veliko tarnovo was a great place to spend the weekend!

we drove the 150 km from bucharest to our one-night home in veliko tarnovo: studio hotel.

i really liked the room: monochrome with colour accents, good design solutions for the bathroom (a place where many hotels fail) and overall comfort. for an extra fee, one can get a room with a view: the nearby local attraction, the tsarevets fortress.

located in the old historical center, the 13-room hotel was intimate, comfy and fully satisfying. the interior design was modern. we used both the cute in-house restaurant and the rooftop bar with a view.

as a future alternative, i also liked their siblingplay hotel, another very cool looking place.

veliko tarnovo has about 70,000 inhabitants and is one of the oldest settlements in bulgaria – approximately 7,000 years old. as the former capital of the second bulgarian empire, it used to be a cosmopolitan city, with many foreign traders, and this definitely shows in its architecture.

the town is as much vertical as it is horizontal, which creates a lot of interesting photo ops as well as mild hiking work outs. the place is full of stray cats with very cute faces. as usual, i enjoyed making local feline friends. even the hotel had a few 4-legged guards!

we got acquainted with the place by walking around and by enjoying the local cuisine, which, in spite of the proximity, is sufficiently different from romanian food as to provide nice surprises. think poached veal tongue, baked cheese, cold yoghurt/cucumber soup and many others. yum!

our touristic ambitions were moderate: our aim was rather to get a taste of local flavour. but we couldn’t miss the hilltop fortress on such a sunny november sunday. the high placement provides wonderful views of the surrounding hills. i liked the modern paintings on the church walls and the tiny lizards trying to soak up the unexpected hot sun.

we drove uphill to the very close arbanasi village, a strong contender to veliko tarnovo if what you’re looking for is intimacy and good tourist services: every other house seemed to offer lodging, internet, food, swimming pool, etc . we wandered around the beautiful mansions and had lunch al fresco in a garden, sharing food with the house cats. perfect!

we left bulgaria smiling and relaxed.

photo credits: google search, lilaesthete