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Varvara – A Tranquil Coastal Village

Discover the Hidden Gem of Varvara - a Coastal Retreat on the Black Sea

GuideBG Glimpse

Geography and Location

Nestled 55 km southeast of Burgas, Varvara is a picturesque village on the Black Sea coast, just 7 km from Tsarevo and 4 km from Ahtopol. This charming locale is 500-600 meters from the sea, at the foot of the Bosna ridge in the Strandzha Mountain. Varvara’s elevation ranges from 25 meters in the village center to 45 meters in the west, creating a varied and exciting landscape.

Natural Beauty

Varvara is within the Strandzha Nature Park, known for its rich biodiversity and scenic beauty. The village boasts a small yet stunning sandy beach in a secluded bay. Its untouched nature and clear waters make it one of the most beautiful spots along the Bulgarian coastline. The surrounding rocky coves are perfect for diving and underwater fishing, offering a unique coastal experience.

The village of Varvara in Bulgaria is part of the NATURA 2000 network. NATURA 2000 is a European Union-wide network of nature protection areas established under the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive. Being part of NATURA 2000 is a recognition of the ecological value of Varvara and implies a commitment to preserving its natural heritage while allowing for sustainable use and development.

Historical Richness

According to local legend, “Varvara” stems from the Thracian tribes who once inhabited the area and frequently raided the Greek city of Agatopolis (modern-day Ahtopol). The Greeks called these raiders “barbarians,” hence the name Varvara. Historical maps, such as those by Christian Ludwig Thomas in 1788, mention the village as “Vardarah.”

Before joining Bulgaria after the Balkan Wars, Varvara was predominantly Greek. In 1913, Greek inhabitants were relocated, and Bulgarian refugees from Eastern Thrace, particularly from the village of Yatros, settled here.

Population

Varvara has seen fluctuating population numbers over the years. 1934, the village had 290 residents, peaking at 408 in 1956. By 2021, the population stabilized at around 308. The 2011 census recorded 260 residents, with the majority identifying as Bulgarian and a significant Roma minority.

Attractions and Activities

Central (North) Beach of Varvara

Varvara at the Black Sea, Bulgaria - Central (North) Beach
Varvara at the Black Sea, Bulgaria – Central (North) Beach

The Central (North) Beach of Varvara is a hidden treasure that captivates visitors with its pristine beauty. Located at the Selimioti Bay and accessible via a gravel road, this secluded spot rewards those who venture off the beaten path. The sand here is slightly coarse yet remarkably clean, and the waters are crystal clear, offering a refreshing escape.

Surrounded by rocky coves, the beach is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts and those who enjoy picturesque diving in the Black Sea. The area’s underwater landscapes, abundant marine life, and unique rock formations are a treat for divers.

Near the beach, visitors can find the “Iron Tree,” a notable landmark created for the film “The Great Night Bathing.” This site has become a popular gathering spot, particularly for those celebrating the first sunrise of July, known locally as “July Morning.”

The Mussels Beach

Varvara at the Black Sea, Bulgaria - a view of the South part of the village
Varvara at the Black Sea, Bulgaria – a View of the South End of the Village – The Mussels Beach

At the southern end of Varvara lies the quaint and charming Mussels Beach, named for the multitude of mussel shells that cover its small, serene shoreline. This hidden gem is home to a small, informal fishing port, where old, weathered fishing boats gently bob on the clear, blue waters.

The journey to Mussels Beach takes you through a picturesque landscape with a few scattered houses, adding to the area’s rustic charm. The beach is a peaceful retreat, starkly contrasting the busier, more crowded tourist destinations. The mussel-covered shore invites visitors to explore and enjoy the simple beauty of nature.

Close to Varvara lies the peak of Papia. Visitors can find remnants of a late antique and medieval fortress.

Events and Traditions

Varvara is renowned for its annual fair, held during the first week of September. This vibrant event features traditional Nestinarstvo (fire-dancing) on the first evening and folk wrestling the following day. The festival celebrates the village’s rich cultural heritage and is a highlight for residents and visitors.

Varvara Today

Despite some recent developments, Varvara has retained its charm and avoided over-commercialization. Most tourists stay in guesthouses, often building long-standing relationships with the friendly locals. The village is a haven for artists, musicians, actors, and nature lovers, drawn by its serene beauty and creative ambiance.

Exploring the Surroundings

For those visiting in spring or autumn, exploring the Strandzha Mountains is a must. Cycling or hiking to nearby villages like Brodilovo and Kosti along the Veleka River paths offers a delightful escape into nature.

Explore the Southeastern Bulgaria by the Sea Road Trip| Explore more aerial photos

Getting There

Varvara is accessible via bus from Burgas to Ahtopol and Sinemorets, with regular minibus connections from Tsarevo and Ahtopol.

Varvara is a hidden gem on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. It perfectly blends natural beauty, historical intrigue, and cultural richness. Whether seeking a peaceful retreat or an adventurous exploration, Varvara promises an unforgettable experience.

Essential details

Bulgaria's Road Trips

Enhance your understanding and delight in the traditional events and unique locales Bulgaria has to offer. Alongside these, discover other mesmerizing places within the country. We invite you to peruse our recommended itineraries for these insightful explorations.

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