Apriltsi, Bulgaria – 6 Surprisingly Interesting Places to See

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I’m going to be honest. Apriltsi was never on my list of must-visit places in Bulgaria. But some friends of mine wanted to come here so I decided to tag along. It turned out that Apriltsi is not only a touristy resort and has quite a few things to see, but it’s also in very close proximity to some of the biggest landmarks in Bulgaria. So keep reading to find out what to expect and what  are the best things to do in Apriltsi!

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The history of Apriltsi

Apriltsi is a city in Central Bulgaria,  made out of the merge of 4 big villages which are now considered neighborhoods of the city. These are Novo Selo, Zla Reka, Vidima and Ostrets.

Although already accepted as one whole city, you will often hear from the locals that they are from the village of Zla Reka or Novo Selo, for example, and not from Apriltsi.

The merger happened in 1976 and the name Apriltsi was chosen in honor of the heroes from the region who took part in the April Uprising of 1876 against the Ottoman empire.

Things to do in Apriltsi

The convenience of the city of Apriltsi is that all the sights are located in the Novo Selo neighborhood. The city itself is not big but the fact that the most important places to visit are just minutes away from each other makes exploring the city extremely easy and fast.

You will need no more than a few hours to explore Apriltsi and maybe a whole day to also explore the sights around the city.

  1. “Holy Trinity” Monastery of Novo Selo

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One of the biggest landmarks in Apriltsi is the “Holy Trinity” Monastery of Novo Selo – a convent founded in 1830. The monastery is located just a few minutes away from the central square of the neighborhood Novo Selo.

The complex consists of a church, a chapel dedicated to St. Ivan Rilski, and residential and farm buildings. Peter Yonchev was the initiator of the building of the monastery. Legend has it that he sent his young daughter to the monastery in the city of Kalofer but her sorrow for her hometown was too big, so he decided to build the monastery here.

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The “Holy Trinity” Monastery played a major role during the April Uprising of 1876 – clothes were being made here, food was cooked and bread was baked for the rebels. It is considered that the monastery was often visited by Vasil Levski – one of the biggest heroes in Bulgarian history.

Sadly, the monastery was burned and looted, but after the Liberation it was rebuilt from the local people

Today the monastery has no permanent inhabitants but despite that it’s still active and well maintained by the municipality.

The walk to the monastery is really nice and when combined with good weather you can even stay in the yard under the trees and enjoy the peace and silence of the city of Apriltsi.

 

2. Church “St. George the Victorious”

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Another symbol of the city located near the monastery is the church “St. George the Victorious” The temple-monument was built in memory of those who died in the April Uprising of 1876. The construction of the temple began in 1895 and was built with state funds.

On the left side of the entrance to the temple you will see big memorials listing the names of all who died during the April Uprising along with information about them and the manner in which they died.

3. Church “St. Petka Paraskeva”

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Although completely abandoned and neglected, the church “St. Petka Paraskeva” is considered a cultural monument of national importance.

The church was built during the Renaissance and is unique for the fact that it is completely dug into the ground.

At first we had difficulty finding the exact location of the church because it was not marked on Google Maps. After some wandering, we decided that the best option would be to ask the locals who directed us to the cemetery.

In order to find the church, head to the back of the central square in Novo Selo where there is a staircase leading to the top of the hill. There you will pass through an iron gate and you will have to walk a few meters through the cemetery until you see the interesting church.

 

Things to do around Apriltsi

4. The Troyan Monastery

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The Troyan Monastery is the third biggest monastery in Bulgaria after Rila Monastery and Bachkovo Monastery. It’s located in the village Oreshak – 10 km away from Troyan and 25 km away from Apriltsi, which is approximately 30 minutes drive away from here.

The monastery was established in the late 16th century and is quite impressive, to say the least. It’s famous for its architecture, wood carvings and beautiful frescoes by Zahari Zograf. The monastery is also famous for its miraculous icon “St. Bogorodica Trojeručica”.

