Veliko Tarnovo

Sail down the beautiful rivers

Overview

Silvia and Ashleigh are our experts in travel to Veliko Tarnovo, and Silvia knows the country intimately after living in Bulgaria. Her knowledge is invaluable when planning a trip to Bulgaria. Silvia and Ashleigh can maximize your time and plan the best methods of travel within the country. 

The River Yantra cuts through the town of Veliko Tarnovo, picturesquely situated against a backdrop of wooded hills. The erstwhile seat of the Second Bulgarian Empire, Veliko Tarnovo rose to fame when two Boliar brothers freed Bulgaria from the Byzantines. Bulgaria finally fell to the Ottomans, and when it was finally freed in 1877 it was Tarnovo that became the capital, before it ceded its position to Sofia two years later in 1879.

Tsarevets fortress has been beautifully restored to reflect its medieval era origins. Several churches dot the landscape and the city is home to one of Bulgaria’s finest universities. For the young at heart, Veliko Tarnovo is known for its vibrant nightlife. Varosha, the old town quarter, has a quaint charm of its own. Peel back the layers of history in this ancient Bulgarian capital with Exeter International.

For custom luxury travel and tours to Veliko Tarnovo and Bulgaria, please contact one of our travel experts. For more on when to go and how to travel, please see our Bulgaria page.

Itineraries

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Essential Bulgaria
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Essential Bulgaria

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Central Europe and Transylvania Eastbound – Golden Eagle Danube Express
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Central Europe and Transylvania Eastbound – Golden Eagle Danube Express

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Central Europe and Transylvania Westbound – Golden Eagle Danube Express
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Central Europe and Transylvania Westbound – Golden Eagle Danube Express

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Transylvanian Eastbound – Golden Eagle Danube Express
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Transylvanian Eastbound – Golden Eagle Danube Express

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Transylvanian Westbound – Golden Eagle Danube Express
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Transylvanian Westbound – Golden Eagle Danube Express

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Best time To Go

To experience the best weather and smaller crowds, we highly recommend visiting Veliko Tarnovo between April through June, and September through early November. Traveling during these time frames not only helps you avoid the crowds during the summer months, but also helps you avoid the summer heat.

Late September to early November is a quieter time to visit as well. Many of the smaller villages in the mountains start to shut down in November as the country moves into winter.

Insider's Guide

Where to Travel?

Our handpicked guides will show you everything this fantastic city and its region has to offer. Known as the former capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, you will visit the Tsarevets Royal Hill, which was once the residences of Bulgarian tsars. Your guide will stroll with you along the Old Town’s cobble-stoned streets before visiting the village of Arbanassi, known for its many cultural monuments.

From Veliko Tarnovo, you are a short drive from many incredible cities. To the east you can visit Kazanlak, known for the yearly Rose Festival. If you are interested, you can continue to travel east to spend a few nights in the coastal towns along the Black Sea. In the southern portion of Bulgaria lies Plovdiv and the Rhodope Mountains, and to the west is the Struma Valley. Both areas are perfect for those interested in experiencing Bulgaria’s traditional culture and the outdoors! Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, also lies to the west of Veliko Tarnovo, and proves to be a fantastic starting location for your trip.

How to Travel

A private driver-guide will transfer you throughout your entire journey, as the roads can be difficult to maneuver.

Unmissable

If you are visiting Veliko Tarnovo in June, we recommend taking a short detour to Kazanlak, the Capital of the Valley of the Thracian Kings, and the home of the Bulgarian Rose Festival. This yearly event starts at the beginning of June to celebrate the unchanging rose cultivation process. People from all over the world come here to help handpick the roses before dawn, where the roses will then be taken to a rose distillery to extract the oil from the roses to create cosmetic products, alcohol, and jams.

While in Kazanlak, visit the Thracian Tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that dates to the 4th century. You will have the chance to enter the tomb and explore within the round burial chamber that is decorated with Bulgaria’s best-preserved artistic masterpieces from the Hellenistic period.

Dine with the Locals

Offering the best view of Tsarevest Hill, the Shtastliveca proudly creates a rich menu of traditional Bulgarian cuisine with fresh produce daily.

Ultimate Souvenir

When visiting the Rose Valley, what would be a better souvenir than something made from rose oil? Bulgarians use rose oil in many different forms, with the most popular being lotions and perfumes. The scent of the rose perfume will not only bring back memories of your journey through the Rose Valley, but it also makes a fantastic gift to bring home for loved ones!

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