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PLACES TO VISIT: Varna

Top of your list should be the city of Varna, the "Sea Pearl" - just a short drive away.  Here you have a wide choice of shopping, eating, sightseeing, and amusements, all in a cosmopolitan atmosphere where English is widely spoken and everyone feels welcome.  There are many examples of fine architecture, and several good museums and galleries. The Sea Gardens are the largest sea-side park in Europe!  Here the open-air theatre is the venue for live music and other performing arts, while down by the sea shore are numerous places for eating, drinking and having fun!


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In the pedestrian area of the city centre, conveniently close together, you will also find the Theatre and Opera House, the fountains, the street market, and lots of shops and eating places.  The magnificent Cathedral of the Assumption is just across the road via the underpass.

 

Night-owls may like to sample the cinema or club scenes, and there is more than one casino! Many shops stay open until very late, including fashion boutiques and grocery stores!


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Good Health!

Varna is the largest centre in Bulgaria for water-based natural health treatments.  There are 12 thermal springs in the area with temperatures between 28 and 52 degrees Centigrade.  People have been bathing in waters like this for centuries; today, balneotherapy centres offer a range of facilities including mineral water treatments, mud applications, and massage. The nearest spa balneology and health centre is only 200 metres from Chaika Beach, at resort Riviera.  Not far away there are also well established centres at St. Constantine and Golden Sands.

Please note that local facilities may only be available during the main tourist season.


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Other attractions in Varna include the Aquarium, Archaelogical Museum (see left) - with exhibits of the oldest gold in the world, many ornate churches, extensive Roman Baths, a fascinating Ethnographic Museum, the Festival and Congress Theatre, a Planetarium, an Open-Air Theatre, A Botanical Garden, a Terrarium, a public Art Gallery, a Naval Warfare Museum, a Zoo, and not far away the Petrified Forest "Pobiti Kamani" (a site of international importance), the Evksinograd Palace, and the rebuilt ancient Bulgarian Settlement "Fanagorya" where ancient crafts and trades are demonstrated.

See our LINKS page for more information on things to see and do in and around Varna.


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The Drama Theatre. All kinds of cultural events happen here: from internationally known plays and ballet to local folk song and dance evenings. Make no mistake, these are top quality productions. For the current programme of events please visit our LINKS page.


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Other Places to Visit

ALADJA ROCK MONASTERY: Heading north from Chaika Beach, this is a national treasure not to be missed.  In beautiful gardens and built into a rock face, it consists of many cells which are accessible by the public via specially constructed walkways.  The monastery is no longer occupied, but it makes for a fascinating visit, and it still contains some striking cave-wall art of a religious nature including coloured 13th-14th century frescoes. There is also a very informative visitor centre at the entrance to the park in which the monastery stands.  Situated about 7km from Chaika, and 3km from Golden Sands, you have a choice of getting there by bus, by taxi, or even on foot  from Golden Sands if you're really fit!

GO-KARTING IN VINITSA: A few kilometers south from the apartment is a Go-Kart race track. We have yet to visit it personally but we understand that it is a good quality facility. Further details and photos to follow. 

THE DOLPHINARIUM: On the  main road between Varna and Chaika Beach at St Constantine & Elena you will find the Dolphinarium.  Thrilling performances by these fascinating creatures are given throughout the summer season.


If you are looking for more excitement, then why not spend some time at Aquapolis, Bulgaria's largest water-park for thrill-seekers of all ages. Just 4km up the road to Golden Sands, this is a family-friendly attraction which is open to the public throughout the summer months. Check out the website: http://www.aquapolis.net/index.php?language=en

There is a smaller water park on the beach in Varna itself.

 


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BALCHIK: Travelling a little further north up the main coast road brings you to the beautiful and restful Botanical Gardens on the southern approach to Balchik. You should allow plenty of time to stroll around and take in the landscaped gardens, specimen plants and feature buildings, all overlooking the sea.

 

 

Balchik itself is well worth a visit: this is quite a smart little town, with plenty of sites of historical interest, a profusion of eating places, and a developing Marina quarter with a harbour-side walkway.


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Head west or north-west from here if you want to see the real Bulgaria and visit the typical agricultural communities scattered around the area known as the DobrudjaHere life goes on as it has basically done for centuries, and it is like stepping back in time: horse and donkey carts rather than motor vehicles provide the locals with transport; sheep, cows and goats outnumber people, and the air is sweet with scents of wild flowers and fragrant trees and shrubs... it is simply unforgettable!  It is a place of unusually turbulent history, and the variety of backgrounds from which its people can trace their descent is testimony to this. 

Sample it now, before it becomes just a memory of a bygone age!  Our friendly, English-speaking Taxi driver will be happy to take you anywhere you please, at a special low price; his contact details are in the Welcome Pack which you will find waiting for you in the apartment.


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For more ideas and information about places to visit, please see our LINKS page.  You will find a selection to suit all tastes.