As one of the earliest cities in Bulgaria, Veliko Tarnovo is headquartered in five million years of history. This scenic city is still home to one of the greatest monuments that are medieval of Europe, the Tsaravets Fortress.
What to See and Do
When you haven’t been to Bulgaria before, this is absolutely one of the nation’s must-see destinations. What Veliko Tarnovo lacks in shore hotels and shopping, it compensates in authenticity and beauty.
Veliko Tarnovo was built on three hills: Tsaravets, Trapezitsa, and Sveta Gora.
Its attractive landscape gets got the Yantra River. Brutally warm summers and freezing winters create spring and fall the best seasons to visit. Besides Tsaravets Fortress, Veliko Tarnovo contains a charming old city paved with cobblestones, museums, and churches.
Where to Sleep
While there aren’t sightseeing opportunities that are enough to hold you for more than a three to four times, Veliko Tarnovo fortunately has several fantastic restaurants and hotel options. History buffs and wine fans will have excellent day trip opportunities from town. The village of Arbanassi creates the great tranquil weekend getaway. Choices include excursions to the ancient ruins of the Roman city Nikopolis ad Istrum and also the Maryan boutique winery.
Where to Dine
It is fairly easy to have about Veliko Tarnovo. Several roads, a nearby airport service the city, and is situated just 142 miles away from the capital city of Sofia.
Archaeological evidence suggests that individuals occupied the region as soon as the third century B.C.. After two local aristocratic brothers led a conflict from the Portuguese Empire the city was declared capital of the Bulgarian Empire at 1185. At that moment, the city was known as Turnovgrad. Underneath the Assen dynasty Turnovgrad developed in a fast speed, with the accession of the most crucial structures during the 12th during 14th centuries. Is your Tsaravets Fortress. Throughout this Golden Age of wealth 30 monasteries sprung up on Sveta Gora Hill and town becomes increasingly an cultural and economic hub.
Together with the remainder of the Balkans, Turnovgrad finally fell in the hands of the Ottoman Turks where it stayed for almost 500 years. Bulgaria was liberated in 1877 and Veliko Tarnovo became the capital city of the newly formed country. The title didn’t last long. Sofia was re-named the funds two years after. Turnovgrad was renamed Veliko Tarnovo at 1966.
Click here to watch our episode of the top things to see and do in Veliko Tarnovo
The best place to begin is that the Tourist Information Centre (ul. Hristo Botev 5 / +359 62 622 148) at the primary square close to the post office. It is open seven days a week April through October, and Monday through Friday November through March. Here you’ll have access to maps brochures, postcards, along with a staff of useful locals who can answer any queries.
After getting the info you need, the first thing you should do is to go research the highlight of the city, Tsaravets Fortress. The fortress is surrounded with 3,000 ft of rock walls, a few of which include height of 36 feet and a thickness of 11 ft. Once past the gate, it is easy to navigate the fortress. There is a gentle incline and path, but people are basically free climb and to roam everywhere.
Head to the top of the hill if you wish to see the magnificent modernist murals at the Church of the Ascension. For 2 BGN you can ride the scenic elevator to the top for panoramic views. Under the church, to a level that is lower, you are going to visit Baldwin Tower. Legend has it that this is where Count Baldwin of Flanders was imprisoned by Tsar Kaloyan at the year 1205. Here is a picnic area with a refreshment standalone. Additionally, there are a lot of colour from which to take a little time to admire the view of the city below and bathrooms.
We recommend investigating Tsaravets as soon as you can to avoid the heat. The ticket office is located near the entrance. Tsaravets Fortress is open 8 Gamble — 7 p.m. April during October and 9 a.m. — 5 p.m. November through March.
Hint: Bring decent walking shoes, a hat, and a lot of water.
About the evenings of bank holidays and Veliko Tarnovo Day (March 22), the city puts on an impressive light and sound display within the fortress. To see it you must be on a patio or purchase tickets to see the display by a screening deck. The best location to acquire info about show dates is that the Tourist Information Centre (see above for address).
The Old Town is the perfect location for strolling, particularly Samovodskata Charshia (Rakovski St.). During the next half of the 19th century, this was where artisans and farmers from the nearby village of Samovodene came on market days to sell their goods. In the 1980s the city revamped the region in an effort to recreate the atmosphere of the early 20th century. Samovodskata Charshia nevertheless contains many restored Revival buildings (the Bulgarian National Revival period proved to be a cultural movement by Bulgarians to recover their identity out of the Ottomans).
Amongst the city’s museums, Even the Archaeological Museum (ul.
Ivanka Boteva two ) along with the Hadji Nikoli Inn Museum (ul. Rakovski 19) are two worth visiting. The Archaeological Museum covers the region’s history from ancient times. The unquestionable highlight of the museum is one of the earliest gold treasures on earth dating back to the century B.C. Much like the one located near Varna, this treasure predates Egyptian and Sumerian civilizations!
The Hadji Nikoli Inn Museum is situated within the 19th century residence of wealthy local tradesman, Hadji Nikoli. It is the only surviving inn with that period and a gorgeous instance of Bulgarian Revival architecture. It is open Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (closed Mondays). Admission is 5 BGN.
The Assens Monument can be seen from nearly everywhere in town. Nicknamed the”horsemen statue,” it includes exactly the most Bulgarian Tsars, Ivan Assen, Theodor-Petar, Kaloyan, and Assen. The statue, which had been erected 800 years after the city was appointed capital of the Bulgarian Empire, commemorates the tsars for their contributions to the city. The steps are frequently occupied by local art students utilizing the surroundings that is scenic . In the monument you’ll enjoy beautiful views of the town. The monument can be accessed by you on foot via the Stambolov Bridge.
