Time is now 8/9/2020, 5:21:40 AM
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
  • Find a Cruise
  • Deals
  • Excursions
  • More

Cruises to Varna

Varna (Photo:Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock)
Varna (Photo:Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock)

About Varna

Located on the Black Sea Coast, Varna is the second-largest city in Bulgaria (after the capital, Sofia). Once the summer retreat of the Eastern Bloc's most powerful players, Varna -- with its broad beaches, spectacular churches and well-stocked museums -- is now a magnet for Western tourists.

The city was founded more than 1,000 years ago as a fishing village and has had a richly chequered history ever since. Christened Odessos (water town) by the Greeks, it was besieged by Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C. and was later dominated by the Romans and the Ottoman Turks. The end result is that the modern city now sports ancient Roman baths, as well as mosques and Turkish baths.

Today's visitors are most likely interested in Varna's great beaches. The acres of golden sand lining its coast make this city one of the prettiest sail-ins on the Black Sea. Water babies, who want nothing more than to ride the waves and feel the sand between their toes will be in their element. They can find their heart's desire a very short stroll from the dock before enjoying a lazy lunch with a sea view.

Find Varna Cruises

Any
Any
More Filters
Cruise Critic Favorite
DAY 1: Athens

14 Night
Cruise to Varna

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Ouranoupoli, Kavala ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Azamara
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
Cruise Critic Favorite
DAY 1: Athens

14 Night
Cruise to Varna

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Mykonos, Kusadasi ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Azamara
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
DAY 1: Athens

14 Night
Cruise to Varna

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Kusadasi, Varna ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Azamara
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
DAY 1: Athens

14 Night
Cruise to Varna

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Kusadasi, Varna ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Azamara
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

Why go to Varna?

Pros:

Varna is a dynamic city with expansive beaches, stunning churches, plentiful museums and even Roman baths

Cons:

Most shops do not accept credit cards, so you'll need to make sure to have local currency on hand

Bottom Line:

Though you'll go for the beaches, Varna is an interesting and culturally rich city to explore

Varna Cruise Port Facilities?

It's about a 500-yard walk from the port terminal to the start of the Sea Garden Park area and beaches -- and because it's hot and unshaded, that walk feels long. You can climb a rusty ladder up to the top of the sea wall to get a better view and a bit of a sea breeze.

On the main drag, you'll see some beautiful embroidery and lacework draped on the walls, as local women offer it for sale. Tip: Only buy on the way back, when you know how much local currency you want to get rid of and are more likely to barter for a last-minute bargain.

For lunch and a bit of shopping, walk right along the waterfront through the Sea Gardens, past an Olympic-scale swimming pool (used by the locals for competitions, so not a tourist facility) and Gossip and Atmosphere Beaches. You'll soon see market stalls on a shady path to your left. Take the path and, straight ahead, you'll find a broad plaza with the Hotel and Cafe Odessos on the left and a large shopping, leisure and restaurant complex on the right -- with lots of open-air restaurant tables.

Good to Know?

Visit an ATM as soon as possible, and carry plenty of local currency, as hardly any shops accept credit cards.

And, if you're spending the afternoon on the beach, wear plastic flip-flops down to the water's edge, as the sand gets so hot that even a short walk with bare soles will burn your feet (unless you're a professional fire-walker).

Getting Around?

There are taxis right at the terminal entrance, but be prepared to negotiate hard; 20 leva should take you pretty much anywhere you'd like to go in downtown Varna. But, do establish (before you get in) that this is the agreed fee per cab, not per person.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The local currency is the lev, which generally is about 2.4 to the British pound and 1.4 to the U.S. dollar. But, Bulgaria is scheduled to adopt the euro, beginning in 2014. Do get local cash at an ATM machine when you arrive because hardly any shops or restaurants accept credit cards. You can find current exchange rates at www.oanda.com or www.xe.com.

Language?

The official language is Bulgarian. Although some locals speak a smattering of English, don't count on it. Be prepared to use the universal language of smiles and signing. Useful phrases include da (yes), ne (no), molya (please) and blagodariya (thank you).

Where You're Docked?

The Varna port terminal lies very close to the beaches and leafy walkways of Varna's Sea Garden Park, which stretches several miles along the waterfront. The terminal itself is a small, two-storey building with a couple of souvenir shops and a cafe but no Internet facility. You can change money at an ATM on the wall, just outside of the main exit.


Varna Cruise Reviews

Carnival Liberty
Beach&Snorkel
Sail Date: Jan 2016
It was a nice day at the beach, but the beach was littered with trash. Take a taxi to a beach and save some money.... Read More
Celebrity Summit
mojoracer
Sail Date: Jan 2016
Awesome beach near the port.... Read More
Seabourn Odyssey
SimonM
Sail Date: May 2015
Not the most exciting place to visit but we had a pleasant walk around the town... Read More
Pacific Princess
Calvin Hobbes
Sail Date: Aug 2010
We went off on our own here which I would recommend as very doable (don't bother with the $5/way shuttle, not a far walk). Nice Cathedral, very cheap shopping and nice old town/pedestrian area full of... Read More
Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.