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This place was a famous literary center and a revolutionary center in the middle of the 19th century. Here Vasil Levski established a revolutionary committee in which all monks took part. In the museum you can see the hiding place of Vasil Levski, the room of Tsar Boris III and a lot of other interesting things that testify to this past era.

5. Staro Stefanovo Architectural Reserve

The village of Staro Stefanovo is located in the easternmost part of the Lovech foothills and is located 20 km away from the city of Lovech and 33 km away from Apriltsi. This is the only architectural reserve in this area with around 100 cultural monuments from the mid-19th century.

Staro Stefanovo is one of the oldest settlements in the Lovech region with a certain ancient Bulgarian origin. There are “Kaleto” and several Thracian mounds around.

As if the old part of the village kept its authentic Bulgarian spirit and preserved its architecture from the 19th century.

If you have the time, you should definitely go to Staro Stefanovo and enjoy this not so popular among tourists, but charming place. Take a walk through the winding streets and enjoy the old buildings, churches and other landmarks around.

6. The village of Oreshak

Just 20 km away from Apriltsi on the coast of the river “Black Osam” you will find village Oreshak. At first sight it’s an ordinary village, but if you look deeper you will understand that a large number of sights are concentrated here.

Troyan monastery, The national exhibition of arts, the Crafts fair and others are just a small part of the things that can be visited here.

An annual festival of the plum and plum-made rakia takes place during the last month of September in the village Oreshak. During the festival you can become a spectator of the competition for the best rakia and you can also taste it.

 

Where to stay in Apriltsi

I had the opportunity to visit Apriltsi twice. The first time we were a large group of friends and we stayed at a guest house in the city. The second time I visited with my family and we stayed in this beautiful cozy house in traditional Bulgarian style, which was located just about 12 km away from Apriltsi.

It’s called Karashka House – an old guest house which has been restored using only natural materials such as stone, wood and clay so as to preserve its original appearance but at the same time to be adapted to modern life.

The house can accommodate up to 5 people. On the upper floor there are 3 bedrooms – two double ones and one single one, as well as a bathroom. Downstairs you’ll find the kitchen and living room, which are fully equipped. As my mother said  – “we have never seen such well equipped accommodation in any AirBnb we’ve been in”. And it’s true.

If you wish to see what Karshka House has to offer, visit their website.

Apriltsi pleasantly surprised us and I hope it does the same with you. My favourite landmarks here remain Novoselski Monastery and Troyan Monastery, which are a must visit.

Follow me on Instagram: @bulgarianonthego, here I share photos and impressions from similar places in Bulgaria and around the world.

 

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Travel Resources

For travelling in Bulgaria, I highly recommend renting a car so you are able to visit as many places as possible without being dependent on buses and trains. One of the biggest and most reliable car rental companies is Top Rent a Car. I’ve used their services and was very happy with them, so I can definitely recommend them. Click here to discover car rental options.

You can find the best accommodation options at Booking. They have many discounts and excellent customer service. Click here to look for a place to stay in Apriltsi. 

Organized tours can spare you the hassle of planning the full trip by yourself. You can find a great selection of tours at Get Your Guide – click here.

Make sure to have the offline map always installed on your phone, as they can save you so many troubles. I always use the free app Maps.Me.


Are you planning a trip to Bulgaria? Here are even more useful blog posts:

25 Gorgeous Places to visit in Bulgaria

25 Best Things to do in Veliko Tarnovo – Tips from a Local

Hand-picked city guide: 27 Awesome Things to do in Plovdiv

Kovachevitsa and Leshten – Bulgaria’s fairytale villages

28 Delightful Things to do in Bansko for every season

7 Top Things to do in Sofia, Bulgaria

22 Unmissable Things to do in Tryavna, Bulgaria

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- This article may contain affiliate links. For every purchase made through one of these links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps me keep the blog going and provide even more useful information to you. Thank you! -

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