Varna is a pleasant port city on the Black Sea with plenty of beaches and cultural attractions. It certainly doesn’t feel like the third largest city in Bulgaria, but it has all the amenities you would expect from a big city.
I arrived at the Varna bus terminal from Shumen. It was about an hour drive. The bus station serves destinations all over Bulgaria and many international cities as well.
The historic Varna Railway Station is near the port. It was completed in 1925 and was once a stop on the Orient Express. It now serves Sofia, Plovdiv, Shumen, Ruse, and a couple other Bulgarian cities.
Varna International Airport and a ferry service to some cities on the Black Sea are other transportation options. The airport serves mostly seasonal flights from all over Europe, but as of 2016 has regular flights to Sofia, Moscow, Istanbul, Vienna, and London.
Taxis in Varna are notorious for ripping off customers. The taxi I took from the bus terminal to my hotel charged me more than double and refused to honor the meter. The taxi I called from my hotel to the bus station when leaving town was honest. The hotel reception told me that taxis waiting outside of hotels or transportation hubs will usually be much more expensive. It’s better to call one or hail one on the street. In any case, Varna’s city center is fairly compact and easy to get around on foot. Taxis should rarely be necessary.
I stayed at Hotel Color. It was a great deal for the price. My two nights cost me €36, although breakfast was not included. The hotel staff was very friendly and the room was comfortable and clean. The hotel is located in a quiet residential area. It’s a short walk from the city center, and the bus terminal is just 1.5km away.