You are currently viewing Plovdiv, Bulgaria: A Hidden Gem of Eastern Europe

Plovdiv, Bulgaria: A Hidden Gem of Eastern Europe

  • Post last modified:February 17, 2024
  • Post author:
  • Post category:Europe

Sharing is caring!

When most people visit Bulgaria they tend to go to Sofia, or maybe to the coast to visit the beaches, However, one of our favorite cities in the Balkans is right in the heart of the country, and it is called Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Full of charming streets, beautiful architecture, and colorful art, this city stole our hearts with the little time we spent there, and highly recommend it to anyone exploring Bulgaria!

In this article we are going to cover everything you need to know for visiting Plovdiv, Bulgaria, from how to get there, the best things to do, and some options for places to eat, and more. Let's dive right in to our complete guide of Plovdiv, Bulgaria!

*Please note that this blog post may contain some affiliate links, which we make a small profit on, at zero cost to you. Links are only used on products & services that we've used and believe in, to give you the best buying experience. Purchasing from these links helps us to continue providing free travel guides for you- so thank you for your support!

Where is Plovdiv in Bulgaria?

Plovdiv is located in the south-central region of Bulgaria. The county of Bulgaria is situated in south eastern Europe, and borders Macedonia to its South East, Serbia to its North East, and Romania to its North. In addition Bulgaria shares borders with Greece to its South, as well as Turkey to its South East.

where is Plovdiv Bulgaria

Plovdiv is located in the south central part of Bulgaria.

How to Get to Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Being centrally located, there are a few different ways that you can visit Plovdiv, from cities throughout Bulgaria, as well as surrounding countries.

What is the Closest Airport to Plovdiv, Bulgaria?

Plovdiv has a small airport that is 15 km south east of the city center. Cities that fly direct to Plovdiv include Istanbul, London, Memmingen, and Tel Aviv. You can also look up flights to Sofia (there are many more), and then take a quick 2 hour bus from Sofia to Plovdiv for under 10 euros.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates to fly to Plovdiv, or explore nearby airports using the "everywhere" option.

Search for a flight to or near Plovdiv:

Buses to Plovdiv

If you plan on coming from another city in Bulgaria, or from a neighboring country, it may be cheaper and easier to take a bus to Plovdiv instead of flying. Tickets within Bulgaria are from 10-15 euros, and international bus tickets are from 20-30 euros.

Here are some of the most popular routes that go to Plovdiv:

Travel More. Spend Less.

Let us help you plan your dream trip.

Entry Requirements for Bulgaria

Now that you know how to get to Plovdiv, let's check out the requirements for entering the country of Bulgaria.


Visa Entry Requirements for Bulgaria

Bulgaria allows tourists to visit the country for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. Bulgaria is not part of the Schengen Zone yet, so you will not have to worry about expiring your time within Europe while visiting Bulgaria.

Covid Entry Requirements for Bulgaria

All requirements to visit Bulgaria when it comes to Covid-19 are no longer in effect. Additionally, masks aren't required for entering any establishments or on public transportation anymore.

All Your Travels

in One Book

Transform your travel memories into a unique book, with personalized pages, country by country.

Local Adjustments for Plovdiv, Bulgaria

When traveling there are things that may be different from where you are coming from. Here are a few of the local adjustments to keep in mind while traveling to Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

What Language is Spoken in Plovdiv?

The official language in Plovidvi, Bulgaria is Bulgarian, which is a Slavic language. The language of Bulgarian is written in Cyrillic, which is the same alphabet which is used by other nearby countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, and Macedonia.

Currency Used in Plovdiv

The currency used in Plovdiv, Bulgaria is the Bulgarian Lev. Currently (Aril 2023) 1 USD or Euro is equal to 1.83 Bulgarian Lev, and 1 British Pound is equivalent to 2.21 Lev.

Is Bulgaria Cheap for Tourists?

Bulgaria is a very cheap country for tourists, and is overall on the cheaper side compared to other countries throughout Europe. Many things can be paid with credit card, but we also suggest carrying some cash on you for local vendors and tipping.

Electrical Outlets in Bulgaria

Bulgaria uses the same outlets as the rest of the European countries, which require plug types C & F. The standard voltage in Bulgaria is 230 V and has a standard frequency of 50 Hz.

If you are coming from North or South America, you will need to get a travel converter (not just an adapter) so that your electronics will not blow out when you plug them in.

Is Tap Water Drinkable in Plovdiv Bulgaria?

The water is perfectly safe to drink in Plovdiv. We suggest bringing a reusable water bottle with you so that you can fill it up at the fountains throughout the city. We use vacuum-sealed water bottles so that they can hold the temperature.

