There are regular buses that go through Tsarevets Fortress and around the city center that runs from 7a.m. to 9 p.m with the interval of 30 min. to 60 minutes. You can buy your ticket inside the bus from a conductor which is valid only for the actual ride. It costs 0.70 lev or 0.35 euro.
The regular Buses No. 20, No. 40 and No.50 are the ones that run within the city proper. If your Hotel is just right in the middle of the city there is no use to ride on a bus because to go by foot is the best way to know more about the city and explore the beauty of Veliko Tarnovo by day and night.
It is possible to travel all the way from London to Veliko Turnovo, without changing coaches, thanks to the professional service of BALKAN HORN. Monday @19:00 is the weekly day of departure from the capitol, & it's possible to use the service to reach Lille, Luxembourg, Plzen, Prague, or Brno, by Tuesday. Wednesday is the day of arrival in Veliko Turnovo, outside the Hotel Etara @14:00. Return from Veliko Turnovo is Friday @12:30 & the coach reaches London Green Line on schedule for Sunday @08:00, but when I travelled it was a couple of hours earlier. Because the company employs proficient drivers, this is all achieved within 48 hours of the coach departing from the Black Sea Coast to central London, a full 10 hours quicker than EUROLINES require to cover the same itinerary.
What is more, when I tried to book online with EUROLINES, IN FEBRUARY 2012 - I was offered the same fare as their rivals - £199 booked return. Yet, when I attempted to pay with my bankcard, the fare price suddenly escalated to £299 - i.e; for an online booking, the company tried to SCAM me twice for booking fees (£40+£40) + £20 travel insurance...
(1-WAY to Veliko Turnovo costs £124/270Lev with BALKAN HORN & NO deceptive booking fees...)
I of course cancelled the booking, but don't let the scammers at EUROLINES put you off travelling the scenic way to Bulgaria, because there is the fairer priced alternative of BALKAN HORN...
If you arrive by bus just be aware that there are two bus stations, Avtogara Yug (Southern bus station) which serves the line Sofia - Black Sea, and Avtogara Zapad (Western bus station) where you will arrive if you come from the southern parts of Bulgaria. (Confusing in my opinion.)
The best way to get into town in any case is to take a taxi - it will not cost you more than 5 Lv (= 2,50 Euro) as of autumn 2011. That seemed to be a fixed price.
Going by train in either Sofia- or Black Sea direction means you have to change trains in Gorna Oryahovitsa, a 19 minute journey from Veliko Tarnovo main station to the cost of 1,40 Lv (=0,70 Euro). Taking the train in the southern direction is no option since the journey between Kazanluk and VT for instance takes close to 6 hours by train but only 2,5 or 3 hours by bus.
There is a bus departing from Veliko Tarnovo (South Bus station) to Istanbul (Turkey) everyday at 2100. the price is about 27Euro / one way. It's good idea to book your place 1-2 day before your departure date. The carrier is "OZ BATU".
From: Veliko Turnovo to Sofia
This is a long trip, 3+ hours.
I recommend using one of the private bus companies for this trip.
They are a bit more expensive, but definitely worth it because they are comfortable and air conditioned.
I used the Grup Plus bus. Office/station is in the center of town. Very convenient.
There were three morning buses, at 0900, 10.15 and 1100
The staff were also caring for a street cat with kittens :)
Veliko Turnovo has a busy little railway station on the main North/South line which bisects Bulgaria from Ruse to Podkova, passing through the main junction at nearby Gorna Orjahovitsa and heading South via the city of Stara Zagora. The station is located in an industrial area (where the brewery is) about three kilometres out of the city centre and seems to be best accessed by taxi - there may be a bus service but I saw no signs of any when I was there. Taxis though are cheap enough and should cost about 3 leva.
If arriving from the North or South there are direct trains from Ruse and Stara Zagora. If arriving from East or West (ie Sofia or Varna) you'll usually have to change at Gorna Orjahovitsa, from which V Turnovo is another 20 minutes journey. As the average connection time is about 30 minutes you'll find it easier to just get a ticket to Gorna and then continue by taxi into Veliko, it's only about 7 kilometres and the fare will be about 6 leva.
For an interesting day out by train from V Turnovo the mountain town of Tryavna is well worth a visit. Trains are frequent, with the journey through the mountains taking less than hour, and a return fare is about 6 leva.
There is also a station at Trapezitsa which is within walking distance of the bottom end of the city but as I discovered it's not a particularly easy walk as you have to find the appropriate bridge to get across the river - more on that under "Warnings and Dangers".
