Travel blog: Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Welcome to Veliko Tarnovo, the old capital of Bulgaria!

Veliko Tarnovo used to be the capital of Bulgaria and is now one of the biggest cities in the country. It is the perfect combination of historical sights and lovely nature spots. And I honestly don’t know what I like more about it - but once you visit Veliko Tarnovo, you will know what I mean.

On the one side, you have the old part of the city where you can visit Samovodshkata charshiya (an old street where you will see different shops selling Bulgarian arts and crafts, homemade jams and sweets, souvenirs), famous museums (house-museums of Bulgarian writers Petko Slaveykov and Emiliyan Stanev, Sarafkina kashta, han Hadzhi Nikoli, Sv. Nikola church and the "Revival and Constituent Assembly" museum), Vladishki most as well as the Tsarevets fortress (where Bulgarian tsars used to live).

The entry fee to all museums (incl. the fortress) is about 2 to 6 lv (if you are a student you get a discount). The ticket kiosk for the fortress is located a few meters next to the entrance of the fortress. Especially at the fortress you can spend a few hours there if history and archaeology are your thing (even better - get a tour guide!). Within the Tsarevets fortress/complex there are many ruins and signs in English that will tell you more about the history behind this beautiful place. I recommend walking around the whole fortress (yes, it is quite big) because each corner offers a different and unique view over the hills of Veliko Tarnovo. Also, the city often organizes a free “Sound and light” show at night which lights up the fortress and adds (kind of epic) sound. It is very spectacular, but it can be quite overcrowded too. In any case, if you want to witness the show, you should check its schedule in advance.

On the other side, you also have the more modern part of the city which offers a great view over the hills and beautiful houses built on the steep shores of Yantra river. Yes, Yantra river definitely adds at least a couple of bonus points when it comes to breath-taking views in Veliko Tarnovo! One interesting point in this part of the city is the Asenevtsi monument and Stambolov most. Do not miss it – the view from there is epic!

Tips?

  • Good walking shoes, high heels are definitely not an option for the steep and paved streets in Veliko Tarnovo;
  • Join the free walking tour which happens every day at 11 AM in front of the Tourist Information Center (make sure to check in advance if the schedule has changed).
  • Don’t stick to the main roads – the hidden narrow streets in the old part of the town are really cozy, beautiful and very picturesque!
  • In the region I recommend visiting the ethno village Arbanasi, Preobrazhenski Monastery, Dryanovo monastery, Bacho Kiro cave, Bozhentsi and Tryavna
  • I personally visited "Shtastlivetsa" and "Ego" restaurants (both of them have an amazing view over Asenevtsi monument) and I quite liked them!

Check my travel map and follow me on Instagram to see more photos from Bulgaria!

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