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Plovdiv Travel Guide

Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria, is worth visiting for its magnificent landscape and cultural and historical heritage. Being surrounded by the Grand Balkans (Stara Planina) and the Rhodope Mountains, Plovdiv embraces green and long valleys, a variety of forestry trees, and endemic flora species. The Maritsa River, flowing through the center, creates a long walking lane for sports fans. Located close to the borders of Türkiye and Greece, Plovdiv is a rising destination with its nearby ski resorts Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo.

General Information About Plovdiv

Country:

Bulgaria

Region:

Western parts of Upper Thrace Region in Bulgaria / Province of Plovdiv

Area:

5.972,89 km2

Language:

Bulgarian

Average Temperature:

Between 7.1 - 18.5 degrees C (-0.4 degrees in January)

Climate Zone:

Continental climatic zone and continental Mediterranean zone (Humid subtropical climate)

GMT Difference:

UTC +2 (EET)

UTC +3 (EEST) (Summer time)

Phone Code:

(+359) 032

ISO 3166 Code:

BG

Currency:

Lev (Bulgarian)

Plug Type:

C

Driving side:

Right

Postal Code:

4000

Car Plate:

PB

Demonym:

Plovdivchanin

How to Get to Plovdiv

Flights to Plovdiv from Istanbul will take you to the beautiful Bulgarian city of Plovdiv. You can depart from Sabiha Gökçen International Airport and land at Plovdiv International Airport in almost an hour. The airport is also known as Plovdiv Krumovo Airport, located 12 km southeast of the city center. You can find scheduled flights to Plovdiv from Istanbul, London and Dublin throughout the year. You may also find seasonal charter flights to Plovdiv from Izmir, Antalya and Bodrum during holiday times. If you have already decided on your travel period, you can effortlessly search for cheap flights to Plovdiv from Istanbul by Pegasus Airlines.

Transportation From Plovdiv Airport to City Center

You have three options. You can either take the airport bus out of the main terminal gate or get in a taxi to reach the city center. If you have a valid driving license, you can rent a car at Plovdiv Airport and drive on the Plovdiv-Asenovgrad highway. The airport also undertakes the overload of Sofia Airport, which is 150 km away from this region. You can go on Trakia Motorway and reach the capital Sofia after an hour-and a-half drive. You can get the best deals for rent-a-car service in Plovdiv by checking Pegasus offers.

Public Transport in Plovdiv

Old Plovdiv is a pedestrian-friendly location both for its inhabitants and visitors. Many tourist attractions and medium-scale restaurants are within walking distance. However, if you stay on the outskirts of the city or would like to see nearby villages, public buses will lead you to various destinations at economical prices. You can buy a bus ticket from the conductor of the vehicle. For passengers going to different cities, it is possible to travel by starting from the correct bus station. Public and intercity buses use either Yug, Sever (the North) or Rhodope station. You can take a bus to Sofia and Bursa at Yug station, located just 5 minutes away from the main railway station. European passengers also favor express trains on different routes. International trains departing from Greece and Türkiye go through Plovdiv, leading to Sofia and Bucharest.

Best Time to Visit Plovdiv

The best time to visit Plovdiv is the time of blossoming flowers and reviving nature. April and May become the most popular months to see green valleys, have walking tours and go hiking excursions. Plovdiv emerges as an intermediary passway for skiing and winter sports because excursions to Pamporovo and Bansko winter resorts usually start their journeys in Plovdiv. This means Plovdiv also covers great holiday expectations during winter months. As cheap flight deals to Plovdiv change by incoming tourist numbers, the best time to book cheap flights to Plovdiv is September-October for winter and February-March for summer trips.

Festivals in Plovdiv

There is always a good reason to visit Plovdiv, the city of music, dance and culture. While planning your flight to Plovdiv, take advantage of the chance of attending one of those annual festivals.