Bulgarian Tipping Culture

The tipping culture in Bulgaria is pretty similar to most other European countries. While tips aren't ever required, it is customary to leave 10% of the bill as a tip when dining out, and to tip in cash (you cannot add tips onto your credit card). If you feel you have received excellent service, you could then leave a bit extra.

Pink Dot Thessaloniki Greece

Will You Buy Us A Coffee? ☕

As coffee lovers, we always enjoy the energy of caffeine. It helps us get the best free travel guides out there for you! 😄

The Best Things to Do in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Now that you know almost everything you need to know about the basics of Bulgaria, here are the best things to do in Plovdiv.

Don't have time to read the whole article and want to save it for later? Just pin it!

Plovdiv Bulgaria pin
Plovdiv Bulgaria pin
Plovdiv Bulgaria pin

Take a Free Walking Tour

The Balkans are full of history, so one of our favorite thing to do throughout the different cities in the Balkan countries was to get free walking tours. There are two tours daily in the summer (11 am or 6 pm) and one daily tour in the winter. This is a great introduction to the city, allowing you to learn all about the highlights of the city. All you have to do is tip at the end, making it affordable, and great for supporting locals, as well as finding some hidden gems you probably wouldn't get by exploring on your own.

free walking tour, Plovdiv Bulgaria
free walking tour, Plovdiv Bulgaria
free walking tour, Plovdiv Bulgaria
free walking tour, Plovdiv Bulgaria

A free walking tour is a great way to experience the hidden gems of the city.

Explore the City Center

If you can't make a walking tour, don't worry! The center is small, and is pretty easy to navigate. Here are some of the spots you'll want to check out:

Old Town of Plovdiv- Architectural Reserve

This is the heart of the city center, where the old architecture has been preserved. This is where you'll find all of the historically significant buildings, as well as some of the most beautiful architecture in Plovdiv.

old town of Plovdiv, Bulgaria
old town of Plovdiv, Bulgaria
old town of Plovdiv, Bulgaria
old town of Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Plovdiv is full of beautiful architecture.

Ancient Theater of Philippopolis

The Stadium of Philippopolis was the ancient Roman that was built in the 2nd century AD, during the Roman imperial period. It is now one of the largest and most well preserved buildings from the Roman Empire in all of the Balkans. It also has great views from around it, and there are even concerts and special events held inside to this day.

theater of Philippopolis, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
theater of Philippopolis, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
theater of Philippopolis, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Ancient Stadium of Phillippopolis

Right in the middle of the main pedestrian street in Plovdiv lies the remains of what used to be a stadium a couple of thousand years ago. Rather than being blocked off as an attraction, they stand as a part of the city that is seen and passed everyday by locals.

Roman stadium Plovdiv, Bulgaria

The stadium is right in the middle of the pedestrian street.

Roman Forum of Philippopolis

The Roman Forum of Philippopolis was the commercial, administrative and religious center at the time. Now the ruins remain on the corner of Tsar Simeon Garden Park as a point of interest in the city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Anastas Gallery

Anastas Gallery is an art museum is the heart of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and was founded on the ideas of Anastas Konstantinov.

Anastas Gallery, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Anastas Gallery, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Danov Hill Clock Tower

Danov Hill is one of the 6 remaining hills of Plovdiv, and on top lies one of the oldest clock towers in Eastern Europe.

House-Museum Hindliyan

This is one of the few houses in Plovdiv which represents the original renaissance style of architecture in the city, and can now be visited on the inside. It is open from 9:30 am to 6 pm Tuesday to Sunday, and it closes for a half hour at 12:30 pm for lunch.

Balabanov's House

Balabanov's House is another example of existing buildings in Plovdiv just like House-Museum Hindliyan. It also has the same hours to visit.

Balabanov's House, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Regional Ethnographic Museum

Plovdiv has the second largest ethnographic museum in Bulgaria, with 6 different expositions. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 am to 6 pm.

Regional Ethnographic Museum, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

St Constantine and Helena Church

Located right in the heart of the city, this is known to be one of the oldest churches in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Church in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Sveta Bogoroditsa Church

Also known as the Holy Mother of God Church, you can find this beautiful spot just down the hill from the ancient theater.

Sveta Bogoroditsa Church, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Sveta Bogoroditsa Church in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Walk Around Knyaz Aleksandar I

Knyaz Aleksandar I is the main pedestrian street in the center of Plovdiv. This area is great to stroll around and soak up the great atmosphere of the city. It has plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops to browse, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon.

pedestrian street, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
pedestrian street, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
pedestrian street, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

The main pedestrian street in Plovdiv has plenty to see and do.

