Things to do in
Plovdiv

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Our most recommended things to do in Plovdiv

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.

Plovdiv: Bachkovo Monastery, Fortress Asen, & Wonder Bridges

4. Plovdiv: Bachkovo Monastery, Fortress Asen, & Wonder Bridges

Begin the tour at the impressive Asen’s fortress, nearby the charming town of Asenovgrad. Explore the remarkable remains of King Ivan Asen's fortress and discover the nearby ancient 12th-century church painted with authentic pieces of iconography as well as the stone-made inscription carved by King Ivan Asen himself. Continue the tour with a drive to the picturesque Bachkovo monastery, the second largest in Bulgaria and over a thousand years old. Admire the sacred icon of the Virgin Mary dating back to the 14th century that rests inside, as well as the striking frescoed murals of the monastery's walls Conclude the trip with a visit to the "Wonderful Bridges". Situated high in the stunning Rhodope Mountains, 1,450 meters above sea level, admire these unique marble bridges formed by the erosive activity of what was once a high-water river. In summer the longest zip line on the Balkan Peninsula (240 meters) stretching between the 2 bridges is available for the more adventurous travelers.

From Sofia: Europe's Oldest City, Plovdiv including Pickup

5. From Sofia: Europe's Oldest City, Plovdiv including Pickup

Plovdiv, the second biggest city in Bulgaria, is considered to be one of the oldest settlements in Europe, with more than 7000 years of history. Plovdiv is situated on the crossroads between the West and the East, amid the fertile plain of Thrace, where history and modernity go hand in hand. See how culture and art have always thrived in this city as you explore a vivid medley of shapes, styles, and colors. The city is home to the fabulous remains of the Ancient Roman Empire – the Roman Stadium, the Roman Forum, and the Amphitheatre. During your time in the city, you can discover the Old Town of Plovdiv, situated on the three hills of the ancient Trimontium. See the houses from the National Revival period, which  have been proclaimed an architectural open air museum. Discover many of the main sights in the area with a guide.

Starosel Thracian Temple and Hissaria Spa Resort Day Tour

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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.

Plovdiv: 2-Hour Sightseeing Walking Tour

9. Plovdiv: 2-Hour Sightseeing Walking Tour

On this 2-hour sightseeing tour visit some of the most impressive sites in Plovdiv. Explore the Old Town, an architectural and historical reserve situated on the Three Hills. Here the picturesque houses of the Bulgarian National Revival period stand close to the ruins from antiquity and Bulgarian renaissance churches. On the tour see the Roman theater from the 2nd century, which has been restored and is now used today for different performances and festivals. Your walk continues down to the partly uncovered Roman Stadium and the 14th century Djumaya Mosque. At the end you will stroll along the long and lovely main pedestrian commercial street with many cafes and shops, where you can feel the unique laid back atmosphere of this spectacular city. After extensive reconstruction in 2014, the Plovdiv main pedestrian street is now the longest in Europe, dotted with many cafes and shops, where you can feel the unique and laid back atmosphere of the city.

Rila Monastery: Day Trip to Bulgaria's Orthodox Jewel

10. 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.

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What people are saying about Plovdiv

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 573 reviews

It's a wonderful experience! Our guide, Maria, told us everything there is to know about this beautiful city. In addition, Maria is teeming with knowledge not only about Plovdiv but also about Sofia and Bulgaria in general. She is a very nice and approachable person and will be happy to answer all questions. We rode with an extremely comfortable car, visited the old town, the main street and ended up having free time for lunch, coffee and other. I definitely recommend if you have extra time in Sofia

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

Maria was absolutely brilliant. Her passion and extensive knowledge made the trip much better. She is a credit to her company.

Superb release. Our guide made the effort to speak to us in French. Which was a plus for us. Thanks to her.

Maria is a wonderful tour guide. It couldn't be better !!