The third and final city we visited in Bulgaria was Veliko Tarnovo. This vibrant city, built like a theatre, is home to an ancient fortress, steep colourful streets and an encyclopaedia’s worth of history. Not to mention it’s picture perfect.
Fortress and food
We were knackered when we arrived in Tarnovo. After arriving at the bus station in Plovdiv an hour before our bus, we discovered it was full and we’d have to wait another 4 hours for the next one. Great news right? It turned out to be fine and we enjoyed a lovely meal at a tiny Bulgarian restaurant far away from the tourist trail. Although the wait turned out to be fine, we didn’t arrive at our Airbnb till late and we were therefore exhausted. Needless to say we weren’t very spritely the next morning so we enjoyed our stunning apartment and terrace before venturing out to explore the fortress.
The fortress was so big I feel it’s an insult to refer to it as just a fortress. It’s like a medieval city. It sits upon one of the hills and completely takes over your vision once it sneaks into view. We spent about 3 hours wandering around the hill, taking in the views, the architecture and the ruins. It was sunny, peaceful and relaxing; the perfect afternoon.
We walked out of the gates of the fortress to the beat of our stomachs rumbling and, as per usual, headed in search of food. We stumbled across a lovely little bakery and bought some non-descript bready cheesy concoctions and knock-off coca cola and sat on a sunny bench munching away. Our evening consisted of some oven pizzas, crisps and wine on the terrace followed by chocolate and multiple card games with a sunset backdrop. Bliss.
Historical Walking Tour
I’ve always loved a good walking tour to get my bearings and learn about the place, and I’ve now got my boyfriend into them too. The Tarnovo tour was slightly different in that it was almost a history lesson on Bulgaria which we both found completely fascinating and a complete eye opener on the country we’d spent almost 2 weeks in. Highly recommend. The following pictures show a few of the beautiful places our guide took us.
More views and more food
The main thing you will find in Veliko Tarnovo will be beautiful views everywhere you look. You can walk around the quaint streets for hours and enjoy the hills and valleys of the city. We ate in a lovely little family restaurant overlooking the hillside and then went on a wee trek to the stupidly positioned west bus station to buy tickets to Bourgas (so that we wouldn’t have a repeat of Plovdiv). Then we crashed back at the apartment.
Bulgaria is FULL of street art
Veliko Tarnovo was no exception to the abundance of street art across this crazy country. I love it so much, it brightens up every street and brings the classical, ancient buildings into the present which is pretty special. And it makes electrical boxes more interesting.
A sunrise to say goodbye
Those bus tickets we bought to Bourgas? They were for a bus at 7:30am. We decided to just get the journey out of the way in the morning so as not to waste a day travelling. That meant waking up at 6am which resulted in witnessing a beautiful sunrise over Tarnovo, stretching all the way to the fortress. I truly will never forget the wonderful view from the terrace and the fantastic sunrise we got to watch.
So that was Tarnovo. The beautiful old capital that I will remember for our lovely terrace, happy buildings and breath-taking views. It’s a special place that I’m so glad we stopped off at.
The Marilyn Monroe moments?
I wore a pretty dress, it was windy, it kind of backfired.
PS. This is so late. I haven’t posted in 2 weeks because, honestly, I’ve been relaxing, recuperating and also tirelessly applying for jobs. All fun.
Still to come are posts on our final few days in Bulgaria, spent on the Black Sea, and my week in Greece. Stay tuned!