Three days in Plovdiv gives you plenty of time to soak up the city’s atmosphere, explore an abundance of ancient sites, check out its cultural scene, and even take a trip out of town. Here’s how.
Day 1: Explore the City and its History
Devote the morning to getting your bearings by going sightseeing in Plovdiv. A walking tour gives you a more intimate glimpse of attractions such as the Roman Stadium, Ancient Theater of Philippopolis, the Old Town, and Djumaya Mosque. Plovdiv is Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited city—its even older than Athens or Rome—so exploring with a guide ensures you get the inside scoop on its history. If you prefer to wander solo, opt for a self-guided audio tour that lets you explore at your own pace.
In the afternoon, delve deeper into the city’s history at the Archaeological Museum, which is home to more than 100,000 items largely from the Thracian and Roman eras, and at the Ethnographical Museum, housed in a National Revival–era building.
When it’s time for dinner, head for the Old Town, home to a number of sophisticated restaurants housed in historic buildings.
Day 2: Delve Deeper into Local Culture
Start your day with a small-group walking tour of the Kapana district, Plovdiv’s center of arts and culture. Tours introduce visitors to the creative people working in the neighborhood. You’re likely to hear about the development of Kapana, which is also known as The Trap; meet local artists; and visit artist studios, workshops, and galleries.
Alternatively, if food culture is more to your taste, take a food tour; tours typically visit a local market, where you can try local dishes such as kyopolou (eggplant dip), babek (cured sausage), and banitsa (feta cheese pastry) washed down with rakia, a strong Bulgarian spirit made from distilled fruit. You’ll also learn more about local food customs and culture.
In the evening, get to know more locals by embarking on a pub crawl. These tours introduce visitors to some of Plovdiv’s most popular bars, as well as a few hidden spots.
Day 3: Head Out of Town
Plovdiv’s central location provides easy access to some of Bulgaria’s top attractions. Rila Monastery is a popular day trip; founded in the 10th century, this UNESCO World Heritage site is Bulgaria’s largest Eastern Orthodox monastery and is known for its black, red, and white archways, yellow domes, and stunning frescoes. Day trips from Plovdiv typically include hotel pickup and drop-off.
Oenophiles have the option of joining a wine tour to western Thrace, one of Bulgaria’s best-known wine destinations. These tours typically visit two or three wineries; introduce visitors to the history of Bulgarian wine; and include a tasting session. Lunch is usually included.
Top off your visit to Plovdiv with a 5-course dinner menu with Bulgarian wine pairings in a private dining room in one of the city’s best restaurants.