Getting there & away
Two bus stations serve Veliko Târnovo, both out of the centre. Pâtnicheski Prevozi bus station (Zapad bus station; 640 908; ul Nikola Gabrovski 74) is about 4km from the centre and is the main terminus for buses from elsewhere in Bulgaria. Local buses 10, 12, 14, 70 and 110 go there, along ul Vasil Levski. There’s also a left-luggage office (7.30am-4.30pm). From here, buses serve Gabrovo (3.50 lv, 40 minutes, half-hourly), as well as Elena (2 lv, 30 minutes, six daily), Kazanlâk (5 lv, 2½ hours, five daily), Ruse (6 lv, two hours, eight daily), Sliven (4 lv, two hours, seven daily), Burgas (14 lv, four hours, four daily) and Plovdiv (14 lv, four hours, four daily). Daily buses serve Troyan (4 lv, two hours), Karlovo (7 lv, four hours) and Pleven (6 lv, two hours).
The somewhat more central Yug bus station (620 014; ul Hristo Botev) has many daily buses to Sofia (11 lv, four hours) and the Black Sea cities of Varna (11 lv, four hours) and Burgas (14 lv, 3½ hours). From here, several daily buses also serve Shumen (5 lv, three hours).
Under the Hotel Etâr, Etap Adress (630 564; ul Ivaylo 2) has hourly buses to Sofia (15 lv, 3½ hours) and Varna (15 lv, four hours), plus two daily buses to Dobrich (13 lv, four hours), one to Kavarna (15 lv, 4½ hours) via Albena and Balchik and one to Shumen (8 lv, two hours).
The Veliko Târnovo train station (620 065), 1.5km west of town, runs three daily trains to Plovdiv (10.10 lv, five hours) via Stara Zagora (4.80 lv, two hours). Trains also serve Sliven (7 lv, three hours, six daily), Burgas (11.40 lv, five hours, three daily), Varna (11.80 lv, five hours, three daily) and Sofia (12.80 lv, 4½ hours, six daily). There are five daily trains to Gabrovo (change at Tsareva Livada) and regular trains to Târnovo’s other train station, at Gorna Oryakhovitsa. From the Veliko Târnovo station, buses 10, 12, 14, 70 and 110 go to the centre. A taxi from the station to the centre should cost around 3 lv to 5 lv.
Gorna Oryakhovitsa train station (826 118), 8.5km from town, is along the main line between Sofia and Varna and has daily services to/from Sofia, via Pleven, (10 lv, five hours, eight daily) and Varna (9.10 lv, four hours, three daily) and 11 trains to Ruse (6 lv, two hours). There are also six daily connections to Stara Zagora (7 lv, four hours), and 10 to Shumen (7 lv, four hours).
You can get to this station from Veliko Târnovo by catching a minibus from opposite the market along ul Vasil Levski, by taking bus 14 from the Pâtnicheski Prevozi bus station, or by bus 10 from the centre. Taxis cost about 8 lv to 9 lv.
To reserve international or domestic tickets, visit Rila Bureau (622 042; ul Tsar Kaloyan 2a; 8am-noon & 1-4.30pm Mon-Fri), located behind the Tourist Information Centre. A daily train to Bucharest (22.93 lv, six hours) in Romania leaves Veliko Târnovo train station at 10.42am, stopping at Gorna Oryakhovitsa and continuing north from there at 12.22pm. A night train from Târnovo goes to Istanbul, Turkey (35.85 lv, 62.32 lv with sleeper car, 11 hours) at 7.55pm. You can also reach Thessaloniki in northern Greece via an evening train from Gorna Oryakhovitsa (41.95 lv, 63.42 lv with sleeper car, 14 hours).