Veliko Tarnovo is a very picturesque city in North Bulgaria and quite a popular tourist destination among the Bulgarians for a long weekend. As the city has a rich cultural and historical heritage, it is also included as a must-see in the school curricula, so kids visit the city very often on field trips. Given the fact that there are many festivals and events organized, Veliko Tarnovo can be sometimes very crowded. So, finding the perfect place to stay in the city can be overwhelming, if you don’t know the neighbourhoods or the peculiarities of the city’s transport system.
For 13 years I have called this city my home and there is nothing better than an advice from a local when it comes to booking an accommodation. Here are my tips and recommendations so that you can choose the best hotel for your stay in Veliko Tarnovo.
- 1 How to choose the best accommodation for your stay in Veliko Tarnovo
- 2 Neighbourhoods to stay in Veliko Tarnovo
- 3 Types of accommodation in Veliko Tarnovo
- 4 Times of the year to visit Veliko Tarnovo
- 5 Choice of hotels in Veliko Tarnovo
- 6 My favorite place to stay in Veliko Tarnovo
How to choose the best accommodation for your stay in Veliko Tarnovo
When staying in a city and choosing the right accommodation, there are a few factors that you need to take into consideration:
- Location – is the hotel at a walking distance from all attractions? Is it close to a bus stop and is there convenient transportation to the city centre and the attractions?
- Price – in what price range is the hotel and what extras does it offer. Here we rely on the stars the hotel has.
- Character/View – if this is important to you, it can be a major criterion for choosing the right accommodation.
- Time of the year – there are certain periods of the year when prices go up or when hotels could be fully booked, so it’s better if you avoid visiting the city.
Neighbourhoods to stay in Veliko Tarnovo
In Veliko Tarnovo, there are roughly 4 neighbourhoods where you can stay:
- The old town
- The centre of the city
- Near Tsarevets
- Outside the centre
When choosing the right neighbourhood, you should be considering whether the hotel is close by museums/attractions, restaurants and other facilities, or whether there is easy access to public transport and/or taxi services.
As the city is built on hills and the Yantra River meanders through it, if you choose for a hotel off the main street, you should be prepared to do some walking up or downhill in order to get to the main street, where all shops, restaurants and bus stops are located. Due to its special, but totally picturesque location, the city has a bit of an awkward public transport system, as in the city centre there is only one street with public transport. Well, this shouldn’t be much of a worry, because there are many taxis at affordable prices, which will bring you anywhere in the city for less than 5 EUR.
Types of accommodation in Veliko Tarnovo
The most popular type of accommodation in Veliko Tarnovo is the guest house – these are small, family-owned hotels, mostly with up to 2 stars. In general, they have a range of double/triple bedrooms and apartments/studios. The rooms can be booked separately or the whole house/apartment can be rented. Most of the guest houses are referred to as hostels, although they are not offering large dorms, but private rooms with a shared or en-suite bathroom/wc.
There are some 4-star hotels in the city, but most of the hotels have 3 stars. There are no 5-star hotels.
Tip: Are you already considering visiting Veliko Tarnovo? Then you might find handy my complete city guide of Veliko Tarnovo with information about what to see and do in Veliko Tarnovo, as well as recommendations for day trips from Veliko Tarnovo.
Times of the year to visit Veliko Tarnovo
As the city is a beloved destination for a long weekend among the Bulgarians, it tends to be a bit crowded around national holidays. During those weekends it is almost impossible to find a free room as all hotels will be completely booked. Consider the following official holidays in 2018 when an influx of tourists is expected:
- 31 December – 1 January – New Year’s Eve – most of the Bulgarians use these days to travel and celebrate away from home;
- 3 – 5 March – the National holiday is on a Saturday – perfect time for a long weekend;
- 22 March – the city’s official holidays is on a Thursday. There are some huge celebrations that attract a lot of visitors;
- 6 – 8 April – the Easter weekend. Pay attention that Easter in Bulgaria is celebrated according to the Orthodox tradition, so it doesn’t coincide with the Catholic Easter, except for once in a few years;
- 1 May – the Labour Day is on a Tuesday, so most people will make a long weekend out if it;
- 6 – 7 May – Saint Goerge’s Day is on a Saturday – a great occasion for visiting Veliko Tarnovo;
- 24 May – the Day of the Bulgarian Education and Culture – it’s on a Thursday – again a great opportunity for an extra long weekend;
- 6 September – the Unification Day – another Thursday;
- 22 September – the Day of Bulgarian Independence – it’s on a Saturday – Veliko Tarnovo is in the centre of the celebrations on national level, as the first constitution after the independence of Bulgaria was signed in the city;
- 24 – 26 December – Christmas Holidays – perfect for a longer stay in the city.
Choice of hotels in Veliko Tarnovo
Here are my recommendations for accommodation in Veliko Tarnovo. Click on the name to see the reviews and check the prices. You can also find the exact location of the suggested hotels on the Google maps below.
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In the old town
Along the river (hotels with a view)
These hotels are marked in purple on the map below. They are close to all museums and attractions, but you you need to walk up or down to the main street, where most of the restaurants are located.
