Discover Varna: Bulgaria’s Coastal Gem

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Embark on a journey to Varna, the sea capital of Bulgaria, where history, culture, and natural beauty converge to create an unforgettable experience. Here are 25 reasons why Varna should be at the top of your travel list:

#1. Varna, Northeastern Bulgaria’s largest city, offers stunning views of the Black Sea and Varna Lake, making it a picturesque destination for travelers.

Historical Origins:

#2. With roots dating back to the Paleolithic era, Varna’s ancient past is evident in its archaeological sites, including the trading colony of Odessos, founded around 570 BC.

Cultural Legacy:

#3. Known by various names throughout history, Varna’s evolution reflects its diverse cultural influences, from Roman, Byzantine, to Ottoman.

Archaeological Marvels:

#4. Explore Varna’s archaeological treasures, including the world’s oldest processed gold treasure, unearthed in a necropolis dating back to 4600-4300 BC.

In 1972, during excavations near the city, аbout 3,000 gold objects with a total weight of over 6.5 kilograms were discovered, each one of them made of pure 24-karat gold.

Some objects are exhibited in the Archeological Museum in Varna, as well as in the National Historical Museum in Sofia.

Roman Relics:

#5. Immerse yourself in history at Varna’s Roman baths, showcasing an impressive underground heating system known as a hypocaust. Varna’s Roman baths, built in the 2nd century, rank as the fourth-largest complex of its kind in Europe.

Crucial Battles:

#6. Learn about the historic Battle of Varna in 1444, a pivotal moment in European history, marking the Ottoman Empire’s dominance in the region.

Architectural Diversity:

#7. Marvel at Varna’s architectural wonders, influenced by Western European styles and a diverse population, reflecting its cosmopolitan heritage.

Sea Garden Splendor:

#8.  Stroll through Varna’s Sea Garden, a masterpiece of landscape architecture, home to museums, a zoo, dolphinarium, and military museum.

Adventurous Thrills:

#9. Seek adventure with activities like bungee jumping from the Asparuhov Bridge, offering breathtaking views of the city and sea.

Cultural Heritage:

#10. Experience the oldest and most prestigious ballet competition, the International Ballet Competition in Varna, showcasing world-class talent.

Legendary Routes:

#11. Follow in the footsteps of royalty and celebrities on the famed Orient Express route, which once passed through Varna, connecting Paris to Istanbul.

Guinness World Record:

#12. Witness Varna’s innovative spirit with a Guinness World Record for the largest DNA chain made by humans, showcasing the city’s collaborative efforts. In 2016, the idea was realized on the beach and belonged to students of the Medical University in the city: 4,000 people were involved in the project.

Vibrant Nightlife:

#13. Discover Varna’s vibrant nightlife scene, with bars and clubs along the seaside, ensuring endless entertainment into the early hours.

Culinary Delights:

#14. Indulge in fresh seafood and traditional Bulgarian cuisine, including Black Sea mussels and tarator, a refreshing summer soup.

Wine Tasting:

#15. Sample Varna’s renowned white wines, such as Varna Muscat, known for their quality and distinct flavors, offering a taste of Bulgaria’s winemaking heritage.

Nearby Escapes:

#16. Venture beyond Varna to discover nearby attractions like the St. St. Constantine and Helena resort, renowned for its seven mineral springs with water temperature between 40 and 60 degrees, Golden Sands resort or the natural wonder of the Stone Forest, offering a glimpse into Bulgaria’s diverse landscapes.

#17. One of the most exciting walks around Varna can be to the Euxinograd Palace, 8 km north of the city, built as the summer residence of Prince Alexander I of Battenberg. The palace is an absolute masterpiece, with over 8.0 ha of park and green areas, with an impressive interior, spacious and lavishly furnished halls, marble fireplaces and French furniture and accessories.

#18. About 18 km from Varna you can also see the Stone Forest natural phenomenon, better known with its Bulgarian name Pobiti kamani, which could be translated as “stones beaten into the ground”. The site is the only naturally formed desert in Eastern Europe and one of only two naturally formed deserts in Europe, the other being the Tabernas Desert in Spain.

The stones are distributed in 18 large and small groups on an area of seven square kilometers.

They represent limestone columns of different heights – from 5 to 8 m, thickness – from 0.3 to 3 m and different sections. They look like they have been beaten into the sand, hence their name. They are believed to have been formed about 50 million years ago.

#19. About a 30-minute drive from Varna, you can also see the Devnya karst springs. They are about 30 in number and have a constant temperature of 17-20 degrees. The springs have a constant flow rate of about 2900 l/sec. Devnya River is formed from these smaller and larger streams.

However, the most beautiful and accessible for tourists is Havuz, also called the Magical Spring. It is captured in a quadrangular pool with a wall height of 4-5 m. The pool is a real delight for the eye – it is submerged in green algae, and the sun’s rays refract incredible colors.

Historic Landmarks:

#20. Journey to Provadia to marvel at the Salt Mill, Europe’s oldest urban center dating back to 5600-4350 BC, offering insights into ancient salt production techniques. The technology used then is still used today – evaporation of the salty spring water in ceramic vessels.

Cultural Treasures:

#21. Visit architectural gems like Balchik Palace and Botanical Garden, a testament to Queen Marie of Romania’s vision, blending various architectural styles amidst lush greenery and mystical charm.

Scenic Excursions:

#22. Embark on scenic drives to Cape Kaliakra, Cape Emine, Kamen Bryag and Bolata Beach to witness breathtaking sunrises and explore historic sites steeped in legend and folklore.

#23. The welcoming of July morning is also associated with Kamen Bryag and Bolata. July Morning has a long history that began with the sunrise on July 1, 1986. The name comes from the title of the song ‘July Morning’ by British rock band Uriah Heep.

Until 2004, the performer of ‘July Monrning’ did not know about the existence of this tradition in Bulgaria, until he received an invitation to a more unusual concert. The concert started at 5:20 in the morning, on the rocks of Kamen Bryag, above the sea. Almost every year, until 2018, Lawton sang a live “anthem” at the holiday, at Kamen Bryag. His love for this place was so strong that when he rested, his family scattered his ashes over Kamen Bryag.

Natural Wonders:

#24. Explore the unique landscapes of Durankulak, home to pristine beaches and the Durankulak Lake, attracting birdwatchers with its rich biodiversity and migratory bird populations.

The Via Pontica bird migration route passes here. It is the second most important migration route of wild birds in Europe, passing through over 20 countries from Finland to South Africa.

Over 260 species of birds can be found in Durankulak Lake and its adjacent territories, 107 of which are included in the Red Book of endangered species.

Many call the place a ‘gold mine’ for ornithologists and bird-watching enthusiasts.

Enriching Activities:

#25. Engage in outdoor adventures like boat tours, beach walks, and water sports, or immerse yourself in cultural experiences through guided tours of historical sites and museums.

From its ancient origins to its modern-day allure, Varna invites travelers to uncover the treasures of Bulgaria’s coastal gem.

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