Varna, Bulgaria

Introduction to Varna, Bulgaria

Located on the Black Sea Coast, Varna has become Bulgaria’s most popular tourist destination. A gateway to many seaside resorts including the Golden Sands – often called Bulgaria’s Las Vegas - the Sunny Day Complex and Rivera, Varna is a vibrant, busy city, with impressive beaches, packed marinas and nature parks to explore.

In the city centre are the largest Roman baths complex in Bulgaria – over 7,000 square metres in area, once with a dome 20m high. Next door is the History Museum, which has displays tracing the lifestyles of local people in years gone by. There’s a fine archaeological museum, displaying around 100,000 objects – all from the Varna area - in 39 rooms.

The city also has a number of excellent art galleries, a Dolphinarium and Bulgaria’s only naval museum. The 19th century cathedral has some interesting murals and stained glass windows, as well as wonderful views from the top of the bell tower – for those who have the stamina to climb the spiral staircase with its 133 steps.

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Varna, Bulgaria

AROUND VARNA LAKE (TOUR E)

  • Enjoy a visit around Varna Lake - the deepest lake on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast
  • Discover the traditional wares of the local artisans  
 
 
Activity Tour
Price£32.00 - £27.00
DurationApproximately 5 Hrs
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included
  • Enjoy a visit around Varna Lake - the deepest lake on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast
  • Discover the traditional wares of the local artisans  
 
Spend time exploring the rural landscape that surrounds Varna Lake.
 
Traveling out of town, you will pass by orchards and vineyards en route to Varna Lake.
 
Located on the far side of the lake is Stone Forest, a unique natural phenomenon consisting of different shaped, standing stones which are said to have strong spiritual powers. 
 
Your first next visit is to the Museum of Mosaics in Devnya, which houses a display of early-Byzantine mosaics recovered from the Roman town of Marcianopolis. The museum was built partly on the ancient foundations of the Roman villa “House of Antiope” which dates back to the time of Constantine the Great. Here you can admire the well preserved residential rooms of the villa and appreciate the multi-coloured floor mosaics; considered to be one of the best examples of the Roman mosaic art from that period found in Bulgaria. 
 
Continuing, you visit a Glass Blowing Factory where you will learn about how the glassware is made during a demonstration. Qualified experts will present the techniques to turn sand, calculated soda and limestone into melted glass, as well as the tools and skills used to blow and shape glassware pieces. 
 
En route back to the quayside you will stop at the Cathedral Assumption of the Holy Virgin, an outstanding building with six golden plated domes. It is a lavish Orthodox Church with ornate stained-glass windows, huge wooden chandeliers and beautifully painted icons.
 

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2014 CANARIES & MED CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: This tour is not considered suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheel chair users. There are a lot of steps to negotiate throughout the tour and a moderate amount of walking to encounter. Guests can stay on the coach if they wish at each of the stops although this not recommended. Guests are advised to cover their knees and arms before entering the Cathedral. 
 
 

Baltchik Botanical Garden, Varna

BALTCHIK BOTANICAL GARDEN & ALADZHA MONASTERY (TOUR D)

  • Discover the magnificent location of Balchik
  • Take in the aromas of the botanical garden; home to more than 3,000 different plants 
  • Visit the Aladzha monastery, one of the most visited tourist sites along the Bulgarian Black sea coast
 
 
Activity Tour Gardening Tour
Price£40.00 - £30.00
DurationApproximately 4.5 Hrs
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking
Free time includedFree time included
  • Discover the magnificent location of Balchik
  • Take in the aromas of the botanical garden; home to
    more than 3,000 different plants 
  • Visit the Aladzha monastery, one of the most visited
    tourist sites along the Bulgarian Black sea coast
 
Discover the small, pretty fishing port of Balchik home to the elegant botanical garden. 
 
Departing the quayside, you travel north to the small town of Balchik. This quaint little fishing town is home to the botanical garden. Enjoy time at leisure here to soak up the aromas of the garden, and admire some of the 3,000 different plant species within the garden – it is clear that this is a place of interest for nature devotees. Take a pleasant stroll along the alleys of the garden to see the summer villa of the queen and her royal family, hear the stories of her busy social life and enjoy the luxury, whilst enjoying the beautiful sea views.
 
