Day trip from Bucharest: What to see on the way to lovely Lovech

The cold outside is making me think about Summer when we were actually struggling to escape the sun. Like our day trip from Bucharest when we got to discover the wilderness and nature of Northern Bulgaria. In just one day, we explored two incredible caves, admired cool emerald waterfalls, and visited the town of Lovech.  And we also entered Bulgaria twice in the morning. Wait, what?! Just read on and you’ll soon find out.


How to get to Bulgaria from Bucharest

Mathieu and I booked a tour with a Romanian travel agency to go on this day trip from Bucharest. While very affordable, and with a great itinerary for this trip, it’s hard to recommend it to foreigners. This is only because even though the staff was really nice and friendly, none of them was able to communicate directly with Mathieu.  It worked for us because I translated all the information for him, and I’m really used and comfortable with doing this, but it might not be a feasible option for everyone.

If you really wish to book a bus tour for your day trip from Bucharest, you can check out a more foreigner-friendly option,  provided by Viator. However, the price they have in USD is the same number we paid in RON. Therefore, we know for sure they’re not advertising the lowest available price. And our tour also included an extra cave!

Actually, the most affordable option is to rent a car, even if it means paying an additional cross-border fee. And with a GPS you should be fine, even if you can’t read the Bulgarian road signs. This will also make it easy to stop whenever you want during your day trip from Bucharest.


sunflower fields in northern bulgaria spotted during our day trip from bucharest
Sunflower fields forever!

How we visited Bulgaria twice in less than one hour

Getting on with our story, now. The bust left from the center of Bucharest early in the morning. Before crossing the border at Giurgiu, we stopped at a gas station. There, we had some coffee and get to know some of our travel companions. The tour guides kept telling everyone to have our IDs or passports ready for passing the border to Bulgaria.

When we arrived at the customs, we passed the Romanian checkpoint directly and arrived on the Bulgarian side. When the border police came to check our IDs, there was a lady who realized she forgot her ID at home. She tried to negotiate to get to Bulgaria with her driving license or a photo of her ID, but, of course, that didn’t work. Sadly for her, that’s where her day trip from Bucharest ended.

So we had to cross the Danube back again, drop the lady, and explain to the Romanian border police what happened. Luckily, someone who had just entered the country who offered to help her with a car ride. 

The rest of us crossed the bridge over the Danube again and tries getting into Bulgaria again. We had another hiccup because our tour guide forgot that there was a French guy traveling with the group (I wonder who 🙂 ), but, in the end, it was ok.

But hey, Mathieu never visited Bulgaria until then, and he got to enter the country twice before 09.00 am!


Inside the Orlova Chuka Cave
Inside the Orlova Chuka Cave

The musical Orlova Chuka Cave

After driving through bright sunflower fields near the Pepelina Village, we made it to Orlova Chuka, in the Ruse National Park. With a length of 13,437 meters, Orlova Chuka is the second-longest cave in Bulgaria.

However, we arrived too early, so we all went to sit at some picnic tables and eat from the snacks each of us packed. There was also some time to take a look at the scenic view from the nearby Eagle Rock. After that, we waited for our cave guide to show up and take us inside Orlova Chuka.

Now, we were told that there are two guides at Orlova Chuka: one of them speaks Bulgarian and Romanian, the other speaks Bulgarian and French. Luckily for Mathieu, the latter was the one who showed up that day. And, for the rest of the group, someone who was better than me at French offered to translate in Romanian. 🙂

We followed the Bulgarian guide down 124 stone steps and finally arrived at the Orlova Chuka Cave. There, he opened the cave’s iron gate with a key and invited us in.

The interior of the cave is amazing. It has several halls with white undulated walls. The largest one is the Concert Hall, where the guide took out his harmonica and demonstrated the acoustics, then played a song on some stalactites.

The Bulgarian guide not only explained everything in great detail, but he also made the cave visit very entertaining. When we passed through the wide tunnel, he said that this is the cave’s Avenue des Champs-Élysées. He even had us join him on the chorus of the famous song while we passed through it. 

But my favorite part was when we went through narrow winding tunnels, and the guide played his harmonica for us to follow his song and not get lost.

Orlova Chuka Cave in the Ruse National Park
Open daily from 10.00 to 17.00. A ticket costs 6 leva (around € 3).
Address: 7158, Bulgaria | See on map
Tel. +359 89 556 7533


The Green Krushuna Waterfalls

After our fun visit in the Orlova Chuka Cave, we got back on the bus and we headed to the emerald Krushuna Waterfalls, in the Maarata region of Bulgaria.

We arrived in a crowded parking lot, the sun was burning, and we felt so envious when we passed by a strand with people chilling in a big pool. But we soon entered the thick forest, and not only was our path shaded, but it followed a water stream, so we managed to cool down soon.

I had never heard about the Krushuna Waterfalls before and didn’t even research them before our trip. This is why I was genuinely surprised when I saw the waterfalls and the pools of water surrounded by lush vegetation. This sight made me think of Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes.

I later found out that this is the biggest travertine cascade in Bulgaria, and the main waterfall is around 20 meters high. Not only that, but the pools have mineral water!

We spent a lot of time admiring the Krushuna Waterfalls and wandering through the park. In the end, we had to choose between getting lunch and visiting a grotto. We went with the food because we were starving!

