10 Best Things To Do In Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

things to do in veliko tarnovo

Veliko Tarnovo is one of the oldest towns in Bulgaria. Located on the banks of the Yantra River, this historical capital of the Bulgarian Kingdom has always remained the center of attraction for tourists from different corners of the world. Present on the lap of three hills - Sveta Gora, Trapezitsa, and Tsarevets - Veliko Tarnovo presents to its guests an undefined romantic ambiance alongside some of the oldest crafts. The architecture and monuments are unique and considered to be masterpieces made exclusively for the country. The historic lanes of ul Gurko, Samovodska Charshiya - the handicraft market that has retained its originality for over 200 years - and beautifully restored Tsarevets Fortress, are some of the places worth visiting. Experience one of the magnificent cities of Europe. The following article highlights some of the best things to do in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. Keep reading to learn more.

1. Admire the magnificent Tsaravets Fortress (from USD 8.0)

If you are in Veliko Tarnovo, then Tsaravets Fortress is a must-visit place. It represents the strong position of Bulgaria during the medieval period. It was recently restored and it is a popular tourist spot apart from housing the royals during the period of 1185-1393. Located on the central plain part of the hill, this fortress has its own magnificence. With extremely thick walls, it covers a whopping 4,872 square meters (about 52441 square feet) and houses a palace church, a royal residential area, and the most respected throne room.

Self-guided Tour in Tsarevets Fortress

Duration: 2 to 5 hours

3 reviews

2. Learn about local history at the Veliko Tarnovo Archaeological Museum

Archaeological Museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user MrPanyGoff used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

If you have a keen interest in history and you want to know how the city of Veliko Tarnovo evolved, then this archaeological museum is the best place to be during your visit. You will also find some interesting things related to archaeological findings and the early settlement of people in places like Djulyunitsa, Tarnovo, Hotnitsa, and many more, during the period of 5700 BC to 3600 BC. It has a collection of golden objects of Hotnitsa that date as far back as 4100 BC. It also has a place that was dedicated to antique pieces. The museum beautifully represents the spiritual and material culture of Nicopolis ad Istrum, ceramic-based complexes of Butovo and Pavlikeni.

Veliko Tarnovo Archaeological Museum

Address: ul. “Silvestar Penov”, 5000 g.k. Varusha - south, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9am - 6pm; Mon: 9am - 12pm

3. Go on an off-road safari (from USD 97.0)

Your visit to Bulgaria would be incomplete if you do not explore nature. The place is gifted with all sorts of natural resources and an off-road safari means a never-ending memorable event to add to your memoirs. On this tour, you will be able to explore this historic and beautiful city from the top. This exciting, relaxing adventure ride will help you capture some of the best landscapes of, not only Veliko Tarnovo, but also Arbanasi and Tsarevets. This off-road safari is enriching and it will help you learn about the different villages by making a trip and exploring them.

OFF-ROAD SAFARI - Jeep tours in Veliko Tarnovo

Duration: 1 to 3 hours

8 reviews

4. Check out the Assens Monument

Monument of the Assens
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kandi used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

While exploring the history of various villages and cities, you will come to know about an emperor associated with the Assen dynasty. Marking the 800 years, this monument is dedicated to Assens and it was built in 1985. It has a unique design with a different meaning. The four kings of the Assens dynasty (Peter, Ivan Assens -II and Assens) are surrounded by swords. These symbolize the power of the kingdom to the world and how it rose during medieval times.

Assens Monument

Address: 5003 ж.к. Света Гора, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

5. Visit the historic Ascension Cathedral

Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Ascension of God
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Klearchos Kapoutsis used under CC BY 2.0

Standing tall since its construction in the 11th - 12th century, the church was completely destroyed by the Ottomans. Situated on the hills of Tsarevets, it serves as the main cathedral of not only the city but also for the entire country. Historians believe that this cathedral has been completed in two stages. After its destruction, it was reconstructed in the 20th century under the guidance of a famous architect- Boyan Kuzupov. The cathedral has facades that are well adorned with ceramic tiles, mosaics, marbles, and other semi-precious stones like porphyry and sapphire.

