Present-day Ruse is the fifth largest Bulgarian city and is an important economic, financial and cultural hub.
Ruse is located on the South bank of the Danube, across from the Romanian city of Giurgiu. By road, the city is about 200 km from Varna and 300 km from Sofia. From Romania, a bridge connects Ruse to Giurgiu, which until 2013, when the bridge in Vidin was completed, was serving as the westernmost land connection between the two countries. If you intend to cross the border from Giurgiu, an 3 € (~6 Bulgarian Leva, 13 Romanian Lei) per car crossing tax applies each way.
The closest international airport is 75 km north, in Bucharest, in neighboring Romania - a shuttle bus connects the airport to the city once a day. Alternative airports are Sofia and Varna.
The city is well served by railroads, with multiple connections to Sofia and Varna, but also to Bucharest (2x daily, but note that the train is rather expensive - 25 €, and very slow, taking about 3 hours for the journey), Budapest, Kyiv, Moscow, Athens and Istanbul. The train station is at the southern end of Borisova Avenue, south of the city centre.
Buses also link Ruse to the rest of Bulgaria (different frequencies daily), places in Greece (daily) and to Giurgiu (twice daily) and Bucharest (twice daily at 12h30 and 15h30, takes 1hour and 30min and costs 20lev, drop at Piața Unirii). The bus station is located next to the train station.
Danube cruises generally stop at Ruse harbour.
It is also possible to cross the border without paying the tax by walking the crossing.(See the DO section)
- 1 National Transport Museum (Национален музей на транспорта и съобщенията). Installed on former tracks, with old trains to see.
- 2 Ruse Regional Historical Museum. The Ruse Regional Historical Museum is one of the 11 regional museums of Bulgaria. It acts within the Ruse, Razgrad, and Silistra regions. The museum occupies the building of the former Battenberg Palace, previously a local court, built 1879–1882 by Friedrich Grünanger. The Ruse Regional Historical Museum was established in 1904. Its basis are the archaeological collections of Karel and Hermenguild Shkorpil, as well as of the naturalist Vasil Kovachev, which were gathered in the "Knyaz Boris" men's high school of Ruse. The museum holds approximately 140,000 items, including: prehistoric pottery and idol plastic arts. The museum features seven full-time exhibitions, three of them being open-air: the Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo, the Medieval city of Cherven and the Roman castle of Sexaginta Prista.
- 3 Pantheon of National Revival Heroes (Пантеон на възрожденците). A Bulgarian national monument and an ossuary. 39 famous Bulgarians are buried in it, including Lyuben Karavelov, Zahari Stoyanov, Stefan Karadzha, Panayot Hitov, Tonka Obretenova, Nikola Obretenov, Panayot Volov, Angel Kanchev, etc.; 453 more people—participants in Botev's detachment, the Chervena Voda detachment, in the April uprising, and other revolutionaries have been honoured by writing their names in the interior. An eternal fire burns in the middle under the gold-plated dome. The Pantheon is one of the 100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria. In order to build the Pantheon in 1977, the "All Saints" church in the old Ruse cemetery was demolished. The new building was open for visitors on 28 February 1978. After a public discussion in 2001, the Pantheon was "Christianised" by placing a cross on top of its dome. The "St Paisius of Hilendar" chapel, as well as a museum exposition, were founded then.
- 4 Kaliopa House (Къщата на Калиопа), 39 Tzar Ferdinand St.. A popular name for the Bulgarian "Urban lifestyle of Ruse" museum (Bulgarian: Къща-музей „Градския бит на Русе“), was built in 1864. According to a legend, the house was bestowed upon the beautiful Kaliopa (born Maria Kalish), the wife of the Prussian consul Kalish, by the governor of the Danubian Vilayet, Midhat Pasha, who was in love with her. The façade's design resembles the style of houses in Plovdiv. The frescoes at the upper floor were crafted in 1896. The exposition represents the role of Ruse as a gateway towards Europe, and the influx of European urban culture into Bulgaria at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Sample interior layouts are shown, of a drawing-room, a living-room, a music hall and a bedroom, with furniture from Vienna, as well as collections of urban clothing, of jewellery and other accessories, of silver cutlery and porcelain, which mark the changes present in the daily life of Ruse citizens. The first grand piano, imported into Bulgaria from Vienna, can be seen here.
- Cross the border without paying the tax by walking the crossing. The border patrol will check passports and ID on both sides and it takes approx. 15 minutes to walk. However, the bridge itself is far from both the town of Ruse and Giurgiu and this can either require a taxi or hitching. You can take buses 11 or 25 from Pantheon bus stop to arrive to the bridge.
- Visit 1 The Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo (Bulgarian: Ивановски скални църкви, Ivanovski skalni tsarkvi). A group of monolithic churches, chapels and monasteries hewn out of solid rock and completely different from other monastery complexes in Bulgaria, located near the village of Ivanovo, 20 km south of Ruse, on the high rocky banks of the Rusenski Lom, 32 m above the river. The complex is noted for its beautiful and well-preserved medieval frescoes.
In order to get there you can take a train to Ivanovo (2 lev each way) from the main train station in Ruse, it will take 25 min, then walk to the north part of the town and turn right when you see the sign about the Ivanovo Cave Monasteries. There is a 6 km walk but you can hitchhike any of the continuous cars that goes on purpose to see the caves on that road. It costs 4 lev to enter the Cave-Church.
The caves in the region had been inhabited by monks from the 1220s, when it was founded by the future Patriarch of Bulgaria Joachim, to the 17th century, where they hewed cells, churches and chapels out of solid rock. At the peak of the monastery complex, the number of churches was about 40, while the other premises were around 300, most of which are not preserved today.
Second Bulgarian Empire rulers such as Ivan Alexander and Ivan Asen II frequently made donations to the complex, as evidenced by donor portraits in some of the churches. Other patrons included nobles from the capital Tarnovo and nearest big medieval town Cherven, with which the monastery complex had strong ties in the 13-th and 14-th century. It was a centre of hesychasm in the Bulgarian lands in the 14th century and continued to exist in the early centuries of the Ottoman rule of Bulgaria, but gradually decayed.
The monastery complex owes much of its fame to 13th- and 14th-century frescoes, preserved in 5 of the churches, which are thought of as wonderful examples of Bulgarian mediaeval art. The rock premises used by the monks include the St Archangel Michael Chapel ("The Buried Church"), the Baptistery, the Gospodev Dol Chapel, the St Theodore Church ("The Demolished Church") and the main Church, with the 14th-century murals in the latter one being arguably the most famous of all in Ivanovo and noted as some of the most representative examples of Palaeologan art. Many century-old inscriptions have also been preserved in the monastical premises, including the famous indented inscription of the monk Ivo Gramatik from 1308–1309.
The Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.
- PublixCafe, Dondukov-Korsakov 19 Str.. Well known cafe in Ruse.
- The English Guesthouse, 34 Rayko Daskalov St, ☏ , ✉ Babatonka@gmail.com. Twin beds for 60lev (you can bargain down to 50 if stay more than 3days). The lady manager is friendly and will help you in anything. A breakfast buffet included for all the guests, and free wifi. From 35 Leva for a single person per night with shared bathroom up to 80 Leva for 5 people sharing one room per night.