Day trip to Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi

This morning, depart Sofia and set out in the direction of Veliko Tarnovo, the renowned “City of the Tsars” that served as the capital of Bulgaria during medieval times. The town is situated on the three hills of Tsaravets, Trapezitsa, and Sveta Gora, along the Yantra River. Medieval kings built the imposing Tsarevets Fortress, which remained the Bulgarian seat of power until the 1400s.

After your guided tour of Tsaravets, enjoy the intriguing shops as you walk along Samovodene Street, where you’ll find talented local craftsmen demonstrating their many colorful, traditional art forms.

In the afternoon, visit the lovely village of Arbanassi. The town was granted trade privileges by the Ottoman sultan, and consequently became the home of Bulgaria’s wealthiest and most prosperous merchants. The fortress-like architecture of the private homes here evolved from the need to ward off thieves attracted by the concentration of abundance. Visit the remarkable Konstantsalieva House, the home of an 18th-century merchant, and see exactly how he lived with his family centuries ago.

Next, move on to the Nativity Church, built according to the strict architectural rules proscribed by the Ottomans: all churches were to be of a height no taller than a man on a horse. The townspeople brought great creativity to the task: the church was built half-underground, with no visible domes at street level. The Nativity Church showcases some of the loveliest, best–preserved frescoes in Bulgaria.

In the late afternoon, return with your guide to your hotel in Sofia.

Highlights of the tour

What people have said:

We think our tour with Stoyan has been one of the best we have done. Stoyan was an excellent driver/guide, very considerate, and full of knowledge about Bulgaria and it’s history. We rate your company highly, and would certainly recommend it to friends. Thank you for being so organised and informative, it was all made very easy for us.

Jan and Rich Ellingham (New Zealand)

The tour is well planned, not only it covers most of the tourist must visit places, Balkan Trails even planned out the itineraries to visit more places other than those written on tour books. The tour covers the important cities, the country sides, the sea and the mountains. I find visiting the local craftsmith on the horse wagon is most interesting. We have a chance to speak to the locals and see how they … read more

Mr. and Mrs. Lee (Australia)


We are Vlad and Zoe Trestian – the owners and managers of Balkan Trails. We have been creating memorable travel experiences in Eastern Europe for almost 20 years now.

We understand traveling is personal and individual, and no two travellers are alike. That is why the majority of our tours are based on customised itineraries. Your tour is exactly that: YOURS. Just let us know when you’d like to arrive and depart, what your interests are, the type of hotels you prefer, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Looking forward to showing you our part of the world.

Other Ways to get in touch:

Have a Question? Call Us: 0040 723 578 452

E-mail address:

Frequently asked questions

1 Day trip to Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi

What is included with this tour?

Included services and features:

  • The possibility of having your itinerary customised before the start of the tour, at no extra charge
  • Great flexibility regarding changes to the itinerary even after the start of the tour
  • Pick up and drop off at any location in Sofia
  • A private, licensed English speaking guide/driver, available throughout the duration of the tour
  • All guide’s expenses (meals, etc.)
  • Private transportation in air conditioned car
  • All car expenses, such as gasoline, parking and road tolls
  • Entrance fees and guided tours for the Tsarevets Fortress, the Konstantsalieva House and the Nativity Church
  • Free time spent on the Samovodene street in Veliko Tarnovo, a great place for watching artisans at work and buying some Bulgarian souvenirs

Not included:

  • Meals or beverages
  • Photo fees

Posted in: 1 Day trip to Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi