Gabrovo (Bulgarian: Габрово) is a city in the Balkan region of Bulgaria. The city is also home to two museums, several historical churches and monuments in and historic bridges over the Yantra River, all popular destinations for tourists and sightseers.
Once an industrial city which produced much of Bulgaria's textiles, carpets and clothing, Gabrovo has reinvented itself since the fall of communism as a popular tourist destination, providing a comfortable place to stay, shop and dine and quick access to many local destinations. The town won one of the biggest prizes in a national survey for "The best living town in Bulgaria": Gabrovo won the "Greenest (Ecological) city" and came in second in readers’ choice contest.
Gabrovo began as communities harnessing the power of the Yantra River for mills and water wheels. A result of this legacy makes Gabrovo the longest city in Bulgaria as it follows the river, running north from the Balkans Mountains.
The city has a continental climate, owing to its position close to the Balkan Mountains and distance from the Black Sea. Gabrovo has hot summers and cold, snowy winters – which is good for the popular ski resorts in the nearby Uzana area. This part of Bulgaria has all four seasons, although spring is brief and falls mainly in April. The average high daily temperature in summer is about 27 °C and in winter about 4 °C.
Its favourable geographical location, at the geographical centre of Bulgaria, makes it possible for Gabrovo to provide quick connections to airports, river ports and seaports across the country. Convenient roads connect the Gabrovo Municipality to many surrounding municipalities and towns.
Gabrovo is at an intersection point of two of the national arterial thoroughfares, which are of great significance to the European road network, i.e. road E-85 as part of the trans-European transport corridor № 9 (Helsinki - St. Petersburg - Kyiv - Bucharest - Rousse - Veliko Tarnovo - Gabrovo - Dimitrovgrad with deviations to Greece and Turkey) and Hemus Motorway Sofia – Varna.
Regular daily buses connect Gabrovo with most of the other major cities in Bulgaria, including Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Rousse and others. These may be dedicated lines, serving only Gabrovo and the other city, or Gabrovo may simply be one stop among many.
Gabrovo may be accessed through a railway spur at an intersection with the European railway line C-E 95 (which runs north-south) in the small village of Tsareva Livada. Stops on the mainline to the north include historic Veliko Turnovo and the major transport hub of Gorna Oryahovitsa and stops to the south include the mountain villages of Tryavna and Raduntsi and the city Stara Zagora on the southern side of the Balkan Mountains. The spur line from Tsareva Livada runs several times a day, though there are sometimes two-hour layovers at the Tsareva Livada railway station between the Gabrovo train and trains running on the main north-south line.
There are no airports in Gabrovo or the neighbouring cities of Kazanluk or Veliko Turnovo. However, arranging transport by bus or train from one of the Bulgarian cities with an airport to Gabrovo is relatively simple.
Gabrovo's distance from Bulgarian airports:
- Sofia – 220 km
- Varna – 274 km
- Bourgas – 234 km
- Plovdiv – 150 km
- Gorna Oryahovitsa – 60 km
Gabrovo is home to many taxis, marshrutkas, 11 urban bus lines  bus lines, four urban trolley lines and five urban minibus lines, all of which offer quick transport at low cost to destinations across the city. The municipal government building, cultural centre, library, theater, the city bazaar (vegetable and farmer's market), several restaurants, bars, shops, hotels, and both museums are also close to the centre of the city, placing them all with in easy walking distance of each other.
Bus transportation is available all around the city. Thanks to the Municipal passenger transport (Общински пътнически транспорт ГАБРОВО) there are around 30 bus lines, which can get you wherever you want to go in Gabrovo city. Some of the buses are new. Ticket price is 1 lev. The official website of Public transport in Gabrovo can be found here. A timetable of all bus stops and routes can be found here [dead link].
- 1 Etar Architectural-Ethnographic Complex (Архитектурно-етнографски комплекс „Етър“) (about 8 km south-east of Gabrovo on E-85), ☏ . Closed in winter, regular business hours in spring, summer and autumn. Usually referred to as Etura, this is a recreation of a Bulgarian Revival Village, similar to what Gabrovo was like during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Built in the 1960s, the complex is home to a number of shops and crafts such as wood-carving, pottery, coppersmith crafts, furriery, cutlery making, needlework etc. There are also shops for souvenirs and a nearby three star hotel with a bar and a restaurant. 5 lev for entrance.
