Quality of Life in Varna, Bulgaria

Purchasing Power Index 53.65   Low
Safety Index 64.46   High
Health Care Index 63.74   High
Climate Index 85.08   Very High
Cost of Living Index 38.57   Very Low
Property Price to Income Ratio 9.31   Moderate
Traffic Commute Time Index 28.86   Low
Pollution Index 59.88   Moderate
ƒ Quality of Life Index: 140.02   Moderate

Minimum contributors for an underlying section: 38

Maximum contributors for an underlying section: 144

Last update: February 2024

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1 Comments so far
Blakey on Jan 12, 2024:
Varna isn't for everyone,as it's an apartment city. Yes, there are villas / houses, but they are hard to come by and many are now divided into apartments.

Varna pollution exists, but by other cities' standards, it's pretty good, however, the power station for Varna is coal fueled and on the main roads, there's a lot of traffic, particularly at peak hours. If you live further up the hill in Varna, in the areas of Tsveten Kvartal, Levski and parts of Briz, there is always a breeze and the air is clearer.
Crime in Varna exists - mostly corruption. It's no worse than other Bulgarian cities, Sofia being the worst. There is a bad area of Varna called Maksuda (inhabited by Roma /Gypsies). I have lived here for three years now and I feel safe walking the streets at night. I used to live in London, UK, where it's now necessary to protect yourself, with ballistic jackets and pepper sprays.
Some say there is a mafia presence in Varna; well, if there is, it's certainly not particularly noticeable. I spoke with a number of taxi drivers, who say the mafia problems in Varna have diminished since the early 90's.
As with all cities, you should protect your valuables - don't flash your cash! But, generally, most people are trustworthy. My wife has left here phone in taxis, at restaurants and in shops and it was always returned! (Samsung S21l. When you do business in Varna, unless you know what you're doing, always use a Notary and solicitor, to avoid scams and being ripped off.
I consider myself lucky, I'm married to a Bulgarian lady, who is also a GP and who's family have embraced me and we look after and look out each other.

Varna is the most expensive city to live in, except for Sofia. Property prices have risen steeply between May 2022 and now (January 2024) due to a number of factors - shortage of property too buy and rent, Bulgarians leaving villages, to live and work in Varna, significant numbers of Ukrainian migrants fleeing Ukraine, other migrants mainly from Western Europe, USA and Canada. New apartment blocks are being constructed, but it's not uncommon for whole blocks to sell out, before the foundations are laid (bought of plan).
Property rental prices have risen significantly too, for the same reasons as purchase prices.

Public transport in Varna is by taxi or bus - there is no metro and due to the land, it's nigh impossible to build one at reasonable cost. Buses are 2 Leva per hour over the entire city, but if you use a card (debit, credit or bus card) the fare reduces to 1 Lev per hour of travel. Taxis are cheap compared to Western European cities. The fare starts at 2.10 Leva and an average 10 minute ride costs 8 Leva including tip. You could, of course, opt for an electric stand on, scooter, to which there are hundreds, but, be warned, they can be dangerous, due to poor roads, pavements and traffic. Varna has a terminus railway station, that has trains to many major cities and smaller towns. There is also an intercity bus station, adjacent to the Grand Mall Shopping Centre. Varna has an airport that has two to three daily flights to Sofia and a selection of international flights, including, Vienna, Istanbul, London Luton, Berlin, Brussels Charleroi, Eindhoven, Tel Aviv.

Shopping - you are spoilt for choice. There is nothing I know of, that you can't buy in Varna, whether you like super stores for tech, furniture, DIY and clothing, or you like tiny shops with local produce, Varna has it all and if you like going to the mall honey, then Varna has three big shopping malls. Varna has three main markets - fruit and vegetables, fish and Chataldzha Market for various items, including food and clothing.

Eating out - you are spoilt for choice for bars, cafés and restaurants. You are never more than 100 metres from a cup of good coffee. The streets are serviced by self service coffee machines.
Whether you like beer wine or spirits, bars are well stocked, with a huge selection of Bulgarian, Czech and international beers.

Beach life - Varna has very clean beaches and because the Black Sea is generally calm, the beaches are all year round. In the Central area, there are many good beach bars and restaurants. The beaches and city are divided by Primorski Park and the Sea Garden, which stretches around 3km in length - it makes a beautiful walk, anytime of the year and there are restaurants and cafés within the parks.

Health services - both public and private, you can get to see a doctor (GP) instantly, a consultant within 48 hours, diagnostics within (x-ray, CT, MRI) 48 hours, blood tests instantly, with same day results.
But, there are good and bad services - you have to know who's who, so ask about! My wife is a GP, so she knows loads of medical colleagues, I can tell you, it's very useful!
Public Hospitals are very old and short staffed, but the intention of the staff is to get you well again! Be nice to them and they'll be nice to you! I spent three days in the Military Hospital and yes, the place was in a state of dilapidation, compared to Western European hospitals, but I got first class treatment, from great doctors, technicians and nurses.
The cost of health care in Varna depends whether you go private or public, but both are highly affordable, compared to Western European prices. Examples private - blood tests (say a set of 45 different tests) around €35. X-ray £35 CT €80 MRI €225 depending on part of body, Ultra sound €25,but can often be included in consultation fee. Consultant fees between €30 and €60. Impatient bed charges per night from €12 to €35.
There are some very good private clinics in Varna, offering diagnostics with ultrasound, x-ray, CT, MRI, PET and specialist scans. These clinics have consultants specialising in Cardiology, Pulmonology, neurology gastroenterology, nephrology, urology hepatology, gynecology, paediatrics.

Leisure facilities - there are swimming pools open to the public, many gyms, hotel spas and pools, bowling allies, boxing clubs, martial arts clubs, reiki, yoga clubs, chess clubs, gambling outlets and more.

Museums - Art galleries, Archaeological Museum, Retro Museum and more.

Cinema at the Grand Mall Shopping Centre.

Journey times...
Airport to Centre (Greek Quarter) 25 mins
Airport to Levski 20 mins
Airport to Briz 30 mins
Airport to St Constantine and Helena 45 mins
Airport to Golden Sands 60 mins

Most taxi rides around Varna are between 10 and 15 mins

Most bus rides are between 10 and 50 mins.