What to do in Sevlievo, Bulgaria

What To Do in Sevlievo, Bulgaria (Central Bulgaria)

Sevlievo is right in the geographical centre of Bulgaria, meaning that any corner of Bulgaria is about the same distance from this point. The area is recognised not only for its rich history but also for its crafts, industrial position, beautiful surroundings, and attractions.

What to do in Sevlievo, Bulgaria?

What attracts most people to Sevlievo is the medieval fortress. Sevlievo is built on the site of the old Hotalich fortress, located just 4km from the city. Every summer, archaeologists continue to excavate this area.

This tour in Bulgaria was part of a press trip offered by the Municipality of Gabrovo. This visit to Sevlievo, Bulgaria was part of the 4-day road trip in Bulgaria, (which also included one day in each of these towns: Dryanovo, Gabrovo and Tryavna) and it was the last stop before returning home to Bucharest.

How to get to Sevlievo, Bulgaria?

Renting a car is your best option, guaranteed. There are so many beautiful places to see, and public transport is not helping too much. All the attractions I mention in this blog post are near each other, but you will need to secure transport to arrive in Sevlievo.

I always use RentalCars to search for the best car renting options when planning a road trip in Europe.

But, if you can’t afford it or don’t know how to drive, then the next best thing is to get a train or a bus from Sofia. The bus trip from Sofia to Sevlievo should be under 3 hours.

Check the bus schedule on https://avtogari.info/ (use the Google Translate plugin on the browser), but it would be better to get to the bus station and ask there. At the time of my visit, the information available online is not enough to buy your ticket. Please check the latest info.

Where to stay in Sevlievo, Bulgaria?

We arrived in the evening in Sevlievo and checked in at Sevlievo Plaza Hotel.

The hotel was built during communist times but was fully renovated, and it felt pretty comfortable. The location is excellent, as it’s right across the street from Sevlievo city hall.

The hotel lunch was pleasing, with some traditional Bulgarian dishes, which included some vegan options as well. This was one of the few restaurants in Bulgaria, which made my tummy feel good (I’m a vegetarian!).

Evening in Sevlievo, Bulgaria

For dinner, we went to the Coffee Theatre. On Google Maps, this is listed as a nightclub, but it’s more like a rock club where locals hang out. They even have rock bands performing live on weekends. This place is in itself an attraction in Sevlievo.

The food was great, even for a vegan. I really enjoyed my grilled vegetables, fries and fresh salad. The Bulgarian wine was excellent. This was probably my favourite place to go out on my 4-day road trip in Bulgaria. So the conclusion is, if locals love it, then you should try it out.

They even have an adorable cat, which comes to say hello to the guests. They have a terrace outside for summer nights and an underground area, for cold weather, where the singing happens.

After a nice dinner and drinks, we went back to our hotel for a good night’s sleep. The best part was that everything is near to the hotel, so you will have no issues getting everywhere on foot.

I slept like a baby. The next morning, I woke up early, and after breakfast, we started exploring all the attractions in this town. The first stop was the historical museum.

Historical Museum of Sevlievo What to do in Sevlievo, Bulgaria

Historical Museum of Sevlievo

The first visit of the day, and the first part of the Sevlievo tour, was at the Historical Museum of Sevlievo.

The museum is right next to the city hall, which is only 2 minutes away from the Sevlievo Plaza Hotel.

This museum hosts most of the archaeological findings from the medieval fortress Hotalich and counts around 45,000 items – documents, photos, artefacts, artwork and others. The museum is located in the building of the first secular school, Hadzhi Stoyanovs.

As the diggings at Hotalich are still happening every year (for 40 years now), they are adding new exhibits each year.

One of the latest additions is a bead necklace recovered from the cemetery area of Hotalich. This is a top attraction of the museum. The archaeologists from the museums were pretty proud of their new exhibit. To be honest, it’s a pity that not a lot of people know about this super cool and old spot.

St. Iliya Church What to do in Sevlievo, Bulgaria

St. Iliya Church

Then, we continued our tour of Sevlievo with the church in the middle of the town.

Near to the Historical Museum, an impressive church rises. You can’t miss this attraction in Sevlievo. As I walked inside, I noticed there were steps at the entrance.

The church is a bit buried in the ground to not make its tower taller than the mosque’s minaret.

Remember that Bulgaria was under Ottoman occupation for nearly 500 years and that means they had and still have a lot of mosques. Inside you will find an impressive and invaluable wood-carved iconostasis.

