Backpacking Veliko Tarnovo
Veliko Tarnovo is a town with a long and and important history within the Bulgarian Empire. Veliko Tarnovo was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire during the middle ages and up until the end of the 14th century when it was captured by the invading Ottoman Empire. The city is rich in museums and historical sites, and contains one of the largest universities in Bulgaria which gives the night life in Veliko Tarnovo a youthful kick.
This hostel will look and feel very familiar to those travelling from Sofia who stayed in Hostel Mostel Sofia. They provide a free breakfast and dinner package to most guests and the social spaces inside the hostel have a similar size and feel to the Sofia version. Even the guests here will look familiar since most people that travel here come from Sofia. A clear top hostel option for Veliko Tarnovo. The hostel can organise trips to visit Buzludzha, which should not be missed. Book Hostel Mostel here!
Sights and Highlights
A magnificent fortress on a hill a short walk away from the centre of modern Veliko Tarnovo. This fortress was the stronghold of Bulgaria when Veliko Tarnovo was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The hill that the fortress sits on was the site of a Byzantine city from the 4th century, however there are signs of human settlement that pre-date this by over two millennia. The views from the hill are worth the hike alone, combine with the magnificent fortress walls and old ruins, its well worth a visit.
One of the hidden travel treasures of Europe, Buzludzha was the location of the final battle between the Bulgarian rebels and the Ottoman army in 1868. In 1891 it was also the location that a group of Bulgarian socialist agreed to meet to form the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party, a forerunner of the Bulgarian Communist Party. The Buzludzha Monument, and the reason to visit the location today, was built to commemorate these events in the latter half of the 20th century but has fallen into an awry state of disrepair since the fall of the communist regime in 1989. It is a both a perfect representation of the communist era in the region, with its brutalist architectural style and then its fall into disrepair and abandonment. The best way to organise a visit is to speak to the staff at Hostel Mostel. Do not miss Buzludzha.
Veliko Tarnovo is a small but varied city with some gorgeous sites along and around the river making it an ideal place to go on a free walking tour. A great guide and a really fun few hours. Don’t be surprised if you end up a pub chatting enjoying a beer with the guide afterwards.
Melon lies on one of the main streets of the old Bulgarian capital and is hard to miss if you are strolling up or down in search of a livelier place to continue the night. Live music concerts start at around 11pm. During summer they do open air concerts in front of the Beaux Arts Museum.
A pretty good pub with a decent selection of beer and pub style food. It has a classic rock theme and nice place to meet up with people for a drink before heading of somewhere else.
Veliko Turnovo is a fairly small city, you can walk to most places. However there are buses that run that run every 20 to 60 minutes. Buses no. 20, 50 and 40 go to Tsarevets. Bus 10 connects the city with Gorna Oryahovica railway station located 10km out of Veliko Tarnovo. All of the bus lines go through the city center. Tickets can be purchased only in the bus from a conductor.
Getting In and Out
There is a train station in town however it is quite small and does not connect to Sofia. It is possible to catch a train (or bus) to Gorna Oryahovica and then a train on to Sofia from Gorna Oryahovica. The trip takes about 4 hours by train. A much better option is take one of the many buses that run to Sofia, this journey will take about 3 hours. There are also several buses that run daily to Plovdiv and Varna.