Before our road trip around Bulgaria last September, we spent a long time trying to figure out how we were going to get from Bucharest to Veliko Tarnova using public transport. We trawled through TripAdvisor forums, blog posts and various websites, and most advised that this journey was anything but straightforward. Most said that the trip would involve a few transfers and long waits for connections. But this was not our experience at all and we enjoyed a stress and hassle-free journey with locals on the bus. For anybody planning on making this trip, I hope you find this post useful.
While looking up various transfers, we stumbled upon the excellent Pegasus website which has a regular bus service between Bucharest and Ruse. We decided to book our ticket online but most others just bought directly from the driver. A single ticket costs 22.00 лв. / BGN and journey time is c.1 hr 45 mins. The bus leaves from a small car park opposite Hotel Horoscop in front of Caffe Millano, just a few minutes’ walk from the old town in Bucharest. There’s no sign for the bus stop and the only way we knew we were in the right place was that there was a handful of other passengers with luggage gathered around. When twenty minutes after our expected departure time had passed and there was still no bus in sight, everybody was beginning to get anxious. Luckily one of the Bulgarian passengers was able to call the driver and we were informed that he would be arriving shortly. Other than our delayed start, everything ran smoothly. The border crossing and checking of passports was also quite fast. The minibus was modern and comfortable.
When we arrived at the Yug Bus Station in Ruse, we hadn’t a clue how we were going to get to Veliko Tarnova and there were no timetables or information in English. We had looked up the BGrazpisanie website beforehand for timetables but weren’t sure how accurate it was. Unfortunately you can’t buy tickets from this site. Thankfully a Russian lady who could speak fluent Bulgarian took us under her wing and made enquiries at the various ticket kiosks in the station until she found us a connection to Veliko Tarnova. To decipher where the buses are going you really cannot get by without having the name of the town or city you wish to travel to in Cyrillic. I would recommend googling it in advance and saving it on your phone. Our Russian friend brought us to our bus and placed us under the watchful eye of a Bulgarian lady who was going to a place near Veliko Tarnova. The bus company we used was Alex OK and the tickets cost us 11 лв. / BGN each. The journey took approximately 2 hrs 30 mins.