General Gurko House – a guest house in traditional style
Gurko Hotel – a small hotel, traditional style, 3 stars, with a nice restaurant
Joan Asen Guest House – a guest house, 1 star
Hostel Pashov – a guest house
A level up on the main street
These hotels are marked in green on the map. The main street is the only street with public transport in the city. Most of the restaurants and the shops are located there.
Tip: Ask for a room with river view. As those hotels are built on the hill, on the street side they are 3 or 4 stories high, and on the river side they get like 4 or even 6-8 more stories.
Hotel Panorama – a 4-star hotel with an indoor swimming pool and a spa centre
Meridian Hotel Bolyarski – another 4-star hotel with and indoor swimming pool and a spa centre
Other hotels in the old town
These hotels are marked in blue.
Real Hotel – a boutique hotel on the main street
Hotel Slavyanska dusha – a small 2-star hotel in an old traditional house
Hotels near Tsarevets
These hotels are at about 15 – 20 minutes walking distance from the city centre. There are a few restaurants in this neighbourhood, but walking to the centre where all restaurants and shops are, is not a big deal. You can always take a taxi or the bus.
Tip: What is so special about Tsarevets and why everybody wants to stay in this neighbourhood, you can read in my complete guide to this medieval fortress.
Grand Hotel Yantra – a 4-star hotel with an indoor swimming pool and a spa centre; amazing views to Tsarevets & Trapezitsa Fortresses. Ask for a room with a view and you won’t be disappointed.
Lucky Hotel – a 2-star small hotel with some great views
Hotel Tarnava – a 3-star hotel
Hotel Terazini – a small hotel, a bit lacking of character
Family Hotel Silvestar – a 3-star family hotel
Boutique Hotel Tsarevets – a 3-star hotel, located at only 100 m from the fortress.
Hotels in the city centre
There are a lot of restaurants and shops in this neigbourhood. For all hotels that are not on the main street you should be prepared to walk up or down.
Tip: If you are not happy with going up or down hill, or if you are with reduced mobility, choose for a hotel on the main street. Remember that up or down hill means slippery roads in winter and in the summer when it’s very hot, you might need to stop and catch your breath.
Business Hotel Premier – a 4-star hotel with an outdoor pool and sauna
Hotel Play – a small hotel on the main street
Hotel Central – a 3-star hotel, ask for a room with a view
Interhotel Veliko Tarnovo – a 4-star hotel with the most amazing views. Ask for a room on the river side.
Hotel Alegro – a 3-star hotel located at the edge of the city park
Hotel Concord – a 3-star hotel, be prepared for a bit of climbing up the street
Agusta Spa Hotel – a 3-star hotel with an indoor swimming pool, spa and fitness, it located on the hill, so be prepared for a little bit of climbing up the street
Hotels outside of the city centre
Hotel Akvaya – a 3-star hotel with a small outdoor swimming pool, still at a walking distance from the centre
Hotel Elena – a 3-star hotel, a bit off the city centre, but still at a walking distance
Arena Tarnovo Hotel – a 3-star hotel near the stadium, not far from the centre either
Sky Hotel – a 1-star hotel at the edge of the city. You will need to take the bus or a taxi to go to the city centre and/or to the attractions/museum. However, the city’s only shopping mall, cinema and a bowling centre are within a walking distance to this hotel.
Park Hotel Asenevtsi – a new hotel (built 2015), just outside of the city with a big outdoor swimming pool, 15 minutes walking distance from the city centre.
My favorite place to stay in Veliko Tarnovo
If you are following my blog, you will probably know by now that I have two criteria when choosing a hotel – location and character. Can I compromise on them? I don’t think so, but I can add a third one that is also very important for me – view. Waking up in a room with a view is priceless.
For the last six years when coming back to Veliko Tarnovo, we had aways stayed at the same place: Guest House Stambolov. I think this is enough of indication about the place, but here are some reasons why we keep coming back and why I recommend it to you:
- Location – perfect! The hotel is on the main street in the old town.
- Character – yes! It’s an old house from the National Revival period turned into a hotel, so a lot of features were kept intact by the renovation – like odd shape of the rooms, wooden beams, exposed brick walls
- View – priceless! Just check it for yourself. Isn’t it amazing?
- Price – a double room with with en-suite and a view costs about 25 EUR per night.
We had stayed only in a double room, but the guest house offers also single, double, and triple room apartments and a studio. There is a 24/7 reception desk service. The guest house doesn’t offer breakfast, but just across the street there’s a lovely café where you can go for breakfast. The only downside of the hotel is that they don’t have a lift and the stairs are quite steep. So, consider this if you are with limited mobility.
I hope the selection of hotels I made for you, will help you choose the best place to stay in Veliko Tarnovo. Of course, there are many more hotels and especially guest houses in the city. Having in mind my recommendations above, you can have yourself a look at the Booking.com website:
Have you stayed in one of the hotels? Share your experience with the readers of this blog and help them make the best choice! Did I miss a hotel which you think should be included in the above overview, let me know in the comments?