Veliko Tarnovo â€“ Gurkovo is a nice combination of corners, going through the Republika pass (â€œprohodâ€ = pass) at 700 meters altitude, a fun road with no spectacular scenery and excellent asphalt in 2011. Gurkovo to Sliven is boring, mostly straight. Sliven to Stara Reka to Kotel takes you over the Vratnik pass (1,000 meters) and Kotlenski pass (700 meters) with nice scenery and acceptable asphalt.
Good accommodation you may find in Arbanassi (touristic village, located about 2 km. out of Veliko) or in Veliko. You may want to visit Veliko Tarnovo and its fortress, as well as Arbanassi.