The European Capital of Culture for 2019, Plovdiv is making its comeback! It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe, with over 6,000 years of settlement. But it’s never really hit its stride with tourism – until now.
Plovdiv is one of the most popular places to visit in Bulgaria today, and it’s so easy to see why: photographing Plovdiv is like Instagrammer crack. It’s got colorful houses, ancient ruins, street art, and beautiful old town alleyways to wander through.
In case you’re a bit overwhelmed on where to go for photography in Plovdiv (we do also have a guide on what to do in Plovdiv) then be sure to check out all of our Plovdiv Instagram inspiration below! And be sure to tag us with #sofiaadventures to let us know how you did (and why not follow us for some beautiful Balkans photo inspiration, while you’re at it?)
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Kapana – Magura Street
The whole district of Kapana is absolutely beautiful, and if you want a photo in one of the most colorful Instagram spots in Plovdiv you should check out the flags that mark some of the most popular and prettiest streets in Plovdiv all year round.
Magura Street in central Kapana is one of these such streets – look at how fun those flags are, and those colorful building facades!
Location: ul. “Magura”4000 Kapana, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Travel Tip: There’s much more to Kapana than just this street, so get lost and enjoy “the Trap” (what the English translation of the Bulgarian name means!)
Kapana Street Art
The whole neighborhood of Kapana is buzzing with street art and there are so many awesome finds you can stumble across when you’re walking through this small neighborhood.
Can you find this one above? I don’t know the exact location yet, but it’s definitely in Kapana!
The Art Car, Roman Stadium
I don’t know exactly what this art piece is but I do know that it’s quite new to Plovdiv and it’s likely a part of the 2019 celebrations!
What I do know is that it’s quite easy to find, right in the heart of the city center, where the Roman Stadium is (not to be confused with the amphitheater in the old town; this is by the pedestrian street in the main city center)
Location: ul. “Hristo G. Danov”, 4000 Staria grad, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Travel Tip: As far as I know, this is a temporary exhibit, so ‘gram while you can!
The Roman Stadium
Don’t just get the photo of the colorful car though – be sure to head down to the Roman Stadium, where you can walk amongst ruins nearly two millennia old freely!
Yes, freely – no entrance fee! Just make sure you go during opening hours, from 10 AM to 8 PM
Location: ul. “Hristo G. Danov”, 4000 Staria grad, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Before you walk away from this cluster of Instagrammable Plovdiv places, make sure you take some photos of the exterior of the Dzumaya Mosque, the only remaining mosque in Plovdiv.
Then, head on inside for one of the most beautiful interiors in the city (and country, even!). Keep in mind this is an active place of worship, dress appropriately, and don’t stage an elaborate Instagram photoshoot here, please.
Location: ul. “Zhelezarska”, 4000 Staria grad, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Travel Tips: The mosque is an active religious site and will be closed during prayer hours so you may have to return if it is closed. It is closed all day on Fridays. Men must cover knees and shoulders; women must cover those too, but also their hair. There are headscarves and wraps available at the entrance to borrow if your clothing is not appropriate. Everyone must take off their shoes when entering the mosque.
All of Plovdiv Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and many of the most Instagram-worthy spots in Plovdiv can be found right here!
The Old Town is small and rather compact so I won’t give you exact addresses, simply walk around for 45 minutes or so and you will cover nearly all of it on foot!
Location: ul. “Todor Samodumov” 3, 4000 Tsentar, Plovdiv, Bulgaria is where my favorite house is located 😉 but that whole area is full of beautiful Instagram spots!
Cost: Free to enter the old town, though if you want to visit inside some of the museum houses there is a small charge
Travel Tips: This place is quite popular with day trippers and late risers, so if you want truly epic Instagram photos in Plovdiv I highly recommend getting up for sunrise at least once! It helps to stay in or near Old Plovdiv if you want to actually have a shot of making that early wake-up call.
Plovdiv Regional Ethnographic Museum
Perhaps my favorite building in Plovdiv, I’m a little bit in love with this black and brown-painted building with its incredible curved beams and arches. It’s a perfect spot for Plovdiv photography.
It’s a perfect example of Bulgarian National Revival style, unique in the world of architecture, and something that you can only find in a few places in the world – Plovdiv being one of them.
Location: ul. “Doctor Stoyan Chomakov” 2, 4000 Tsentar, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Cost: Free on the outside, 6 leva (3 euros) to enter
Hindlyan House Museum
The cutest robin’s-egg blue house you ever did see, you simply must pop by the adorable Hindlyan House Museum while in Plovdiv.
If possible, the interior is even more gorgeous than the exterior – check out this exquisite photo essay from my friend Emily at Wander-Lush.