Relaxed you travel to the Aladzha Rock Monastery - both a natural and historical phenomena. Here you will be invited to explore the monk cells cut deep into the limestone plateau near Varna - legend states that hidden deep in the caves and labyrinths, are the treasures of 12 more monasteries. It is also believed to be haunted by the spirit of a priest who guards the precious items hidden here. 
 

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2014 CANARIES & MED CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: This tour is not considered suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. There are approximately 300 steps at the botanical gardens and a further 150 steps at the Aladzha rock monastery. Guests can choose to stay on the coach at each of the stops if they wish however we would not recommend doing so as you will miss the highlights of this tour. 
 
 

Flavours of Bulgaria

FLAVOURS OF BULGARIA (TOUR G)

  • Discover a taste of Bulgaria as you enjoy a cooking demonstration
  • Visit the former summerhouse of Atanas Burov and discover an excellent selection of the best Bulgarian wines
Activity Tour
Price£30.00-£40.00
DurationApproximately 3.5 Hrs
LimitationExtremely limited
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

This tour offers a unique opportunity to combine wine tasting and the sampling of some traditional Bulgarian dishes with an insightful visit to the Ethnographical Museum.

You begin with a visit to the Ethnographical Museum, which is home to a rich variety of displays exhibiting the ways of life of people living within the Varna district during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Spend time exploring the museum and learn more about the many implements and tools used in the local industries.

Next you travel to the former summerhouse of Atanas Burov – a 19th century Bulgarian banker and politician. The present-day owner has transformed the house into a restaurant and has recently restored the cellar, where the house-produced wine matures. Along with its own locally produced wine, the cellar also boasts an excellent selection of other Bulgarian wines.

Upon arrival, you will be invited to enjoy a wine tasting of three wines, before you take a seat with a glass of your favourite wine of the day to watch a cooking demonstration of traditional Bulgarian dishes. Yoghurt and cheese are the ingredients for many Bulgarian recipes and today’s culinary adventure is dedicated to them. Discover how yoghurt is made whilst discovering interesting facts about its good bacteria and the healthy effect it has on the human body.

The restaurant’s chef will teach you how to use yoghurt and cheese in traditional dishes including a Shopska salad, tarator (sauce), eggs Panagiyurski style, Banitsa and pepper Burek, before you are invited to taste the dishes and, if you like, take the recipe with you, so you can master your newly acquired knowledge at home.

 
TOUR DESCRIPTION IS CORRECT FOR 2016 CANARIES & MED CRUISES! 

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour is not considered suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. There are steps to negotiate and a moderate amount of walking will be encountered throughout. 

 
 

Varna, Bulgaria

GRAND PANORAMA OF VARNA (TOUR B)

  • Discover Bulgaria's Black Sea Coast, steeped in history and medieval charm
  • Explore the lavish Orthodox cathedral
  • Learn about the region's culture 
Panoramic Coach Tour
Price£20.00-£30.00
DurationApproximately 3 Hrs
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking

Explore the highlights of Varna and its surroundings from the comfort of your coach.

Departing the quayside, enjoy a panoramic tour of the city, passing by the open-air exhibition of the Naval Museum and Sea Garden Park. Continue along the coastal road where you will reach the most popular summer resort, Golden Sands, situated amidst the forest of Golden Sands Nature Park.

Enjoy a drive along the promenade of Golden Sands, admiring the beautiful scenery and the inviting beaches, before beginning your journey back to Varna. Upon your arrival into the city, you will drive past the first university in Varna - the University of Economics - the building of the Municipality of Varna and the Archaeological Museum, which houses the first processed gold, dating back some 6,000 years.

You will then drive along the shopping and market street before stopping at the Cathedral Assumption of the Virgin. Overlooking the centre of the city, the cathedral impresses visitors not only with its outstanding architecture and size, but also with the magnificent interior of the typical Bulgarian Orthodox mural paintings and the fine art of woodcarving. After your visit of here, you will continue to a small flea market, where time at leisure will allow you the chance to browse for that all-important souvenir.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2016 CANARIES & MEDITERRANEAN CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour is considered suitable for guests with limited mobility and wheelchair users as long as guests can board the coach unaided. There will be some steps to negotiate at the cathedral and some walking here. Guests are advised to cover their knees and arms when entering the cathedral. 

