Stepping into Plovdiv is to step back in time – ancient cobbled streets, boho cafes, and galleries galore – but don’t let the old charm fool you; this city is built upon layers of history and boasts a dynamic night life scene, an active artist community, a rich culture, and plenty of delicious and unique food. One of the oldest cities in Europe, this small, pedestrian friendly city is great for walking to soak up the Greek and Roman historical sites. Mild winters and hot summers mean that Plovdiv can be on your itinerary any time of year. Many travelers often see Plovdiv as merely a convenient stopover point on their European trips or sadly bypass this beautiful city in favor of the larger and more bustling Sofia, but this gem of a city is worth its own visit with plenty to see and do. Often underrated, here is why you should check out this cultural hotspot:
The city of Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria with a population of over 300 thousand people. Found on the banks of the Maritsa River on the large plain between the Rhodope Mountains and the Balkan Range, on a clear day you can see both mountain ranges from the city center. Plovdiv’s history goes back over 6000 years – once a Thracian city before becoming Greek then Roman. In the middle ages, this city went back and forth between the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires, and then fell under Ottoman rule. Plovdiv was liberated by Russia in 1878, became part of Eastern Rumelia, but then became part of Bulgaria. Although Plovdiv never gets very cold, the best time to visit is spring through fall to give you the most time outdoors to wander this ancient city’s streets. In Bulgaria, you will be using the Bulgarian lev as currency.