Plovdiv
Day Trips

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Our most recommended Plovdiv Day Trips

Sofia: Adventure Tour to Plovdiv and Rhodope Mountain

1. Sofia: Adventure Tour to Plovdiv and Rhodope Mountain

Your tour starts with pickup from your hotel/accommodation in Sofia at 8:00AM. After an approximate 1.5-hour drive, you will reach Plovdiv. Once there you will visit the highlights, such as the 1st-century Roman Theatre, the 2nd-century Roman Stadium, the oldest mosque on the Balkans, and an old pharmacy. You will then have the chance to take a walk through the Old Town where you can observe the typical Revival Period houses, museums, and narrow cobblestone streets. Scheduled throughout your itinerary are visits to 5 sites, as well as the top of the main hill which provides great views over the whole city. After you finish your exploration of Plovdiv, you will drive south to the Rhodope Mountain. This road is very scenic, and you will soon reach Vucha Dam where you will be picked by a boat before being taken to a place where you can enjoy lunch. Whist at this scenic location, you can also enjoy a nice walk up to the cliffs, a boat trip on the reservoir, and take the opportunity to hire a waverunner. At the conclusion of this unforgettable experience, you will head safely back to Sofia.

Plovdiv: Full-Day Small Group Excursion from Sofia

2. Plovdiv: Full-Day Small Group Excursion from Sofia

This full-day trip begins with a 2-hour drive from Sofia to Plovdiv, one of Europe’s oldest towns. On a guided walking tour, discover the history and culture of this 8,000-year old city that was settled by Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Bulgarian civilizations. See the sights of the old town, including museums, historical monuments and revival period houses lining the cobbled streets. Explore the Ethnographical Museum and the impressive Roman Theater. An English-speaking guide will accompany the group throughout the day and will point out the most interesting architectural and cultural treasures of the region and provide commentary on modern life in Bulgaria.

From Plovdiv: Bachkovo Monastery & Asen’s Fortress Tour

3. From Plovdiv: Bachkovo Monastery & Asen’s Fortress Tour

Drive to the dramatic Rhodope Mountains for this half-day tour from Plovdiv, passing the pretty town of Asenovgrad to see the remarkable fortress remains of King Ivan Asen, a wise ruler of the 2nd Bulgarian Kingdom. Visit the 13th-century Church of the Holy Mother of God to admire the historic iconography and stone inscriptions. Enjoy panoramic views of the mountain scenery, and learn why the fortress gained importance in the Middle Ages, and how it was conquered by the armies of the Third Crusade. Next, head to picturesque Bachkovo Monastery deeper in the mountains. Founded in 1083, and one of the most sacred places in Bulgarian history, the monastery’s main church contains a valuable icon of the Virgin Mary from 1310 that, according to legend, can work miracles. Admire the 12th-century Church of the Archangels and its 19th-century paintings. The refectory, with beautifully preserved murals from 1643, is another jewel. Together with the Doomsday fresco, marvel at images of sainted monks and ancient philosophers, such as Socrates, Aristotle, and Diogenes. Admire the stunning mural on the outside wall of the refectory, representing a bird’s eye view of the surrounding buildings. The monastery tour ends at the Church of Saint Nikola, built between 1834 and 1837, but nature lovers can continue with a short walk in the “Red Wall” nature reserve, hiking to a beautiful waterfall, located some 15 min. away from the cloister.

Starosel Thracian Temple and Hissaria Spa Resort Day Tour

4. Starosel Thracian Temple and Hissaria Spa Resort Day Tour

In recent years archeologists made a sensational discovery near the village of Starosel in central Bulgaria. They uncovered the enormous temple-grave of what is believed to be a Thracian ruler, possibly Sitalkes I, the first king of a combined Thracian empire. On this 5-hour trip you’ll stop first to visit the temple and then continue on to Hissaria, a small resort town noted for its hot mineral springs. Located near the Sredna Gora mountain range, it boasts a very mild climate and over 2 dozen mineral springs. The Starosel temple dates to the 4th or 5th century B.C. This impressive site is also known as the Starosel Thracian Cult Complex, as several tombs were discovered around the central temple. Hissar is one of the 3 international spa resorts in Bulgaria, and is also known for its Roman ruins. The ruins are visible everywhere, and include public buildings, a small amphitheater, the barracks of the Roman garrison and the best-preserved Roman fortress in the country. Take a walk in the town’s green parks and pass mineral hot springs, fountains and ruins.

Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa Day Trip from Sofia

5. Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa Day Trip from Sofia

Depart Sofia and relax in air-conditioned comfort on the 2-hour journey by shuttle bus with friendly English-speaking driver. Head towards the scenic Sredna Gora Mountains, and arrive at the charming old town of Koprivshtitsa to stroll the cobblestone streets and marvel at the old houses at leisure. Get 2 hours to discover architectural gems from the Bulgarian National Revival renaissance at your own pace. Then, continue to the historic city of Plovdiv, known for its huge variety of cultural events and historic monuments. Benefit from 3 hours to explore the Old Town at your own pace, and discover Roman remains such as the ancient theater and ancient stadium. Use the time to go to the artistic district of Kapana, and take an optional free guided tour at 2:00 PM to learn more about the rich history of Bulgaria's second city. Board the shuttle bus at the agreed meeting point, and return to Sofia to get dropped off at the meeting point on arrival.

Veliko Tarnovo, Arbanasi & Shipka Memorial Church Tour

6. Veliko Tarnovo, Arbanasi & Shipka Memorial Church Tour

On this full-day excursion from Plovdiv you’ll begin your tour with a stop at Shipka Memorial Church, an outstanding Bulgarian Orthodox temple built in the late 19th century in the foothills of the Balkan mountain range. Continuing on, you’ll cross the Shipka Pass to reach one of the most amazing landmarks in Bulgaria, Veliko Tarnovo, the country’s former capital. The charming town attracts many tourists, drawn to its unique architecture and beautiful landscapes. Your first stop in town is the imposing Tsarevets Fortress, a hilltop medieval stronghold. Take a walk along lovely Turnovo Street, picturesque Gourko Street, and Samovodska Charshiya Street in the old town, where you’ll see shops selling arts and crafts and souvenirs. Enjoy lunch before heading to the nearby village of Arbanasi, one of Bulgaria’s most popular historical attractions. The village is best known for its 17th and 18th century churches and examples of Bulgarian National Revival architecture. See the oldest church in the village, the 17th-century Nativity of Christ. The interior of this impressive monument is a genuine art gallery, featuring murals with vast numbers of realistic figures and Biblical scenes, painted by unknown artists throughout the ages. Your final stop for the day is the Konstantsalieva House Museum, originally built in the 17th century and later beautifully restored in the National Revival style. It reflects not only the wealth of the owners but also the attention to detail and the quality of craftsmanship at that time.

Rila Monastery: Day Trip to Bulgaria's Orthodox Jewel

7. Rila Monastery: Day Trip to Bulgaria's Orthodox Jewel

Rila Monastery, at an elevation of 1,147 meters, is situated along the Rilska River in the highest mountains of the Balkan Peninsula. Founded in the 10th century by the hermit St. Ivan Rilski, it is today Bulgaria’s most famous site. Known also as the Holy Rila Retreat, it is considered to be the most outstanding monument of the Bulgarian National Revival period, and the ultimate expression of the Bulgarian genius in matters of spirit, culture, architecture, construction, icon painting, and woodcarving. The monastery, as it now stands, was built in the period 1816-1847. The first stop at the monastery is the main church, the Nativity of the Virgin, elaborately decorated with murals both inside and outside. The church houses the holy relics of St. Ivan Rilski as well as the tomb of Boris III, the last Bulgarian king. Next to the main temple is the only structure that remains from the 14th century: the Tower of Hrelyu. This strong fortification was erected by the local feudal lord Hrelyu in 1334. The Transfiguration Chapel on the top floor features precious murals from the 14th century. In the monastery museum you’ll see the impressive wooden cross carved by the monk Rafail. This unique piece of art contains 36 scenes from the Bible and about 600 figures as small as a grain of rice. Before visiting the monastery you have the option of enjoying lunch at a restaurant perched above the Rilska River to try the local speciality; grilled or fried trout.