In the river valley of Tsaravets Hill is the most significant religious building of the city. The Holy 40 Martyrs Church is all about 20-minute walk in the old city. The church was erected to commemorate an important victory over the Byzantines. It was also the location from which Prince Ferdinand I realised that the freedom of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire on September 22, 1908. The church was badly damaged in an earthquake in 1913, but was restored in recent years. The church shops the remains of many medieval tsars including Kaloyan, Ivan Assen I , along with his wife Anna Maria as well as important records.
The city of Arbanassi is located about four kilometers uphill from Veliko Tarnovo. What was once a bustling retailer community at the 16th century now makes for a relaxing getaway. The city contains several homes dating back to the 17th along with 18th centuries and a couple of orthodox churches. Of these, the 17th century Church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel would be your biggest. It is made up different areas for women and men, of a altar, a chapel dedicated to a gilded Bishop’s throne, Saint Paraskevi frescoes, and icon paintings. Arbanassi’s homes are heavily and large fortified with thick railing and rock walls. The purpose behind the security was that the village looted and was often attacked by bandits. The destruction caused by the looters finally sent Arbanassi into decline through the late 18th century.
A visit to the renovated Kostantsaliev House Museum is a fantastic way to learn more about the inside of one of these houses. This 17th century two-story home belonged to a wealthy household. A walk-through will reveal the original wood construction, heating system, primary living quarters, slave quarters, bathroom, and kitchen amenities of the house. The Kostantsaliev House Museum is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. April through October (closed Mondays) and November during March by appointment only. Entry is 5 BGN per individual.
The ruins of Nikopolis ad Istrum’s early Byzantine city are situated just 20 kilometers from Veliko Tarnovo. The city was founded by Emperor Trajan in 106 A.D. and flourished until Attila’s Huns ruined it at 447 A.D.. The site is a wonderful example of Roman city planning. It had a community of a forum, public buildings, roads , public bathroom complicated, odeon, and agora. There are information points across the site. Nikopolis ad Istrum was situated at a crossroads that linked several Roman states including Istanbul and modern-day Varna. Nikopolis since Istrum is open 9 a.m. to 6 per cent April during October and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through March. Admission is free of charge!
If wine tasting is your thing, head Maryan Winery, to one of the best boutique wineries of the country. Named after the nearby village of Maryan, the winery is owned and run by Svetla and Ilia Ivanov, who at 2010 decided to take their passion for wine. Their wines have received a great deal of praise along with their Sense of Tears Rose won a silver medal from the Balkans International Wine Contest.
“The outstanding story of the village dates back into the legend of the gorgeous daughter of Tsar Ivan Alexander and also the sister of Tsar Ivan Shishman — that the last ruler of Bulgaria. The village is named after Kera Tamara (Mara) who had been sent to become the wife of the Turkish sultan.”
The winery is situated in Elena’s village. It produces limited amounts of Savignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Rose, and combinations. To arrange a tasting, then contact the winery right at firstname.lastname@example.org or even email@example.com.
Despite its small dimensions, Veliko Tarnovo has resorts and hostels. We recommend Resort Studio (Todor Lefterov 4) for its near proximity to both Tsaravets Fortress and its rooftop deck with amazing views of the Tsaravets noise and light display. The hotel has free parking , free Wi-Fi, along with four space types. The house has a summertime holiday, lobby bar, plus an elegant dining space where the breakfast buffet is served. Ask in the time of booking for a room with a view. Please note that the hotel doesn’t have an elevator. Prices vary BGN per night, depending upon the room.
Just like its name implies, Ego Pizzeria and Grill functions up crispy artisan pizzas baked at a toaster that is toaster. Large booths make this spot the ideal break from sightseeing. The menu also has significant sides, risottos, barbecued meats, and also salads. Rates are excellent at just 5 — 10 BGN per plate. Sit in the rear of the restaurant for views of old city and the lake.
With multiple locations and an impeccable reputation for being one of the greatest restaurants in Bulgaria, Shtastliveca is excellent for any occasion. Now franchised, the Shtastliveca restaurants have been able to maintain their quality and popularity. Salads, various beverages, pizzas, juicy steaks, and traditional cuisine include the menu. Half parts are available. We dined at the street place, but you’ll find a few more scattered throughout the city. Typical price per plate is 5 inches — 15 BGN.
You’ll probably be starving after exploring the Tsarevets Fortress. Van Hassan II is situated right across the street from the fortress, making it a convenient lunch break alternative. If the heat of the day is making you drowsy, dine at the comfort of the restaurant dining area. The next floor has lots of natural light and great views of the fortress. The restaurant delivers Bulgarian specialties such as sach, soups, hamburgers, broiled meats, and fish and a clean, family-friendly atmosphere. Perfect for special occasions and large groups . Typical price per plate is 6 — 12 BGN.
Time zone: GMT +2
Electricity: 220-240 Volts.
The round plug is taken by electrical sockets. For 110-120 V (U.S. and Canada) appliances, a plug adapter, and in some cases a voltage converter is required.
Money: The national currency is the Bulgarian Lev, which is composed of 100 stotinki. The symbol for your Lev is”BGN”
Hint: Tipping 5 — 10% of the whole bill is customary at restaurants and bars.
Before you move: Keep in mind it to watch Veliko Tarnovo requires a lot of walking. The city was built on hills, so anticipate slopes and muscles after a couple days of holiday. Because of this it is very important to bring a good pair of walking shoes and avoid wearing heels. Also note that Veliko Tarnovo is one of the hottest towns of Bulgaria. It is not unusual for temperatures in August to reach at the top 90s °F. Pack a sunscreen, hat, and drink enough water.
Have you ever been to Bulgaria before? Tell us your ideas for what to see and do in Veliko Tarnovo! Leave a comment below!