Varna – the largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. From the bus station of Varna, buses run not only along the coast but also inland.
Where to go from Varna – our tips
Despite the fact that from Varna you can reach in almost every town of the coast, it is not very convenient as a starting point of the route. There are two reasons – long distances to major resorts and not very convenient for tourists bus timetable. We will explain in more detail.
To the nearest interesting city on the southern coast of Bulgaria – Nessebar – the trip takes 2 hours and 20 minutes. The ticket will cost you 12 levs for a one-way ride, which that is expensive. As a result, 5 hours are spent only for the way there and back and for waiting for the bus.
The last route to Varna departs at 18:05 from Nessebar. The first route to Nessebar (and to any other southern city) departs at 11:30. In total it turns out, that in Nessebar you will spend a maximum of four hours. And when you consider a way to the bus station and back and some time to spare – even less.
Especially if you have to consider it, that the road took 5 hours. About the other southern cities, we have nothing much to say. A road to Burgas takes for another 1 hour and 10 minutes (there is a direct route from Varna to Burgas, it takes only 2 hours and 20 minutes). Plus, buses run not exactly one by one, there are also breaks, which create additional difficulties and inconveniences.
Of course, you can get with a few changes, on taxi or use irregular routes. You may even gain a few more hours. But this puts additional cost and wasted nerves.
It turns out, that travel from Varna is convenient only if you pre-book the hotel in the city that you want and stay overnight.
Varna – Balchik
Balchik is another Black Sea coastal town which is located 42 kilometers northeast of Varna.
In Balchik it will be very interesting to see the Botanical Garden. This is one of the main attractions of Bulgaria. Other sites of interest include the Balchik Palace, an art gallery and the Ethnographic Museum, among many others.
A road to Balchik takes only 40 minutes. A ticket costs only 5 levs for a one-way trip.
If you cannot find tickets to Balchik, you can buy tickets in Albena. It is near and will not be difficult to get there.
Varna – Nessebar
With some luck and if there will be additional routes in summer, you can go to see the old town of Nessebar – one of the most beautiful on the Bulgarian coast. Nessebar, which is situated on a rocky peninsula on the Black Sea, is a history lover’s paradise. The city’s remains, most of which date from the Hellenistic period, include the temple of Apollo, the acropolis, an agora as well as Tharcian fortifications. A total of about 40 existing ancient churches are scattered within Nessebar and its vicinity It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Going from Varna to Nessebar will take more than 2 hours, and sometimes 2 and a half hours, and a ticket to Nessebar costs 12 levs or 24 levs on both sides.
Varna – Golden Sands (Ziatni Pisatsi)
Golden Sands is one of the major seaside resorts in Bulgaria, on the Black Sea coast, 18 kilometers north on the municipality of Varna. There’s a national park adjacent to it, which is also called Golden Sands.
As the name suggests, Golden Sands is famous for its long stretch of golden sand beaches. There’s also an old legend behind the name: pirates dug an immense stolen golden treasure from a land on the seaside coast. Then, the land took revenge on the pirates and turned the golden treasure into wonderful golden sand.
If you get to look at the beach from a bird’s eye view, it was an enchanting array of contrasts – the deep blue Black Sea, the golden beaches and the richly verdant hills not far away from the coast. Apart from the beaches, the Golden Sands is also teeming with ancient natural mineral springs.
If you choose a bus journey from Varna to Golden Sands, the buses run about every 20 minutes from the train station and from the bus stop on the other side of the road from the Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral, which is the city’s main landmark. If your destination is Golden Sands, look out for the buses with numbers 9, 109 and 409, and these buses are available from early to late morning. Travel time from Varna to Golden Sands usually takes about 40 minutes depending on the traffic.
While these buses do not take you directly to the resort, they stop outside it or the Panorama on the hilltop.
If you take the tourist bus, it will cost you 19 lev per person for day ticket. If you choose to ride the regular buses, it will cost you about 2 lev per person (these fare rates may change); however, some inconveniences may slow down your journey.
Varna – St. Constantine and Helena (Sveti Konstantin i Elena)
Another popular seaside resort is St. Constantine and Helena, which is also located on the Black Sea coast. It is 8 kilometers north of Varna and 7 kilometers south of Golden Sands. It is the oldest resort complex in Bulgaria.
St. Constantine and Helena is actually situated within a park with various trees such as cypresses and figs as well as flowers. You should not miss this resort town because of its features that make it truly unique – deep blue waters, sandy beaches, clear, crisp mountain air and mineral springs. As a popular tourist destination not just by the locals but also by several foreign visitors, you can find numerous hotels, restaurants, bars, villas, vacation homes, yacht marinas and many other amenities. Not far from the beach are important historical landmarks such as the 16th-century Eastern Orthodox monastery and the grand Euxinograd royal summer palace.
Look out for bus with the number 409 with the following routes: Varna Airport, city center (with the Dormition Cathedral), a sports center, The Dolphinarium, St. Constantine and Helena and Golden Sands. The buses run from early to late morning and arrive every 15 minutes.
Where else to go from Varna?
From Varna it would also be interesting to go to the mainland – to see the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, to visit the city on seven hills – Plovdiv, to walk through the ancient capital of the Bulgarian people – Veliko Tarnovo, to see Bachkovo Monastery and Rila Monastery.
It may be also interesting to visit neighboring countries. Bulgarian visa allows you to travel to Romania and Croatia (if dual visa). Without any problems you can go to Istanbul, and if you have the Schengen visa – to Greece or any other European country.
Where is a bus station in Varna?
In Varna there are two main bus stations, There are two bus stations in Varna: one servicing local areas and another one for long-distance connections such as Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Burgas, Plovdiv as well as international connections such as Greece, Turkey (in Istanbul in particular), Romania as well as Central and Western Europe. We have seen even buses to Moscow, St. Petersburg and Odessa. There are also several additional bus stops where you can take a passing bus.
At the main bus station of Varna (on the map it is marked with the icon of the bus), you can purchase a ticket to almost any city of the country also to the majority of European cities.
Opposite the bus station is located a big shopping center Grand Mall with fairly average prices and a good selection of products for every taste. Between arrival at Varna and departure to Balchik, we had a break for about 40 minutes — we were able to walk to shops and to see the range of products. Prices are quite high, but the choice is good. We liked this mall more than shops in Burgas. On the top floor there are many cafes, where you can eat. There’s even a McDonald’s branch.
There is also an additional bus station, which we noted on the map of Varna with a red marker. Here you can take a passing bus to one of the most popular seaside resorts: Balchik, Burgas, Nessebar, Sunny Beach and Ravda.
Bus schedule from Varna for 2019
It should be honestly said, that this schedule is not exactly accurate. In fact, there are few more routes, but not about all of them we know.
However, this schedule can be used for approximate planning of independent and “DIY” excursions around Bulgaria. It gives you an idea of the time of departure and arrival of buses, on the cost of a trip and the presence of a route you want.