Retire in Varna Guide

Retire in Varna with confidence, armed with the knowledge from our extensive guide. It covers critical considerations for retirees, from the cost of living and climate to housing, healthcare, and residency choices in Varna. We also delve into the social and cultural scene, volunteering options, public transportation facilities, and the city's walkability, helping you make an informed decision.

Varna is a hidden gem for international retirees. Its stunning coastline, rich history, and affordable cost of living make it an attractive destination for those seeking a comfortable and enjoyable retirement. However, like any foreign country, it also presents its own unique challenges. This article will delve into the various aspects of retiring in Varna, from the cost of living to the local culture, to help you decide if it’s the right place for you.


One of the biggest draws of Varna is its low cost of living. The average monthly expenses for a single person are significantly lower than in many Western countries. Rent, groceries, utilities, and healthcare are all reasonably priced, allowing retirees to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank. However, it’s important to note that while the cost of living is low, the average local income is also lower, so it’s essential to have a reliable source of retirement income.


Varna boasts a temperate climate, with warm summers and mild winters. The city enjoys over 300 days of sunshine per year, making it an ideal location for those who love outdoor activities. However, it can get quite hot in the summer, with temperatures often reaching the high 30s (Celsius), so it’s important to stay hydrated and take precautions against the sun.


Healthcare in Varna is generally of a good standard, with several well-equipped hospitals and clinics in the city. Many doctors and medical staff speak English, which can be a relief for international retirees. However, it’s worth noting that while healthcare is affordable, it may not be up to the standard that some Western retirees are used to.

Public Healthcare System

Foreigners are eligible to enroll in the Bulgarian public healthcare system, provided they have residency and are making social security contributions. However, many international retirees opt for private healthcare due to the higher standard of care and shorter waiting times.

Residency Options

Obtaining residency in Bulgaria is relatively straightforward for EU citizens, but can be more complicated for non-EU citizens. It’s recommended to seek legal advice to navigate the process.

Recreational Activities

Varna offers a wealth of recreational activities, from exploring its beautiful beaches and parks to visiting its numerous historical sites. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous festivals and events throughout the year.


Varna is home to a diverse range of restaurants, offering everything from traditional Bulgarian cuisine to international fare. Some popular spots include The Sea Terrace, serving up fresh seafood with stunning sea views, and Happy Bar & Grill, a local favorite for its tasty burgers and friendly service.

Language Learning

While many locals in Varna speak English, learning Bulgarian can greatly enhance your experience. There are several language schools in the city, such as the Varna Language School, which offers courses specifically tailored for foreigners.

Local Culture

The locals in Varna are generally friendly and welcoming to foreigners. The city has a relaxed, laid-back vibe, with a strong sense of community. However, like any foreign country, it can take time to adjust to the local customs and way of life.

Market Life

Varna has a vibrant market culture, with several weekly markets offering fresh produce, local delicacies, and handmade crafts. The Central Market is a must-visit, with its bustling atmosphere and wide variety of goods.

Meeting People

Meeting people in Varna is relatively easy, thanks to its friendly locals and active expat community. Joining local clubs and organizations, participating in community events, and volunteering are all great ways to meet new people and make friends.


Most retirees in Varna live in apartments, which are plentiful and affordable. Many choose to live in the city center, close to amenities and attractions, while others prefer the quieter suburbs. It’s also possible to buy property in Bulgaria, although this process can be complex and requires legal advice.


Varna has a good public transportation system, with regular buses and trains connecting the city and surrounding areas. Many retirees find they don’t need a car, as most places are within walking distance or a short bus ride away. However, owning a car can be useful for exploring the wider region.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

Additional Information:

International Citizens Insurance

Cigna Global Health
Award winning International Health Insurance for Individuals and families living abroad.

Copyright 1997-2024 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal

LoginJoinPlease Login to Continue. New? Join today (it's free).
Since 1997, we've supported millions of people as they explore the world and share the adventures and challenges of living abroad.