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

People always ask me what do I recommend for them to visit in Bulgaria. My first suggestion is always the same – Plovdiv.  Plovdiv is incredibly rich in history, cultural heritage, monuments, and beautiful sights. After all, it’s literally one of the oldest cities in the world. It’s also the second largest city in the country, which makes it very easily accessible from Sofia or anywhere else around.

Not only that, but this year Plovdiv has been chosen for the European Capital of Culture for 2019, making it even more appealing for tourists. But don’t be fooled – the city is quite ‘empty’ when it comes to travellers, just because Bulgaria is still considered off the beaten track. This makes it the perfect time to book your ticket and enjoy it before the place gets crowded like all the other European destinations.

So let’s dive into what you came here for – a complete guide of all the awesome things to do in Plovdiv. We’ll cover everything from sightseeing, activities, food etc.

Things to do In Plovdiv

 

Get the Plovdiv City Card

things to do in plovdiv city card

First things first, nothing will make your stay in Plovdiv easier than getting the Plovdiv City Card. The card gives you free access to the major tourist attractions, as well as a lot of discounts in various restaurants, shops and other places around the city. There are different options you could buy, depending on how long you’re staying for and who you’re with. In any case, it can save you some cash, and I will give you more information about what exactly is included further on.

It also comes with a very handy app, which helps you make the most out of your stay. The app gives you up-to-date information about the different locations and helps you find the fastest way and plan your trip more efficiently.

Check out their website!

What to see in Plovdiv

  • Ancient Roman Theatre

Things to do in Plovdiv Ancient Theatre

The most symbolic sight of Plovdiv is undoubtedly the Ancient Roman Theatre. With its history dating back to 1st century AD and still being in use nowadays, this is one of the best-preserved ancient theatres in the world. The theatre is conveniently located in the heart of the Old Town, and it’s easily accessible by foot, just like all the other important sights around.

Many concerts are being held regularly, especially in the warmer months. Amongst the most popular events are the annual International Folklore Festival, The Opera Open Festival, as well as “Sounds of the Ages’ rock festival. What’s better than enjoying some good music while sitting in an ancient ruin in the middle of a beautiful old town!?

Opening hours:
April – October: 9:00 – 18:00; November – March: 9:00 – 17:00

Entry fee: 5 leva

With Plovdiv City Card: free

  • Plovdiv Roman Stadium

Things to do in Plovdiv Roman stadium

The Roman Stadium in Plovdiv is one of these sights that can’t be missed just because it’s in such a central location. It is often being overlooked though. Only one of its sides is partially visible today, but in reality the stadium runs all the way under the main shopping street of the city. Its size was so impressive, it was able to hold 30 000 spectators and have 3 shows running at the same time. This is where in ancient times different events were being held, similar to the Pythian games, and it’s considered one of the largest and best preserved buildings from the time of the Ancient Rome on the Balkan peninsula.

  • Kapana District

things to do in plovdiv kapana

 

things to do in plovdiv kapana

 

things to do in plovdiv kapana

Kapana, also known as the creative district, is another must-see in Plovdiv. Its name is literally translated into “The Trap”. This is where you’ll find beautiful street art, colourful cafes and restaurants with incredibly good food, interesting shops, as well as these pretty streets with hanging little flags.

The atmosphere in Kapana is exceptional, especially in the evenings – people love meeting up and having a few drinks in the streets, and there is nothing but good, artsy and chill vibes everywhere around.

  • The Old Town

things to do in plovdiv old town

Another thing you should put on your list of things to do in Plovdiv is definitely the Old Town. Included in the UNESCO World Heritage list since 2004, the Old Town is an architectural and historical treasure you need to experience at any cost.

This ‘neighborhood’ combines the spirit and architecture of a few periods in the Bulgarian history – Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Bulgarian revival period. Many of these old wooden houses are still being used today, others have been turned into museums.

  • Regional Ethnographic Museum

things to do in plovdiv museum

things to do in plovdiv museum

One of the most remarkable houses in the Old Town, the Kuyumdzhieva house, is also home to the Regional Ethnographic Museum. The facade is beautifully decorated in Baroque style, and the interior replicates the living conditions of people from this region in history. Inside you can see old national costumes, traditional crafts, musical instruments and more.

Entry fee: 5 leva

  • Hisar Kapia

things to do in plovdiv hisar kapia

Right next to the Ethnographic Museum you’ll find Hisar Kapia – a stone archway, which was once the city’s fortress gate. The arch makes for a perfect photo from both sides of the street.

