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What to do on a cloudy day to the north of Varna
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What to do on a cloudy day to the north of Varna?

Rarely during a 10-day or a 2-week holiday one is lucky enough to have all his days at the seaside without a cloud or a raindrop. When bad weather arrives, tourists are left to wonder how to fill that day in order to enjoy themselves. In fact, the northern seaside offers plenty of such opportunities. Clearly, the city of Varna, as the second largest city in Bulgaria, cannot leave anyone bored – those fond of arts can visit one of its many museums, watch a movie or a theatre performance, others can stroll in the seaside garden or have a good meal at one of the city’s numerous restaurants. Maybe the biggest attraction to Varna’s non-natives, however, remains the city’s dolphinarium. Performances at the city dolphinarium are held each weekday throughout the year except Monday, several times a day depending on the season. The show goes on in several languages simultaneously – Bulgarian, Russian, German and English, and includes a number of attractions – acrobatics, equilibrium exercises, music, singing, dances and games with the audience. Each performance lasts 40 minutes but is long remembered by its viewers, especially younger ones.

Apart from the Varna Dolphinarium, another worthy sight in the vicinity of Varna is the Balchik Botanic Garden. The botanic garden was created in 1955 on the territory of the former summer residence of the Romanian queen Maria in the town of Balchik. At present, the botanic garden occupies an area of 65 dca and hosts over 2000 types of plants. One of the biggest attractions of the garden is its collection of large cactuses that ranks second in Europe only to the one in Monaco. The cactuses can be seen in the open air between May and late autumn over an area of some 1 dca. The garden’s other plants are cultivated charmingly on several terraces that descend gradually to the sea, with springs and alleys charmingly meandering around them. Once here, one can also take a look inside most of the residences’ buildings and get a taste of how royal luxury was understood at the start of the 20th century.

For those not fond of cultivated nature, the Taukliman bay and the Dourankulak moor can represent a more appealing destination for a cloudy day. The area of Taukliman (meaning literally Birds’ Bay in Turkish) lies 16km north of Kavarna and 61km north of Varna, with the high-class resort of Roussalka being its southern neighbour. Taukliman is one of the many natural reserves along the coast. During seasonal migrations, the lake of Taukliman welcomes hundreds of birds, stopping here for rest and food. In those times, the lake becomes a real birds’ paradise and is visited by many birdwatchers and naturelovers. The Dourankulak moor in turn lies further to the north of Varna. Its distance to the Dourakoulak village and the border with Romania is less than 6 km, while the distance to Varna is 82 km. The moor is famous for hosting a number of marsh birds, including such enlisted in the Red Book of Bulgarian fauna. Unfortunately, the beautiful fauna makes the moor a very attractive place for hunters regardless of the fact that some of the bird species are protected.

If not willing to visit moors and marshes and watch birds, there are still two wonderful sightseeing options on the menu – the Kaliakra Cape and the Yaylata natural reserve near the village of Kamen Bryag. To start with, the Kaliakra Cape is situated 12 km. away from the town of Kavarna (some 72 km. to the north of Varna) and extends 2km deep into the sea. It consists of 60-70m-high limestone rocks, the inaccessibility of which has been the main reason for the construction of an ancient fortress named Tirisis there. The fortress was successively used by Tracians, Romans, Byzantines and Bulgarians and its remains are well preserved. The cape is also connected with an ancient legend, according to which several Bulgarian girls chose to jump from the high cape into the sea but not to be captured and converted to Islam by the Turks.

The Yaylata natural reserve, also known as Kamen Bryag, is situated about 60km north of Varna. It covers a 90 ha area of the sea coast between the beautiful Kaliakra and Shabla capes. Although Yaylata is a bit far from the most popular resorts and hence is little known as a tourist attraction, it is one of the most amazing places along the Bulgarian coast. The big cliffs make this area almost unaccessible, except via a few narrow paths between the rocks. Some parts of the path above the rocks are truly scary and are not recommended for visit during heavy rains or in the evening. About 40 caves can be found in the vertical cliffs hanging over the sea. Their smoothened walls and niches dug deep into the rock speak about the existence of an ancient cave settlement there. There are also remains of a stronghold dating back to Roman and Byzantine times.

To sum up, regardless of the weather or the season, one can have a wonderful day if resting at the northern Black Sea coast. Whether at the beach, by the hotel’s pool, or visiting one of the area’s sights – the Varna dolphinarium, the Balchik botanic garden, the Dourankulak moor, the Taukliman bay, the Kaliakra Cape or the Yaylata natural reserve – one can make the best use of his time and leave for home with plenty of long-lasting memories.

Author: Desislava Nikolova,

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