Bulgaria is becoming an increasingly desired destinations on the map of backpackers, well-travelled individuals and West Europeans. Why? Because of its lush nature and rich history and traditions. That’s why I want to propose this 4-day Bulgaria road trip itinerary through the central part of the country.
Why should you consider Bulgaria for a road trip?
Why? To get answers and to understand the Bulgarian culture. To find out more about the Bulgarian National Revival period, about humour and satire, to discover the magnificent works of an illiterate self-made architect, Kolyu Ficheto, who spoke fluently 4 languages.
And there are so many other reasons.
Bulgaria has a strong connection to the Turkish culture, and this is only natural after 500 years of Ottoman occupation. Bulgaria got released from their occupation in 1908.
Bulgaria has a lot to suffer and has a rich history because of its geographical location, and this is the place where some of the world’s oldest artefacts were found and the first proof of metal processing.
I believe that only by walking on the old streets of tiny towns, talking to people and learning about local culture and traditions can one truly understand and be inspired by a place, and Bulgaria is definitely the place for this.
I suggest a 4-day road trip in the central part of Bulgaria, but this is just the short version of it. If you have the time, a week around these areas would not seem like too much. As we are talking about old times, travel needs to be done more slowly. It’s part of the magic of the place.
And to be frank, if I don’t have any time to spare, to sleep or to relax, it feels more like a burden than a relaxing and insightful experience, what this Bulgaria road trip should actually be.
How to get to Gabrovo Region in Bulgaria?
I recommend driving, as you will get to stop where ever you want and you will have complete freedom. Getting to these areas can be done from Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria or from Bucharest, Romania. Both cities have airports and you can rent a car from the airport. This is what I would do.
Of course, there are direct buses from Sofia to Veliko Tarnovo, which is only a few km away from these smaller towns, from where you can take another bus. If you are coming from Romania, You will need to get a bus to Ruse, and then find another bus to Veliko Tarnovo.
As this was an organised trip, we drove from Bucharest to Bulgaria. Each night we stopped in a different city, but you can stay in one of the cities and then drive around and come back in the evening.
Day 1 – Dryanovo
The start was from Bucharest, at around 9 am. From Bucharest to Dryanovo are 220 km and the trip should take less than 4 hours.
Dryanovo has a favourable geographical position and it is situated 20 km away from Gabrovo, 24 km from Veliko Tarnovo, 17 km from Tryavna and about 30 km away from Sevlievo.
Here are some fantastic sights to visit, and I strongly recommend Dryanovo monastery, the viewpoint of the monastery valley from the mountain, which is a 20 min walk from the monastery, and the Bacho Kiro cave – which is on the way to the viewpoint, where the oldest traces of life on Balkan Peninsula were discovered.
The city has a slow life rhythm, which is part of its charm. The Historical museum closes at 5 pm, so make sure to get there early or spend more than 1 day to see all these things I mentioned.
We spent the night in Dryanovo, at the Kentavar Hotel.
Day 2 – Gabrovo
Gabrovo is only 20km away from Dryanovo, and we arrived here in the early morning. This is the largest city of the region, hence the name of Gabrovo region.
The city of Gabrovo is the largest in the area and is has the famous Museum of Humour and Satire. Well, I’m not sure how famous it is, but it’s one of the main attractions and it’s worth it! The museum is big, so reserve some hours for it.
As Gabrovians are the funnies of Bulgarian, the museum will make you understand a bit more of their culture.
I also visited here the first interactive museum, the ethnographic museum and ate a traditional bean stew. Yummy!
After all this visiting, I arrived in Tryavna in the evening and spent the night at Hotel Compliment.
Day 3 – Tryavna
After a good night rest and a salad for breakfast, I started walking on the cute picturesque streets of Tryavna. The village is not big, but it looks perfect and has so many different museums and activities to offer.
Here you will find the only woodcarving museum in Bulgaria, a beautiful old school and church, an icon museum and a museum for African arts – the only one of its kind in the Balkans.
For lunch, you need to go to Brashlyan Hotel and enjoy the best view of the city.
Nature is beautiful here and there are hikes and walk trails for tourists. This beautiful village needs more than 1 day to be properly explored. I hope to go back at some point.
In the evening, we left for Sevlievo and spent the night at Hotel Sevlievo Plaza.
Day 4 – Sevlievo
Sevlievo is a cute town, right in the heart of Bulgaria, built on the old merchants’ route.
This year they celebrated 40 years of archaeological excavations, in the medieval village Hotalich, which revealed many of the exhibits from the Historical Museum in Sevlievo.
Sevlievo has two lovely museums, which shouldn’t be missed: the historical museum and the ethnographic museum. They are not so big and are well worth a visit. After that, emerge yourself into medieval times at Hotalich, which is only a short drive away from the centre of Sevlievo. On a clear day, the view is beautiful from this hill.
After lunch, I was on my way back home, to Bucharest.
This is a suggestion for a 4-day road trip in Bulgaria, in the Gabrovo region, but you won’t be able to see everything. If you have the time, I recommend spending a week in this region.
If you want to visit more in Bulgaria, check out my articles:
- First time in Bulgaria
- Visit Bansko in the summertime
- Visit Kaliakra, the fortress from the Bulgarian Black Sea coast