If you haven’t already heard of Plovdiv, you will very soon – Bulgaria’s second city has been announced to be the European capital of culture 2019.
Plovdiv’s Historical Charm – Old Town meets Modern
During my recent trip, I certainly experienced the cities history and charm. Plovdiv is famous for its Old Town which is a living museum and UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s symmetrical top-heavy historical houses are characteristic of the revival period, when the Bulgarians re-gained autonomy from the Ottoman rulers.
The fact that the city has been conquered by so many different empires is what provides its richness in history. In the past, Plovdiv has been conquered by the Turks, Romans, Byzantines, Ottoman Empire and, of course, the Bulgarians. Don’t miss the stunning 2nd Century Roman stadium that has been tastefully incorporated into the modern central shopping area due to when it was discovered.
Also, the Roman Ampitheatre is almost on the same scale as Ephasus.
The cobbled main streets of Plovdiv lend themselves well to a shopping and cafe culture that felt somewhat like Paris or Rome. However, it has the added advantage of not having a Parisian price tag! I frequently picked up hot chocolates for around £1 in decent city centre cafes, and even less in the suburbs. I think that my cheapest take out hot chocolate was 30p!
European Capital of Culture 2019 – Getting there and Where to Stay in Plovdiv
The city is around 1hour 40mins by car from the capital, Sofia, and around 2h 20mins on the train. Easyjet fly direct from Manchester (UK) to Sofia and Ryanair, Wizz Air and Bulgaria Air fly direct from London, making Sofia and Plovdiv extremely accessible from the UK.
For Lavish and quirky accommodation in Plovdiv, I recommend the Hotel Residence Hebros, in the heart of the old town.