Plovdiv is one of the best places in Europe! It’s a dreamy little town with an amazing history. It’s one of the oldest cities in Europe and, in fact, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world! It was directly on the trade route between Western Europe and Istanbul (then Constantinople) so it has seen many cultures come and go and retains incredible remnants of each one.

Colored flags wave over the cobblestone streets of Old Town Plovdiv, Roman theaters are carved into the hills, delicious Bulgarian food is abundant and booze is cheap. In fact, it is one of the best places in Europe for an extremely affordable vacation. It’s a hidden gem, but I have a feeling it won’t stay that way for much longer. (Because idiots keep writing blog articles and telling everyone about it!)

We came to Plovdiv from an amazing trip to Bali and were expecting European prices. When we arrived and looked at the menus we thought, “Wow. We’re going to save so much money here!” Then, because everything was so cheap, we ended up going on a food and booze bender and went way over budget.  It was absolutely worth it, though.

Here is my guide to living the life in Plovdiv.

Cost Of Living Chart

Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Cost of Living Relative to the US (Rent)83% Less Expensive Than US
Cost of Living Relative to the US (Restaurants)59% Less Expensive Than US
Free Workspace With Fastest Wi-FiMonkey House, 3 Zlatarska St., Plovdiv, 94 MBPS
Cost of AirBnB / Night (Cheapest Private Room)$12 / Night
Cost of AirBnB (Average for Entire Place)$23 / Night
Cost of AirBnB / Month$575 / Month
Cost of Hotel / Night$30 / Night
Cost of Hotel / Month$900 / Month
Co-Working Space / Month$180 / Month
Domestic Beer (Restaurant)$1.31
Domestic Beer (Market)$0.68
Bottle of Wine$3.99
Cup of Coffee$1.19
Meal for One Person (Restaurant)$5.49
Pack of Cigarettes$3.25

 

 

 

Climb Danov Hill

Yes, red wine and champagne. What of it?

 

The city is surrounded by hills, all of which give you a beautiful view. Danov Hill is a nice and easy walk up and its right in the middle of town. It’s  the perfect place to have a picnic. The clock tower at the top dates back to the 1600s.

 

 

Eat at Pavaj

Traditional Bulgarian food at Pavaj. Tarator soup.

 

This place serves up amazing, traditional Bulgarian food with a modern twist. It’s the best restaurant in town! If you go in the evening, you will definitely need reservations. At lunch time they often have open tables available. No matter what you pick to eat, you can’t go wrong. In fact, get several things because it is really affordable! Make sure you get a side of their bread too.

A major reason I think Plovdiv is one of the best places in Europe is because the food is so delicious and so incredibly cheap. We just feasted the entire time we were there.

 

 

Climb Nebet Tepe

This town is so cool.

 

You walk up the cobblestone streets, past the ancient Roman Theater and to the top of the hill. You’ll get a gorgeous view of the town and the surrounding landscape. This hill gets more crowded than the others because its surrounded by restaurants and hotels. If you don’t mind sharing the view, its a perfect place to watch the sun set. If you’re after some privacy, I would point you to Danov Hill instead.

One thing that’s really impressive about everything here is that, unlike the Medieval buildings you see in most of Europe, like in Salzburg, Austria, the buildings and ruins here are truly ancient. 

 

Eat at Rahat Tepe

Cat not always included. But, usually. Plovdiv is a town of luxurious, healthy stray cats!

 

This place is at the top of Nebet Tepe. If you make a reservation, you can get a table on their front patio overlooking the other side of Plovdiv. Its a great view. My favorite place to be, however, was their beer garden in the back.

The  traditional Bulgarian food is delicious and cheap, as is the beer! We went at least twice a week to get a Shopska salad, potatoes with cheese, a big Kamenitza beer and shot of Rakia (a strong Bulgarian fruit brandy). The atmosphere is lovely and it’s a great place to eat before or after watching the sunset on the hill as it’s only a few steps away!

 

 

Bar hop in Old Town

Every day at noon we’d go down for a cocktail and watch the afternoon go by. I felt like a writer back in the day, like Hemingway in Spain…minus the success, talent and widely respected body of work.

Old Town Plovdiv is the best area. There are so many cool bars with great patios. 1890 Cafe is great for coffee or cocktails. They have a nice terrace with pretty flowers overlooking cool graffiti. There is also a whisky bar around the corner that has an extensive whisky collection and sometimes they have events. Weave your way through the old streets and you’re  sure to find a place that matches your vibe.

With the colorful drinks, old buildings and picturesque flags this is a perfect place for taking some awesome Polaroid pictures, so make sure you bring your Polaroid camera on this trip!

 

Go graffiti browsing

I love this one.

 

You would think modern, vibrant graffiti would clash with an ancient city, but it really doesn’t. There are some truly impressive artists in Plovdiv and if you walk around Old Town you’re  sure to see some beautiful murals.

 

 

Visit the Dzhumaya Mosque

I appreciated the architecture, but I admit to being a little distracted by the pastries out front.

 

It’s a beautiful 600-year-old building with a cool minaret. Attached to the mosque is Konditorei, a Turkish coffee and pastry shop. I highly recommend that after you check out the mosque, you get traditional, authentic Turkish hot tea and pastries!

Make sure you get a pastry too! Pretty good advice for life in general.

 

 

Garden of Tsar Simeon

Bring a book or a bottle of wine and spend the afternoon.

On a nice day, this park is a wonderful place to spend your afternoon. It comes complete with children happily splashing in fountains and old men grumpily playing board games. The long stretches of green gardens and huge trees are a nice change from the buildings of Old Town. The Singing Fountain also puts on a free music and light show every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 9:30pm.

This is also a lovely place to do some yoga (read my article about beginner yoga to learn some great poses to get you movin’) or get a nice little workout in with your resistance bands

 

 

Alex Foods

Jon waiting in line, full of late-night Shawarma shame.

If your’e walking down the main street in Old Town, you will eventually come across a mass of people outside a shop and wonder what everyone is lining up for. The answer: a kebab. Previously, we had really only considered kebabs as a late night drunk snack that you try to forget about in the morning. Until Alex Foods.

I really don’t know what they do to these things to make them so delicious, but you have to get one. They’re huge, tasty and only a couple bucks! You can eat vegetarian here as well with a falafel kebab. As for forgetting about it in the morning, you won’t want to. And Alex Foods is open early so they have you covered for your hangover breakfast too.

 

 

Climb to Alyosha Monument

It may be a remnant of invasion and war, but the view from the top is great!

 

The Soviet occupation of Bulgaria during World War II was commemorated by this statue in the 1950s. There have been a few attempts to take it down over the years, but for now he still stands. It’s worth a visit because the hike up is nice and the view at the top is beautiful.

 

 

So, if you’re into delicious food, incredible drinks, interesting history, beautiful surroundings and being able to afford everything you want, then you have to check out Plovdiv. It really is one of the best places in Europe to visit! I know you’re going to love it there.

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