Krushuna Waterfalls in the Maarata National Park
Open 24 hours. Tickets cost 2 leva per car (around € 1), and 3 leva per person (around € 1.5).
Address: 5561 Krushuna, Bulgaria | See on map
Tel. +359 88 633 1800


Rediscovering Devetashka Cave near Lovech, Bulgaria

Once we left the Krushuna Waterfalls, we headed to my favorite place in Bulgaria: the Devetashka Cave! I had already been to the Devetashka Cave, during my amazing Balkan road trip. I was left breathless the first time I stepped foot in it: it didn’t resemble any other cave that I had visited before. And this cave is actually why I booked this day trip from Bucharest: I really wanted Mathieu to get to see it, too.

The Devetashka Cave is anything but small. It’s really tall, and the openings in its ceiling allow a lot of light inside and encourage the vegetation to grow wild. The cave is also full of life, not just because it is the home of huge bat colonies, but also because it’s a nesting area for several birds species.

Mathieu really liked the visit here. Just like me, he felt as if it were a visit on a movie set, not in a place created by nature only.

Devetashka Cave
Open 24 hours. Tickets cost 3 leva for adults (around € 1.5) and 2 leva for students (around € 1).
Address: 5555 Devetaki, Bulgaria | See on map


Historical covered bridge in Lovech, Bulgaria
Historical covered bridge in Lovech, Bulgaria

Lovech, the Firenze of the Balkans

Still in awe, we left the Devetashka Cave and headed to our last destination: the town of Lovech. Here, everybody got to wander around to their heart’s content. Some went up to the medieval fortress, others, like ourselves, wandering in the city. 

At one point, we arrived at the covered wooden bridge of Lovech, and for me, it was kind of like Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. But, of course, built in the style of the Balkans.

Just like in Florence, though, I was disappointed by the number of shops on the historic bridge. That didn’t stop me from getting a souvenir, though. (A crochet bunny, in case you’re wondering!)

In the time we had left, we found the lovely Fe Coffee and Friends where we sipped on some great sangrias. We really appreciated that the fruits were on skewers inside the glasses,  and we believe more establishments should be serving it like that.

What a wonderful world written on the wall of Fe Coffee and Friends
On the wall of Fe Coffee and Friends

I took the photo above because that’s how I felt at the time, too. It was a great day trip from Bucharest and a wonderful opportunity for Mathieu to visit Bulgaria for the first time.

Covered bridge, Lovech
Open 24 hours.
Address: 5503 Вароша, Lovech, Bulgaria | See on map

Fe Coffee and Friends
Open daily from 08.00 to 23.00. Great sangria and cozy atmosphere.
Address: 2 ul. Mostova, 5500 Varosha, Lovech, Bulgaria | See on map
Tel. +359 87 713 1469 | Facebook


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26 Thoughts to “Day trip from Bucharest: What to see on the way to lovely Lovech”

  1. Beautiful. Now I want to visit!

  2. What a stunning day trip! I would totally have done it as well. Never been to Bucharest before but I must put it on my to-travel-to list!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing with us your trip ❤

  4. The green waterfalls look beautiful surrounded by so much greenery! Makes me want to travel there!

  5. nancy_ycnan

    Thank you very much for such useful information! what a wonderful trip, wish i can have time to go travel as well

  6. Renee

    Great post! Hope to be able to visit here someday in the future.

  7. Loved every bit of it! Especially sunflower field is so beautiful.

  8. Just looking at those images makes me want to go there. This is a great post, I hope to visit here one day.

  9. This makes me want to go the Bucharest. Thank you for sharing! ?

  10. What a great idea for a day trip! I’m saving this for the moment I finally visit Bucharest – it’s been on my list for so many years! ? Do you think it’s also possible to do the tour on a motorcycle (and rent one in Bucharest)? Could be fun ?

  11. thanks for this! i really want to visit Bulgaria next year ! and those waterfalls!!! Just feel like jumping in! thanks for all the details/prices!

  12. Wow! the picture Amazed me! I really want to visit that place so beautiful and loving nature. I love it!

  13. I have never been to Romania or Bulgaria before but I really want to and this post only made me want to go even more to Bucharest!

    1. I’m happy I reached my goal of making others want to visit, Emilio! I hope you come over soon, both countries have so much to offer.

  14. Samantha Immer

    Oh my gosh that waterfall is stunning! And there is so much green. We don’t have a lot of that here in Colorado. Its one of the reasons I want to travel the world.

  15. Elena

    Wow those pictures are amazing!!

  16. I would love to discover the wilderness and nature of Northern Bulgaria. The caves are intriguing as well as the rest of the landscape.

  17. Ronesha

    Looks like a great place to visit. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Matija

    Bulgaria is beautiful and so many locations that need to be seen, especially the cave and the waterfalls, sure there are some blunders with people, but that is normal, at least it wasn’t a long trip back, and the police were understanding at least, also I have never been to Lovech, which is a shame since Bulgaria is like a couple of hours drive from me, thank you for showing me a new place that I should probably visit and explore.

  19. Phill Slater

    I’ve been to Bucharest many times but never done this day trip. Lovely photos.

  20. Elena

    What a wonderful experience for you, thanks for sharing!

  21. Neil Alvin Nicerio

    I have always wanted to see each corner of the world. Thank you for sharing your story about Bucharest. I will be using your article to my adventure in that wonderful place.

  22. Sarbjit

    The pictures are really beautiful !!! Worth a place to spend your entire day !!! Nice travelouge !!!

  23. I never been to Bulgaria but it seems like a wonderful place, especially Orlova and the waterfalls!

  24. Elizabeth O

    You covered quite a bit and took some amazing photos on your trip. What a beautiful country and landscape.

  25. Elizabeth

    This is somewhere I’d really love to visit one day. I’ve never been to Bulgaria before! Gorgeous photos!

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