Plovdiv travel guide

Plovdiv Tourism | Plovdiv Guide

You're Going to Love Plovdiv

Perhaps the oldest city in all of Europe, Plovdiv is home to fantastic architecture and a bustling economy.

As Bulgaria's second-largest city, Plovdiv is an important cultural hub. The region has many sites of archaeological interest, too (as well as a fantastic Archaeology Museum), thanks to its ancient history.

From the Plovdiv International Fair to weekly markets, there is always something going on in this city.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Plovdiv

1. Rich History

From Alexander the Great to the Enlightenment, Plovdiv has played a major role in numerous empires and revolutions.

2. Fantastic Architecture

As a result of being part of many empires, right up to the end of the 20th century, Plovdiv has amazing architecture.

3. The Hills

The city is surrounded by hills, which make for great public spaces from which to enjoy sunset.

4. Bulgarian Rose Products

The local craftspeople make all sorts of items out of roses - from cosmetics to perfumes.

5. Affordable Food Options

Food stands can cost as little as ‎лв1, while even mid-range restaurants charge ‎лв10 - ‎лв15 for salad, main courses, dessert, and drinks.

What to do in Plovdiv

1. Rock Out In Roman Surroundings

Few cultural venues are as charming and dramatic as Plovdiv's ancient theater. Located pretty much in the center of the modern city (Philippopolis in ancient times), the 28-row arena was used for plays, hunting exhibitions, and gladiatorial contests. The blood sports may have gone, but these days the theater is very much alive, hosting plays, music and spellbinding opera performances. It's also a hub for the city's Folklore Festival and the Sounds of the Ages rock festival. If you get the chance, it's an amazing place to watch a show.

2. Millennia Of Magic To Discover

Plovdiv's Old Town has UNESCO protected status, and has the official designation of an "Architectural and Historical Reserve." More importantly, three thousand years of continuous habitation have left a fascinating neighborhood for visitors to explore. Built on three hills (so bring sturdy shoes!), the Old Town is home to the Ancient Theater, the Roman Stadium, as well as numerous examples of Bulgarian Revival architecture, with its colorful houses and unique designs.

3. A Magnificent Mansion And Cultural Center

If you want a vivid window into 19th century Bulgarian culture, there's no better place to head than the Balabanov House. With its rich red exterior, the house is instantly recognizable, and has an authentic centuries-old appearance. However, don't be fooled. The house was rebuilt in the 70s as a cultural museum. These days, its Bulgarian art displays, ceiling carvings, and antique exhibitions are a delight, as are its regular schedules of chamber music concerts, which take place in spring and the fall.

4. A Revival Masterpiece And Historical Treasure

Nothing gives visitors a better idea of how diverse Bulgarian Revival era architecture was than by following up a trip to the Balabanov House with a few hours at the Ethnographical Museum. The museum is housed in a remarkable blue 19th century building, whose curves and golden decorations look something like the prow of a galleon. After being wowed by the exterior, the inside is just as astonishing, with period floral tiles and a wealth of traditional fabrics and costumes to see. After that, exhibitions about everyday life in Bulgaria are the frosting on an amazing cake.

5. Light Shows And Lush Greenery In The City Center

Quite possibly Bulgaria's most attractive urban park, the Tsar Simeon Garden was laid out in the 1890s, and is a blissful place to explore on a sunny day. From the restored statue of the Greek goddess Demeter, to the Viennese Pavilion, the park is full of photo opportunities and places to picnic. But it really comes into its own at night. If you're there at 21:30, reserve a spot beside the Lake of the Singing Fountains, which becomes the setting for a spectacular music and light show.

1. Rock Out In Roman Surroundings

Few cultural venues are as charming and dramatic as Plovdiv's ancient theater. Located pretty much in the center of the modern city (Philippopolis in ancient times), the 28-row arena was used for plays, hunting exhibitions, and gladiatorial contests. The blood sports may have gone, but these days the theater is very much alive, hosting plays, music and spellbinding opera performances. It's also a hub for the city's Folklore Festival and the Sounds of the Ages rock festival. If you get the chance, it's an amazing place to watch a show.

2. Millennia Of Magic To Discover

Plovdiv's Old Town has UNESCO protected status, and has the official designation of an "Architectural and Historical Reserve." More importantly, three thousand years of continuous habitation have left a fascinating neighborhood for visitors to explore. Built on three hills (so bring sturdy shoes!), the Old Town is home to the Ancient Theater, the Roman Stadium, as well as numerous examples of Bulgarian Revival architecture, with its colorful houses and unique designs.

