For over a thousand years, Stara Planina – known to foreigners as the Balkan range – has been the cradle of the Bulgarian nation. It was here that the Khans established the First Kingdom, and here, too, after a period of Byzantine control, that the Boyars proclaimed the Second Kingdom and created a magnificent capital at Veliko Tarnovo. The nearby Sredna Gora (Central Mountains) were inhabited as early as the fifth millennium BC, but for Bulgarians this forested region is best known as the Land of the April Rising, the nineteenth-century rebellion for which the picturesque town of Koprivshtitsa will always be remembered.

Although they lie a little way off the main rail lines from Sofia, neither Veliko Tarnovo nor Koprivshtitsa is difficult to reach. The former lies just south of Gorna Oryahovitsa, a major rail junction midway between Varna and Sofia, from where you can pick up a local train or bus; the latter is served by a stop on the Sofia–Burgas line, where six daily trains in each direction are met by local buses to ferry you the 12km to the village itself.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Bulgaria features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

10 reasons to visit Plovdiv, Bulgaria

10 reasons to visit Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Billed as the oldest continually inhabited city in Europe, Bulgaria’s second city of Plovdiv is also one of the continent’s brightest upcoming stars. As wel…

09 Feb 2015 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
Ten central & Eastern European sites to mark the WWI Centenary

Ten central & Eastern European sites to mark the WWI Centenary

Most of us know that World War I started with the assassination of an Austrian Archduke in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. For the English-speaking world, howe…

02 Apr 2014 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
18 places to go back in time

18 places to go back in time

1. Smicksburg, Pennsylvania, USA The Amish way of life has changed relatively little over the last century. In the town of Smicksburg, Pennsylvania, is an Old …

16 Jan 2014 • Helen Abramson camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month