Bucharest is not only Romania’s busy capital city, but it’s also an excellent starting point for several beautiful day trips. For example, a trip to the lovely village of Lovech tucked away in the wilderness and natural splendor of northern Bulgaria.
Mathieu and I went on this exact day trip from Bucharest last summer and were astounded by how much we could explore in a single day. We traveled through Bulgaria and discovered magnificent green waterfalls, amazing caves, and other natural wonders. And that’s only the beginning!
Join us on a tour as we explore the picturesque town of Lovech and everything it has to offer. You won’t want to miss this wonderful Bucharest to Bulgaria day trip, I promise!
How to get to Lovech from Bucharest
There are a few different ways to get there if you’re considering taking a day trip from Bucharest to Lovech. Regardless of the route you take, it won’t take you more than four hours to go from Bucharest to Lovech by any method of transportation.
- Traveling by car is one way to reach Lovech. If you have a car or want to rent a car for the day, choosing this option can be more practical. The route from Bucharest to Lovech is simple to follow thanks to good signage and well-kept roads. You will have many opportunities to stop and enjoy the landscape as you travel through the stunning countryside of Romania and Bulgaria.
- Another alternative is to take the bus from Bucharest to Lovech if you’d rather not drive. Numerous bus companies provide consistent service between the two cities, leaving from both the airport and the city center of Bucharest. The buses are cozy and have facilities like air conditioning and onboard restrooms. Remember that because buses make more stops along the way, the trip may take a little longer by bus than by automobile.
- There is also a daily rail service from Bucharest to Lovech if you would rather take the train. As you travel to Lovech by train, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The first and second classes, as well as other seating options, are available on the pleasant trains. Although the train may take a little bit longer than the other means of transportation to get to Lovech, it may also be a more leisurely and delightful option.
Regardless of the means of transportation you use, a day trip from Bucharest to Lovech is basic and generally simple. With so many choices, you may pick the one that most closely matches your requirements and tastes. And before you know it, you’ll be on your way to the lovely town of Lovech, prepared to take advantage of everything it has to offer.
Our day trip from Bucharest to Bulgaria
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, this Balkan road trip is hard to recommend to foreigners. This is only because even though the staff was 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 used to and comfortable with doing this, but it might not be a feasible option for everyone.
If you wish to book a bus tour for your day trip from Bucharest, you can check out a more foreigner-friendly option, by searching for Viator Romania, for example. 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!
In truth, 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.
How we visited Bulgaria twice in less than one hour
Getting on with our story, now. We began our day trip from Bucharest early in the morning. Before crossing the border at Giurgiu, our bus 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 their 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 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 a French guy was 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! It was already an amazing day trip from Bucharest judging by this!
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.
The cave, which takes its name from the nearby village of Orlova Chuka, is estimated to have developed some 50 million years ago. It consists of several subterranean rooms and tunnels that are decorated with stalactites, stalagmites, and other remarkable rock formations. Additionally, Orlova Chuka Cave is home to a wide range of unusual and fascinating plant and animal life, including numerous kinds of bats.
Visitors can join guided tours inside Orlova Chuka Cave. The tours normally take visitors into a segment of the cave for an hour and emphasize its most fascinating and amazing elements. Visitors of all ages can join the tour because the cave is well-lit and simple to navigate around.
We arrived too early for our morning tour, 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 Cave: one of them speaks Bulgarian and Romanian, and the other speaks Bulgarian and French. Luckily for Mathieu, it was the latter who showed up that day. And, for the rest of the group, someone who was better than me at French offered to translate into 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 of our day trip from Bucharest 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
Orlova Chuka Cave is open to the public daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is 6 leva, or around €3. The cave is located in 7158, Bulgaria, and further information can be obtained by calling +359 89 556 7533.
The Green Krushuna Waterfalls
After our fun visit to the Orlova Chuka Cave, we got back on the bus and continued our day trip from Bucharest to the Krushuna Waterfalls, in the Maarata region of Bulgaria.
These stunning waterfalls are located in the scenic hamlet of Krushuna in northeastern Bulgaria and are produced by the Krushuna River as it rushes through a series of stepped rock formations, creating a sequence of cascading falls that are a sight to behold.
The Krushuna Waterfalls are surrounded by a beautiful forest, so it’s no wonder they’re a favorite destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts. Various hiking paths in the vicinity provide spectacular views of the waterfalls and surrounding terrain. If you want to rest and refresh, visit Krushuna Springs — natural mineral water springs with therapeutic properties.
