Veliko Tarnovo is famous as being one of the most beautiful cities in Bulgaria. It’s blessed with tons of great photography spots and hillside views, so we doubt you’ll have a hard time finding a beautiful place to photograph when you get here! However, we love sharing our favorite photo spots, and these are our pics for the most Instagrammable places in Veliko Tarnovo.
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The Most Instagrammable Places in Veliko Tarnovo
Our favorite Veliko Tarnovo photo spots, in no particular order…
One of our favorite Bulgarian castles, Tsarevets Fortress was the stronghold of the medieval Bulgarian Kingdom. The site of the palaces where the Kings and Queens of Bulgaria ruled for hundreds of years, it’s one of the most popular things to do in Veliko Tarnovo regardless of whether you’re a shutterbug or not.
However, if you are a photography enthusiast, make sure to give yourself time to photograph the fortress in the best light. I love visiting right before sunset, but early morning it’s also lovely.
I’ve seen beautiful shots of Tsarevets in fog and snow, so even in autumn or winter, it’s a beautiful place to visit.
The Yantra River
Veliko Tarnovo is bisected by the picturesque Yantra River, which curves its way through the city. From the old town, there are a number of gorgeous perches from which to look out over the river. This shot was taken from the balcony of Shtastliveca restaurant at ul. “Stefan Stambolov” 79.
This cute little cafe and bar is a great place to kick back, relax, and sip a (very reasonably priced) cocktail. I also loved the vibrant colors of the bar. Maybe it was my two Bloody Mary’s, but I kind of fell in love with its color scheme.
General Gurko Street
The old town in Veliko Tarnovo is full of beautiful Bulgarian revival style houses. Some have been turned into hotels and guest houses, while others are lovingly lived in, laundry hanging outside and all.
My favorite street to walk if you want to see a mix of touristy and residential Veliko Tarnovo is Ulitsa “General Gurko” or General Gurko Street.
While walking here, look out for beautifully restored houses and quieter, more residential buildings. The street also offers great views of the river below.
View from Ivan Asen Restaurant
Restaurant Ivan Asen is located near the entrance of Tsarevets Fortress, and it offers some fabulous views of the hills of the town. We ate a lovely dinner here, watching the sunset as we enjoyed local Bulgarian food and wine.
We adore visiting Bulgarian monasteries, and Dryanovo monastery is an easy thirty-minute drive (or taxi ride) from Veliko Tarnovo. Explore the monastery grounds, including the nearby caves and waterfall.
It would be impossible to visit Veliko Tarnovo and not see a vintage car or two. I find these make some of my favorite photo opportunities (provided you respect people’s privacy of course).
This teal beauty is out at Dryanovo Monastery – another reason to venture out to this beautiful monastery!
Veliko Tarnovo is blessed with some great street art (it’s practically everywhere!). So while you’re here, keep your eyes peeled for great murals, tags, and other street art pieces.
Even though most street art is easier to photograph in the day, I love how the night can completely change the look and feel of a piece.
Monument to the Asen Dynasty
Whether you see this monument from above or you choose to visit it up close, it’s an impressive landmark on the Veliko Tarnovo skyline. You can read up on the history of the monument (and how to visit) here.
Another monastery close to Veliko Tarnovo, I think this one is especially picturesque, especially because you can climb up on the roof and the clock tower for beautiful views from above.
While walking through the old city, you’ll find great places to stop and take pictures of the gorgeous views below. Whether you duck onto one of the city’s observation points, balconies, or perfectly situated benches, always be on the lookout for great photo opportunities!
Another one of my favorite streets in Veliko Tarnovo, Raikovski street is a great place to shop and get Instagram pics at the same time.
Pretty Much Any Balcony in the City
If you opt for a hotel with balconies, make sure you get a room with a view! In Veliko Tarnovo, the views from almost every balcony in the city are worth the upgrade!
If you don’t stay somewhere with views, you can almost always take advantage of the balconies of the restaurants and cafes in the city. Even if the weather isn’t good enough to eat outside, ask to take a peek anyways! You never know what you’ll find.
Where to Stay in Veliko Tarnovo
Budget: If you’re looking for the best hostel in Veliko Tarnovo, there’s one easy answer: Hostel Mostel! Nearly every backpacker who has come through Veliko Tarnovo has stayed here, and for good reason! It has a social but not party-crazy vibe, spacious rooms with plenty of space to spread out, a comfortable lounge and kitchen area to hang out in (and outdoor space to enjoy in the summer), and they even help organize tours and day trips. I stayed here during my overnight in Veliko Tarnovo and loved it. However, I will say that two premium things I love in hostels – privacy curtains and easy access to outlets from every bed – are missing at Hostel Mostel, but everything else (especially the free vegetarian dinners and amazing breakfast spreads!) makes up for it. Check prices, reviews, and availability here.
Mid-Range: Brand new and quietly trendy, Base Camp Guesthouse is a sign that things are slowly changing in sleepy Veliko Tarnovo. Comfy and cozy, more a home than a hotel, this guesthouse is the perfect place to stay if you want more privacy than a hostel but you don’t want to pay a fortune for unnecessary things. Travelers love the free breakfast, friendly staff, comfortable beds, and general cleanliness of everything! Keep in mind some rooms have a shared bathroom, and others have private bathrooms, so when booking, make sure you select the right option for the level of privacy you want! Check prices, reviews, and availability here.
Luxury: For the nicest place in all of Veliko Tarnovo, don’t miss General Gurko House. This house is, well, literally a house – it can fit up to 6 people, so it’s perfect if you’re traveling with a large group or with a bunch of friends. Complete with a full kitchen (and perks like an espresso machine), several bedrooms each with their own private bathroom, and a large balcony that can easily fit everyone in your party. On a quiet street in a traditional house, this is the ultimate way to experience Veliko Tarnovo! Check prices, reviews, and availability here.
More Bulgaria Travel Resources
If this is your first trip to the country, start with our travel checklist for planning a trip to Bulgaria. You will also want to check out our overview of Balkan currency, which describes Bulgarian leva and how to tip in Bulgaria.
If you’re trying to organize your time in the city, we have a guide to the best things to do in Veliko Tarnovo to help you get started, plus instructions for how to get to Veliko Tarnovo from Sofia.
If you’ll be visiting more of Bulgaria, check out our guides for Sofia, Plovdiv, Buzludzha, and the Black Sea. If you haven’t decided where to go yet, check out our list of the best places to visit in Bulgaria.
We publish new content almost every day! Bookmark our pages on Bulgaria and the Balkans so you don’t miss any posts that come out before your trip!
Don’t Forget about Travel Insurance!
Finally, make sure you always travel to Bulgaria with a valid travel insurance policy. The country is a very safe place to travel, but accidents or theft can easily ruin your trip if you don’t have the travel insurance coverage to recover the losses. Recently my aunt fell on a train in France and needed surgery, but luckily her travel insurance covered the costs in full. Thank goodness!
For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.
>>Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.<<
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Stephanie has been living in and traveling around the Balkans for the past three years. She’s written for National Geographic Online, appeared on CNN Arabic and in the New York Times, and ridden more Balkan buses than is good for a person.