Cheap Tickets to Varna
Bulgaria's "summer capital" is more than just a city with a few dazzling Black Sea beaches tacked on. It's a cultural, gastronomic and historical attraction in its own right. But, admittedly, Varna is also a fantastic base from which to explore the area's soft white beaches. Back in the city itself, there's no shortage of appeal. In the centre, there's a lively mixture of places to eat, shop and party as well as plenty of historical attractions. For instance, the city boasts a superbly preserved set of Roman baths with their complex heating systems. Other ancient remains are beautifully presented at the Archaeological Museum, which claims to show the oldest gold jewellery in the world. Then there are other museums, with attractions dedicated to the city's naval past, to natural history and the stars. Family attractions are also thick on the ground, with an excellent zoo, green spaces like Primorski Park and an aquarium where piranhas play a starring role. Couples will also love the thriving arts scene. From the stately City Art Gallery to smaller contemporary spaces like Graffit, you can easily spend a day touring Varna's artistic highlights. Add in beaches, fine weather, Carnival, a summer festival and some MTV music fun on the beach and you've got an all-round wonderful destination.
Things to do in Varna
Although many people use the city as a launching pad to explore the coast, there's no lack of things to occupy visitors within the urban area. Here are just a few things that will keep you off the beach:
- A treasure trove for ancient history fans
The Roman baths and the Archaeological Museum will satisfy even the most curious ancient history lovers, but there's more of this to discover in northeastern Bulgaria. Take tours from the city to the medieval rock monastery at Aladzha or the enchanting fortress city of Shumen.
- Enjoy a family day out at the Sea Garden
The city's focal point is a huge park by the Black Sea where you'll find gorgeous floral displays, acres of picnic space and a memorial to Yuri Gagarin in the Alley of the Cosmonauts. Oh, and it's also home to the aquarium and zoo, so kids will be in their element.
- Take a tour of the city's spiritual riches
Varna is also a city of churches, and some are absolutely stunning. The murals and stained glass in the Cathedral are a must-see, but are probably eclipsed by smaller churches like St Michael the Archangel, Sveti Atanas and Sveti Nikolai. They're all pretty central, so grab a map and see them all.
Calendar of Events
As you'd expect from Bulgaria's summer capital, there's plenty going on in this vibrant destination, where annual highlights include:
Summer Fest. Bulgaria's oldest music festival, Summer Fest takes place in June and July and focuses heavily on classical performances with solo, orchestral and operatic shows from all over the world.
MTV's Beach Festival. For a slightly different experience, head to the beach in mid-July for this MTV-organised pop music event, which attracts a varied line-up of European and local stars.
Carnival. Every April, the city hosts its own variety of Carnival, and it's a great occasion. Sample local crafts, hear folk music concerts and watch the procession -- before hitting the town's bars and restaurants.