I’m from Macedonia, so Bulgaria is our neighbor country and very close to us and yet this year was my first time visiting Bulgaria in the summer. I always thought of Bulgaria as my ‘winter hideout’ visiting the many ski centers and Spa resorts it has. The only thing I can say: I wished I spent my summers here before.
Because I am a very adventures spirit I went on a road trip, as I do almost every year, with couple of friends from here and Bulgaria. So we made our travel map and begin the trip to Varna and back, visiting a few places around and along the way and passed nearly 2000km.
The place that we stayed most days and that was a goal of our trip was the city of Varna. Varna is the last big city close to the Bulgarian-Romanian border set on the northeast of Bulgaria bordering the Black Sea and part of few beautiful mountains. In addition, it’s the third largest city in Bulgaria.
Varna is a very old town and was populated since the Neolith time. It was a major center than for metallurgy and seafaring and it is a major business center now. They have found the oldest known, by now, man-made golden jewellery dating back to 4,600 – 4,200 BC. It has a few archeological sites you can visit with a breathtaking view of the sea.
The first thing I was astonished by when I set my first steps at Varna was the city itself and the beautiful architecture and the structural order of the city. They have places for every taste. A great nightlife clubs, cultural Museums, business and shopping centers, a lot of restaurants, beautiful beaches and even a “Delfinarium” (a dolphin aquarium which I think it’s the only one on the Balkans and Varna is known for it).
Let’s visit the mentioned thing one by one. First, the nightclubs, most of them are settled on the beach in a line where you can choose where you want to go according to the music you want to hear. There are clubs playing Balkan music (especially traditional Bulgarian folklore music), Hip-Hop, Trance, R&B, Pop, Rock, Metal, Punk or you can go in a Karaoke club and sing whatever you want.
Second, there are the restaurants which are line the same way as the nightclubs. There is a restaurant for every taste. You can choose traditional Bulgarian food, Serbian food, Croatian food, Turkish food, Italian food, Seafood, Pasta and Pizza, Barbeque, Fast-food, a lot of different deserts etc. So while you visit there, you can definitely try different things every day and you will feel like you visited some other countries too, because they tend make the original recipes.
I mentioned the Bulgarian cuisine, so I want to explain further more about that. Bulgarians are known for their barbeque and especially the way they make the ribs and kebabs. They have their own way of seasoning the meat before they bake it or grill it. And the most used season is called “Cubrica” which is actually the Savory plant. Also they make their own traditional “Tarator” which is very refreshing and used as an appetizer or sauce. For those who don’t know what Tarator is: it’s a soup made of yogurt, walnuts, cucumber and garlic. It goes well with the “Mastika” a traditional Balkan drink witch the Bulgarians make it so great. It’s a liqueur made from resins of the mastic tree witch grows on the Mediterranean and Balkan regions. It’ similar to the Greek ouzo but it has lighter smell and it’s a little bit sweater. The Bulgarians also have a tradition if they don’t drink Mastika with Tarator than they drink it with “Ayran”, a Turkish cold yogurt drink mixed with salt. The second most famous drink here is of course the beer which Bulgaria is very famous of. They have a lot of different breweries and every one of them makes exceptional beer, but the most famous one is the “Kamenitza”.
On the other hand, Varna is most known for the clams and fish recipes that the Black Sea has in abundance. They are always fresh coming directly from the sea or from the few clam farms around Varna and they know how to make them in 30 or more different ways. Also there are small fishing villages around Varna that supply the city with fresh fish from the sea or the lakes near, which have some unique types of fish that only live here and nowhere else around the world. Me, as a seafood lover, tried as much of them as I could, and I was sad I couldn’t try all of them. They are delicious.
I mentioned before there are lot of cultural and historical sites in and around of Varna. There are different kinds of Museums you can visit. There are Museums for vehicles from the World War II, old-timer cars, old airplanes, wax figures etc. Also there are a lot of archeological sites like the one from the old fortress or the old Lighthouse on the oldest port and fishing village there. So, again, there is something for every taste.
Next, there are the beaches. Varna has a variety of beautiful city beaches that has to offer. But the most breathtaking ones are a few kilometers away from the city, going North, towards the Romanian border. The most famous beach here is the Golden Sands visited by millions of tourists every year. However, the most beautiful wild ones are even North of the Golden Sands. Small, beautiful beaches with white sands, clear water and beautiful landscape. The Black sea is known for not being too salty and not being calm. So, because of the beautiful waves you can try or learn some of the recreational sports like surfing and kite surfing. Because of the climate and the sea there are a lot of dolphins in the sea, so you can easily spot them, that’s why they have built a dolphin aquarium that I mentioned before. It’s one of the crucial land marks of the city of Varna.
I really recommend visiting this beautiful city in Bulgaria, especially in the summer, so you can go swimming in the clear waters, or try kite surfing, or just go shopping, eating, visiting museum and have the best time in the clubs. But don’t stop there, ask for the places you can visit around, so you will fill your heart with astonishing landscapes and great memories. You will not regret it!