Etar FC are a Bulgarian football team from Veliko Tarnovo who play in the Bulgarian First Division. Reason to visit the Ivaylo Stadium include;
- Take a free stadium tour
- Visit the tiny Etar museum
- Watch a Bulgarian first division match
- Stay in the excellent value Ivaylo Stadium Hotel
- Potentially watch the Bulgarian champions
I was staying in the excellent Arena Tarnovo Hotel which is adjoined to the stadium. Additionally, it’s a 25 minute walk from old town Veliko Tarnovo.
Ivaylo Stadium – Location
Ivaylo stadium is located in western Veliko Tarnovo, a 20 minute walk from the old town. If you’re visiting specifically to watch a football match, I recommend the on site hotel, Arena Tarnovo Hotel. Additionally, the arena is within walking distance of both the west bus station which has connections to Plovdiv as well as the central bus station which has connections to Sofia, Burgas and Varna. Finally, the stadium is surrounded by communist era Bulgarian apartment blocks.
Ivaylo Stadium Veliko Tarnovo
The Ivaylo Stadium has a capacity of 25,000 spectators. However, it’s rarely full therefore it’s always easy to find a match ticket. In fact, I visited when they were playing multiple Bulgarian champions, Ludogorets and there were thousands of spare seats. I recommend you choose a seat in the main stand as this is the only covered area. It will either protect you from the rain or the hot Bulgarian sun.
Etar Veliko Tarnovo – Matchday Experience
Part of the fun of a matchday experience is watching the players arrive. Local police were escorting both the away fans but more importantly, the Ludogorets team bus. As a matter fact, Ludogorets are multiple Bulgarian league and cup winners therefore it’s a foregone conclusion that they will win. For this reason, things should be calm during the who match. The result when I watched was FC Etar 0-6 Ludogorets.
Pitch Side and Dugout
As part of the stadium tour, you can sit in the home and away dugouts. This is definitely a top Instagram spot in not only Ivaylo stadium but also in Veliko Tarnovo! If you decide to sit and relax here for a while you’ll see that locals use the running track to keep fit. In addition, you’ll see them running up and down the stadium steps as part of organised classes. Have you been keeping fit whilst traveling? You can go for a unique run around a Bulgarian First Division stadium.
When you walk through the players tunnel, you’ll see the purple colors and emblems of Etar Veliko Tarnovo. Does this intimidate the opposition? They certainly know they are in the Ivaylo Stadium, home of Etar Veliko Tarnovo. It certainly didn’t intimidate Ludogorets who ran out 0-6 winners. However, Ludogorets are currently the Man City of Bulgarian football. The colors and emblems of Etar will certainly intimidate lower Bulgarian teams.
Player Line Up
If you visit Ivaylo Stadium on a match day, the excitement builds as the players line up at the start. As this is a Bulgarian First Division match, there will be several cameras and media outlets filming the action. I strongly recommend checking the fixture list when you’re in Veliko Tarnovo. If there is a match on, it only costs a few Euros, additionally, there is little hassle in buying a ticket and entering the stadium.
Ivaylo Stadium – A Stadium with a View
As I mentioned, the area around the stadium is surrounded by communist era Bulgarian buildings. These have become a popular subject for photographers. As a result, photographers may visit this part of Veliko Tarnovo to photograph the iconic communist era buildings.
Etar Veliko Tarnovo Museum
I mentioned that FC Etar are not a big Bulgarian team. They have had very little success and you can view very few trophies. Their biggest success came when they were relegated to the Bulgarian Second Division and consequently won it the next season.
FC Etar Veliko Tarnovo Team Bus
How about taking a photo beside the Etar Veliko Tarnovo team bus as a memory of your visit to the city? If they cannot beat Ludogorets on the field, they definitely beat them on the team bus design!
Enjoy your Ivaylo Stadium Tour and Etar FC Matchday Experience
Feel free to visit the stadium anytime during the day. It’s always open and you’re welcome to walk around and take your own private stadium tour. Additionally, the Etar museum is located in the entrance to the main stand. If you visit in the evening, there will be lots of locals using the facilities to keep fit and there is quite a social feel to the Ivaylo stadium. Finally, check the fixtures schedule, maybe there’s a match on!
Other football stadiums you can visit in Bulgaria are Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Abandoned Stadium of Plovdiv, CSKA Sofia and of course the Bulgarian National Stadium.