 
 

Varna, Bulgaria

THE TRADITIONS OF BULGARIA (TOUR F)

  • Explore the remains of Bulgaria’s first capital
  • Admire the Madara Horseman – a medieval carving on the Madara Plataeu
  • Enjoy home-made specialities and a local folklore performance at a beautiful country house
 
Activity Tour
Price£35.00-£45.00
DurationApproximately 6 Hrs
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

On this tour, discover a charming local village which has managed to successfully preserve the traditions, customs, skills, and crafts of the country’s past, and step back in time as you learn more about Bulgaria’s history with a visit to Pliska.  

Your tour begins as you travel to the little town of Pliska - the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire from 681 to 893 AD. According to a Bulgarian chronicle, it was founded by Khan Asparukh. Today Pliska is a National Archaeological Reserve, and here you will find the ruins of the Great and the Small Palace, the strong stone fortifications and the Great Basilica, used both as a royal church and as a national patriarchal cathedral.

Continuing on, you arrive at the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site of the Madara Horseman. A gentle walk will lead you to the majestic 100 metre (328 feet) high rock of Madara, where at 23 metres (75 feet) high you can see a life-sized relief carved into the cliff face.

Nestled under the Madara cliffs you will find the village of Kyulevcha and a welcoming country house, built in accordance to old Bulgarian traditions. Your hosts will be waiting to greet you with homemade round bread, spicy salt and traditional tunes, performed by the local bagpipe player. Enjoy some tasty treats whilst the local ladies sing, dance and perform genuine Bulgarian folklore rites. 

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2016 CANARIES & MED CRUISES 
 

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour is not considered suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users as there are a lot of steps to negotiate and a moderate amount of walking involved throughout. There will be a gentle uphill walk in order to reach the site of Madara. Guests are advised to cover their knees and arms before entering the cathedral. 

 
 

Cruises to Varna, Bulgaria

VARNA HIGHLIGHTS (TOUR A)

  • Admire the highlights of Varna
  • Explore the lavish Orthodox Cathedral, which boasts six golden-clad domes and a magnificent interior to match
Activity Tour Panoramic Coach Tour
Price£35.00-£45.00
DurationApproximately 4.5 Hrs
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

This tour will allow you to admire what Varna, a city known as the pearl of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, has to offer its visitors.

Your tour begins with a panoramic drive, passing many of the city’s highlights, including the open-air exhibition of the Naval Museum, the greenery of Sea Garden Park, the first university here and the building of the Municipality of Varna. In the very centre of Varna, you will find the six gold-plated domes of the town's landmark Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin. Upon arrival here, you can enjoy a guided visit of this lavish Orthodox church, which was built in gratitude to the Russian forces that liberated the country.

Next, you will travel to Varna's Archaeological Museum, housed in the city's former Girl's High School. The museum presents the town's history (known as "Odessos" during the Greek and Roman periods) through an intelligent presentation of locally discovered artefacts. What makes the collection unique are the findings from the Varna Necropolis, dating back to between 4600 and 4200 BC - some of the oldest pieces of evidence of human civilisation ever found.

Continuing, you travel to the south eastern part of Varna to visit the Roman Thermae – Ancient Roman baths. Built on more than 7,000 square metres of land, the Roman Thermae used to be the largest antique public building in Bulgaria. Enough of the complex has been excavated to make it an impressive place to visit. Here you can stroll around the ruins, exploring the remains of the different rooms including the old hot, warm and cold swimming pools, moist and dry steam baths, changing rooms and gyms.

 
DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2016 CANARIES & MEDITERRANEAN CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour is not considered suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users as there are a lot of steps to negotiate, especially in the Archaeological Museum, in addition to uneven ground at the Roman Baths and a lot of standing and walking throughout. Guests are advised to cover their knees and arms when entering the cathedral, and to wear comfortable shoes. 

 

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