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Bulgaria’s third city is a Black Sea Port and has been a summer retreat for everyone from Bulgarian nobility to young party-going holidaymakers for more than a century. Young things in their late-teens and 20s can hit Varna’s bars and nightclubs, but people of all ages will find something to their taste here.
The oldest gold treasure in the world (6k years-old) is on display at the city’s archaeology museum and if that’s not enough you can see fantastical natural rock formations, hike through a real desert, travel back to communist times or spend hot days chilling on a sandy beach by the Black Sea.
The shining copper domes of this majestic church form one of the city’s postcard scenes.
The cathedral was built not long after the Bulgarian Liberation from the Ottomans by the Russians in the late-19th century, and was modelled on the temple at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg.
More than 50 of the icons that you can see in the church’s cavernous interior were donated by the Russian Tsar Nicholas II in the early 20th century, and much of the other decoration that you can see inside was added in stages because of war.
For instance, the huge stained-glass windows weren’t installed until the 1960s.
Just to the southeast of Varna is a bath complex that once belonged to the Roman city of Odessus.
These baths date back to the year 100: They’re among the largest Roman Thermae to survive in Europe, and only second of all those outside Rome.
One section of the building is 25 metres tall and you can clearly make out all of the original facilities.
You can even see the remnants of the typocaust, which heated the baths via a network of underground pipes. Elevated walkways give you a bird’s eye view, and the baths are unforgettable at night when they’re all lit up.
One for the little guys, Varna’s Amusement Park is part of the Sea Garden and will help kids burn off some of that excess energy.
It’s a series of little attractions and rides, including bumper cars, carousels, mini-roller coasters, a lake with dinghies, a Ferris wheel and trampolines with a kind of bungee rope contraption that kids will want to bounce on for hours.
Older children and teenagers won’t find too much to entertain them, but this park is ideal for the littler members of the family.
In summer the temperatures in Varna soar to the high-20s, but luckily you’ll always have the option of cooling off at this Black Sea resort a quick drive or bus ride up the shore.
A quiet, family-friendly choice is the private Nirvana Beach with an undeveloped seafront equipped only with a beach bar.
The main beachfront of the resort looks a bit like a Mediterranean destination such as Marbella, with high-rise apartments, hotels over bars and nightclubs, next to a broad strip of the golden sand that gives this resort its imaginative name!
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