  • Nebet Tepe

From Hisar Kapia all you need to do is walk up to get to one of Plovdiv’s hills for a beautiful panoramic view of the city and the mountains. Nebet Tepe is easily accessible and it’s definitely worth the short ‘hike’ uphills. It’s also one of the best spots for watching the sunset over the “city of the seven hills”.

  • Alyosha Monument

Another spectacular viewpoint of Plovdiv can be found at the Alyosha Monument. The monument serves as a memorial for the Soviet casualties during the Soviet occupation of the country during World War II. The statue is quite a controversial topic amongst locals, and Plovdiv authorities have tried to get it removed at least a few times. Regardless, this doesn’t make the monument any less impressive, or the view from there – any less stunning.

It takes about 30 to 40 minutes hike to climb to the top, so put some comfy clothes on and bring some water with you, especially during the hotter days.

  • Hindliyan House

things to do in plovdiv hindliyan house

The Hindliyan house is yet another must-see in Plovdiv. The house belonged to a wealthy Armenian family of traders. Inside house you’ll find a water fountain, out of which there is rose water constantly pouring out.

The house also impresses with its beautifully decorated facades and all the details covering the walls and the ceilings.

Entry fee: 5 leva

With Plovdiv City Card: free

  • Balabanov House

things to do in plovdiv balabanov house

This house-museum serves as a representation of the life of wealthy traders during the 19th century. Cultural events, such as exhibitions, literature premiers, musical concerts and theatre performances are frequently being hosted here. The main exhibition, however, can be seen all year round.

Entry fee: 5 leva

With Plovdiv City Card: free

  • Cultural Center-Museum Trakart

Trakart stores a variety of beautiful floor mosaics and ancient Roman remains from II – III century AD, and some impressive glass art dating to the III and IV centuries. The museum is rather small, but the staff is incredibly polite, helpful and knowledgeable, and they’ll drown you with information. A definite must-visit in Plovdiv in my opinion.

Entry fee: 2 leva

With Plovdiv City Card: free

  • Sahat Tepe

Sahat Tepe is another one of Plovdiv’s hills, and translates from Turkish into The hill of the clock. The name was given to it because of the clock tower, standing at the top. The earliest version of the tower dates back to 1623. However, the one you can see today was installed in 1883, and it was made in Vienna. The hill is a favourite amongst young people and it’s easily accessible from the city centre – just about 5 minutes from the Roman Stadium Square.

  • The Small Basilica

The Small Basilica is an early Christian church, dating back to 5th-6th century AD. The ruins were accidentally discovered during construction work in 1988. This is one of Plovdiv’s most distinctive landmarks. You can see remaining ancient mosaics and architecture, as well as learn about the history of the place through a short film in English.

Entry fee: 2 leva

With Plovdiv City Card: free

  • The Main Street

What would be a ‘things to do in Plovdiv list” without some shopping options. However, the main street does not only offer a huge variety of shops and cafes – it is also resting right above the ancient Roman Stadium. So be careful, you might come across some ancient ruins while looking for the perfect pair of jeans.

Just a hint – head to H&M and see what you’ll find there.

  • The Singing Fountains

Enjoy a quick and relaxing stop at the Tsar Simeon Garden. Apart from the beautiful flowers and trees, which make the park a small paradise, the highlight of the place are the Singing Fountains.  A spectacular music and light show happens every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 21:30 and makes the garden the perfect spot to end a long day of sightseeing.

 

What to do in Plovdiv

  • Take a walking tour

Everyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with walking tours. I have taken one in every possible city I’ve been in, and I will continue doing so. In my opinion this is the best way to get to know the place from a local perspective, getting as much information as possible at once, and learning about the history, the people, the local cuisine and much more.

  1. Free Plovdiv Tour

things to do in plovdiv free walking tour

The Free Plovdiv Tour takes place every single day of the year and goes through a lot of the important spots of Plovdiv.  I have personally taken this exact tour 2 times already, and I would do it again. The guides do their best to accommodate everyone’s needs, take regular short breaks for a gulp of water at the many communal water fountains in the city, and a lot of the stops provide a spot to sit at and enjoy the tour. You’ll also learn a crazy amount of history about Plovdiv and Bulgaria as a whole.

Duration: around 2 hours

When? Every day: May – September: 11am and 6pm; October – April: 2pm

Meeting point: Municipality Building of Plovdiv (the Town Hall)

Fee: on a tipping basis

2. Kapana Tour

Kapana (The Trap) is the creative district of Plovdiv, or in other words – it’s a completely different world compared to the rest of the city. Art, creativity and uniqueness are the terms I would use to describe this neighborhood.

Join the Kapana Tour and dive into this new world – learn its stories, get to know its inhabitants and their crafts, witness a few workshops, and even get the chance to create something yourself!