Admire the Street Art

One thing that we loved about Plovdiv is that it is full of color! Not only are there plenty of colorfully painted buildings, but we found a bunch of fun art installations and murals scattered around the center. We suggest roaming the streets of Kapana to explore the bursts of color popping from around each corner you turn.

mural in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
mural in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
mural in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Stop at the Friends Cafe

Right in the heart of the city center is a cafe that all Friends fans will truly adore! We just happened to walk by and saw "Central Perk". We popped inside and the decor was similar to the set of Friends! If you're a fan of the TV series like we are, then you will definitely want to stop in for a cup of coffee and enjoy the fun atmosphere both inside and out of this cafe.

Central Perk, friends cafe in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Central Perk, friends cafe in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Right in the heart of Plovdiv Bulgaria is a Friends-themed cafe called Central Perk.

Watch the Singing Fountains

Want to enjoy the beautiful nature that Plovdiv has to offer and also see it come to life? Well, located in Tsar Simeon Garden Park is an impressive array of fountains that light up with different colors and shapes at night. The shows are every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday starting at 9:30, and are free of charge to see.

Singing fountain in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Singing fountain in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Singing fountain in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Check Out Asen's Fortress

Located just outside the city of Plovdiv lies a stunning fortress that sits on a rocky terrace. Asen's fortress is a 20-25 minute drive from the city center, and is just south of the airport in Asenovgrad. It is open 9 am to 6 pm daily, and the entrance fee is just 3 Lev.

Learn a Craft

One of the great things about Plovdiv is that it will bring you back to a simpler time. Locals embrace their traditions, and one of the great activities they have incorporated is teaching special crafts such as the art of making tapestries or collecting rose oil. These classes support local people, and help them keep traditions alive, while allowing you to go home with a new skill!

Visit a Winery

Bulgaria is known for its wine, and one of the best things to do in Plovdiv, Bulgaria is to visit one of the surrounding vineyards! Learn about the process of wine making, drink local wines, and take a bottle home with you (or on the road if you're doing a road trip like we were).

There are quite a few wineries to choose from, so we've found a few tours that you can sign up for:

Take a Day Trip

There are so many incredible places to visit in Bulgaria, and there are quite a few great spots to check out within just a couple of hours from Plovdiv. Here are a few of the day trips that you can take from Plovdiv:

  • Shipka: a town which is home to an iconic monument
  • Shiroka Laka: village in the Rhodope Mountains with traditional architecture
  • Ethno Village Etar: an Open Air Ethnographic Museum that shares Bulgarian customs, culture, and craftmanship
  • Tryavna: traditional town known for its textile industry
  • Veliko Tarnovo: one of the oldest settlements in Bulgaria which is considered the cultural capital of the country
  • Arbanasi: cute village just north of Veliko Tarnovo

Here are some excursions that include itineraries featuring some of the best day trips from Plovdiv, Bulgaria:

Local Food & Drink in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Bulgarian cuisine has a lot of similarities with Greek cuisine, with fresh cheeses, delicious meats, and a lot of flaky pastries. Here are a few of the dishes you should try while in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Foods to Try in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

  • Banitsa: a cheese filled pastry which is very popular for breakfast
  • Shopska Salad: typical salad of the Balkans which has tomato, cucumber, and cheese
  • Tarator: a cold yogurt-based soup made with cucumber and dill
  • Sarmi: cabbage leaves stuffed with meat
  • Moussaka: a dish similar to Greek Moussaka, used with potatoes instead of eggplant
  • Meshana Skara: traditional platter of meat
  • Chorba: a popular soup (the most traditional is Shkembe Chorba, which is made with tripe).
  • Chushka Biurek: cheese stuffed peppers which are baked in a tomato sauce
  • Palačinka: thin pancakes similar to crepes which have both savory and sweet fillings
Banitsa, Bulgarian food

Banitsa is one of the most traditional foods to try while in Bulgaria.

Now that you know some of the best Bulgarian foods to try, here are a few of our recommendations for places to eat in town.

Restaurant Recommendations in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

  • Pavaj: Trendy restaurant with modern Bulgarian specialties
  • Central Perk: Friends themed cafe
  •  a super delicious ice cream shop
  • Restaurant Megdana: The most traditional restaurant with local dishes and Bulgarian folklore 
Huko ice cream shop in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
restaurant in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
restaurant in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Dishes on the right are from Pavaj Restaurant.

How To Travel Cheaper and Better in 15 minutes!

How much more would you travel, if it costed you less resources?

With our Free eBook, you will learn how to save money and time on your future trips. Plus, you'll see the exact system we use.

