Every city in the world has its own specifics, and if you want to see and take advantage of the best it offers, you should know in advance what to expect when already there. Varna, like every other city, has its features, and if you know them, your holiday there could be much better because you will know what to do and what not as well as what to expect.
When to travel to Varna
Tourist agents often describe the tourist season of Varna as being very long but actually this is not true. Summers in Varna are really short but intense.
The season usually starts somewhere in early June and lasts until the late September. Some years offer really warm weather in May and early October but this is rather an exception.
As long as June, the first summer month, is very nice and brings temperatures of around 27°C, this is also a month with frequent thunderstorms and intense rainfalls.
The end of the season, September, is also less reliable because of the more changeable weather and the bigger number of windy days.
It also brings temperatures of around 27°C during the day but nights are sometimes quite fresh and some light switcher in the luggage would be a good idea. From all four summer months in Varna, July and August offer the best weather conditions.
July is definitely the better one because it is more sunny and clear, the days are longer, humidity is more bearable, and the crowds of tourists are still smaller.
So if you want to travel like a pro and want to choose the best of all 12 months to visit Varna, then you should consider to travel in July, especially during the first two weeks of the month.
Where to find the best beaches in Varna?
Varna has dozens of beaches, which are considered to be the most beautiful in Bulgaria. Some of them are in the city itself, and others – in the nearby resorts.
They are all covered with fine golden sands. However, since the city’s population is increasing rapidly, the beaches in the downtown are very crowded and not always as clean as you might expect.
If you have to choose one of the beaches in the city, the best options is Rapongi Beach, which enjoys the best maintenance.
If you don’t want to limit yourself with only visiting the beaches in the city, then you should pay attention to the resort of Sunny Day, which is located 9 km north of the downtown.
It offers an amazing Blue Flag beach, which is not only very clean and well maintained but also offers incredible golden sand.
Sirius beach is one of the best in Saint Constantine and Helena, which is 8 km north of the downtown.
If you want to find some more remote location and have your own transport, then you should consider the beaches of Shkorpilovtsi (45 km south of the city), Kamchia (30 km south of the city) and Pasha Dere (15 km south of the city). So let’s say the places again:
North of Varna:
– Sunny Day
– Sirius Beach
South of Varna
– Pasha Dere
In the city itself
– Rapongi Beach
How to get from one point in the city to another?
The public transport in Varna is very cheap and you could easily reach from one place to another with only buying a ticket at the cost of 1 lv, which is approximately 0,50 euro.
Buses are regular and clean, which is a good news, especially considering the fact that the city has no subway. Important is to know that people in Varna normally buy their tickets in the bus.
If you are not into public transport, you could take a taxi to reach to another point in the city. Local taxi services are very cheap and you could cross the entire city at the cost of 5 euro!
For shorter distances the price could be lower. Important: If you are about to take a taxi from the street, you need to always ask the taxi driver about how much approximately would be to get to the desired point.
This is important to remember because some drivers still ask more money from tourists. If you want to avoid any risk, then you could call to some of the local taxi companies to order a car.
You just need to know your exact location at the moment and to tell the dispatcher where you are going. The taxi will be at your place within a few minutes.
This is the best way to avoid unfair charging. Some of the number you need to know in case that you want to call for a taxi are:
Lassia Taxi – +35952/500 000
Triumph Taxi – +35952/644444, +359879/644 444, +359882/644 444, +359898/644 444
Omega Trans Taxi – +35952/388 888, +359878/388 888, +359888/388 888, +359898/388888
Alpha Taxi – +35952/688 888, +359879/688 888, +359886/688 888, +359898/688 888
Trans October Fees – +35952/500 500, +359886/388 388, +359899/388 388
Before visiting Bulgaria, it is a good idea to buy some of the Bulgarian currency (Bulgarian Lev) from your country.
Even if being a part of the European Union, there are very few places in Varna, where you could pay in Euro. Most shops, supermarkets, boutiques, restaurant, bars and other don’t accept Euro but only local currency.
Of course, you could exchange some money in your hotel, in some bank office or in a good currency exchange bureau but still it is recommended to have some money in cash on arrival.
NEVER exchange money on the streets!!! In most places you could pay with a bank card but in Bulgaria is absolutely needed to have some money in cash because many restaurants, bars and shopping centers accept only money in cash.
In addition, Internet connection in many places is not reliable, so it is always possible to appear some problem when you try to pay your bill. So don’t rely to your luck and always bring some money in your pocket.
How to stay safe in Varna?
Varna is not a dangerous city, and actually, it is quite a safe place to visit, to stay, to live or study in. The level of crime in the city is lower than other cities with the same population in Europe, in America and especially in Russia.
However, it is always good to avoid going outside too late at night, especially alone, no matter if you are a man or a woman.
As a whole, the safest parts of Varna are the central part of the city, especially the area of the so called by the locals Sevastopol square, the area of the Sea Garden, the neighborhood of Chaika, as well as the resort complexes of Sunny Day, Golden Sands and St. Constantine and Helena.
There are places which is recommended to avoid, such as the industrial parts of the city, the area of the only ghetto in the city – Maksuda, the area of the central bus station and others.
Be especially careful while crossing the street!
One of the largest problems in Bulgaria and respectively in Varna is the huge number of accidents on the street. In the news in Bulgaria you could often hear to mention the so called “War on the Roads”.
The percent of people who have ever been affected by an accident on the road is one of the highest in Europe.
You have to be always very careful when crossing the street, and never rely that drivers will give you a way unless you have a clear sign from them that they will do it.
Even if the traffic light is green, and even if you are going to cross the street on a walkway, you should be always very careful.
Do not forget that many drivers in Bulgaria often play by their own rules, and the risk of accidents is higher than average.
Take advantage of the great food
The food in Bulgaria and in Varna is very good and very cheap. The products are with a great quality and the meals are incredibly tasty.
The cuisine reminds other Balkan countries such as Greece, Turkey and Serbia. The best places to feel the real taste of the traditional Bulgarian food is to visit some typical local restaurant “Mehana”.
You could easily find some good mehana to visit, including in the city center, in Saint Constantine and Helena, in Golden Sands and others. They offer typical local barbeque.
You should try kyofte (typical local meat balls), kebabche (similar but with a bit more different taste), kare (very tasty and tender fillet), shopska salad (the most popular salad in Bulgaria) and many others.
Some fruits and vegetables are considered to be the most tasty as a whole. The best example are the Bulgarian tomatoes, which are considered the best in the world, but great examples are also the local apples and watermelons.
Other products you should try are yogurt, which attracts many visitors from Japan, and wine (the second best in Europe after the French wine) and many others.
Varna for LGBT travelers
If you are a LGBT person and want to visit Varna together with your partner, you should bear in mind that unfortunately Bulgaria is one of the most hostile countries in Europe in this respect.
The city of Varna is safe and you probably won’t be exposed to such an increased risk as if you travel in Russia for example, but you still have to be ready to see unfriendly attitude if you demonstrated your relationship.
Even if being a center of an urban area with a population of more than 400 000 people, Varna is a conservative city, and many locals still think that being gay is a choice and that gay people do not exist in their community.
Of course, there is a big difference between the city itself and the resorts north of Varna.
Being a center of international tourism, Golden Sands are much more cosmopolitan and the atmosphere there is relatively open minded.