Ascension Cathedral

Address: ul. “Sveti Kliment Ohridski” 43, 5000 Tsarevets, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

6. Attend a monastery and waterfall tour (from USD 156.0)

Visit some of the best monasteries and the most beautiful waterfalls. Veliko Tarnovo welcomes its visitors to explore the stunning Bulgarian nature and some of the magnificent places. This region has the following famous monasteries: Kapinovski monastery, Preobrajenski monastery, and Preobrajenski monastery. It also has different waterfalls, namely Hotnitsa waterfall, Kapinovsk waterfall, Hotnitsa waterfall and many more. While in Bulgaria, don’t miss out on the beauty of nature that this tour has to offers to everyone.

Monasteries and Waterfalls Tour from Veliko Tarnovo

Duration: 3 hours

6 reviews

7. Visit the historic Stambolov Bridge

Stambolov Bridge, Veliko Tarnovo
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mark Ahsmann used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Stambolov bridge is found in the town of Veliko Tarnovo, over the Yantra River. Named after Bulgaria’s famous citizen, Veliko Tarnovo Stefan Stambolov, this bridge is a representation of the engineering marvel that the country had, even back in 1892. This bridge stands tall and is a popular center of attraction for tourists. Declared by experts as technically unique, the bridge connects some important places - the city center to Boris Denev State Art Gallery, the monument of the Assens, and other landmarks. Presently open only to pedestrians, the bridge sees hundreds of people hanging out with their cameras to capture the picturesque beauty of the view as seen from the bridge.

Stambolov Bridge

Address: Yantra River, Velika Tarnovo

Website: Stambolov Bridge

8. Stroll around Mini Bulgaria Park

Veliko Tarnovo
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Vislupus used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Opened in the year 2017, the Mini Bulgaria Park has turned out to be one of the top places to visit in the country. This park is unique in its own way because it houses some of the famous architectural monuments and landmarks of Bulgaria in a miniature version. In addition to this, the representation is showcased so well that one can see the transformations that the city and the country have undergone throughout the centuries.

Mini Bulgaria Park

Address: ul. “Sveti Kliment Ohridski”, 5000 Tsarevets, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Website: Mini Bulgaria Park

Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)

9. Sample local wines at Yalovo Winery

Bulgarian wines
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Misiokk used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

For the wine lovers, Veliko Turnovo also has a famous winery- Yalovo Winery. It is situated on the foothills of the Balkan Mountain at a distance of 15km (9.3 mi) south of Veliko Turnovo. It offers its visitors to visit the different parts of the vineyard and to see how the processing of wine takes place. It also offers the tasting of three different wines to visitors. You can purchase wines of your choice from the winery.

Yalovo Winery

Address: 2 Shesta, 5056 Yalovo, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Website: Yalovo Winery

Opening hours: 8:30am - 5pm (daily)

10. Shop at Samovodska Charshia Market

Coffee shops at Samovodska Charshiya
Source: Photo by Flickr user Klearchos Kapoutsis used under CC BY 2.0

If you are willing to witness the true culture of Bulgaria, Samovodska Charshia Market is the best place to be. It is a market square where sellers sold their homegrown products during the second half of the 19th century. It has other places like bakeries, pastry shops, and traditional crafts. This is a place well-crowded with the oldest inn- Hadji Nikoli’s inn- standing tall since 1858. It is an interesting place to be when visiting Veliko Tarnovo.

Samovodska Charshia Market

Address: ul. “Georgi S. Rakovski” 33, 5000 g.k. Varusha - north, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Opening hours: 8am - 7pm (daily)

Explore the historic town of Veliko Tarnovo

Veliko Tarnovo is steeped in history with lots of monuments and historic landmarks to explore. Apart from exploring the rich history, travelers can also indulge in outdoor activities at Kaya Bunar, Park Sveta Gora and more. Visiting with friends? Veliko Tarnovo also has a lively nightlife scene to experience.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

Sumit lived in the UK for 10 years and experienced the hustle and bustle of the urban life. However, the serene Scottish country side is where his heart lies. He is still unable to understand Welsh...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Veliko Tarnovo
Good things are meant to be shared!