Veliko Tarnovo: Bulgaria’s most charming city

Veliko is beautiful and oh so cheap. I would definitely put it my top most picturesque small cities list along with Cesky Krumlov and Mostar.

I went there with my friend Laura and we picked up a friend called Andy at our hostel. We came from the beach town of Varna where we had been on lash so it was good to be somewhere where we could chill out for a few days.

Tsarevets Fortress

The city is one of the oldest cities in Bulgaria and its reconstructed Tsarevets Fortress looks over the city.

We saw adverts in estate agents in English as this was before the Euro came in. British people were buying properties here and probably pricing out the locals while they were at it.

A small cat wandering the streets of Veliko Tarnovo

Medieval tsars used to inhabit the fortress and there were once 400 houses, 18 churches and a palace situated here.


We had an amazing and really cheap meal in the town centre, we ate so much food between the three of us and it only cost a few pounds. As we were constantly going over budget, we were really pleased!


The coolest thing about the fortress was the Patriarchal church which had unusual paintings inside which looked like they had been ripped from magazines. None of us had ever seen pictures like that before in a religious building.

Patriarchal Church of Tsarevets Fortress

Other backpackers had told us about the church, but it was great to see the murals for ourselves, I really liked the modern style which is probably cheaper to achieve that classical paintings.

Patriarchal Church of Tsarevets Fortress
Patriarchal Church of Tsarevets Fortress

From the church you could look down on views of the city, you can see the rambling path that we took to get up to the fortress. I also liked how green the city was, surrounded by trees.


While prices may have gone up now the Euro has been introduced, I hope that Veliko is still as peaceful and lovely as when we visited. A lot more backpackers visit Eastern European countries so hopefully, like us, they found VT a place to chill out and not a place to cause havoc!

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