"Onwards, onwards ever onwards..." Top 5 Page for this destination Veliko Turnovo by unaS

Veliko Turnovo Travel Guide: 278 reviews and 722 photos

Arrival

I very much wanted to see the Shipka Pass and the Monument to the Russian soldier up there, but was unable to make the trip from Kazanluk. Teodorra mentioned that the buses to Veliko Turnovo took different routes. One could choose to travel on the plains or to take a bus that went over the pass. Happily I was able to get a seat on one of the latter... Magnificent road up through the Shipka Pass.

At first you travel through flat, boring, agricultural land with blue hills in the distance. A while later you start climbing a steep testing road with blind curves every few meters. One side a steep tree-filled hill rises precipitously – the other a straight fall down…down…down…, no ending in sight. A two lane road with cracks and potholes. Reminds me of home not so many years ago.

This is my third experience with long distance buses in Bulgaria. Again seriously overheated with windows that can't be opened. Thought that I would pass out. Bring water but remember – no toilets on board. There do seem to be rest breaks (about 20 minutes) every couple of hours or so.

Got a taxi to the hotel Varusha on Vastanicheska Street in the Old Town. As I walked in a young man met me at the door with the words: "No room, all full." I hadn't even actually entered yet! Had to tell him twice that I had a reservation.
All went well from that point. It's a pay-in-advance place.

The road up to the hotel is large cobble stones. The taxi refused to go up it. I paid him less – and he didn't even complain!

First days

My room was on the 4th floor – no lift! It is high up above even the eaves – can't see it from the street. At least the brash young man carried my bag up for me!
Pays to be older sometimes :)

Very small, single room but clean and comfortable. Lower floors are non-smoking.

The whole neighbourhood is under reconstruction – looks like a "Project Renewal"
type situation.

Went out for a walk and discovered the Lino Cafe & Bar. Had a quick hot sandwich. Marvelous balcony that overlooks the Yantra river, the Monument of the Assens, the Assen quarter, the houses perched on the hillside and with a view of the hills. Returned here more than once.

No answer when I phoned to reserve a place for the Sound & Light Show. Ended up watching it from the balcony of the Lino – the place was crowded with other people doing the same thing.

Walked down to Tsarevets Fortress entry (from where you start climbing up again).

By chance I ran across a group of women in traditional dress singing near the entrance to the Fortress. Note the Turkish (Islamic) influence on the dress of the soloist.
Listened entranced for some time.

Some hours later after an extensive visit to the Fortress I was a bit exhausted. Took bus no. 40 back up to the centre of town.

Ate a huge salad at the Vinarnata Tavern. Great place. Here too I ate three times.

End of trip :(

Visited the Archeology museum. Small but well done.

Walked down streets with crafts shops (Gurko) – fascinating. A lovely walk in itself.

Walked down to see the Monument to the Assens and the Art Gallery. Nice walk on tree lined streets. Great views from the valley to the houses up on the hills.

Returned to Sofia with a private bus company. Another ride in one of those hot, airless, regular buses did not appeal to me for a trip that would take 3+ hours.
A bit more expensive but worth it! Also the office/station is in the middle of town which cut the taxi fare by more than 4 lev, so I didn't really pay more in the end.

In Sofia I took an OK Supertrans taxi – as recommended by the RG – from the central bus station to the airport. With luggage it cost 10.60 lev (~5 Euro) on the meter, plus 2 lev tip.

The airport is small. Only 2 places to eat (snack meals only) in the pre-check in lounge – both charge exorbitant prices.

A great trip that I can recommend with pleasure. Do visit Bulgaria!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Good walking town
  • Cons:Hills, hills, hills
  • In a nutshell:A wonderful place to visit for history buff.
  • Last visit to Veliko Turnovo: Apr 2008
  • Intro Updated Nov 14, 2010
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Reviews (14)

Comments (14)

  • FruitLover's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    shabbat shalom Una, Enjoyed your page. The breakfast story is typical to Bulgaria, but I'm sure you have good memories from the Bulgarian hospitality, generally. Avi

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Sep 1, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    This sounds like a great place to visit, with lots of history. (And hills. Another place I would walk rather than cycle.)

  • picek's Profile Photo
    May 28, 2010 at 2:07 AM

    Nice page - great to know about large Shopska salad - we love to it it 'all the time' :) we'd love to visit BG one day. Your tips are very helpful, v.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Dec 28, 2009 at 12:53 AM

    Helpful tips here. I didn't know it was expected to tip, thanks for the info.

  • sirgaw's Profile Photo
    Dec 16, 2009 at 5:42 PM

    "man who makes the breakfasts" was never there for the 5 days - LOL. Guess we've all got tales like that. Great page and tips

  • johngayton's Profile Photo
    Nov 18, 2009 at 5:33 AM

    Nice page. Sounds like you were there on Vrubnitza (Day of the Willows), the Sunday before Easter. Cheers, John.

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Sep 13, 2009 at 12:50 PM

    Tsaravets Fortress looks very intriguing...I would have to visit this historic site!! Loved the idea that the bus staff were caring for a wayward family of kitties. Nice people in Veliko Turnovo!

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    May 12, 2009 at 1:27 PM

    Looks like you did a lot of walking in this place in Bulgaria, Una! Nice hilly place...I'm glad the Con Man did not get you...Norman :)

  • joiwatani's Profile Photo
    Apr 18, 2009 at 7:57 AM

    Must be nice to visit this place this time of year! Whaaaa...too little time, too many places to visit. Too many countries I haven't explored...

  • nuritza's Profile Photo
    Nov 19, 2008 at 9:35 AM

    I will try to visit this 2 places in 2 weeks time and follow your gastronomic suggestions! Thank you very much!

unaS

“Courage is the willingness to be afraid and act anyway.”

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