Plovdiv is Bulgaria’s oldest and most colourful city and in 2019, it’s hotter than ever. Not because of global warming or the infamous heat of Thrace – now that it’s been crowned the 2019 European Capital of Culture, its bohemian chic is deservedly making rounds all over the world. To make the most of your time in the “ancient and eternal” Plovdiv, enhance your visit with Plovdiv City Card! You’ll get free admissions to many of the must-see sights as well as dozens of discounts in some of the coolest places around town!
Begin your day with a Plovdiv Arts & Crafts District Tour (4 BGN discount with Plovdiv City Card) to get to know the history of Kapana, Bulgaria’s hippest and trendiest neighborhood, and make note of the excellent eateries, bars and boutiques to check out later on. You won’t just see all of the fascinating street art by talented Bulgarian graffiti artists – you’ll also learn about its symbolism. If you’re feeling like brunch after the tour, Multi Culti (20% discount with card) is your best bet in the vibrant Kapana district.
Ready to walk up the cobblestoned streets to Plovdiv’s dreamy Old Town? Enter some of the opulent merchant’s mansions to learn about the city’s wealth during the late Ottoman period. In the majestic and palatial Stepan Hindliyan House (free entry with card), watch out for the rose water fountain, the antique marble bathroom and the fascinating frescoed cityscapes, “alafranga”.
Plovdiv’s Ancient Theatre is a monumental remain from the Roman era and perhaps Plovdiv’s biggest highlight (free entry with card). On your way down from the Old Town, you might want to stop over at the House of Distillation (discounts with card) and taste some trademark Bulgarian spirits, including high-quality rakia and mastika with herbs.
If antique mosaics and glasswork are your thing, then by all means visit the Trakart Cultural Centre (free entry with card). The 3rd-century Eirene mosaic inside, once the floor of a rich urban home, impresses with its attention to detail and state of preservation. The Small Basilica (free entry with card) will take you to the 5th century and introduce you to early Christian mosaic art, with some vivid mosaic images of birds, animals and geometric shapes. And when the imposing and lovingly restored Bishop’s Basilica opens in autumn 2019, it promises some of the most extensive and eye-catching mosaic art in all of the Balkans.
As for a convenient place to stay in order to best explore all this – Kuker Inn, a few minutes away from the main pedestrian street, Kapana and the Old Town, comes fully recommended! Cozy, comfy and affordable to boot, it’s run by experienced travelers who will be sure to give you excellent tips for your stay in Plovdiv.
Plovdiv City Card is available in 24-hour (19.80 BGN or 10 €) and 72-hour (30 BGN or 15 €) formats, either for a single adult or for an adult with child (for a surcharge). You can buy it online or at select locations around Plovdiv.