Grab your copy for free when you sign up for our newsletter 👇

Book cover 2021

Getting Around Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Most of the best things to do in Plovdiv are all located within the same area, so you can actually get almost everywhere easily by foot. If you happen to venturing further out from the center, you can get a bus for just 1 Lev.

Plovdiv Bulgaria
Plovdiv, Bulgaria
restaurant in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

The highlights of the city are all within walking distance.

If you'd like to visit some of the historical towns and landmarks outside of the city, then the best option is to rent a car. We suggest booking in advance if you choose this option, to ensure the best prices and availability.

Here is a site that we typically use to book our rental cars:

road to Zabljak Montenegro

Stay Up To Date📫

We have a non-spammy weekly newsletter, where we give travel tips, and exclusive content and discounts.

Where to Stay in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

The best area to stay in Plovdiv, Bulgaria is in the center, also known as Staria Grad. Kapana is also a small neighborhood that is part of the center that is full of great restaurants, bars, and shopping.

center of Plovdiv, Bulgaria
center of Plovdiv, Bulgaria
when to visit Plovdiv Bulgaria

The best area to stay in in the center of Plovdiv.

Want to look for a place to stay in the center of Plovdiv? Simply refer to the map below:

Is Plovdiv Bulgaria Safe to Visit?

There are certain areas of Bulgaria where you need to be a bit careful, especially if you have a car. Luckily, Plovdiv is not one of those places, and is very safe! We felt comfortable walking around at night, and the locals were very warm and welcoming. Plovdiv has a great vibe, and can be great for all types of travelers.

Preset - before & after

Transform your photos

One click is all it takes to make your photos look stunning. Get our latest package of Lightroom presets, Into The Wild.

Other Things to Know About Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Now you know almost everything you need to know for visiting Plovdiv, Bulgaria! Here are a few last details to keep in mind while planning your trip.

Weather in Plovdiv

Plovdiv, Bulgaria experiences all four seasons, just like the rest of the country. Summers are hot and sunny, and winters are cold, snowy, and partly cloudy.

The Best Time to Visit Plovdiv, Bulgaria

We personally think that the best time to visit Plovdiv, Bulgaria is during the shoulder season, either in late spring or early fall. This is when the weather is the best, so you can really enjoy exploring the city comfortably.

center of Plovdiv, Bulgaria

The best time to visit Plovdiv is in late spring or early fall when the weather is sunny and warm.

Packing For a Trip to Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Packing for a trip to Plovdiv, Bulgaria will of course depend on what time of year you are visiting. However, here are some of the things that we found useful to bring for visiting Plovdiv, Bulgaria:

Looking To Travel Somewhere?

Off The Beaten Trips is our travel agency.

But this isn't anything like you've ever experienced before. You'll have an epic trip without having to break the piggy bank.

Unique locations. Epic adventures. Lifetime memories.

How Many Days  Do You Need in Plovdiv?

Plovdiv is a pretty small city, so you can hit all of the highlights easily in one day. We definitely suggest spending a night or two though, so that you can really enjoy all that the city has to offer, and do some day trips in the area.

Is is Worth Visiting Plovdiv?

Plovdiv is an incredible city, and is the perfect place to spend a couple of days, especially if you plan on traveling all around Bulgaria. We definitely think Plovdiv is worth visiting for plenty of different types of travelers.

is it worth visiting Plovdiv Bulgaria
is it worth visiting Plovdiv Bulgaria
is it worth visiting Plovdiv Bulgaria
is it worth visiting Plovdiv Bulgaria

Plovdiv, Bulgaria is definitely worth a visit, and has plenty to offer.

So are you ready for a trip to Plovdiv, Bulgaria? We're sure you will love this charming city just as much as we did!

Want to see more fun places in Bulgaria? We have plenty of other Bulgarian travel guides to check out, as well as a complete guide for visiting Bulgaria. We have new Balkan travel articles each week, so make sure to subscribe to our newsletter so that you can stay in the know, and get exclusive content!

Ready to start planning your trip? We're here to help! After a three month road trip in the Balkans, we can plan your dream rip, as well as save you tons of money along the way. Want to learn more? Check out the different travel planning packages that we have, or simply shoot us an email for your free consultation.

Here are some other articles you'll love:

December 12, 2022

Are you planning a trip to through the

October 13, 2022

Are you wondering what to do in Bucharest,

August 8, 2022

If you're looking for one of the most

July 21, 2022

Welcome to the most sacred and beautiful place

December 23, 2021

Did you know that Thessaloniki is the second

Like this article? Please share it with your family and friends, so that we can continue to keep creating free travel guides for you! It takes just a second, and would mean the world to us. Thanks for being here!

Sharing is caring!