Plovdiv (Bulgarian: Пловдив) is the second-largest city in Bulgaria. It is located in the large plain between the Rhodope Mountains on the south and the Balkan Range (Stara Planina – “Old Mountain”) that runs through the center of Bulgaria to the north. Both ranges are visible on clear days. The Maritsa River flows through the city on its way southeast before forming the Greek/Turkey border to the Aegean Sea.
Plovdiv is debatably one of the oldest continually inhabited city in Europe, with a history traced back to 6000 BC. Originally it had seven tall hills, some of which were used for quarries. It was originally a Thracian settlement by the name of Eumolpias. The city has changed its name many times with new settlers and rulers: from Philippoupolis and Pulpudeva (“the city of Philip”, the father of Alexander the Great), through Trimontium (“the three hills”), to Pəldin, Pləpdiv (Плъпдив) and Plovdiv. They also left their marks behind: there are several Roman ruins that can be seen in or near the city center area. During the long occupation by the Ottoman Empire, a large mosque, still present, was built in the center of the city. During Communist times, a statue of the unnamed Russian soldier was erected on one of the three main hills which overlook the city.
Today, Plovdiv is a famous tourist destination itself and also serves as a gateway to many other points of interest. Plovdiv is well known for hosting the Plovdiv International Fair twice a year and for its ancient, medieval and enlightenment sites.
When you are in Plovdiv, you can get help and more information about the city from one of the two tourist information centers in the city. Plovdiv was a “European Capital of Culture” on year 2019.
The average temperature in May is 24°C/11°C.
Eastern European Standard Time (GMT+2, Plovdiv , Bulgaria)
The current in Bulgaria is 220 volts 50 Hz.
The Organizing Committee cannot accept responsibility for accidents that might occur during the Conference period and field trips. Delegates are encouraged to purchase travel insurance before leaving their home country.
The Bulgarian Lev is the currency of Bulgaria. The currency code for Leva is BGN, and the currency symbol is лв. Foreign currency can be exchanged at the airport, exchange offices around the city and at the front desk of your hotel.
Please check the visa requirements with the Bulgarian Consulate in your home country. More information also can be found also at the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Bulgaria.
TRAVEL TO PLOVDIV
Plovdiv International Airport (PDV), originally called Krumovo is located 12 km southeast from the city of Plovdiv.
There is a bus, that goes from the airport to the central bus station “Yug”. There are buses after every flight. On the way back to the airport you can choose from one-way or return tickets.You can also go there by taxi and it will cost you about €7.50 from the city center.
Sofia International Airport (SOF) is the main international airport of Bulgaria, located 10 km (6.2 mi) east of the centre of the capital Sofia. In 2019 the airport surpassed 7 million passengers for the first time. The airport serves as the home base for BH Air, Bulgaria Air, and Bulgarian Air Charter and as a base for both Ryanair and Wizz Air.
Bulgarian Railways (BDZh) operates a train from Sofia Airport (SOF) to Plovdiv every 2 hours. Tickets cost $4 – $7 and the journey takes 2h 23m. Alternatively, Avtogari operates a bus from Sofia Airport (SOF) to Plovdiv hourly. Tickets cost $5 – $8 and the journey takes 2h 20m.
The 2 railway station is just north of the city center, a 10-15 min walk. There are around 15 daily trains to and from Sofia, taking 2 to 4 hours (the slower trains may require a change).
There is a sleeper train every night between Sofia, Plovdiv and Istanbul which takes about 7 hr.
The A1 expressway/motorway connects Plovdiv westward to Sofia, and eastward all the way to Burgas on the Black Sea. Other destinations require two-lane roads, such as the most direct route to Pleven, which is the somewhat adventurous Troyan pass road.
Buses run hourly from Sofia and are slightly faster than the trains. Plovdiv has 3 bus stations: Yug, Sever, and Rhodope. There are many buses for cities all around Bulgaria and to some that are outside the country. Buses to destinations near Plovdiv run from Rhodope station. Both the Yug and Rhodope stations are within five minutes walking distance from the main train station.
Yug station has an ATM located just outside so you can easily get local currency there if you’re arriving by bus from abroad. Buses for Sofia leave from this station.
Eurolines runs a bus to Thessaloniki via Sofia that leaves at 08:00 from the Yug station, tickets can be bought on board. Metro Turizm runs a similar service at 08:30, tickets can be bought from the office at the station.
Metro Turizm is a Turkish bus company that runs daily bus services to and from Istanbul in Turkey. Buses going from Plovdiv to Istanbul depart from Yug Station daily. Trip takes roughly 7 hr, depending upon the vagaries of traffic and the border crossing. A second bus line (Alpar) also has a daily bus from Yug Station to Istanbul that departs at 22:30.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN PLOVDIV
Plovdiv offers many things to do, and most are easily walkable.
Old Town is compact and walkable, with the main downtown road blocked to car traffic. There is a good collection of Bulgarian revival buildings in use as museums, hotels, and restaurants etc.
The Roman Amphitheatre, discovered in the 1970s during a construction project, is part of the pedestrian zone, and typically has merchants selling art and other items nearby. You might be even lucky enough to catch an opera performance. The ancient theatre is capable of seating 6,000 people at once as Roman laws were dictating that the theatres should accommodate one-tenth of the population at a time.
Visit St. Marina church with a unique wooden tower.
The main walking street of Plovdiv, known as “Glavnata” (The Main) is full of shops, galleries, and cafes.
Wander the cobblestone streets near the downtown to find, a mosque from the Ottoman Empire.
In the new center of the city, right before you go up into the old city, you will see the Roman Stadium, which dates back to the late 1st/early 2nd century. It had a capacity of 30,000 people, and as the Roman laws dictated that the city stadium should have seating for at least half the population.
When you go to the other end of the pedestrian street, next to the Tourist Information Centre and the post office, you will see the Roman Odeon and Forum. The forum was to Romans what the city centers are to modern human. This one had three sides of 13 shops on each side, and a fourth one for the bank, library, and other institutions of this sort.
Central park is very enjoyable, especially if it’s a very hot days. On summer evenings, many locals gather to enjoy the recently renovated marvelous singing fountains, located in a large pond on the western edge of the park (show starts at 22:00 every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday).
Bachkovo Monastery and Asenovgrad Krepost can be visited as a daily trip. There are many bus connections Asenovgrad by bus from the Rhodope bus station.
Bachkovo Monastery is a small monastery up the valley from the nearby town of Bachkovo. Buses leave from Rhodope bus station. The monastery is small but has a lovely chapel and some paths for easy walks in the surrounding area. Also many chances to buy jams and honey, though not all sellers are the actual producers.