Going on a Road Trip in Bulgaria | Day 1
Details of Our Road Trip in Bulgaria
Duration: 3 Days
Route: Round trip from Sofia
Total Hours of Driving: 13 hours
Main Cities Visited: Sofia, Vratsa, Veliko Tarnovo, Razgrad & Plovdiv
We love road trips! Possibly, one of the best countries in Europe to go on a road trip is Bulgaria, especially for young drivers under the age of 25. Most of the car rental companies do not implement a Young Driver’s Fee and rates are very cheap. Also, exploring Bulgaria by car enables you to drive by the small villages where life has NOTHING to do with that in the neighbouring cities!
Starting From Bulgaria’s Capital City – Sofia
A road trip in Bulgaria has to include Sofia in some way or another. Having a car to go around Bulgaria’s capital city is a waste of both time and money, reasons being that public transport is so cheap and believe it or not, taxi fares are within the same range! Also, finding a parking space is not the easiest of tasks. That’s why we decided to spend three full days before eventually renting a car to venture all around the country.
Day 1 Highlights – Vratsa & Veliko Tarnovo
Morning | Things to Do in Vratsa
We left from Sofia early in the morning and our first destination was a 2-hour drive away to Vratsa. We chose the longer route and decided to avoid highways whenever possible. Doing so, we passed through the small and scenic village of Gara Bov, which served as an excellent pit stop for a coffee. The road we took is called Route 16 and it constantly passes by a small river called ‘Iskar’ which is a right tributary of the Danube river, the second largest river in all of Europe.
One of the most interesting things to do in Vratsa is visiting a place quite off the beaten path. This meant we had to drive 17km into the Vrachanski Karst nature reserve to visit the Ledenika Cave. It’s situated approximately 830m above sea level and it features an abundance of impressive formations of stalactites and stalagmites. It’s truly beautiful and one of the main halls contains an animated light show explaining some of the myths that live inside the cave.
Afternoon | Lunch in Lovech
3-hours away lies one of the most beautiful towns in Bulgaria, Veliko Tarnovo. We drove along the main highway as we wanted to get as much time as possible to enjoy the beautiful City of Tsars.
What’s a trip without trying some local food? The perfect ‘pit stop’ between Vratsa and Veliko Tarnovo would be Lovech. We had lunch in a small square next to The Covered Bridge. There are a ton of local restaurants with very cheap prices, not to mention their unusual menus – veal tongue, anyone?!
Evening | Veliko Tarnovo
We arrived around 4.00 p.m. and as soon as we got out of the car, we were welcomed by a strong wood burning smell. It was like a huge fireplace was lit up around the whole area. The smell itself was amazing!
Cat lovers, you simply cannot skip Veliko Tarnovo if visiting Bulgaria! It’s the perfect stop from one end of the country to another but other than that, it’s the cutest mountain town with the friendliest cats around. They were the first to welcome us as we arrived at Hostel Mostel, our cosy little home for the night. We totally recommend it for spending the night in Veliko Tarnovo, ESPECIALLY if you want to wake up in the morning in the below scenario.
Apparently, all the old town is filled with these cute looking kittens and they’re a real joy to have around. That’s what you call a cat-friendly place!
Besides, we loved walking along the cobblestone roads in the old town. If you have enough time you should definitely pay a visit to the Tsarevets Fortress, a medieval castle located on top of a hill. It’s massive and admission is just under €3. Bar-gain!