Dandolovi house ethnographic complex What to do in Sevlievo, Bulgaria

Dandolovi House Ethnographic complex

Dandolov House is a complex of 3 traditional houses, under one roof. The house was built in 1870 and was restored in 1981. 

Today, the houses belong to the Sevlievo Historical Museum and host 3 exhibitions:

  • 1. Rural and urban life in the Sevlievo region during the Bulgarian Revival
  • 2. Sevlievо courtyard in the Revival period
  • 3. The Beauty in works of Sevlievo craftsmen during the Revival

Depending on your schedule, you can spend up to 2 hours around this attraction in Sevlievo and not get bored, if you enjoy history museums.

Hotalich Fortress  What to do in Sevlievo, Bulgaria

Hotalich Fortress

Hotalich Fortress is the last medieval town in the area. By far, this settlement is one of the top attractions in Sevlievo. The settlement is near Sevlievo, but you will need a car to reach it.

It had been inhabited for more than 1,000 years and functioned as an important defensive centre.

Hotalich is basically the town which existed before the Sevlievo municipality.

As you will see once you visit it, there isn’t much left of it. When the Ottomans attacked it, they burnt it to the ground, and today the archaeologists are digging the earth to find base stones of dwellings and churches of the former medieval town.

Hotalich Fortress What to do in Sevlievo, Bulgaria

After the attack, the people from Hotalich decided to settle a bit down the valley on the spot of today’s Sevlievo.

The site is quite big, and you can easily spend 2 hours at Hotalich if the weather allows it.

At the entrance, where you park the car, you will find a guide. Once you pay the entrance ticket, the guide will show you around, explaining what they discovered about Hotalich.

The medieval town is situated on a hill, and the more you climb, the better the view is.

In front of Hotalich, you will see a valley. The local guide said that on clear spring days, you can see the peaks of the mountains from that hill. The view is beautiful, and I can understand why they chose this place to build a town. This entire place, as a tourist attraction, is gorgeous, even if you don’t particularly chase historical sites, because of its gorgeous views.

Asen and Iliya Peykovi Art Gallery What to do in Sevlievo, Bulgaria

Asen and Iliya Peykovi Art Gallery

If you have the time, please drop by this local art gallery during your tour of Sevlievo municipality, as it is one of the attractions of the town. The building itself is one of the most beautiful buildings in Sevlievo.

The ground floor hosts a permanent exhibition, which consists of the work of famous sculptor Asen Peykov and the space paintings of his brother Iliya Peykov, who spent their childhood and adolescence in Sevlievo, Bulgaria.

Besides their permanent exhibition, on the second floor is a sell-out exhibition of local artists, which changes every now and then.

Other places to see in Sevlievo, Bulgaria

The Liberty Monument What to do in Sevlievo, Bulgaria

The Liberty Monument

The Liberty Monument, standing tall in the center of Sevlievo municipality opposite the city hall, serves as a reminder to everyone passing by of the stories of the city’s free-spirited citizens.

The monument was built a century after the liberation to commemorate the historic moment. The Clock Tower is another symbol of Sevlievo.

Hiking the mountain trails

The long karst plateau Strazhata stretches from Gabrovo to Sevlievo and ends northwest, with an impressive vertical rock crown called Vitata Stena (The Winding Wall).

An eco-trail starting in Sevlievo and passing through the Baadalata reserve, a thick lime-tree forest, leads to the natural sight.

Sevlievo is where you start mountain hikes to the Mazalat, Tazha, and Sokolna huts, all located in the Central Balkan National Park.

Visit the Tabakhana (tannery)

One of the most attractive sights in the Sevlievo municipality is the Tabakhana. This is the only restored tannery in Bulgaria. Sevlievo used to be famous for tanning. Its products were sold in major European cities.

Ready to explore the Sevlievo municipality?

I hope I have convinced you to give Bulgaria a chance and explore it deeply, to go on road trips and engage with locals and traditions. Bulgaria has much more to offer, and it’s up to you to discover it.

Check out this 7-day Bulgaria itinerary (if you’re interested in some of the most popular cities in the country).

And don’t forget to check out Dryanovo, Gabrovo and Tryavna, while you are in this central part of Bulgaria.

Iulia Vasile

Iulia is a travel expert, blogger, engineer, freelance copywriter, and a curiosity-driven personality. She sees travel as the ultimate tool for self-improvement and personal growth, and that's the main topic of her blog, Juliasomething.com.

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