Location: ul. “Artin Gidikov” 4, 4000 Tsentar, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Cost: Free from the outside, 5 leva (2.50 euros) to enter
Travel Tip: If you plan to visit several sights in Plovdiv’s Old Town, you can purchase a combination pass of five sights on the list on this website for just 15 leva, less than 8 euros! Inquire at the Roman Amphitheater booth or the Tourist Information Office.
One of the most impressive architectural sights in Plovdiv, you won’t want to miss a trip to the beautiful ancient amphitheater which dates back 2,000 years to the times when the Romans ran this city. It is one of the best preserved Roman theaters in the world, up here with Hieropolis in Turkey as the best I’ve ever seen.
It’s actually usually quite empty, so you don’t even have to go that early in the morning, but I do recommend golden hour for better light as the direct sun can make the off-white stone look quite harsh in photos.
Location: Ul.”Tsar Ivailo” 4, 4000 Tsentar, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Cost: 5 leva (2.50 euro) to enter, but it can be purchased as part of a combination ticket if you are visiting a handful of house museums and other sites in the Old Town. If you visit more than 4 it is worth it!
Travel Tip: Type in “Ancient Theater of Philippopolis” into Google Maps when searching for it as sometimes Google confuses it with the Roman Stadium in the center of downtown.
One of Plovdiv’s seven hills (like Rome!) Nebet Hill (Nebet Tepe) is perhaps the most popular. It’s busy with people seeking a good view any time of day, but it is particularly busy around sunset.
Nebet Hill doesn’t just have great views. It also has the ruins of an old Thracian town, Eumolpias, which was one of the places of first human settlement in Plovdiv. The Thracians started to settle the area around Nebet Hill in 4000 BC, long before the Romans would eventually come and take over.
Location: Inside the Old Town area, head towards Nebet Tepe on Google Maps or following the street signs. Hint: it’s a hill, so you probably should walk up 😉
Cost: Free, like so much of Plovdiv!
Looking like a scene from a fairy-tale, this fortress gate is part of Plovdiv’s Old Town and you’re sure to pass through it as you explore the ruins, hills, and museum houses of this gorgeous neighborhood.
The gate dates back to the medieval times, the 11th century, over the foundations of the original Roman gate. It’s now a symbol of Plovdiv and one of the most Instagrammable spots in Plovdiv.
Location: pl. “Hisar kapiya” staria, 4000 Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Where to Stay in Plovdiv
Soon we’ll have a comprehensive guide on all the best places to stay while you’re visiting Plovdiv, but for now, here are our top three recommendations we send to friends and visitors who plan on visiting Bulgaria, our home!
$ – BUDGET – AVERAGE UNDER $50
When I stay at a hostel, there are a few things that I look for: privacy curtains, personal reading lights, and outlet space for each bed. Bonus points if the hotel lobby is modern and inviting – and if the kitchen is well-stocked and beautiful to cook
$$ – MID-RANGE – AVERAGE $50 to $100
A budget-friendly, well-reviewed hotel in the middle of Plovdiv’s historic UNESCO Old Town full of gorgeous Bulgarian National Revival architecture? Yes, please! Hotel Evmolpia is a true hidden gem in Plovdiv, with gorgeous antique furnishings and elegant decor that is fitting to the 19th-century vibe of the Old Town. Meanwhile, the bathrooms are modern and newly renovated, so it’s really the best of both worlds. Note that because it is inside the Old Town so you may have to walk a bit from your taxi, but the hotel will help you with directions. But that makes it all the easier to wake up for sunrise pictures!
$$$ – LUXURY – AVERAGE $150+
The first five-star hotel in Plovdiv, if you’re seeking a spot of luxury in Europe’s 2019 Capital of Culture, you should check out the Residence City Garden. The rooms are refined and stylish – we’re talking spacious rooms and high ceilings (some rooms with chandeliers!), antique-style furnishings, and impeccable attention to detail. The bathrooms are beautiful and extremely modern, with lovely bathtubs that you can soak in to rest your feet after a long day of exploring Plovdiv (and get some bathtub shots in, obviously)
Planning a Trip to Plovdiv? Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!
Make sure you always travel to Plovdiv with a valid travel insurance policy. Travel here includes visiting ancient monuments that are thousands of years old and not extremely stable and being in busy places where the risk of pickpocketing or theft are high. You need to be covered in case you have an accident or fall victim to theft. Travel insurance will help you recover your expenses and continue to enjoy your trip.
For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.
Originally from California, Allison has been living in Bulgaria for the last two years and is obsessed with traveling around the Balkans. She has been published in National Geographic, CNN Arabic, Matador Network, and the Huffington Post. She loves befriending dogs, drinking coffee, geeking out about wine, and cooking food from around the world.