What to do and see in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria: The Best Places and Tips

July 22, 2017 Venice Greaves

Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgarian: Велико Търново, "Great Tarnovo") Bulgarian pronunciation: [vɛˈliko ˈtɤ̞rnovo] is a city in north central Bulgaria and the administrative centre of Veliko Tarnovo Province.
Restaurants in Veliko Tarnovo

1. Samovodska Charshiya Complex

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Excellent
61%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 156 reviews

Samovodska Charshiya Complex

Reviewed By YouthinAsia - Marin County, California

We absolutely LOVED this cluster of shops and craftsmen. This way far and away of favorite in our short time in Bulgaria. Some incredible craftsmanship in jewelry, ceramics, leather, woodwork and more. Many of the craftspeople are working in their shops while you're there.
A particular favorite was the leather work, prices seemed reasonable and the quality much better than in the larger stores.
Hopefully you'll have more time than we did. Shops take credit cards.

2. Tsarevets Fortress

ul. Stefan Stambolov, Veliko Tarnovo 37100, Bulgaria +359 62 638 841
Excellent
53%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 980 reviews

Tsarevets Fortress

Dating to the 12th century, this strategic fortress is one of two highly fortified hills (Trapezitza being the other) that protected Bulgarian rulers living on the site in the tsar’s palace.

Reviewed By gniteIrene - Toronto, Canada

Since this reconstructed fortress dominates the skyline of Veliko Tarnovo, we were interested in seeing the views of the town from the fortress. We enjoyed walking around the grounds, despite having to watch out for potholes, and broken steps. It was a lovely, warm, sunny October day and the views of the surrounding areas from the top were beautiful.The elevator was not in service the day we visited, perhaps because there were very few tourists. Pay your 6 Leva entrance fee in cash at the window before you cross over the bridge. We were disappointed that we missed the Sound and Light Show by one day.

3. Asen's Monument

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Excellent
46%
Good
41%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 190 reviews

Asen's Monument

Reviewed By Malta M

Just walked by the monument, but was impressed. Can recommend it as a highlight for your light stroll out of the city, combined with a short walk up the small hill overlooking the train station

4. Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration of God

Veliko Tarnovo 5031, Bulgaria
Excellent
61%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 81 reviews

Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration of God

Reviewed By Culinary-Consultants - Bulgaria

The Transfiguration Monastery (Bulgarian: Преображенски манастир, Preobrazhenski manastir) or the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration of God (манастир "Свето Преображение Господне", manastir "Sveto Preobrazhenie Gospodne") is an Eastern Orthodox monastery located in the Dervent gorge of the Yantra River. It lies near the village of Samovodene, seven kilometres north of Veliko Tarnovo, in central northern Bulgaria. It is one of the five stauropegic monasteries of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
It is thought that the monastery was founded in the 11th century AD as a cloister of the Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos. In 1360, when Tarnovo was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire and the traditions of hesychasm were popular in Bulgaria, it became an autonomous monastery on the order of Tsar Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria. This is legendarily tied to the charity of Ivan Alexander's second wife Sarah-Theodora and their son Ivan Shishman, a reason to also call the monastery Sarah's or Shishman's monastery.
After the Ottoman conquest of Bulgaria, the monastery was plundered and burned several times by the Turks and eventually entirely destroyed. It was only reestablished in 1825 by father Zoticus of the Rila Monastery by means of donations. In 1832, a firman of the Ottoman sultan allowed the construction of a new monastery church; the church was designed by the noted Bulgarian National Revival architect Kolyu Ficheto and completed in 1834. The cross-shaped church features three apses, a single dome and a covered narthex.
The icons and frescoes of the main church were painted by another famous artist, Zahari Zograf, who worked in the monastery between 1849 and 1851, after he finished his decoration of the Troyan Monastery. Among the more notable murals are those of the Last Judgment, the Wheel of Life, the Birth of the Mother of God, the Last Supper. Zograf also painted Saints Cyril and Methodius, as well as a self-portrait. In addition, the main church was richly decorated on the outside and a wood-carved and gold-plated iconostasis was installed.
Between 1858 and 1863 Kolyu Ficheto constructed the seven-bell belfry, the residential buildings and the main entrance, as well as the underground chapel of Saint Andrew the First-called and the small Church of the Annunciation on top of it, with icons by Zahari Zograf's nephew Stanislav Dospevski.

5. St. Peter and Paul Church

Veliko Turnovo, Veliko Tarnovo 5000, Bulgaria
Excellent
65%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 44 reviews

St. Peter and Paul Church

Historic church withfresco murals from the 14th to 17th centuries

Reviewed By Petal090 - Sydney, Australia

Entrance fee by way of donation; very very old; you can take photos but no flash; great history and definitely worth a visit

6. Nicopolis ad Istrum

E85 Veliko Tarnovo to Ruse Road | near Nikyup Village, Veliko Tarnovo 5000, Bulgaria
Excellent
54%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
14%
Poor
4%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 49 reviews

Nicopolis ad Istrum

Reviewed By LouCaRomania - Bucharest, Romania

Not too much to see, few explanation (and hardly legible, I assume EU` funds came to the site a loong time ago and then just stopped). At least it`s easy to be reached- some 3km from the main road...

7. Forty Martyrs Church

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Excellent
44%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
27%
Poor
4%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 70 reviews

Forty Martyrs Church

Reviewed By Lubomir S - Varna, Bulgaria

The only place in my country, where one can see a mark, trace, or grave of our great khans and czars. If someone is interested and want to see the history of my country, this is a must and I am proud of this place!

8. Multimedia Visitor Centre Tsarevgrad Tarnov

Near Tsarevets Hill, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Excellent
68%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 24 reviews

Multimedia Visitor Centre Tsarevgrad Tarnov

Reviewed By David L

An interesting look at the history of Bulgaria and gives a good quick insight into the way people lived. It is well-presented and there is information in English. However, the exhibition is relatively small and feels a bit over-priced as a result.

9. Ulitsa General Gurko

Ulitsa General Gurko, Veliko Tarnovo 5000, Bulgaria
Excellent
75%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 12 reviews

Ulitsa General Gurko

Reviewed By Pam_B397 - Melbourne, Australia

According to Google Maps this is called Ulitsa Sveti Nicola 14. Our guide took us up the winding mountain path to the monastic retreat used by monks in times when it was unsafe to be found by the local invaders. Here they could practice their devotions in safety.

G. S. Rakovski Str. 19, Veliko Tarnovo 5000, Bulgaria +359 87 870 6440
Excellent
75%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 12 reviews

Hadji Nikoli Inn Museum Art Gallery

Reviewed By Val_Schneider_Ber - London

This extraordinary hub intertwines culture and education in an impressive manner. The Art Gallery boasts a fine permanent collection of some of the very best modern Bulgarian art, as well as exclusive rotating Exhibitions. The Archaeological Museum is home to remarkable treasures of the past. Amazing place to visit, highly recommended!

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