  • Plovdiv Beer Fest on the Youth Hill with a 3-day long music marathon
  • Lost Age Festival on the Youth Hill to remind medieval times
  • Opera Open in the Ancient Roman Theater (June-August)
  • Young Wine Festival in the Old Town to introduce Bulgarian food and wineyard varieties
  • Kapna Fest in the Kapana District with musical performances and bazaar exhibitions
  • One Dance Week
  • Drama Theatre of Plovdiv in the Old Town

Places to Visit in Plovdiv

Having the motto of ¨Древен и вечен¨ in the official language, Plovdiv is denounced as an ancient and eternal city. Owing to its long history dating back to 6000 BC, Plovdiv has been transformed into a culture-rich city proud of being recorded as UNESCO heritage today. Places to visit Plovdiv are located in and around Old Town, the Kapana and Karshiaka districts. Here are a few selected sights to see in Plovdiv:

  • Roman Amphitheatre
  • Ottoman Clock Tower
  • Dzhumaya Mosque
  • St. Marina Church
  • Plovdiv Ethnographic Museum
  • Balabanov House: Built in the 1970s, the house has been designed to show traditional lifestyles and housing divisions.
  • Aviation Museum: Being the only functioning museum of its type in Bulgaria, it exhibits cold war planes and aircrafts from the beginning of the 20th century.

Where to Stay in Plovdiv?

Plovdiv offers both low-budget stays and luxury accommodation. Grand Hotel Plovdiv, Landmark Creek Hotel, Ramada by Wyndham Plovdiv, Hebros Hotel and Holiday Inn Plovdiv are the most popular four and five-star hotels in the city center. For low-budget options, you can check Plovdiv hostels and B&B stays around the Old Town and in Karshiaka district, crossing to the upper side of Maritsa River. You can find a cheap hotel in Plovdiv by clicking our how to book accommodation page.

What to Eat in Plovdiv?

Bulgarian cuisine is a perfect combination of Balkan flavors imported from the recipes of the Black Sea, Mediterranean, Danubian and Trakya dining cultures. It is better to start the day with a full breakfast which is usually in a continental way. You are recommended to try steaming pastry and banitsa - a local type of burek, sold in small breakfast shops on the main street. For lunch and dinner, you may find a variety of cafes and restaurants on the Boulevard Maritsa, the avenue General Gurko and Otets Paisly. You should try ¨shopska salad¨ when fresh summer vegetables are available. You will fulfill your appetite when you see big portions served as a standard plate in mid-scale restaurants in Plovdiv.

What to Buy in Plovdiv?

You have a wide range of options for what to buy in Plovdiv. Represented by roses, like many Bulgarian destinations, Plovdiv also offers a wide variety of rose products, especially for women. Rose soap, rose perfumes, and organic skin care products will make the best gifts for family and close friends. If you think about some local delights, you may taste Bulgarian kashkaval, a kind of yellow edam cheese, and a different breakfast sauce called ¨lyutenitsa¨. You should try rosehip jam and ¨shipka¨ marmalade if you are a fan of sweets.

Things to Know Before Visiting Plovdiv

Plovdiv is usually known as a safe place for single tourists and business travelers. To get relevant precautions, check out our list of things to know before visiting Plovdiv.

  • Plovdiv is a very affordable destination compared to some other European cities. Shopping is easier in local markets and small shops if you have coins and Bulgarian leva in your pocket.
  • You can exchange Euros, US dollars and Turkish liras for Bulgarian leva at the airport, central train station or commercial banks. Avoid exchanges out of corporate places like banks, offices and ticket rooms.
  • Since public transport is available, a taxi is not the first choice in Plovdiv, though it is cheaper than in Central Europe. If you plan to get in a taxi, negotiate the price beforehand. It is better to call taxis from the hotel or with a local person so as not to be scammed.
  • Bulgarian people are hospitable; you can try a few Bulgarian words to communicate. Youngsters speak English fluently, whereas elderly people may know Russian better. You can encounter people speaking Turkish as well.

Essential Phone Numbers

It is better to save local emergency numbers in Bulgaria before traveling to Plovdiv.

  • Ambulance: 150
  • Police: 166
  • Fire / Rescue: 160
  • Car help (out of the capital): 146
  • Pharmacy on duty: 178
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