Just up the road from Varna is the town of Балчик (Balchik). Once part of Romania, Balchik’s two primary claims to fame are the Balchik Palace (the former summer residence of Queen Marie of Romania) and the contiguous botanical gardens. It’s on a par with Nessebar and Sozopol when it comes to interesting seaside towns worth visiting.
The former summer palace of Queen Marie of Romania is worth a quick peek, but it's nothing extraordinary.
Bulgarians are exceptional gardeners, and the Balchik botantical gardens (purported to be the largest in the Balkans) are top notch.
For me, however, Balchik's real charm is its fishermen. All along the harbor, people were fishing, working on their boats, and fixing their nets. It's something you can see in any fishing village around the world, but it's a scene that I never tire of.