During my recent four day trip to Romania, I took a private day trip from Bucharest to Bulgaria with Rolandia Tours (our tour guide was Christian Paul).
The car ride was very scenic, and as soon as we got into the car we were given helpful background information from Christian about both Romania and Bulgaria. We drove a scenic route south from Bucharest, crossing the Danube River which separates Romania from Bulgaria.
Our day trip took us to Veliko Tarnovo, a charming medieval city located on the Yantra River. With a very rich history, the town was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire and has beautiful, eye-catching architecture.
We made our first stop at Restaurant Shtastliveca Old Town, which I honestly should probably dedicate a whole separate blog post about. This restaurant was the highlight of my tour, not only because I love good food, but also because the ambiance and views of the restaurant were spectacular. This is perhaps one of my favorite restaurants I have ever been to in the world, not only because of the breathtaking views, but also because the prices of the dishes were very affordable, the food quality was superb and all of the dishes were incredibly tasty. There wasn’t a bite I didn’t absolutely love.
Here is what I ordered (Don’t judge me for all of the drinks and food I ordered. Including tax and tip, this was all under 25$ total)!
- Cappuccino: delicious as always
- Bulgarian yogurt drink-:I was expecting this to taste like kefir, and it didn’t. I honestly didn’t love this drink, but I am glad I tried it, especially since it was homemade. My friend loved it, so he finished it for me.
- House Bulgarian wine: (I know it was a red wine, but they didn’t specify what type. It was tasty nonetheless!)
- Freshly squeezed orange juice: always refreshing on a hot summers day
Fitness Salad with Avocado mousse: Green Salad mix, fresh broccoli, carrots, cucumber, beetroot, radish, quinoa, citrus pomegranate dressing topped with seeds and nuts. Although I enjoyed having a light and refreshing salad, I enjoyed my friend’s Shopska salad much more. I think any salad with white cheese was incredible (the white cheese on his salad was divine)
Stuffed aubergine with feta cheese mousse and vegetables: possibly the best eggplant dish I have had in my entire life (disclaimer, I split this so I didn’t pay for the full dish). The cherry tomato sauce it came in was simply divine.
Homemade Garlic focaccia: Delicious and a generous portion! Great for sharing and dipping in the aubergine (eggplant) dish.
Orange Delight- a light crispy shell filled with a warm orange and chocolate filling served with homemade custard. I wouldn’t have normally ordered this dessert (I’m not big on orange flavored desserts), but decided to do so based on the recommendation of our tour guide. It ended up being one of the best desserts I have ever eaten!
After the restaurant, we visited the fortress of Tsarevets, settled in the 4th century, surrounded by thick walls. The views were beautiful, and it was a scenic walk.
On our way back we visited a street market, where we could buy various Bulgarian souvenirs ranging from handmade leather goods to art and jewelry (I bought myself handmade copper earrings for only 5 dollars), and I saw the jeweler make them on the spot!
There was also an abundance of rose products (Bulgaria is known as the land of roses), ranging from Rose flavored turkish delights to rose extract and rose liquor.
We then stopped at the nearby village of Arbanassi, a World Heritage Site, and made a stop at the famous Nativity Church, which was full of beautiful mural paintings from the 17th century.
Lessons learned from this day trip:
- Souvenirs are really cheap in Bulgaria and are handmade, so make sure to make space in your suitcase to bring home gifts for your friends and family (and of course yourself too!)
- I broke the heel of my shoe as soon as I got to Veliko Turnovo. The cobble stone is very uneven, so I’d recommend wearing comfortable (and durable) walking shoes during your visit
- Eat at a nice restaurant because even fancy food is cheap and you can eat like a queen! Make sure to try white cheese while you are here.
- There are many restaurants and coffee shops with incredible views in Bulgaria, so make sure to take advantage of these places while you are there!
- I loved Bulgaria, and hope to come back. There are many more places I’d like to explore, including Sofia. I also missed the Rose Festival in Kazanlak by one day, and was recommended this by many people. I hope to come back to experience this festival! If I had the time and money I would have explored more of Bulgaria, perhaps have rented a car and explored the country side
- The bathrooms in Bulgaria are not always reliable, so travel with hand-sanitizer and tissues just in case!
I’m honestly surprised Bulgaria is not a more popular travel destination being that it is such a beautiful country filled with rich history and breathtaking landmarks. I hope you all are inspired to travel to Bulgaria after seeing this post! Thank you for reading 🙂