During our week in Plovdiv, there was one area that we found ourselves going back to nearly every day: Kapana. One day we stopped at a cool cafe for a cup of coffee. The next day we were back for a mid-day stroll. Maybe it was the charming cafes or colorful street art, but we kept coming back.

Kapana is Plovdiv’s arts & crafts district, and it is full of beautiful art, delicious food and, of course, hipsters. If you’re planning a trip to Bulgaria, this trendy area should definitely be on your list of things to do. From a morning cup of coffee to a late night craft beer, Kapana is the go-to place in Plovdiv for a good time.

About Kapana

Colorful street art and shops in Plovdiv's Kapana District

Kapana is the trendy arts district in Plovdiv. The word “Kapana” is actually Bulgarian for “The Trap.” While there are many reasons that this neighborhood was named this way, one of the main reasons is because of the winding streets and many great stores that tend to trap tourists into buying something.

This neighborhood is one of the most popular areas in Plovdiv. With countless coffee shops, bars, restaurants, clothing shops and art galleries, there’s no shortage of great things to do. Something fun is always waiting just around the corner.

As wonderful as Kapana is today, it wasn’t always this way. The neighborhood has faced its fair share of setbacks. A massive fire once burned the neighborhood to the ground. Then, communism took its toll on the privately-owned small businesses.

It wasn’t until 2012 when Plovdiv decided to run for European Capital of Culture that the neighborhood really started to improve. They began leasing out shop spaces free of charge to locals who wanted to start businesses. Slowly but surely, the neighborhood improved and became the hip neighborhood that it is today.

What To Do

Kapana is best known for its hip coffee shops and great craft beer. You’ll find cool places to sip espresso and beer on every block. When in Rome…

Best Coffee Shops in Kapana

Cup of espresso on a cafe patio in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Kapana is well known for its hip cafes and coffee shops. You’ll find everything from delicious espresso and cappuccinos to imported coffee beans and sweet treats. It’s one of the many reason that digital nomads started to take up residence in Plovdiv. Here are a few of the coolest coffee shops in Kapana:

  • Monkey House: This is one of the most popular coffee shops in all of Plovdiv. Their industrial-style interiors and small patio area are a popular place to hang out for locals and tourists alike.
  • Coffee&Gallery Cu29: Delicious espresso + contemporary art = one awesome coffee shop. Stop by this place to have a drink or peruse the beautiful art collection.
  • Central Perk: This cozy coffee shop has more than a few references to New York City and arguably one of the city’s most popular shows: Friends. Stop by Central Perk for a taste of the big apple, but mostly just a cool spot to sip your coffee.

Best Bars in Kapana

Craft beers on a patio table at Cat & Mouse in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Many of the cool cafes in Kapana also double as bars. Their beverage lists will have a long list of coffee beverages, as well as alcoholic beverages. But for the purposes of providing additional recommendations, we’ll stick to a few places that are mostly popular for being a bar.

  • Cat and Mouse: This was one of our favorite places in all of Kapana. They have an extensive selection of craft beer from all over the world–I got a Belgian wheat beer and Jack got a New England IPA! We took our drinks out onto the patio to enjoy the warm summer air and some people watching.
  • deGUSTOstation: If you’re dying to try Bulgarian wine, this is the place to do it! It’s one of the best wine bars in all of Plovdiv, and they stock many local wines made from the delicious Mavrud grapes that are native to Bulgaria.
  • No Sense Club: No sense is home to all sorts of fun nightlife activities, like karaoke, sports games, live music and more. It’s a great place to visit for a fun time on the weekend.

Shopping in Kapana

The shopping scene in Kapana is wonderful. Since the shops are mostly family-owned small businesses, this can be a great way to support Plovdiv’s local businesses. You’ll find everything from clothing, jewelry, pottery, art, and so much more.

What To See

Colorful street art in the Kapana district in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

There’s a lot to love about Kapana, but one of the coolest features is the colorful street art. On every block in Kapana, you’ll find creative street art covering blank surfaces. It lights up the whole neighborhood, and it’s one of the best things to check out while you’re there.

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Kapana is also full of history. You can see buildings that carry a lot of historic meaning to the people of Plovdiv and Bulgaria. One such thing is the Lion House. This historic building has carvings of what Bulgarian people thought that lions looked like at the time.

The carvings mostly looked like masked faces to us, but see for yourself! They are located on top of the second story windows of the building that today houses a gelato shop.

Where to Eat

Thai food from a food truck in the Kapana District in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Plovdiv is known for its great restaurants, and Kapana in particular is a very important part of the food scene. Whether you are looking for a casual bite to eat or a fancy dinner, Kapana has it all. Here are a few great options to showcase the diversity of the food scene in Kapana:

  • SOFRA Turkish Restaurant: Turkish food is absolutely delicious in Plovdiv. This is because a large minority living in Plovdiv is Turkish. Check out SOFRA Turkish Restaurant for a great taste of Plovdiv’s Turkish food scene.
  • Wok and Load: Want to try Thai food from a food truck in Bulgaria? Wok and Load is your place! We were surprised at how delicious and affordable the food was.
  • Pavaj: This highly-reviewed restaurant is perfect to taste a more modern take of Bulgarian food. Leave space for dessert…we’ve heard the cheesecake is to die for!

People eating at SOFRA Turkish Restaurant in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Tours of Kapana

Plovdiv Free Walking Tour

If you want to get some insider information on Kapana, there are a few really great tours that you can do. The first option is the free walking tour of Plovdiv. While this tour doesn’t focus exclusively on Kapana, it covers some great basic info about Kapana. You’ll learn the history of the neighborhood, as well as some cool local spots to check out.

The free walking tour is every day at 11am and 6pm (from May to September) and at 2pm (from October to April) in front of the Municipality building on Plovdiv’s main street. Just show up and get an awesome free tour! A picture from our tour group is above 🙂

The second option is a tour dedicated entirely to Kapana. The tour is called the Kapana Arts & Crafts District Tour, and it’s run by the 365 Association (the same tour company that does the free walking tour). This option isn’t free, but you’ll get way more info about this cool neighborhood.

The Kapana Arts & Crafts District Tour starts every Saturday and Sunday, at 11 AM from May to September and at 2 PM from October tо April at the Municipality Building of Plovdiv (the Town Hall). It takes around two hours and the price of the ticket is 9 EUR (18 BGN) per person. You can book online, or just show up at the meeting point without reservation and pay cash.

Final Thoughts

Kapana is a great up and coming neighborhood in Plovdiv. It’s no wonder that digital nomads chose to spend time in this hip neighborhood–there’s so much to see and do!

If you’re planning a trip to Bulgaria, don’t forget to check out our other posts:

 

Guide to Plovdiv's Flourishing Kapana District: What To See & Do

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