Plovdiv
Day Trips

Enter your dates to find available activities

Our most recommended Plovdiv Day Trips

Plovdiv: Full-Day Small Group Excursion from Sofia

1. 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.

Sofia: Adventure Tour to Plovdiv and Rhodope Mountain

2. 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.

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.

Rila Monastery: Day Trip to Bulgaria's Orthodox Jewel

4. 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.

Starosel Thracian Temple and Hissaria Spa Resort Day Tour

5. 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

6. 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.

From Sofia: Plovdiv Day Tour with Transfer

7. From Sofia: Plovdiv Day Tour with Transfer

Get out of Sofia and visit the ancient city of Plovdiv on a day tour. Visit the ancient site of Nebet Tepe, see some of its historical buildings, and move on to the modern Kapana district to stroll among trendy cafes and upscale restaurants. Enjoy a convenient pickup from your hotel in Sofia. Sit back and relax on the 90-minute drive to Plovdiv. Your first stop is Nebet Tepe, an ancient settlement founded around 4000 BC. Walk through this historic place and learn about its history from your guide. Next, see the Roman theater of Philippolis, one of the world's best-preserved ancient theaters. Afterward, marvel at the intricate wooden architecture of Hindliyan's House and Balabanov's House. Finish off your tour in the modern Kapana district with its cozy restaurants and fine dining. Explore the shops and have a walk down one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe before getting dropped off back at your hotel in Sofia.

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

8. 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

9. 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.

Plovdiv, Bachkovo Monastery and the Red Wall Reserve

10. Plovdiv, Bachkovo Monastery and the Red Wall Reserve

Explore the largest biosphere reserve in the Rhodope Mountains – the Red Wall. This paradise for orchids was included in UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program back in 1977, due to its rich biodiversity. The centuries-old beech tree forests of the Red Wall host more than 20 species of orchids including the unique “lady’s-slipper”, which can be seen only in this reserve. You'll hike to one of the tallest waterfalls of the Rhodope Mountains, Slivodolsko Padalo (49 meters) where you stop for a refreshing rest under the mist of the falling water before visiting Bachkovo, among the largest Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Europe. The tour ends with a sightseeing tour of Plovdiv, one of the oldest cities in Europe, ranked by Lonely Planet as one of the best cities to visit in 2015. Your guide will pick you up early in the morning from your hotel or address in Sofia or Plovdiv, and within a two-hour journey by private car or minivan you'll be at the starting point of the hike in the Rhodope Mountains. Walk by a picturesque trail upstream Slivov Dol river with its numerous cascades where many orchids can be spotted. Reach Slivodolsko Padalo waterfall (49 meters), among the tallest in the Rhodope Mountains. After a short break you'll walk back to the car, then be transferred to Bachkovo Monastery for a sightseeing tour and lunch. Later, the journey will continue with a short transfer and city tour of Plovdiv, one of the oldest cities in Europe. In the late afternoon you'll head towards Sofia, where your driver will drop you off at your hotel.

Other Sightseeing Options in Plovdiv

Want to discover all there is to do in Plovdiv? Click here for a full list.

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!

The guide was excellent he has a great knowledge about history and he is very interesting and friendly