III. As a matter of fact, the train station clock tower is one of the iconic landmarks of Varna. An interesting fact about Varna is that it was once part of the famous Orient Express route. Today, there are mainly services to Plovdiv and Sofia.
How to get from Varna to Sunny Beach
There are regular buses from Varna to Sunny Beach with most of them continuing onto Burgas. They leave from Varna bus station which is adjacent to a modern shopping mall. The journey time is 90 minutes with few stops. I recommend you sit on the left for views of the Black Sea.
Fantastic list of things to do in Varna. I’m heading out to Sunny Beach this Spring and will definitely make this day trip. I’ll definitely walk up the steps to the Soviet friendship monument, cheers!
Hi Thomas, enjoy Varna, the cathedral is impressive too!