Focused on the period 1944–1989, when Bulgaria was under Soviet influence, the Varna Retro Museum serves up a dash of Communist chic in the heart of Varna’s No. 1 mall. Over 60 retro cars plus wax models of key characters from the era form the core of the collection, but you can also appreciate everyday objects from cigarettes to makeup.
There’s a moderate charge to enter the Varna Retro Museum, with discounts for children and young people. (Kids under 6 get in free.) Alternatively, entry is included with a Varna City Card. Most travelers visit independently, but you can also join a tour that focuses on Varna’s Communist past. The museum spans around 43,000 square feet (4,000 square meters), so there’s plenty to see. As English-language signage is in short supply, some travelers might get more out of visiting with a guide.Things to Know Before You Go
- The Varna Retro Museum will fascinate design geeks, history buffs, and car lovers.
- The museum offers free Wi-Fi, and the mall has a range of food options.
- The Varna Retro Museum is wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
The Varna Retro Museum is located within Varna’s Grand Mall, about 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) north of the city center. The Grand Mall is right next door to Varna’s central bus station, which has connections around the city, to the airport, and across Bulgaria. Bus 409 connects to the airport, town center, and as far as Golden Sands.When to Get There
Like most businesses in the Grand Mall, the Varna Retro Museum is open from midmorning until late in the evening. It’s rarely overly busy, so plan a visit for a rainy day or aim to beat the heat with the mall’s air-conditioning.Cars at the Varna Retro Museum
The core of the Varna Retro Museum’s collection is one man’s selection of classic cars. Founder Tsvetan Atanasov has restored hundreds of Soviet-era vehicles, and more than 60 are on display. Highlights include the iconic GAZ Chaika limousine, as well as Volga, Trabant, Skoda, and Moskvitch cars. Also don’t miss East German Simson motorbikes and Bulgaria’s own Balkan bikes.