Veliko Turnovo Area

Veliko Turnovo Location

The region of VelikoTurnovo is located in the centre of Bulgaria and slightly north. It lies within the foothills of the Stara Planina mountains and is regally set on four hills on the banks of the River Yantra.The distances to the main cities in Bulgaria are: 220km to Sofia; 220km to Varna on the Black Sea; 230km to Bourgas (the second-biggest coastal city); 130km to Plovdiv; and 110km to Rousse on the River Danube.

There are regular bus and train services to all of the above cities, as well as excellent road links. By car VelikoTurnovo is around 2 and a half hours distant from both Sofia and Varna international airports. There is a small airport just 10km north of Veliko Turnovo that once operated for internal passenger traffic; in 2007 it is serving only cargo flights, but there are expectations that it will open again for passenger traffic.

Places of Interest in Veliko Turnovo area

arbanasi veliko tarnovo

There is a lot to do and see in Veliko Turnovo and its surroundings. Tsarevets Fortress is the most popular tourist site. Visitors enjoy wonderful views from the fortress towards the city. In the evenings there is a sound and light show, which can be seen from many of the higher spots in the city, but is best viewed from the square just in front of the main entrance of the fortress. The show is a breathtaking attraction.

Just outside VelikoTurnovo there are many marked walking trails. Two of them lead to two of the most interesting and well-known monasteries. Next to the St Troitsa Monastery is one of the best rock-climbing sites in Bulgaria, which hosted a World Cup event several years ago. There are also many walking trails across the Stara Planina mountains, including a 500km long-distance footpath from Sofia to the Black Sea coast, which passes along the entire ridge. Julian Perry’s excellent Mountains of Bulgaria (1995) is probably still the best guide around, although better maps are now available than when it was first published.

The museum village of Arbanassi is just 5km from VelikoTurnovo. It is full of character and there are several good restaurants hidden behind the traditional stone walls in the green gardens and old stone buildings. There is a horse-riding estate just outside the village, in Todor.

The University of VelikoTurnovo is located on one of the city’s hills and is the second-biggest in Bulgaria. During the summer it hosts an annual Slavic languages and culture seminar, with students and scientists visiting from all over the world. It runs Bulgarian lessons for foreigners and is popular with British property-buyers in increasing numberl
There are two folklore festivals-one for national dancing and singing groups in May and the International Folklore Festival during the third week of July. The festivals are marked by colourful marches through the town’s main streets.

VelikoTurnovo has far more bars and restaurants than one might expect given the size of its population.The main reason for its abundance of bars and eating establishments is the large student population and the town’s attraction as a tourist destination for nationals and foreign visitors. Students tend to socialise outside their residences and within a very compact area of central downtown. Added to this are various recent British establishments such as the Dada Bar, famous for its late-night ‘lock-ins’.

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