From Plovdiv: Musala Peak Full-Day Trekking Tour

8. From Plovdiv: Musala Peak Full-Day Trekking Tour

Enjoy a full-day hike of the Rila National Park and conquer the summit of Musala, the highest mountain on the Balkan peninsula Boasting more than 180 glacial lakes, the name of the mountain is of Thracian origin and means “Plenty of Water.” Coniferous trees grow up to 170-200 feet (50-60 meters) tall, concealing diverse wildlife that includes bears, wolves, wild goats, and imperial eagles. Following a pick-up in Plovdiv, head towards Borovets, Bulgaria's oldest ski resort. The 19th-century resort is surrounded by old pine forests, and boasts one of the healthiest climates in Bulgaria. Board the gondola lift to the peak of Yastrebet (7,936 feet/2,369 meters) for the start of your trek. Your guide will lead you along the trail to the Musala Mountain Hut, and on to a stunning lake, before hiking to Icy Lake (9,078 feet/2,710 meters), the coldest and highest lake in the Rila Mountains. A short but steep ascent follows all the way to Musala’s summit (9,799 feet/2,925 meters), with spectacular vistas along the way. Gaze across at the alpine Pirin Mountains, Vitosha Mountain, Sredna Gora Mountains, and the green carpets of the Rhodope Mountains. After a break at the summit, hike back down, retracing your steps to the gondola lift and on to Borovets for the transfer back to Plovdiv.

The 7 Rila Lakes: Full-Day Guided Hike from Plovdiv

9. The 7 Rila Lakes: Full-Day Guided Hike from Plovdiv

Spend an extraordinary day hiking in Rila National Park, as you admire the incredible landscape of glacial lakes and mountain peaks. The Rila Mountains, located within the park, are the highest in Bulgaria and on the Balkan Peninsula. On this full-day outing, you’ll see why the 7 Rila Lakes area is the most popular trekking destination in the Rila Mountains. Drive to the Pionerska hut and take the chair lift to the Rila Lakes hut. From this point you’ll do a loop hike of the 7 Rila Lakes and discover the spectacular beauty of the lakes and the towering peaks. The first lake you’ll come to is The Kidney, followed by The Eye, the deepest lake in Bulgaria. Next is the highest lake, The Tear. At this point you’ll have incredible views of all the lakes, and the Balkan range in the distant background. After a break at the top you’ll continue exploring the rest of these lakes on the way down. Next is the largest lake, The Twins, followed by The Trefoil, The Fish Lake, and then The Lower Lake, which collects water from the other 6 lakes. Your trek ends at the Rila Lakes hut, where you’ll take the chair lift back to the Pionerska hut before heading back to Plovdiv.

Rose Valley & Valley of the Thracian Kings Day Tour

10. Rose Valley & Valley of the Thracian Kings Day Tour

Your first stop on this full-day tour is the small but charming Rose Museum in Kazanlak, featuring exhibits related to rose harvesting and rose oil production in Bulgaria. This is the only museum devoted to rose oil production in the whole world. Next you visit the local historical museum, dedicated to the rich cultural heritage of the Kazanlak region, including the tombs from the Valley of the Thracian rulers. Still in Kazanlak, explore the replica of the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, impressive for its unique frescoes dating from the 4th century B.C. The exceptionally well-preserved murals and the condition of the original structure reveal the high level of culture and pictorial art in Hellenistic Thrace. Enjoy lunch in a traditional restaurant in Kazanlak where you'll taste some local dishes and wine.  Continue to the Golyama Kosmatka Thracian tomb, one of the largest mounds ever found on the Balkan Peninsula, dating from the end of the 5th century BC. Archaeologists believe they have found the tomb of the greatest Thracian king, Seuth III. The final stop on the tour is Shipka Memorial Church which is an outstanding Russian Orthodox temple built between 1885 and 1902 in Shipka town at the foothills of the Balkan Range. The Shipka Monument complex is dedicated to the Russian, Ukrainian, and Bulgarian soldiers who died for the liberation of Bulgaria in the Russo-Turkish War from 1877-78.

Frequently asked questions about Plovdiv Day Trips

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What people are saying about Plovdiv

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 162 reviews

Guide was knowledgeable & friendly the tour was excellent all 3 stops during the excursion were interesting & well worth seeing true out the tour the guide was informative & also allowed plenty of time for photographs i really enjoyed this day trip & would highly recommend it comfortable vehicle great guide plenty of historical things to see & learn about

Very good and informative Tour . Our tour guide Chris was very well organized and approachable/friendly . He was very knowledgeable and gave detailed information not only on Plovdiv area but also on the whole general history of bulgaria and traditional things in this country . He also gave us recommended places to visit . Good tour and bravo Chris!

Wonderful day trip to Plovdiv, well worth it. Our guide, Lubo, was fantastic - really friendly guy and very knowledgeable. The city itself is really nice and has a great vibe about it, it was only a shame that we couldn't stay for longer!

The tour was only me so I had plenty of time get to know the locations and the guide. Georgi was fantastic. He answered my million questions and just seemed to enjoy the day with me. Highly recommend both locations!

This trip was great and informative! I highly recommend it!