A guide to things to do in Varna

With historic sights, thermal springs to relax in and 13km of glorious beaches, the port city of Varna certainly packs a punch. When it comes to beach-based holidays to Bulgaria, Varna offers just the right mix of relaxation and sightseeing. This diverse stretch of Bulgarian coastline is definitely one to add to your holiday wishlist. It also represents good value for money. There are plenty of things to do in Varna Bulgaria, from vineyard tours to exploring historic ruins, so you’ll never be short of things to see and do.

Intriguing coastlines

The diverse Black Sea coastline means you’ll have plenty of things to do in Varna, from sandcastle -building fun to boat trips. Golden Sands is one of the most popular resorts near Varna, offering a pleasant beach and nearby attractions, such as mini-golf and a waterpark. There are also plenty of water-sports to try your hand at including paragliding, jet skis and wakeboarding.

Venture further afield to discover Zlatni Piasatsi Nature Park. This intriguing conservation area showcases forests, ravines and the limestone cave monastery of Aladzha, which dates back to medieval times. With an expansive area of flora and fauna, it provides plenty of scope for hiking, nature watching and exploration.

Step back in time

Varna things to do include a tour of the Roman baths. These historic ruins date back to the second-century AD, so join a tour to learn all about this impressive site. The baths were built as part of the Roman town of Odessos.

If you’d like a dip in Varna’s famous thermal waters, head to the baths in Golden Sands, St Constantine and Helena. They all have both public and hotel pools tapping into the geothermal mineral springs which are said to relieve pain and reduce stress.

Explore the Marine Gardens

When you’re after a fun few hours, a stroll around Primorski Park, also known as Marine Gardens, is a popular thing to do in Varna Bulgaria. Overlooking the sea, this green space has been welcoming locals and visitors since 1878 with its attractive gardens, aquarium, zoo and planetarium. There’s always something going on at Primorski Park. It’s the perfect place for young families to let off some steam. Other features include a swimming pool, tennis court and an open-air theatre, which hosts regular concerts and performances. When you’re in need of refreshment, the stretch of park nearest to the coastline has a selection of small cafes and restaurants serving fresh seafood.

Soak up some culture

There’s plenty of things to do in Varna when it comes to culture, and if you’re into art, there are galleries and museums galore to discover. The Georgi Velchev Art Museum showcases an extensive collection of works by the Bulgarian artist as well as temporary exhibitions of his modern-day counterparts. The Archaeological Museum of Varna, established in 1887, is another must-see and features a collection of tombstone reliefs, ancient terracotta and ancient clay pots. Other Varna things to do include the Natural History Museum. With its collection of preserved spiders and scorpions, it’s located in the northern corner of Primorski Park.

Explore the Stone Forest

When planning exciting things to do Varna Bulgaria, you should definitely include a trip to the Stone Desert. This dramatic stretch of land is Bulgaria’s only desert, and it’s dotted with sand, cacti and an incredible natural phenomenon which makes up a ‘stone forest’. This forest incorporates 300 or more hollow column-like entities filled with sand . There are various theories about how these intriguing Pobiti Kamani or ‘planted stones’ came to be. But however they were formed, they certainly make for a fascinating day out and some pretty impressive ‘selfie’ backdrops.

Try Bulgarian specialities

As well as fresh seafood dishes, take your time to try out all the local treats and specialities. Bulgarian food is a hearty feast of delights that could certainly fall into the ‘comfort food’ category. The Bulgarian version of moussaka or musaka includes potatoes, eggs and minced pork. If you’re after a daytime treat then enjoy a mouth-watering slice of banitsa. This baked pastry has a filling of sirene, a white cheese, onions, spinach, mushrooms and pumpkin. There’s also a sweet version made with walnuts and apples. Shopska salata is another dish worth trying. It’s a simple yet delicious salad of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and peppers topped off with a generous sprinkling of sirene cheese and parsley.

A multi-faceted Bulgarian resort, Varna offers plenty of scope for days-out alongside diverse landscapes and great beaches. Whether relaxing in the thermal springs, lazing on the beach or exploring its natural treasures, Varna is certainly one to consider if Bulgaria’s on your holiday radar.