“This is the biggest and loveliest of all cities. Its beauty shines from faraway.” -Lucian (Roman writer)
In 2019 Plovdiv was chosen to be the European capital of culture. And that is not a coincidence – it is chosen for a reason (many reasons).
But let’s first try to answer what is Plovdiv?
Most of us know, Plovdiv is the second most populated city in Bulgaria after the capital Sofia. But did you know that…
- 1. Plovdiv is the oldest city in whole Europe. Much older than Athens. (with 3000 years!)
Plovdiv is by far the oldest city in Europe, having been founded about 6000 BC. Nebet tepe, one of Plovdiv’s hills, is the most crucial settlement from that time, having been inhabited since. The city was expanded around Nebet Tepe and fortified by the Thracians during the Iron Age. It was later renamed Evmolpia after King Evmolp who ruled around 1200 BC. Around 342 BC, Evmolpia was conquered by Phillip II, father of Alexander the Great, and renamed Philippopolis. Phillip II expanded and fortified the city after rebuilding it and made it the most important city of the time and was known as Thanes. Plovdiv grew as a result of trade and due to its favorable military position being naturally fortified. – https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-oldest-cities-in-europe.html
- 2. An important Thracian settlement
The second-largest city in Bulgaria, Plovdiv was originally a Thracian settlement before becoming a major Roman city. It later fell into Byzantine and Ottoman hands, before becoming part of Bulgaria. The city is a major cultural center and boasts many ancient remains, including a Roman amphitheater and aqueduct, and Ottoman baths. Lucian (Roman writer): “This is the biggest and loveliest of all cities. Its beauty shines from faraway.”
- 3. You will discover yourself by visiting
The rest of the reasons why Plovdiv has been chosen to be the European capital of culture, you could discover yourself, using the 24h Plovdiv City Card during your visit.
The Plovdiv City Card gives you:
- free admissions to the museums, the Roman amphitheater, the 4th century basilica, many Renaissance houses located in the Old city, for a period of 24 hours after the first check-in with the card. You could also buy the 72 hours card with the same features but for a 72h period.
- discounts in the best restaurants and bars in Plovdiv, discount for a one night accommodation in the city center.
In this post I will share how I used the 24h Plovdiv City Card to explore the museums and visit the old houses (together with my boyfriend from Sweden).
Later, I will share with you the photos from the most amazing two lunches and a dinner we’ve ever had. Of course I’m subjective as I’m Bulgarian and I love Bulgarian food, but my Sweetish boyfriend loved it too. And I am warning you now that you should not be hungry when you read the next post. 🙂
But first book your accommodation in our beautiful Bulgarian city…
Remember to book your discounted accommodation in Plovdiv before visiting
Booking.com best Plovdiv hotels – get your discounted rate if you book through the provided link
Find the best price in Plovdiv using HotelsCombined.com – and book to get the best deal, HotelsCombined searches and compares all prices from Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda and many more
Get 10% discount on any hotel on Booking.com – use my link and book with 10% discount on any hotel you choose (and I will get a small reward)
Here I summarized the best deals in Plovdiv and please notice that if you book through any of the links, I will get a reward. 🙂 Thanks in advance!
Things to do in Plovdiv for 24 hours
So let’s start with the “cultural” part….
Following our cat in Plovdiv
- We start our walk in the charming Old Town – visit the houses, taste some local wines and rakia, visit some galleries in the Old Town and buy local artists’ artworks, walk and repeat.
- If you’re in town in the summer don’t miss the chance to see an opera or a performance at the Ancient amphitheater. I simply love it and never miss a visit while in Plovdiv.
- Walk back to the modern city and have a coffee and Turkish sweets at the Dzhumaya cafeteria just in the Dzhumaya Mosque.
- Continue the sightseeing tour and visit the Roman Stadium – it is so big, there once have been lions, gladiators battles and sailing competitions.
- Shopping – the street above the Roman stadium is packed with shops
- Have lunch at Kapana district. I recommend the restaurant called Pavaj (they have many traditional dishes but with a contemporary touch), the Peruvian-Bulgarian fusion dishes at and try some fantastic street food meals at MultiCulti.
- Get lost in Kapana and see many local artists and their works.
- Go back to your hotel and get refreshed and ready for some nightlife in Piano bar Quattro. Use this link to get the cheapest price: http://www.hotelscombined.com/Place/Plovdiv.htm?a_aid=141285
- Wake up and have breakfast with a Bulgarian banitsa (a pastry with feta cheese), Airyan (yoghurt) or Boza (quite unusual but traditional Bulgarian sweet thick drink with 0.2% alchohol). Get your coffee at a place where they roast their coffees.
- Enjoy and share your experiences below in a comment so that other travelers can experience the greatest! And to do this as cheap as possible order your 24h Plovdiv City card here: https://plovdivcitycard.com/buy-city-card/