Plovdiv is the oldest continually inhabited city in Europe, with a history of habitation going back over 8000 years. Originally it had seven tall hills, some of which were used for quarries. When it was controlled by the Romans and it was called Trimontium (the Three Hills - as the city was much smaller in terms of area compared to today). It was also formerly known as Philipopolis from the world "phili" /which means sections/ and "polis" which means city. There is a statue of Philip in the centre today. During the long occupation by the Ottoman Empire, a large mosque was built, still present in the centre area as well. During Communist times, a statue of the unnamed Russian soldier was erected on one of the three main hills which overlooks the city.
Today, Plovdiv is a famous tourist destination itself and also serves as a gateway to many other points of interest. Plovdiv is well-known for hosting the Plovdiv International Fair twice a year and for its ancient sites.
While you are in Plovdiv, you can get help and more information about the city from one of the two Tourist information Centers in the city. The first one is located in the center of the city, right next to the post office; when arriving in the city via train or bus through "Ugh" or "Rhodopi" stations, this is one of the first buildings you'll come across in the center of the city. The second one is located in the old city, on the main street (Saborna St), a little bit before the Etnographic museum and the Church of Saint Konstantin and Elena.
Tourist information centers can help you with all kinds of information including city maps, information about concerts, bus and train schedules, and finding a place to sleep. There is also free wifi in bus stations and train stations.
International Plovdiv Airport is located next to the village of Krumovo, 15 km away from the city center (about 20 min by car). The airport is served by the low-cost flight company Ryanair, providing direct flights to London Stansted Airport and Frankfurt Haan. At the moment there are seasonal flights to Moskow Domodedovo Airport three times per week – on Monday, Friday and Sunday until March 29th 2016. Charter flights take place for the ski season, flying Monarch to London Gatwick, Yamal to Moskow Domodedovo and Donavia to Rostow na Don. The company Peagus runs flights to Izmir, Turkey.
Plovdiv International Airport is easily accessible by the following means of transport:
There are many national and international trains from and to Plovdiv.
There are many daily trains to and from Sofia. Duration is from about two and a half hours for the express ones to four hours for the slow ones. There is also one daily train to/from Istanbul in Turkey which takes about 11 hours. As of March 2013, the Istanbul train leaves from the Halkali station outside of Istanbul. The train leaves around 22:30 and there is not much easily accessible around Halkali station, so come prepared! Halkali can be reached by buses BN1 and BN2. Tickets plus reservations are around US$30.
You can check the timetable on bdz.bg
The railway station is located near the city center, it takes around 10-15 min walk to the centre.
Rail travel and ticketing in Bulgaria is unique. After buying a return trip ticket, before boarding the train on the return you have to obtain a stamp on your ticket at the cashier. Otherwise you will have to pay a fine to the conductor or be kicked off the train to get the stamp.
The A1 expressway/motorway connects Plovdiv westward to Sofia and eastward to Stara Zagora and Yambol. It is expected to be fully finished in 2013 and to connect Plovdiv to Burgas.
Plovdiv has 3 bus stations - "Jug"/("Yoog"), "Sever", and "Rhodopi". There are many buses for cities all around Bulgaria and to some that are outside the country.
Jug station has an ATM located just outside so you can easily get local currency there if you're arriving by bus from abroad.
Buses run approximately hourly from Sofia, and are slightly faster than the trains. Many also have free wifi! Price is 14 leva. The final stop for this bus is the Yug (south) station. Use the 'See' section for a map of the town.
Metro Turizm is a Turkish bus company that runs daily bus service to and from Istanbul in Turkey. Buses going from Plovdiv to Istanbul depart from Jug Station daily at 11:00, 14:00, 19:00, 22:30, and 01:00. The trip costs 40 leva (as of Aug 2013) and takes roughly 6 to 7 hours, depending upon the vagaries of traffic and the border crossing. Metro buses also depart daily for Bursa, Turkey at 19:00. A second bus line (Alpar) also has a daily bus from Jug Station to Istanbul that departs at 22:30.
Taxis and buses are prevalent. Downtown has a large pedestrian zone.
Taxis (2015) prices are about 0.85 BGN/km. An average ride within the city costs about 4-5 BGN. The taxi arrives in about 3-5min. Remember to order the Taxi from the companies that offer the best deals and wait for it. Generally taking the taxi that is already waiting will cost you more, avoid them or ask for flat price that fits you! Learn who offers best prices from the locals who often use taxis. Most of the taxi companies has 4-digit numbers on them, remember some and use it if you need a car, for example: 6665, 6155, 6142, 9199 and so on.