There are over 30 buses every day from Sofia's Central Bus Station to Veliko Turnovo which makes it a very easy place to get to. There are about six different companies running the route, mostly as a main stop on cross-country routes, and whilst it is pretty competitive there''s not that much difference between the fares (varying between 15 and 17 leva) nor the time (about three and a half hours).
If you want to arrive in V Turnovo's city centre the best option is the Etap-Adres service whose drop-off is at the Etar Hotel, which is about as central as you can get. The other services use the city's Yug (South) bus station which is a couple of kilometres out.
The Etap buses are modern and comfortable and the ticket office staff at the bus station are friendly and multi-lingual. Once you've bought your ticket you just board the bus and one of the staff does a head count just before departure to make sure they've got the right numbers. The tickets include a seat reservation and you'll find the seat number on a panel at the bottom of the seat (not the most obvious place to put it!). Any luggage bulkier than a handbag needs to be put in the external luggage compartment and the driver will ask your destination and give you a numbered luggage tag, a copy of which gets attached to your bag.
This becomes a really spectacular journey when the bus reaches the mountains and there are some impressive valley-spanning viaducts on the way. Unfortunately it was snowing when I did this last time and I couldn't get any decent pics through the window but it certainly was scenic.
First website below is for the Sofia Central Bus Station which has a full timetable, second is for the Etap services - both have "English" options.
Veliko Turnovo has two main bus stations, the Avtogari Yug (South) which is about two miles out of the city centre on the main Hristo Botev Str, and the smaller Avtogari Zapad (West) on N Gabrovski Str. In the city centre there is also the bus terminus for the Etap buses which stop here en route between Sofia and Varna. (V Turnovo being about midway this is where the driver has a half-hour rest break)
I arrived from Plovdiv using the Hebros bus service which terminates at the Yug station with a journey time of about 4 hours. Hebros is one of Bulgaria's largest domestic operators and the 1st website below has all their timetables (in Cyrillic).
Leaving I got the Etap bus from the city centre on to Varna which has a journey time of about 3 and a half hours. The bus leaves from in front of the Etar Hotel on Ivailo Str and there is a ticket office at the bus stop. The Etap group are a smaller company than Hebros with modern air-conditioned vehicles mostly covering the long-distance domestic and International routes. 2nd website has their timetables and the link is for the English version.
There is only one direct night train to Istanbul from Veliko Turnovo per day. It leaves at 1806 and arrives the next morning just after 0800. The journey time is about 14 hours. Check bahn.de for up to date times (using stations Veliko Tarnovo and Istanbul Sirkeci as your station locations). Although I paid for a shared cabin I was the only person in mine. The train was very comfortable, but the border formalities are carried out in the middle of the night. You need to get out of the train and complete these in the station (leaving your luggage in your cabin on the train).
Public transportation (bus) is difficult.
Stops may be sign posted, or they may not.
Lots of buses to centre from Tsaravets for instance, but no buses at all to other places.
There is no city bus to the main intercity bus station!
It is good to have a car in Veliko Turnovo but your problem might be parking spaces. Do not park your car in forbidden places, especially as a foreigner.
The Bulgarian police will not hesitate to toll it away.
The trainstation is located a bit outside town, but you can walk the distance (8 kilometres). There is a left luggage. By cab, ask for “Oryahovitsa.” Bus nr 10, 12 and 14 bring you from the station into town. Trains to Sofia cost 9 lv and take 3 hours, trains to Varna cost 10 lv and take 3 hours.
main bustation: Patnicheski Prevosi Bus Station at Nikola Gabrovski street. You can get there by bus 10, 12 and 14. Yhere is also left luggage. Busses to Sofia: 4 hours, 8 lv. Busses to Varna: 4 hours, 9 lv. These busses are uncomfortable and have no airco. Private busses -- these are comfortable -- depart from Yug Station (a street continuing Hristo Botev from the opposite drection of Stefan Stambolev street.). bus to Sofia: 3 hours, 10 lv and to Varna: 3 hours, 9 lv).
Taxis in VT are cheap, so don't be afraid to ride in. But don't expect too much comfort :-)
From the railway station to the city centre, a cab would cost aprox. 5 leva, and you can pay it in EUR (2,5 EUR), as long as you have a small euro note, and get the rest back in leva. Alternatively, a walk will take aprox. 20 minutes - turn left at the main road, go uphill and after about 1km the road takes a U turn. Instead of following the road, go directly through the park alley in front . After a hundred meters you'll reach the museum & obelisc. Cross the bridge to the left and leave a large hotel to your right.
You can even get a cab from VT to the nearby village of Arbanassi (UNESCO site) for about 12-15 leva.