Helen visited Plovdiv for a weekend in May, a little-known gem which is Bulgaria‘s second-largest city.
The Plovdiv free walking tour (no need to book); the guides are so infectiously enthusiastic. In fact we found the locals were all friendly and welcoming, and we felt safe even wandering around on our own at night.
The food and wine is excellent and very cheap by comparison to most of Europe.
My Top 5 Things To Do
1. Free walking tour
2. The Roman Stadium is mind blowing – take a walk into H&M down the main street and check out their view of the stadium in the basement.
3. Nebet Tepe Hill – the views are stunning and there’s a great restaurant too (Rahat Tepe for local food).
4. The Roman Ampitheatre
5. Dzhumaya Mosque
My Top Tip
The Kapana district is the arty, funky part of town. Until recently it was a run-down area, but now it's really vibrant with a great café culture and the best restaurants in the city. We loved this area so much we decided to stay there.
Good To Know Before You Go
Cash is king here, with very few places taking credit cards. However there are cash machines in the city.
The easiest way to see the city is to walk, and the paths in the old town especially are uneven – wear comfortable walking shoes.
4G is everywhere, as is free WiFi.
A Word Of Caution
You need to be very careful when you get a taxi from the airport, it should be around 15 Euros. It’s easy to get taken advantage of when you've just arrived, and pay double. At the moment there is no Uber to fall back on.
Plovdiv is going to be the European City of Culture in 2019, so get there now before this little-known gem really gets on the map.
We had amazing food and service and our favourites were:
- Pavaj – very popular with locals and deservedly so; and
- Smokini – very chic in an understated and delightful way
The buses are so cheap, safe and frequent you can get out into the countryside for less than a Euro. We took a 45 minute trip out to Bachkovo Monastery – well worth it for the scenery alone.
What We Wore And Packed
And I packed:
- 2 pairs of trousers
- T-shirt & cardigan combo
- 1 shirt
- 1 top
- Cashmere jumper
- Underwear, PJ's, toiletries
- Lightweight rainwear
- Casual jacket
- 3 shirts
- Underwear and toiletries