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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Varna

Varna Region, Bulgaria

In the north-eastern area of Bulgaria is the region of Varna. This scenic part of the country boasts a long Black Sea coastline dotted with sweeping, sandy beaches backed by cliffs and hills. The lush landscapes continue further inland, with lakes, forests and thermal springs impressing with their natural beauty.

Ancient sites and monuments can also be found throughout the countryside, as well as in towns and cities. As if that wasn't enough, there's even a desert – the only one in the whole of Bulgaria.

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Explore the stunning coastline

If you head to Varna, Bulgaria, holidays will involve plenty of relaxation on sandy beaches as you appreciate the unspoilt scenery. The city of Varna itself is home to some of the best beaches in the region. The largest stretch runs for more than eight miles and is more than wide enough for everyone to have their own slice of beach heaven. There are also plenty of restaurants and children's playgrounds to keep everyone happy and entertained.

Other lovely beaches include the one at Golden Sands resort, where you can get stuck into windsurfing, parasailing, or simply enjoy swimming in the calm sea. The resort of Albena also has a great stretch of sand, backed by densely wooded hills and lapped by azure waters.

Cape Kaliakra is the longest cape along the Black Sea coastline and offers a rugged coastal experience. Here you can see the famous red cliffs and explore what's left of an 8th-century citadel. There's also a small museum that tells you more about the ruins and a restaurant offering spectacular sunset views.

Quick Tips

  • Bulgarian Orthodox
  • Bulgarian Lev
  • GMT +2

A land carved in history

Throughout the Varna region are huge areas of stunning natural beauty that feature fascinating historic sites of interest. Many are literally part of the landscapes, such as medieval Aladzha Monastery, which was created by carving a series of multi-level caves inside a cliff.

The stone remains of the 4th-century Ovech fortress can be found on top of a rocky hill close to the town of Provadia. The stairs leading to the fortress are etched into the rock and once you've navigated your way to the top, you're rewarded with breathtaking views over the surrounding hills and towns.

A Varna holiday is not complete without visiting the mysterious Pobiti Kamani, also known as The Stone Desert. It consists of stone columns that are hollow and filled with sand, presumably from the dunes they sit upon.

No one knows how they got there, with many people having claimed to feel an unusual atmosphere while walking around the structures. The general consensus is that they are an entirely natural phenomenon, and have no connection to human activity.

Channel your inner Ancient Roman

As a result of the city of Varna being a Roman one for some time, many artefacts have been found years later. You can view some interesting finds at Varna's Archaeological Museum, with items including pieces of pottery and tools used in battle. Several key structures were also created by the Romans, some of which partially remain to this day. The main attraction is the site of the Ancient Roman thermal baths.

room, range of pools and a space for athletics and socialising. No doubt many an Ancient Roman bath-goer ended their time here with a glass or two of wine, and you can continue with that spirit of plenty in the city.

Bulgaria is one of the oldest winemaking countries in the world and a good proportion of the country's produce is made within the Varna region. Go on a wine-tasting tour through the city to sample some local versions, with some tours even giving you the chance to create a bottle of your own blend.

Charming coastal resorts

Choose a Varna holiday and you get the opportunity to visit many beautiful beaches along the Black Sea coast. They're often part of resorts that have built up around them, creating some really fun places to enjoy days out.

One of the most popular coastal resorts is Golden Sands. It's easy to see why, with its long stretches of golden sand and hot mineral springs providing ultimate relaxation. Away from the beach, the resort has plenty of shops to browse and sports facilities to try. Children will love the small water park of Aquapolis. Head slightly further afield to go hiking through areas of forest that make up Zlatni Piasatsi Nature Park. Other resorts with plenty to offer all the family include St Konstantin and Albena.

This Balkan country is a relative hidden gem when compared to the popularity of its neighbours, with holidays to Bulgaria offering plenty of surprises. A Varna Bulgaria holiday is to journey to a land full of mysterious and intriguing history and diverse landscapes. With so many areas of the Varna region largely untouched by mass tourism, it's a great place to get a feel for the true personality of this engaging country.