Varna On a BudgetVarna is a coastal city on the Black Sea. It's the third largest city in Bulgaria and many people consider it the summer capital of the country. It's a major tourist destination and it can make for a relaxing escape at the beach if you're in Bulgaria during the summer. It is the only city in Bulgaria that cruises visit, and as such, it's tourist infrastructure has grown. In addition to being a tourist destination, Varna is also a business and university center, seaport, and the headquarters of the Bulgarian Navy and merchant marine.
Varna's climate is humid subtropical and it has both maritime and continental influences. The summer lasts from early May until early October and the temperatures can reach anywhere from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius. The seawater temperature during these months hovers around 23 to 27 degrees Celsius. During the winter months temperatures can drop to 0 degrees Celsius. It sometimes snows, but when it does it usually melts quite rapidly.
SightsThe largest museum in town is the Varna Archaeological Museum, which has an exhibit on gold in Varna. Other museums around town are the Naval Museum, the Museum of Ethnography, and the Battle of Varna Park Museum. You can also visit the Sea Garden which has an aquarium, zoo, and an observatory and planetarium among other things. The Varna Dolphinarium is the only dolphinarium on the Balkan Peninsula.
The beachfront promenade is lined with clubs, bars and restaurants and has an energetic feel with a lively nightlife. If you're looking for a more mellow experience check out some of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox churches around town. They are quite beautiful and impressive to see. Some of the most famous include the Assumption of Mary Cathedral, the St. Athanasius Cathedral, and the seamens' church of St. Nicholas the Miracle Worker.
NeighborhoodsVarna has both a lively coastal area as well as a pedestrian area that you can walk around on foot. Technically the city has been divided into five boroughs including Asparuhovo, Mladost, Odessos, Primorski and Vladislov Varchenchik. Odessos is the historic center of the city and Primorski is the largest borough with a population of over 100,000. Primorski is also where you'll find many of the seaside resorts.
ActivitiesThere are many types of entertainment around Varna. The nightlife is concentrated around the beach area where you'll find a good number of bars and clubs. During the day, walking tours are a popular way to explore the city. The Varna Green Tour is a free bike tour of the city. It's a fun way to seen the green parts of the city and it passes by many different landmarks including the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin, the Sea Garden, the Aquarium, the Dolphinarium, the Roman Baths and much more. Free Varna Tour is an English language walking tour that starts every day at 6 pm during the summer months. It starts at the corner of Hristo Botev Boulevard and Vladislav Varnenchik Boulevard. You can just show up to pick up the tour.
Food and DiningThere are a good number of affordable restaurants around town and many are cheap when compared to other European countries. You can choose between traditional Bulgarian cuisine and several international options such as Italian or British. It's possible to find decent seafood at a few restaurants as well. One restaurant chain is the Happy Bar and Grill. It is based in Varna and offers good, cheap kebabs. Many restaurants offer outdoor seating during the summer months, which is a great way to enjoy the warm, beach weather.
TransportationVarna has a pedestrian area and a coastal area where you can easily walk around. There are a good number of walking tours and it's fun to take in the atmosphere with a leisurely stroll. Although these areas are popular with tourists, many people choose to stay outside of town in the city's suburbs. If you happen to be staying outside of the city center in the suburbs, there are several ways to commute into town including buses, trolleybuses, and taxis. Do negotiate hard if you choose to take a taxi as they often try to over charge. Make sure you know in advance how much the trip should cost. Reputable taxi companies include OK Trans, Varna, Evro, Triumph, and Alpha Taxi. You can expect to pay about 0.79 leva per kilometer traveled.
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