First Impressions of Varna (Bulgaria)


On my current tour of Eastern Europe I visited the Black Sea destination of Varna, on the North Eastern coast of Bulgaria. It was my first time in the city and I spent 3 nights there in total. As I always say in these ‘first impression’ type posts, it’s not possible to really get an in-depth or local-eye-view of a place when you’re only there for 2 or 3 nights, but what you can do is get a really good first impression. Hopefully this article and my experiences in Varna will also help you determine whether Varna is a destination you might like to visit also.

Black Sea Beaches


The main reason why people come to Varna is simply for the beach. Its positioning right on the Black Sea has made it popular with international tourists and local Bulgarians as a place to vacation. Having come straight from Bulgaria’s capital Sofia, and with all previous destinations on this trip being inland, Varna was definitely the coastal break that I needed. Even just the feel of the sea air felt nice! The city is definitely by no means off the tourist track, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a beach without at least someone on it, but it wasn’t too touristy compared to how I thought it would be. You could still walk along the coastline and find a nice empty spot to lay your stuff without too many people crowded round. This was no secluded paradise, but if you just wanted a quick break by the beach somewhere cheap it could certainly satisfy that.

X Hostel

Address; 16th Street, 19, Evksinograd, 9006 Varna, Bulgaria

x hostel varna

I stayed at X Hostel during my time in Varna and would recommend it as a cool laid back place to stay if you’re ever passing through. Main items where I thought the hostel scored highly on were;

  • The bar – X Hostel has a really cool bar that is an excellent place to hang out in and meet other backpackers. Beers are also really cheap at just 2 LEV per bottle.
  • Meals/Events – Each night the hostel usually arranges something for dinner. The night I stayed for mine we had a pizza party where everyone got a chance to make their own pizza – which was then stone baked. I thought this was a really cool way to get people involved, mixing with one another, and the pizza also tasted pretty good!
  • Hot showers – The showers were hot and powerful!
  • Lots of common rooms/hang out areas – There were lots of little places to hang out and chill at X hostel including a terrace area, and with its location being a little bit outside of Varna city centre you didn’t have any disturbances from outside if you were in need of a good sleep.

X Hostel also had a lot of other good things about it but those listed above were the stand out things for me. If I was to give any constructive criticism in regards to the hostel I would simply suggest that they should consider investing in some lockers! The hostel does have a safety deposit box which you can use (which you could potentially put your passport in for example). However, for people travelling with laptops or who maybe want to leave some cash or debit cards etc in a locker while they go out, i.e. things that either too big for a deposit box or things they want to get access to daily… A personal locker which you can put your own padlock on is really more suitable and practical. Other than that I thought the hostel was awesome and I would definitely recommend it as a place to stay in Varna!

Budget travellers paradise


On average in Varna it cost me the equivalent of around €1 per beer. Whilst eating a sit down meal at a local (independent) fast food restaurant near my hostel I paid the equivalent of just €3.50 for a main meal and a soft drink! In town it was a little more expensive but not hugely more. When you compare Varna to other popular beach destinations around Europe I think you would be hard pressed to find anywhere cheaper. Even those bars which run along the main beach in Varna, which I would have expected to be more expensive, in actual fact didn’t go too far beyond that €1 price. Just being able to sit at the bar with a beer looking out at the sea (without feeling ripped off) was actually rather nice. Public transport is also super cheap at around 1 LEV (€0.51) per ride, although for longer journeys it was a little bit more.

Dockside views


If you’re looking for some great views of Varna the walkway near the docks is a really great place for taking pictures. Unfortunately the rain came down the moment I got up there, and stopped the moment I left! But if you want some cool images of rustic boats to one side and the main beach and coastline to another, it’s a nice place to walk up and along.

Unfortunately with only a few days in Varna and most of that time being spent at the beach, I didn’t get a whole lot of time to really get off the beaten track in the place. I guess what’s good about Varna though is that it’s one of those destinations where you don’t feel any pressure to be running about all day. Mostly you just kick back and enjoy the beach!

– If you liked this article you may also be interested in reading my first impressions of Sofia, Bulgaria.

6 Responses to “First Impressions of Varna (Bulgaria)”

  1. Claire says:

    Varna looks cool! Your pictures are awesome too! Wish I’d stopped there now when I was in Bulgaria!

  2. Franca says:

    I always wanted to go to Bulgaria and so far I’ve never managed to. Varna looks a cool place, it goes on my list of Bulgarian cities to see. Cheers!

  3. Stephen says:

    Right on! Varna is an excellent city with a cool beach and you can have it all for a very reasonable budget. I enjoyed Varna when I visited a few years back.

  4. Brian says:

    Varna is a great city and not as commercialised or as expensive as Sunny Beach or Golden Sands. Mainly a mixture of eastern european tourists, mixing with the locals in Varna. To accommodate the local population (now approaching 500,000), the prices are kept low.


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