Beware of fake taxis that will do tricks to their counters. Keep an eye to the counter and if it starts going too fast, get off the car and threaten the driver with a police call.
Public bus tickets cost 1 BGN. Buses don't run very late, most of the lines close between 21-22 hr.
If you are driving your own car - beware! Plovdiv is one of the cities in Bulgaria with the highest rate of road accidents!
The old Plovdiv is compact and walkable, with the main downtown road blocked to car traffic. There is a good collection of Bulgarian revival buildings in use as museums, hotels, and restaurants etc. and is worth a visit if you have chance. The nearby Roman Amphitheater, discovered in the 1970's during a construction project, is part of the pedestrian zone, and typically has merchants selling art and other items nearby. Wander the cobblestone streets near the downtown to find the centuries old St. Marina church with a unique wooden tower, a mosque from the Ottoman Empire, and on the nearby hill the old town center. The old town center was walled, and has a famous gateway entrance. Nearby Puldin Restaurant has subterranean rooms where the old wall and historic artifacts can be seen. Continuing up the hill several older houses are now museums and the Roman amphitheater with an overlook of the town below is partially restored and still used for concerts and other occasions.
In the new center of the city (at the street heading up into the old town) you will find the Roman stadium which dates back to the late 1st/early 2nd century. It had a capacity of 30,000 people; and as the Roman laws dictate that the city stadium should have seating for at least half the population, it summarily shows the town had 60,000 inhabitants during Roman times. In addition, the ancient theatre is capable of seating 6,000 people at once--again, Roman laws dictated that the theatres should accommodate one-tenth of the population at a time.
When you go to the other end of the predestrian street, next to the Tourist Information Center and the post office, you will see the Roman Odeon and Forum. The forum was to Romans the downtown of today. This one had three sides of 13 shops on each side, and a fourth one for the bank, library, and other institutions of this sort.
Maps of Plovdiv can be printed or saved for offline use from the Visit Plovdiv website. http://www.plovdiv.bg/en/туристи-2/планирай-своето-пътуване/карти-и-брошури/
Plovdiv offers many things to do, and most are easily walkable.
On the Mladeshki there is a miniature train that can be ridden up and down. It costs 1 lev. On the Bunardjik Hill you can see the monument of the unknown russian soldier - it's dedecated to all the russian soldiers who died in the russian-turkish war.
You can buy many different souvenirs from Bulgaria that represent the country.
Cutlery made of wood or clay might also be worthwhile to look for.
Or perhaps you might be looking for a painting or even a musical instrument?
Generally speaking eating in Plovdiv should be cheap for the westerner's pocket. Fast food is available and of high quality (in general), though make sure to try Bulgarian cuisine as well. Stewed meats, fresh salads and cheeses, and good local wine.
The cheapest fast food could cost as little 0.50-1.00lv to 2-3lv and can be found along the main street. There are plenty of such places offering pizza, traditional food, and kebabs.There are McDonalds, KFC, Kastello, Verde and other popular restaurants.
There are some low-end restaurants that will be fairly affordable pay attention to the menu and think about 10-15lv for a full meal (salad, main course, dessert, drink(s)).
Paying more will probably get you a slightly better food than the options above but most of the cost will definitely go towards the overall experience. The priciest places are located in the old town, on top of the hill. Expect to pay a bit more say 20-30lv and above. There are also a few restaurants outside the center.
Club Zanzibar is the ideal place to drink in Plovdiv. It contains a stylish African interior Cocktail Bar which offers the best drinks in the city and at night time offers the largest nightclub in all of Plovdiv.
Emergency number for the whole country: 112
Telephone code of Bulgaria: +359; 00359
Area Code of Plovdiv: 032; 00359 32
General Consulates: General Consulate of Turkey Address: 10 Philip Makedonski Str. Plovdiv 4000 Contacts: +359 32 632 309; + 359 32 624 010; +359 32 624 020
General Consulate of Greece Address: 10 Preslav Str., Plovdiv 4000 Contacts: +35932632003, +35932632330, +35932632492 [email protected], [email protected]
The following free services are available for our visitors of the Tourist Information Centers in Plovdiv:
Tourist Information – Central Square Plovdiv 4000, 1 Central Square Telephone: +359 32 656 794; +359 32 620 229 Fax: +359 32 656 794 Business hours: Monday - Friday: 9:00 - 18:00 Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 - 17.00
Tourist Information – The Old Town Plovdiv 4000, 1 Dr. Stoyan Chomakov Str. Telephone: +359 32 620 453 Business hours: Monday - Friday: 9:00 - 17:30 Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 - 17.00 E-mail: [email protected] и [email protected] http://www.visitplovdiv.com/