Balchik Palace & Varna by Private Vehicle & Guide
- Queen Marie's Balchik "Palace:" Not quite a typical palace, this quirky seaside villa – complete with minaret – was the summer getaway of Romania's queen for years.
- Balchik Botanical Garden: Out behind Marie's place, this lush 16-acre gem overlooks the sea and follows a loose formal plan highlighted by rose and cactus feature areas.
- Cathedral of the Assumption: Begun in the 1880s and lovingly added to over the decades, its copper-clad onion domes and interior carvings are Varna treasures.
- Totally Private: Hey we love group tours. But we know sometimes you want to explore with just a friend or family member.
- Customized for two but larger vehicles available; just let us know if you want to bring your whole crew. Depart and return from the Port of Varna.
About this Varna tour
As you ride along the ruggedly scenic Black Sea coast, try to imagine the busy parade of landlords this area has seen. Thracians, Greeks, Scythians, Romans, Byzantines, Turks, and Russians – who handed it off to the Romanians in 1913, before taking it back in 1944. Finally, in 1989, the Soviet bloc faltered and modern Bulgaria took control of itself. Each of those past cultures has left traces of itself behind – in some cases quite beautiful traces, despite the human upheaval.
One example you'll visit on the tour is the Cathedral of the Assumption in Varna. Its signature onion-domed roofline, rich frescoes, and elaborate carved icon screen all say "old St. Petersburg" loud and clear. Another example: the whimsical compound known as "Quiet Nest Palace" in the white-chalk cliff village of Balchik, north of Varna along the coast. Constructed during the period when Romania was in charge there, this unusual seaside villa was the beloved summer residence of their Queen Marie – who had it styled with a zesty blend of Bulgarian, Gothic, and Islamic influences. Including a pretty sizable minaret. You'll tour the royal residence, and also the terraced Balchik Botanical Garden that surrounds it, laid out to Marie's specs by a leading Swiss garden designer. You'll have time to wander this landscape of over 3,000 exotic plants – including many fine old trees, an elaborate and fragrant Rosarium (rose garden), and a collection of some 250 species of large cacti.
Hmmm. Maybe all those thorns and spines will make the next would-be occupier think twice. Marie left her heart (and maybe some controlled substances) in Balchik Rumor and fact swirl in rather a dense haze around Queen Marie of Romania.
Fact: A high-spirited Scots lass, she was unhappily married off to Prince Ferdinand for political reasons, and saw her summer palace as a refuge. Fact: Per her will, at death her heart was encased in a tiny golden casket and returned to be buried on the Balchik grounds. Rumor: She liked to serve opium to her palace guests, in the Rosarium, then secretly listen in to their opiated utterances.
Cruise ship travelers: Please proceed pier side to meet your tour representative. Look for our displayed logo sign. Staying at a hotel? Be sure you specify the name at check out so we can meet you in the lobby.
Extensive walking involved in Balchik with more than 100 steps to negotiate.
Please consider your physical fitness when planning your private experience. Bring a companion to offer any assistance if your mobility is limited or you use a wheelchair.
English, German, French
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
100 countries, 915 cities… limitless possibilities
All our tours are offered by expert local guides & operators
Head off the beaten path with our unique tours & activities
You can rely on our team of travel industry experts
Your order is subject to TourTrek's Booking Ticket Agreement, including all TourTrek and GoBe policies incorporated therein.
Have you been on this experience?
Write a Review
Fields marked are required.
Please enter your review.