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 on our day trip from Bucharest. 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
The Krushuna Waterfalls are open 24 hours a day. Admission is 2 leva per car (about €1) and 3 leva per person (approximately €1.5). The waterfalls are located at 5561 Krushuna, Bulgaria.
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.
Devetashka Cave is a big natural cave near the town of Lovech in northern Bulgaria. It has a lengthy history, with human occupancy traces reaching back to the Neolithic period. The Thracians, and subsequently the Romans and Byzantines, utilized it as a refuge. Furthermore, the cave was more recently used as a military base by the Bulgarian army.
This Lovech cave is anything but small. It’s very tall, and the openings in its ceiling allow a lot of light inside and encourage the vegetation to grow wild. Devetaki 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 bird species.
Mathieu enjoyed the visit here a lot. Just like me, he felt as if it were a visit to a movie set, not a place created by nature only.
Located at 5555 Devetaki, Bulgaria, Devetashka Peshtera is available to the public 24 hours a day, and admission is 3 leva (about €1.5) for adults and 2 leva (about €1) for students. The Devetashka Cave price is great value, making it an inexpensive and delightful day trip option.
Lovech, the Firenze of the Balkans
Still in awe after we visited the famous Lovech cave, we left Devetashka Cave and headed to the last destination of our day trip from Bucharest: the town of Lovech.
Lovech is a lovely village in the heart of Bulgaria that offers a plethora of historical, cultural, and natural attractions. Located on the Osam River and encircled by undulating hills and beautiful woodlands, there are lots of places to see and things to do in Lovech:
- Lovech Fortress, built in the Middle Ages, is one of the city’s most recognizable attractions. Tourists frequently visit this stronghold to see its historic towers and walls and learn about the town’s past.
- The Covered Bridge over the Osam River is another must-see attraction in Lovech. The bridge unites the two halves of the town and it’s a distinctive piece of construction and a significant representation of Lovech.
- Hajji Nikoli Inn should be visited by anybody with an interest in the town’s cultural past. The inn is a 19th-century structure that has been conserved and is now a museum depicting Lovech’s traditional way of life.
- In addition to these historical sites, Lovech is home to several other cultural attractions, such as the Ivan Vazov National Literary Museum and the Lovech Regional History Museum.
At the end of our Bulgaria day trip from Bucharest, everybody got to wander around to their heart’s content. Some went up to the medieval fortress, and others, like ourselves, wandered in the city.
When we reached the Covered Bridge of Lovech, I felt like 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, the number of shops on the historic bridge disappointed me. That didn’t stop me from getting a souvenir, though. (A crochet bunny, in case you’re wondering!)
In the remaining time of our day trip from Bucharest, we found the lovely Fe Coffee and Friends where we sipped on some great sangrias. We truly appreciated that the fruits were on skewers inside the glasses, and we believe more establishments should be serving it like that.
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.
Fe Coffee and Friends
Fe Coffee and Friends is open every day of the week from 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM. The atmosphere is cozy and they serve excellent sangria. You can find them at 2 ul. Mostova, 5500 Varosha, Lovech, Bulgaria, and you can call +359 87 713 1469 to make a reservation.
Just in case you’re hungry or have more time in town, here are some suggestions for restaurants in Lovech Bulgaria to enjoy lunch or dinner:
- Vodenitsata Restaurant. This restaurant is well-known for its traditional Bulgarian menu, which includes dishes like kyufte, kavarma, and banitsa.
- Pizzeria Napoli. For pizza lovers, Napoli is a popular option, offering a large assortment of pizza toppings.
- Zdravetz Restaurant. This Lovech restaurant offers a variety of international and Bulgarian dishes, such as pasta, salads, and grilled meats. Additionally, a huge variety of vegetarian options are available.
- Osobeno Restaurant. Modern Bulgarian cuisine is served in this upscale restaurant in Lovech with an emphasis on regional ingredients. They also offer an extensive wine list to pick from.
- Shtastliveca Restaurant. This place is known for traditional European and Bulgarian cuisine with an emphasis on regional products, with a large variety of vegetarian dishes.
All in all, you’ll quickly discover that Lovech has a diverse dining scene, suitable for every taste and price range.
Discover the charm of Lovech on a day trip from Bucharest
In conclusion, a day trip from Bucharest to Lovech is a fun and worthwhile experience for Balkan travelers. There are several attractions to see in this picturesque town, including the Lovech Fortress and the charming Covered Bridge. And on the way, you can explore the Orlova Chuka Cave and the Devetaki Cave, and refresh yourself in the Krushuna Waterfalls. So if you’re considering several day trips from Bucharest to Bulgaria, I recommend you place Lovech at the top of your list!