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 :)
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!
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.
Public buses in Turnovo run infrequently and you don't really need one if you're staying somewhere in the centre as all sights are in walking distance. The only helpful bus I found is the No. 10 which runs between the Western bus station (4km from the centre) and the train station is Gorna Oryakhovitsa (8km from Turnovo, trains between Sofia & Varna stop here). The bus ticket is 0,50 Leva.
Alternatively take a taxi, fares are quite cheap just make sure the drives uses the meter.
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.
Moving around is so easy and actually there are 3 bus stations in town
The most furthest from the center you can find buses running to little towns around as Pavlikeni
There are 2 more..the main station is Yug bus station located at the end of the downstreet Hristo botev ...1km away from the center where there are a lot of agencies that run everywhere...
Regular bus service is available from Sofia and Varna to Veliko Turnovo with the buses arriving at the ?Yug? (South) bus station or next to Hotel ?Etar? (depending on which company you?re using).
Maybe the most useful station is just beneath Etar Hotel... where you dont find any normal station is just a span of street where there is the office where to purchase your ticket and you can see schedules and destinations...This is the point to catch the Bus to Sofia (3.5h and 12 levas aprox)
Try to go in advance in order to dont lose your sit ....
Its a little bit confused seek this "station" ... you just have to walk 2 (small) blocks from the Maika Bulgaria sculpture going down to hristo Botev and turn left
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".
Going by train from Bucharest to Veliko Tarnovo requires a couple of hours more than by car, but it can get more economically. While at this time i'm not aware of any direct bus connection leaving Bucharest (although there are dozens of buses running through Bulgaria on their way to Turkey or Greece), i believe train is a good choice.
A few points:
1 - Romanian railways www.cfr.ro and Bulgarian ones http://www.bdz.bg/ do not mention international rutes on their websites
2 - there are two direct trains from Bucharest to Veliko Tarnovo (the one heading to Istanbul and the one for Sofia). However, check in advance at 9522 (from Romania) whether the Istanbul one has not changed route.
3 - Return trains (VT - Bucharest) usually arrive late. Return train from istanbul may have different timetable depending on the day of the week, so check in advance.
4 - return ticket costs 90 lei (25 EUR),. Should you wish to stretch legs, couchette supplement can be bought on train for 5 EUR each.
5 - journey takes about 51/2 - 6 hours.
6 - do not expect to get English speaking persons in the Veliko Tarnovo railway station.
It is better to come to Veliko Turnovo by bus because it stops near the center. Some bus companies stop at the main bus station that is situated far away from the center but it is possible to catch a city bus. Some companies stop at the hotel Etyr that is closer to the center. I paid for the taxi from the Hotel Etyr to the old part of the town 3 Leva - I know that I could have been cheaper although it was affordable. I paid 2,5 Leva for a distance three times longer going to the Transfiguration Monastery.
The train station is outside of the town and not easy to reach. You can take a taxi. Ask for the price first and say that you pay the fee indicated on the taximeter. There are a lot of taxis there and everyone wants to earn money. Be patient! The taxi drivers were very nice to me.
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".
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).
The bus station is not far from the center.It's a walkable distance but those who don't like to walk with a heavy backpack can opt for a taxi. It sends many buses daily towards Sofia , Varna and numerous other destinations in Bulgaria. The most popular Bulgarian bus companies are Etap, Group and Biomed.
Yes, Veliko Tarnovo has a train station as well. However it is not very conveniently located, about 3km from the center. Your best bet is to take one of the honest taxi's who will take you to the center for around 1.5 - 2 Leva (0.75 - 1ý). Veliko Tarnovo is situated on a small rail line, so for popular destinations such as Sofia or Varna you'll have to change at nearby Gorna Orjahovitsa.
When you're tired of walking or when you need to go to a place out of town (such as Arbanasi or the train station) your best option is a taxi. I found all taxis surprisingly honest (especially compared to other Bulgarian cities) and the drivers are friendly as well. Fares are very cheap.
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.