- The House of Humour and Satire (Дом на Хумора и Сатирата), No. 68 Bryanska Blvd. (бул. Брянска 68) (along the Yantra River, about 1 km north of the center of the city). 09:00 - 17:30, closed an hour for lunch. Over the centuries, Gabrovo and the people of Gabrovo developed a reputation for being skinflints. A symbol of the town, a black cat without its tail, comes from the saying that the locals are so cheap, they cut off the tails of the cat in order to open and shut the door as quickly as possible, allowing them to save heat! To their credit, the people of Gabrovo took this reputation and made it their own, eventually establishing a museum in the city which covers this reputation and provides a venue for other aspects of Bulgarian culture and the arts of Gabrovo. 5 lev for entrance.
- Ethnographic Village of Bozhentsi (Етнографското селище Боженци) (about 15 km east of Gabrovo and just north of the Shipka Pass). A village and architectural reserve in Gabrovo municipality, as compared to the city of Gabrovo itself, Bozhentsi was proclaimed an architectural and historical reserve in 1964 and is part of UNESCO's cultural monuments. A Roman bridge lies east of the village and a forest path leading to Tryavna begins on the other side. As a village there is no entry fee, however some of the museums in the village do have entry fees.
- Shipka Memorial (lпаметник „Шипка“) (about 18 km south-east of Gabrovo and 13 km north of the village of Shipka on E-85). A memorial to those who died for the Liberation of Bulgaria during the Battles of Shipka Pass in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. There are several floors inside the a 31.5-m (98-foot) high stone tower where one can find replica of Bulgarian military flags and other relics and the top of the tower reveals a panorama of Shipka Peak and the surrounding area.
- Dryanovo Monastery (lДряновски манастир) (about 20 km north east of Gabrovo, close to the village of Dryanovo on E-85). A functioning Bulgarian Orthodox monastery situated in the Andaka River Valley, It was founded in the 12th century, during the Second Bulgarian Empire and is dedicated to Archangel Michael. Twice burnt down and pillaged during the Ottoman rule of Bulgaria, the monastery was restored at it present place in 1845. It was the site of several battles during the April Uprising of 1876. No entry fee.
- Gradishte (Градище) (about 3 km east of the centre of Gabrovo). It has no set hours, though inhospitable and difficult to access in winter. This is the site of ruins of a fortress dating to antiquity, a picnic area, a children's playground and lovely pine groves. The Gradishte site also features a cliff-top view of Gabrovo. It is a public park and historic site, with no entry fee..
- Sokolski Monastery (Соколски манастир) (about 15 km southwest of Gabrovo, not far from Etura). The Sokolski Monastery is a Bulgarian Orthodox monastery founded in 1833 and named after its founder Yosif Sokolski. It in the Bulgarka Nature Park and is close to the Sokolovo cave. The whole monastery was built during the Bulgarian National Revival with the strong support of the people of Gabrovo and the local villages. The monastery also played an important role during the April Uprising. Spartan rooms are available for rent on a first-come, first serve basis. No entry fee..
- Regional Historical Museum (Регионален исторически музей), Str. 10 Nikolaevska (ул. Николаевска № 10) (about a kilometer south-south-east of the city center). 09:00 - 17:30, closed an hour for lunch. The Historical Museum takes an important place in the cultural life of Gabrovo. The beginning dates back to the first museum collection initiated in 1883 in Aprilov High School by the school principal Raicho Karolev. Nowadays the museum is housed in a beautiful baroque building built in 1904. Its rich collection includes 90 000 exhibits from the Paleolithic era, the late-ancient civilization on these lands (4th-6th centuries BC), the First and Second Bulgarian Kingdom, the Ottoman Empire, the Revival period and the industrial boom, up to present days.. 5 lev for entrance.
- Hristo Tsekov Gallery (Христо Цеков Галерия), No. 10 Kiril and Metodii (ул. Св. Кирил и Методий № 10) (about 650 m due south of the city centre), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. 08:00-18:00. The gallery was opened in 1974. It is named after the first Bulgarian artist with professional education who was born in Gabrovo and graduated the Art School in Moscow. Its permanent exhibition presents valuable models of icons from the icon-painting school in Tryavna. The gallery has four exhibition halls with a total area of 3000 m².
