2019 Digital Nomad Guide to Varna
2019 Digital Nomad Guide to Varna
Looking for an inexpensive European base for the summer months? Varna, Bulgaria may be exactly what you are searching for. With a cost of living similar to that of cities like Chiang Mai, miles of beaches, a great bar and cafe scene, and a fast and reliable internet Varna has a lot to offer. Check out the rest of the Digital Nomad Guide to Varna below.
A Quick Background
Varna is situated in the northeastern part of Bulgaria and is one of the oldest cities on the Black Sea. The city is one of the tourism hubs of Bulgaria because there are several popular resorts like Golden Sands and St. St. Constantin and Elena in
The official spoken language is Bulgarian, which is similar to
While the Euro tends to be the preferred currency for things like real estate purchases, the currency that is still used day to day is the Bulgarian Lev (BGN) which tends to hover right around 0.50 Euro or US Dollars.
Cost of Living in Varna
Varna, and generally speaking all of Bulgaria, is a very affordable place to live. The average monthly salary of a Bulgarian worker is around 1000 BGN ($585.00) so most people earning a West European or US wage will find life in Bulgaria very affordable.
One of the easiest ways to find housing, especially temporarily, is through
To get to the “per night”
Next click on the red button that says “Night” with a picture of a bed. This will take you to a selection of apartments and rooms you can rent per night. From here select Varna as the city you are
Below you can see a map of the city that I put together. Everything inside of the red square is the area that I would recommend getting a place to live. If you find a place outside of this square it does not necessarily mean that it is in an unsafe area, in
Food and Drink
Food is incredibly cheap in Varna. You can fill up a cart at any supermarket with groceries and spend as little as $20. Restaurant prices are also quite cheap, a Shopska salad (a Bulgarian favorite) will cost you around 4.50BGN ($2.25) and
Beer fans will find Varna especially great because you can get quality beer for about $1 per
Varna is full of good cheap restaurants that serve a mix of authentic Bulgarian food and food from abroad. In the center of the city near the entrance to the Sea Gardens and
If you are looking for street food one of my favorite places is Sky Food which is also located at Sevastopol. I have been eating at Sky Food since I was a kid, and I recommend trying their “
If you’re like me and make a point to eat a düner in every city you visit then you have to check out the Düner Shop on the corner of Tsar Osvoboditel and 8th Primorski Polk Blvd by the Red Square. If there is a long line outside then you are likely at the right place. I strongly recommend the düner box
Working and Internet
Internet speeds tend to be quite good in Bulgaria and the same holds true for Varna. Bulgaria was recently ranked 20th in the world in internet speed and accessibility as reported by the Akamai State of the Internet Report.
There are several coworking spaces in the city which you can easily find by visiting Coworker.com however my personal favorite which I mentioned earlier is Innovator. They have an awesome community, the prices are very reasonable, and it’s centrally located just a few minutes from the beach.
If you’re not into coworking spaces and would prefer to work out of a cafe there is plenty for you to choose from in Varna. There is a huge cafe scene in the city so just about any place you walk past on the street will sell coffee and usually will have usable internet.
One of my favorite places to work out of is Edno Cafe just behind the cathedral. It is a large cafe with plenty of seating and is also quite comfortable. The tricky thing with Edno Cafe is that because of
Probably the spot I visit the most
Cellular data plans in Bulgaria are also very cheap. M-Tel is one of the fastest cell phone/internet providers in Bulgaria and you can get 7GB of 4G service for just over 15BGN ($7.50) per month. If you are looking for a bit more freedom in your workplace you can also purchase a small wireless WiFi hotspot for less than $20 that will provide you with
Getting to Varna
Varna has a recently remodeled airport that is located a short taxi ride from the city.
If you are not in a hurry you can also take the train from Sofia. There are several trains to Varna every day and a regular ticket will cost you just 30BGN ($15) or up to 40BGN ($22) for a seat in the first class cabin which is more spacious. The railway system in Bulgaria
The bus is another popular option that will cost you about the same as the train journey. This trip takes a bit less time, around 6 hours, but can lack in views depending on which route you pick. You can compare prices and routes on BusRadar.com
If you will be arriving in Sofia I would suggest that you just fly to Varna. The journey is short and getting to the city from the airport will cost you less than 10BGN ($5) by taxi. If you want to see more of the countryside and are looking for a slightly more “adventurous” experience, the train
Living in Varna as a Digital Nomad
Varna is the largest Bulgarian city on the Black Sea and is known for its nightlife and beach scene. What makes it a wonderful place for digital nomads in the summer, other than the affordability, is the laid back lifestyle, and that Bulgaria is not a Schengen country, meaning that any time spent in Bulgaria will not count towards your total time in Europe.
Along with not being in the Schengen Zone, Varna through
Unlike most European cities, Varna does not have much to “sightsee” which has pros and cons. Some of the city’s landmarks include the Varna Cathedral and Archeological Museum which houses the oldest golden treasure ever discovered (a must see while in Varna). The Sea Gardens are another popular Varna attraction that separates the city from the beachfront. Take a few hours and walk
Other famous city sights include the Pantheon – a memorial to the people who died in the fight against the Fascists, and the Park-Monument to The Bulgarian-Soviet Relations. Although it is not exactly the most attractive monument in existence it does have a bit of a cool secret. I have not investigated it myself but local lore has it that within the monument is an entrance to a tunnel which runs under the city and is connected to the City Hall. This was the secret escape route for
If you decide to venture outside the city there are several interesting historical and natural wonders to explore like Pobiti Kamani. To visit and see all of the mentioned sights and memorials shouldn’t take your more than two days, this means that your time in the city can actually be spent working and relaxing by the beach.
The beach in Varna is lined with numerous cafes, restaurants, and bars that offer beach seating. A favorite of many locals is Cubo which has relaxed vibes, chill electronic/modern music during the day, and many interesting art pieces. In fact, this where you can most often find me when I am not working, so don’t hesitate to drop me a line and we can meet up for a Menta with Sprite (a popular Bulgarian summer beach cocktail).
Best Places to Work Out in Varna
Perhaps the most
If you are looking to do yoga there are many places all over the city that a simple Google Maps search will reveal. To be honest I have never visited a yoga place in Varna but but based on reviews and website quality the best place seems to be Om Shanti which is a bit outside the city but is very reasonably priced at just 8BGN ($4) for a single visit, 50BGN ($29) for 8 visits, or 90BGN ($52) for an unlimited number of visits per month.
If you are looking for a place that has a little bit of everything, in a good location, and great price, then the recently remodeled Primorski Pool and Gym is for you. This is where I swam competitively as a kid and it is my current choice for a gym and pool. It’s conveniently located near the center of the city and it is built right above the beach.
There are two pool
If you are interested in coming to Varna and are a digital nomad don’t forget to join the Varna Digital Nomad Facebook group where you can meet more location independent workers and entrepreneurs living and working in the city.
See you in Varna!