If this is your first visit to Veliko Tarnovo, prepare for quite the surprising trip indeed. The city is perched on hills and overhanging abysses. It’s majestically built to immortalize Bulgarian history from days bygone.
The medieval and renaissance look of Bulgaria mix somewhat bizarrely, but they create a tempting uniform experience that you won’t be able to ignore, not for a moment. The city is a truly outstanding mix of sinuous streets, and admittedly – uphill treks.
The surroundings of the city provide you with plenty of opportunities to hike, explore mountains, scale rocks, or simply spend the time outside town and rest. We will reveal the charm of this city in a heartbeat.
#1 Tsarevets – The Royal Castle
The Tsarevets Castle was one of the last fortresses in Bulgaria when the Ottoman Empire invaded back in the 14th century. By that time, the Bulgarian Kingdom had suffered heavy demographic and ruling crisis, tipping it to gradual subjugation to the Ottoman Empire that lasted 500 years.
The rule of the Ottoman Empire didn’t come without a fight, and one of the decisive battles was in the fortress of Tsarevets which feel after a spy had betrayed the city to the invaders. Interestingly, the spy was then killed by the Ottoman commanders to make an example of what they thought of betrayal.
Today, Tsarevets remains an impressive fortress that is well worth exploring, although it hasn’t been restored in full and right now, the castle has kept its Medieval look, which has been restored. The work has been authentic though, so you can imagine how the Ottoman Forces laid siege to the city, attempting to penetrate its defenses.
#2 Samovodska Chershiya
If you want to see a bit of the craftsman ship of Bulgarians, you will definitely have to explore the charm of the Samovodska Chershiya, and what you can call “Old Town”. It’s a Renaissance-period part of town filled with craftsmen and artisans who continue to work in an attempt to preserve the tradition.
It’s not always easy for them, though, and they have to find new people to take over the craft lest the art is lost. Nevertheless, they’ve done quite well so far and the Chershiya is indeed a place that will amaze you with its subtle charm.
Bulgaria had a slightly different path to Renaissance with the buildings remaining huddled which can be interpreted as a sign of protecting each other. This all makes for a very idyllic reading of the entire pace.
#3 The Bolyarka Beer Factory
The brew in Bulgaria is very cheap indeed. You will find the liquid treats to be quite tasty and rather cheap too, which will definitely allow you to enjoy the better sides of lie. The beer factory of Bolyarka will take you to a guided tour around the place.
The brewery is truly an outstanding place to be. The beer is produced in the tonnes of gallons for the locals and the country to imbibe. It’s a tasty brew coming at a deplorably low price.
You can buy 2.5 litres for less than $1.5 which means that you should learn to moderate your intake. We recommend that you check out some of the local watering holes as well and always have a company for this way the beer tastes the best.
#4 Sveta Gora
Sveta Gora is one of the hills revealing a beautiful view of Veliko Tarnovo, though not the whole city. The view is indeed quite the sight to behold and you can see the castle as well as the old part of the city with the museums lining up on the side that’s closer to the banks of the river.
Far down, you can see more houses that are bang next to the river, making for interesting picturesque scenery. The streets in Tarnovo are very narrow and so is the pavement, which might remind you of Malta.
A Delightful Place to Be
Tarnovo definitely isn’t bustling with attractions, but there are countless things you can do – from picking a craft in Chershiyata to venturing into the far-fetched picturesque parts of town, to hiking around the place and just breathing in the entire place, Tarnovo will stay with you for quite a while.