Gabrvo offers a profusion of shopping opportunities, including the Central Mall of Gabrovo [formerly dead link] (just south of the city center), the Terra Mall (north-west of the city centre by about 1 km), a Technopolis (north-west of the city centre by about 3 km) and a Billa Supermarket (north-east of the city centre by about 1 km). In addition are many shops selling souvenirs, clothing, shoes, books and numerous Bulgarian delis, which are referred to as magazines.
- Glineni Garneta (Глинени Гърнета), No. 9 Radion Umikov St. (ул. Радион Умников 9), ☏ . Regular business hours. The establishment serves cakes, pies, fruit cocktails, coffees and similar desserts and snacks. Price range of 8 to 16 lev.
- Tempo (Темпо), No. 1 Shipka St. (ул. Шипка 1), ☏ . Regular business hours. The establishment serves Italian and traditional Bulgarian cuisine. Price range of 8 to 16 lev.
- La Skala (Ла Скалла), No. 3 Radion Umikov St. (ул. Радион Умников 3), ☏ . Regular business hours. The establishment serves pizza and similar foods. Price range of 10 to 25 lev.
- Pri Lovetsa (При Ловеца), No. 17 Emanuil Manolov St. (ул. Емануил Манолов 17), ☏ . Regular business hours. The establishment serves traditional Bulgarian and international cuisine. Price range of 10 to 25 lev.
Drinking establishments are common in Bulgaria and Gabrovo. Beer and alcohol are available at almost all coffee shops, restaurants and shops where food and refreshments are available. There are few establishments which serve only alcohol.
- 1 Sunrise - Swimming Pool, Bar and Relax (Sunrise Vranilovtsi), Mestnost Qzovira 1, Gabrovo 5347, ☏ . 09:00 - 19:00. Sunrise Complex is located in the quiet surroundings near Vranovilci Dam, 12 km from the town of Gabrovo. The complex offers an outdoor swimming pool, a large car park, a bar, a kitchen and free Wi-Fi for all visitors! €5.
- Gabrovo Hills Hotel (Габрово Хилс Хотел), No. 55 Iztok St. (ул. Изток 55) (500 m from the centre of town), ☏ . The hotel offers view of the city of Gabrovo, Buzludzha Peak and Botev Peak and the Balkan range.
- Koliovata House (Колиовата Къща), No. 23 Opulchenska St. (ул. Опълченска 23) (in the old part of the town), ☏ . Guests have the chance to experience the atmosphere typical for a Bulgarian renaissance accommodation.
- Hotel Gabrovo (Хотел Габрово), No. 4 Hemus Blvd. (бул. Хемус 4) (between Gabrovo and Etara), ☏ . This hotel is located between the city of Gabrovo and the Etar Architectural-Ethnographic Complex, offering easy access to both.
- Hotel Balkan (Хотел Балкан), No. 14 Emanuel Manolov St. (ул. Емануил Манолов 14) (in the heart of Gabrovo), ☏ . This hotel is near shops and restaurants. It has a terrace, a night club, a casino and a modern gym.
- 1 Nakovski House, Mestnost Qzovira 1, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 12:00-23:00, check-out: 10:00. "Nakovski House" is in the quiet surroundings near Vranilovtsi dam, 12 km from the town of Gabrovo and 14 km from the town of Sevlievo. The house has a fully equipped kitchenette, en suite bathroom, cable TV and free Wi-Fi access. The complex is richly landscaped and with maintained common spaces, unique architecture and a focus on detail. It offers an outdoor swimming pool with all necessary amenities, a bar and a kitchen. 5 km away is the eco-path "Vita Wall", where you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic walk in the Balkan Mountains. Spend relaxation hours in the garden, immerse yourself in the crystal clear water of the pool or take advantage of the barbecue. €50.
Hiking, biking and camping opportunities are widely available in the nearby Central Balkan National Park and in the Nature Park Bulgarka, which is home to Ethnographic Complex Etara, Dryanovo Monastery, Sokolski Monastery, Shipka Pass, and the Uzana area. Also, the Gradishte Trail (Екопътека Градище) leads from the city centre to the ruined fortress overlooking Gabrovo. The Bozhentsi Trail (Екопътека Боженци - Дряновски манастир) leads to the village and the Dryanovo Monastery.