3. A Magnificent Mansion And Cultural Center

If you want a vivid window into 19th century Bulgarian culture, there's no better place to head than the Balabanov House. With its rich red exterior, the house is instantly recognizable, and has an authentic centuries-old appearance. However, don't be fooled. The house was rebuilt in the 70s as a cultural museum. These days, its Bulgarian art displays, ceiling carvings, and antique exhibitions are a delight, as are its regular schedules of chamber music concerts, which take place in spring and the fall.

4. A Revival Masterpiece And Historical Treasure

Nothing gives visitors a better idea of how diverse Bulgarian Revival era architecture was than by following up a trip to the Balabanov House with a few hours at the Ethnographical Museum. The museum is housed in a remarkable blue 19th century building, whose curves and golden decorations look something like the prow of a galleon. After being wowed by the exterior, the inside is just as astonishing, with period floral tiles and a wealth of traditional fabrics and costumes to see. After that, exhibitions about everyday life in Bulgaria are the frosting on an amazing cake.

5. Light Shows And Lush Greenery In The City Center

Quite possibly Bulgaria's most attractive urban park, the Tsar Simeon Garden was laid out in the 1890s, and is a blissful place to explore on a sunny day. From the restored statue of the Greek goddess Demeter, to the Viennese Pavilion, the park is full of photo opportunities and places to picnic. But it really comes into its own at night. If you're there at 21:30, reserve a spot beside the Lake of the Singing Fountains, which becomes the setting for a spectacular music and light show.

Where to Eat in Plovdiv

Cheap street food can be found everywhere. Top-rated Bulgarian establishments in town include Megdana and Hebros. The cost of an inexpensive meal is лв10.

When to visit Plovdiv

Plovdiv in June
Estimated hotel price
$36
1 night at 3-star hotel
Plovdiv in June
Estimated hotel price
$36
1 night at 3-star hotel

Plovdiv has a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and snowy winters. Spring and fall are the most pleasant times to visit.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Plovdiv

Plane

Plovdiv Airport (PDV) services flights to London, Frankfurt, and Moscow. There isn't a public transit option, but the taxi fare should be from ‎лв10 to ‎лв15.

Train

Both national and international trains frequent Plovdiv. The ride to Sofia takes about 2.5 hours with express trains and four hours with standard ones. Average prices are about ‎лв6.

Car

Plovdiv sits just off the E80/A1, which connects to Sofia and the border with Greece and Turkey. Sofia can be reached in about 80 minutes from the city.

Bus

Buses regularly link to Plovdiv from all over Bulgaria, and some connect all the way to Istanbul. It takes about seven hours from Istanbul and costs about ‎лв20.

Airports near Plovdiv

Airlines serving Plovdiv

United Airlines
Good (2,618 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (1,753 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,074 reviews)
KLM
Good (314 reviews)
Air France
Good (354 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,169 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,823 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,122 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,024 reviews)
SWISS
Good (410 reviews)
Iberia
Good (778 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (974 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (750 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (240 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (448 reviews)
Ryanair
Good (1,383 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (384 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (219 reviews)
Finnair
Good (580 reviews)
LOT
Good (293 reviews)
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Where to stay in Plovdiv

Old Town - there are no cars and plenty of art in this 24/7 cultural hub, which has fantastic architecture and many shops and cafes.

Popular Neighborhoods in Plovdiv

Glavnata - Plovdiv's main street has pleasant shops, galleries, and restaurants, and is a great place to walk around.

Karshiaka - a peaceful area with a pleasant riverside boulevard popular with expats and foreigners.

Where to stay in popular areas of Plovdiv

Most booked hotels in Plovdiv

Park Hotel Plovdiv
Excellent (8.5, Excellent reviews)
$65+
Ramada by Wyndham Plovdiv Trimontium
Good (6.6, Good reviews)
$109+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Plovdiv

Public Transportation

Buses cover most of the city with an efficient service that costs лв1 for a one-way ride.

Taxi

Taxis can be found easily but many try to scam tourists. The charge per mile is about лв1.5. It is recommended to call a cab and wait for it rather than hail a taxi and try to negotiate a price.

Car

Driving is easy in Plovdiv and car rental companies abound. The cost of an economy car is about лв10 a day.

The Cost of Living in Plovdiv

Shopping Streets

There are many shopping centers in Plovdiv such as Mall Plovdiv and the Grand Trade Center. A summer dress will cost about лв40 in a department store in town.

Groceries and Other

Groceries are easy to find in Plovdiv; a Lidl is not far from downtown. A loaf of bread costs under лв1, while a dozen eggs costs лв2.5.

Cheap meal
$10.03
A pair of jeans
$78.40
Single public transport ticket
$1.01
Cappuccino
$1.97
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