Duration: around 2 hours

When? Every Saturday and Sunday; May – September: 11am; October – April: 2pm

Meeting point: Municipality Building of Plovdiv (the Town Hall)

Fee: 9 EUR (18 leva)

P.S. By joining the Free Plovdiv Tour you get discount for the Kapana Tour!

  • Try unique Bulgarian liquor at the House of Distillation

things to do in plovdiv house of distillation

things to do in plovdiv-house of distillation

One of the highlights of my Plovdiv trip was getting to visit this family owned House of Distillation. For the past few decades this family has been specialising in producing unique and high quality Bulgarian liquor out of various products – roses, melons, mint and what not. The degrees of the different types vary from 15 to 47 and they can’t be found anywhere else on the market, as they are being solely produced by these people.

Each visit in the House of Distillation includes a free presentation in English, Russian or Spanish. After the degustation, you can purchase some of their beverages as a souvenir.

Get 20% off two alcoholic beverages with the Plovdiv City Card!

  • Go on a souvenir hunt

There are tons of small family-owned shops around the Kapana district, which offer high quality products, often hand-made. Apart from the usual souvenirs you can buy anywhere, the creative district of the city is unique in the fact that you’ll find interesting shops around every corner, and you’ll be able to find some goods you won’t find anywhere else. Just go on a souvenir hunt and you’ll be surprised with what you can discover!

P.S. The Plovdiv City Card gives you discount at some of these shops.

  • Enjoy some jazz and art at the Arsenal of Art

Arsenal of Art is an arts gallery in the Kapana district. What sets it apart from other galleries are the Jazz performances, which are taking place every Wednesday. If you’re a fan of art and music, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Where to eat in Plovdiv

  • Multi Culti

things to do in plovdiv multi culti

things to do in plovdiv multi culti

Go on a food trip around the world without having to move a finger with the diverse meals in Multi Culti. Deliciously cooked, beautifully served, with attention to even the smallest details. It also offers one of the biggest wine selections in town. Multi Culti is the perfect place for a delicious and light lunch with options from all around the globe.

P.S. Get 20% discount on eggs benedict at Multi Culti with the Plovdiv City Card!

  • Pavaj

things to do in plovdiv pavaj

One of the culinary phenomenons of Plovdiv – Pavaj offers traditional meals with an interesting twist. This restaurant has won countless food awards, and it’s a favourite amongst locals and tourists. The dishes are prepared with fresh products only, which are being grown in their own gardens not far away from the city. This explains the absolutely amazing taste of everything they serve. Here you will also find a huge list of different sorts of rakia from Bulgaria and all around the Balkans. Pavaj is pretty much always extremely busy, so a reservation is advisory.

  • Skaptobara

Mouthwatering burgers, addictive fries and craft beer – that’s how Skaptobara describe themselves. And it’s true. If you’re feeling like having a not very pretentious meal and want to dive the world of burgers, head to one of the two restaurants of Skaptobara in Plovdiv!

  • Tams House

Have a full-on gourmet experience at the one and only Tams House. Excellent service, delicious food and lovely atmosphere. If only you check out the reviews of this place, you’d be sold immediately.

  • Restaurant Megdana

If you’re eager to experience a real traditional Bulgarian restaurant, then head to Megdana. Enjoy a perfect mixture of traditional folklore music and dancing and delicious Bulgarian food. Apart from the spectacular show, the guests of the restaurant are more than welcome to join on the dancefloor – no better opportunity to learn some folk dancing while you’re here.

 

Where to stay in Plovdiv

  • Kuker Inn

things to do in plovdiv kuker inn

things to do in plovdiv kuker inn

This new guest house is in the most perfect central location – less than 2 minutes from the Kapana district, and less than 5 minutes from the Old Town. Cosy rooms, reasonable prices and lovely hosts – what’s more to ask. There is also a common kitchen area, where you can cook something, as well as a common lounge area, so you can chill and meet other travellers.

There is convenient public transport nearby, which can take you directly to the central railway and bus station, as well as many shops and restaurants to grab something to eat. We personally decided to walk from the central bus station as the distance is only about 2 km, and it took us less than half an hour.

Learn more and book your accommodation through their website.

 


Tourist Information centres:

  1. Roman Stadium Square – 1 Rayko Daskalov Str.
  2. The Old Town – 1 D-r Stoyan Chomakov Str.

Working hours:
April – October: Daily 9:00 – 18:00

November – March: Daily 9:00 – 17:00


 

You may also enjoy:

The ABC of why you should visit Bulgaria

7 Top Things to do in Sofia, Bulgaria

 

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Things to do In Plovdiv


 

This post was created in partnership with Kuker Inn and Plovdiv City Card.

 

 

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