Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
This week The Travelling Miller Family is in historic Veliko Tarnovo, the ancient capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Tarnovo was a global centre for arts and learning and, in its day, was considered a "New Constantinople" or even the "Third Rome." Today the city remains thriving and is a university town and a tourist centre full of both big world name and local Bulgarian craft shops.
The big attraction in the small city is the Tsarevets Fortress, the ancient fortification of the Second Bulgarian Empire that protected the old city. There is a large old town that is very popular as well as a modern city as well. The city is located on several hills and has a winding river running through it making it a little difficult to navigate but even so remains relatively walkable.
If you want the traditional European vacation destination with views, shopping and loads to eat, Tarnovo will deliver. But it remains a bit out of the way as well. Bulgaria has its share of tourists but is not a primary tourist destination as far as Europe goes and Tarnovo is far from the crowds of the Black Sea cities like Varna and is not a transportation hub like Sofia. There is a train that lets you get here easily from Sofia or Bucharest, though. Tarnovo provides a moderately low cost destination with enough to see and do to keep you happy for several days: you'll want two days here for sure as walking the old town, enjoying the food, hitting the museums and touring the Tsarevets will take up quite some time. And it is pretty easy to hit if you are moving between Sofia and Varna or Sofia and Bucharest during your trip!
View from the upper end of the old town...